By Emmanuel Nduka
Despite its not-so-perfect track record since ascending to power in 2015, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a commendable step in women inclusion in politics ahead of its closest opposition and rival- the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Come 2023, the APC will field a female governorship candidate. If she goes on to win at the main polls, the ruling party will write its name in gold in national history as the first to produce a female governor of a state.
Senator Aishatu Binani who represents Adamawa Central Constituency in the Nigerian Senate, is at the fore. She famously won the Adamawa State APC Governorship Primary, beating 6 male aspirants and knocking out two heavyweights in the process.
She polled 430 votes to her closest rival- pioneer Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) boss, Nuhu Ribadu who garnered 288 votes. She also retired former Governor Umaru Jubrilla Bindo from the race to pick the coveted ticket.
With this feat, the Senator is now aiming to become the first elected female governor in Nigeria’s history.
The testimony would have been replicated in Nasarawa State, when ex-wife of the National Chairman of the APC, Mrs Fatima Abdullahi Adamu came up against incumbent Governor Abdullahi Sule. But overthrowing a sitting Governor was a herculean task.
But while the APC recorded this giant stride, the PDP also worked on its own wonders. Its incumbent governors returning for another term made sure they got their return tickets, while those leaving office enforced anointed candidates in their stead.
Part of the APC’s track record on women inclusion was highlighted in 2015. The late Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly called Mama Taraba, could have been Nigeria’s first elected female governor. She contested the Taraba State gubernatorial election under the platform of the APC in 2015. She was initially ahead in the main event as Nigerian women celebrated.
Their celebrations were however cut short as more results trickled in and she was defeated by Governor Dairus Ishaku. Later on November 7, 2015 tribunal removed Governor Ishaku, and subsequently declared Mama Taraba winner of the April 11 poll. The judgement would be later reversed by the Appeal and Supreme Courts of Nigeria, thus halting her heroics.
While more can be done in creating more opportunities for women, the current administration has 7 female ministers which represents 16.28% of the entire 43-member cabinet.
First Lady Impressed
An impressed Nigerian First Lady, Aisha Buhari, in a congratulatory statement issued in Abuja, said Binani’s victory is a source of encouragement and hope for many Nigerian women. She thus urged the APC flag bearer to be resilient and determined as the final task ahead is enormous.
While wishing Binani a success in the election, the First Lady urged the APC candidate to sustain the tempo by ensuring that everyone is carried along.
Mrs Buhari had gathered the women wing of the APC for a Summit for all female aspirants of the party. At the Summit, the First Lady charged them to support one another to ensure increased women representation in governance
Party Waiver For Women
In April, the ruling party granted a financial waiver to all female aspirants on its platform, expressing greater commitment to gender mainstreaming. Women were exempted to run for elective offices for free.
The landmark decision ended the frustration often faced by female aspirants, most of who found it difficult to cough out the required 50 percent of nominations fees paid by their male counterparts.
“The party has gone ahead to approve that women will be running with free nomination forms,” National Woman Leader of the party, Dr Beta Edu said while making the announcement recently in April.
Senator Binani was born on 11 August 1971 and is currently representing Adamawa Central Senatorial District in the 9th National Assembly.
She was formerly a Member of the House of Representatives representing the Yola North/Yola South/Girei Federal Constituency on the platform of the PDP in the 7th Assembly (2011–2015), before she decamped to the APC.
Binani had her university education in the UK, where she obtained a Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southampton.
She is currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).