The Taraba State governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday (7/11/2015) nullified the election of Governor Darius Ishaku (PDP) and ordered that the APC candidate (Ms. Aisha Alhassan, who is popularly known as Mama Taraba) in the April 2015 governorship election be sworn in immediately as the duly elected governor. Of course the tribunal’s ruling does not automatically mean that Governor Darius Ishaku will vacate office immediately as ordered, the Laws still guarantee him rights to appeal the tribunal’s judgment. I am sure that his lawyers may have foreseen this circumstance and duly prepared to initiate the appeal processes. What I see playing out here is a situation similar to the Rivers State gubernatorial elections where the tribunal (also sitting in Abuja) nullified the election of Governor Nyesom Wike (also of the PDP) and declared Dr. Dakuku Peterside (APC) to be sworn in immediately as the duly elected governor whereupon Governor Nyesom Wike proceeded to the appeal.
What makes this whole situation more interesting is the fact that Ms. Aisha Alhassan who had already been confirmed as minister-designate in President Mohammudu Buhari’s cabinet, may end up becoming Nigeria’s first ever female governor. That would be, as Donald Trump likes to express, huuuuuuge landmark achievement and responsibility.
But the question this raises is, is Nigeria ready for her first female governor, a position that has been dominated by men for all of Nigeria’s history?
Ms. Aisha Alhassan who bags an impressive profile was:
– First female Chief Magistrate in the Federal Capital Territory in 1996.
– First female Deputy Chief Registrar and the Director of Litigation of the FCT High Court in 1997.
– First female Attorney General, Taraba State in 1997.
– First female Secretary of the FCT Judiciary Services Committee in (November) 2002.
– First female Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court in (December) 2003.
Her father also, was a second-term member of the Federal House of Representatives in 1959 under the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN). He was also the Chairman of the NPN in the old Gongola State.
Ms. Aisha Alhassan’s elder brother (of same parents) Mr. A. A. Ibrahim (Jnr.) was a two-term Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999-2007) representing Taraba Central Zone.
Ms. Aisha Alhassan herself contested for a Senatorial seat in 2010 and won.
Wining her election petition case at the tribunal though commendable and inspiring to women across the country, does not mean it is over yet. There are more battles to fight. She will become Nigeria’s first female governor only if Governor Darius Ishaku and the PDP decide against appealing the tribunal’s ruling – this is highly unlikely, or if the siting governor loses again at appeal.
So what do you think – is Nigeria ready for her first female governor and does Ms Aisha ALhassan fit the bill?
Views expressed are only those of the authors.
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