In Nigeria, a candidate must be at least 35 years old to be elected president or vice president, 35 years old to serve as a senator, 30 years old to serve as a state governor, and 25 years old to serve as a member of parliament or the house of representatives.
Of course, during the military era, very young people have been known to have been appointed as governors. For instance, Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, then 24 years old, was appointed as the first military governor of what is now Rivers State.
Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff served in that capacity under General Yakubu Gowon’s military regime from May 1967 to July 1975. Also, he was a part of the Supreme Military Council.
In this article, we highlight some individuals who are the youngest to be elected Govenors since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999.
Ibrahim Saminu Turaki – 36 (Jigawa)
Ibrahim Saminu Turaki served as the executive governor of Jigawa State from 1999 to 2007. He was 36 years old when he sworn in as the governor.
Orji Uzor Kalu – 38 (Abia)
Orji Uzor Kalu served as Governor of Abia State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. He was 38 years old when he became Governor.
Donald Duke – 38 (Cross River)
Donald Duke was the Governor of Cross River State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. He was 38 years old when he was sworn in as the governor of the State.
Ahmad Sani Yerima – 39 (Zamfara)
At the age of 39, Ahmed Rufai Sani Yerima was sworn in as Governor of Zamfara State. He served from May 1999 to May 2007.
Chimaroke Nnamani – 39 (Enugu)
Chimaroke Nnamani was 39 years old when he was elected Governor of Enugu State in the 1999 Enugu State gubernatorial election. He served from 1999 to 2007.
Niyi Adebayo – 40 (Ekiti)
Niyi Adebayo served as governor of Ekiti State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2003. He served only one term of four years; from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2003. He was 40 years old when he was elected.
Lucky Igbinedion – 41 (Edo)
At age 41, Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion was sworn in as the governor of Edo State. He served from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007.
Adamu Aliero – 41 (Kebbi)
Muhammad Adamu Aliero was 41 years old when he became the governor of Kebbi State. He held that position from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007.
Bukola Saraki – 41 (Kwara)
Bukola Saraki was 41 years old when he became the Governor of Kwara State. He held that position from May 29, 2003 till May 29, 2011.
Mukhtar Ramalan Yero – 41 (Kaduna)
In December 2012, Mukhtar Yero, from the deputy governor position, became Governor of Kaduna State. This was after the death of Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa in a helicopter crash. He was 41 at the time.
Yahaya Bello – 41 (Kogi)
Yahaya Bello was declared governor of the 2015 governorship election after the death of the original winner, Abubakar Audu. He assumed office on January 27, 2016. He was 41 years old at the time.
Rotimi Amaechi – 42 (Rivers State)
Rotimi Amaechi served as governor of Rivers State from 2007 to 2015. He was 42 years at the time. Prior to that, he served as Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2007.
Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari – 42 (Zamfara)
Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari was in office from May 29, 2011 until May 29, 2019. He was 42 when he became Governor.
Boni Haruna – 42 (Adamawa)
Boni Haruna is the former Nigerian Minister for Youth Development. At 42, he became governor of Adamawa State, where he served from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007.
Ayo Fayose – 43 (Ekiti)
Ayo Fayose was Govenor of Ekiti State from May 29, 2003 till October 16, 2006 when he was impeached. He was 43 when he became Govenor.
He regained that positin 2014 and served until 2018.