Gender Equality in the digital society has become an issue of concern drawing from the political history of Nigeria. In the ongoing 2023 General Elections, the only Woman Governorship Candidate under the platform of the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) in Adamawa state, Senator Aishatu Ahmed popularly known as ‘Senator Binani’ is witnessing an inconclusive election due to some circumstances by INEC.
Senator Binani was the Senator representing Adamawa Central Senatorial District in the 9th Senate and Chairperson Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals. She is a grassroots politician who have touched thousands lives of people in her constituency through empowerment schemes and human capital development.
President Muhammadu Buhari during the presidential campaign for the All Progressive Congress APC presidential candidate, Ahmed Bola Tinubu in Adamawa state raised the hands of the only woman as the best gubernatorial Candidate while calling on the people of Adamawa state to vote for her en masse in the Governorship Election few weeks ago.
The ongoing Governorship and state House of Assemblies Elections results collation in various states of the federation have continued to ring bells to Nigerians on the credibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so far. Adamawa being a North Eastern state is not left out as there were speculations on social media on Monday night that the pacesetter, Senator Binani had clinched the ticket defeating the sitting Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP).
Checks on the Election Umpire revealed that the said collation of results in Adamawa state has been declared inconclusive. The election held on the 18th of March was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to results collated so far by INEC, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Senator Aishatu Dahiru popularly known as Binani has secured 390, 275 so far while the incumbent governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 421,524. However, INEC declared the election inconclusive due to the margin of votes.
Obviously, it’s pertinent to voice out that despite the power of the incumbency in Adamawa state and the influence of the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, Senator Binani should be celebrated as a hero having so far polled this close margin result. Stakeholders in Government, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Security personnel and international Organizations must stand up to beam their light on Adamawa Governorship Election which is targeted towards setting an historical record for women in governance in Nigeria.
The raised eyebrows reminds one of the similar case of the Former female Governorship Candidate for the APC in neighboring Taraba state in 2019, Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan popularly known as ‘Mama Taraba’ where there were allegations that she was robbed in favor of the PDP Governorship Candidate, Darius Isiaku.
Being the most populous black nation, Nigeria is supposed to lead other African countries in political dispensation not the other way around. There are several African countries that have recorded 10 Female Presidents in their country while Nigeria is still denying female chances of becoming Governors in their states. The first female President in Africa was Slyvie Kiningi, She was the Prime Minister of Burundi from February 10, 1993 to October 7, 1994. Others were Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburi also served temporarily as the acting President of South Africa when the President and his vice were out of the country for four days in September of 2005. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first elected President who served two consecutive terms in Liberia after winning the 2005 and 2011 Presidential elections. Rose Francine Rogombe served as interim President of Gabon from June 2009 to October 2009 after the death of President of Omar Bongo. Agnes Monique Ohsan Bellepeau, Acting President of Mauritius (March – July 2012 and May – June 2015), Joyce Hilda Banda, President of Malawi (April 2012 – May 2014), Catherine Samba, Acting President of Central African Republic (January 2014 – March 2016), Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius (June 2015 – March 2018), Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia (October 2018 – Present), Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of Tanzania (March 2021 – Present).
The aforementioned countries have broken the barriers where they had women Presidents. Nigeria has never has a woman Governor since independence in 1960. Cultural values, mores and norms must be eradicated in present society to widen gender equality and increase the chances of women participation in the governance of this country. Records including the Senator Binani’s performance have shown that the female traits are exceptional in managing Government’s affairs. There should be constitutional amendment to create equal chances to avoid suppression and intimidation of the female colleagues in the name of religious beliefs and cultural practices especially in the Northern region of Nigeria.
The Electioneering issues surrounding Senator Binani’s Victory should be relevant in political discussion if she loses the Election to Governor Fintiri. This is because other African countries have recorded Female Presidency in their countries, we are still battling with denying female Candidates chance of becoming Governors in their states. Prominent women in the society must stand firm to address this reoccurring issue with International Organizations partners in Nigeria.