By Olugbenga Salami
A human rights group, the Women in Politics, Adamawa State chapter, has described the recent court judgment against the All Progressives Congress, APC governorship candidate in the state, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Binani as a step to continue with the alleged marginalisation and discouragement of women’s participation in politics in the country.
The Federal High Court sitting in Yola, Adamawa State capital, had on October 14 nullified the primary election that produced Senator Dahiru as the APC governorship candidate in the 2023 general elections.
Expressing its displeasure over the ruling, the group at a rally held in Yola at the weekend, said that despite the enormous contributions of women to the nation’s economy, their aspirations to engage in politics are threatened by obstacles created by politicians and influence of the male gender that dominate leadership positions in political parties.
The group’s coordinator, Ms. Comfort Ezra, according to a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, quoted the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC that women and youths accounted for over 75% of the registered voters in the country, lamenting that “despite the figure, women are still being sidelined and discouraged from aspiring for key political leadership positions.
On the ruling, Ezra said though the group respects the decision of the court, she, however, wondered if the governorship candidate, who won legitimately with 430 votes casted in her favour by party delegates duly accredited by both the APC and INEC will be denied the ticket.
She noted that only the menfolk in the APC and across political party divides, including the ruling PDP in the state, have refused to eat the humble pie of defeat but rather vowed to fight the only female governorship candidate of a major political party by raising flimsy issues of technicalities through the courts.
The group described the ruling as a deliberate effort by the male gender to stop the womenfolk from leadership positions.
“Women are inarguably the determinant demography in our political processes in Nigeria. In the 2019 general election, women accounted for about 47.14 per cent of the over 84 million registered voters nationwide, for the 2023 elections the Independent National Electoral Commission says women and youths form over 75% of registered voters.
“We express our dismay and vehemently kick against marginalization of women in the political space, especially by political parties who tend to deliberately put obstacles on the path of the female gender during their primary elections.
“The recent court judgment delivered by the federal high court sitting in Yola which refuse to uphold the election of the only female governorship candidate in Nigeria for the 2023 general election, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Binani of the All Progressives Congress is a wake-up call to all women in Nigeria and not Adamawa State alone. We call on all women across the country to ensure that she is not ripped off her mandate using technicalities.
“With 430 votes, we believe Senator Binani rattled the men folk not only in APC but across board, the technicalities of seeking to refuse her the ticket through the courts is a deliberate effort by the male gender to stop the women folk from leadership positions and we consider it an affront on all women.
“We urge women stakeholders in the political space to rise and defend the women by protecting the mandate duly given to Binani. We must all remember that women are Nation builders and have capacity to adequately manage resources and deliver on the needs of the people,” the group stressed.
According to Ezra, the legislative infrastructure and empowerment interventions of Dahiru since her assumption at the 9th Senate cut across the Adamawa Central Senatorial District.
The coordinator maintained that the issue is not about gender, but about the sterling performance of the governorship candidate which has earned her the support of the good people of the state, urging her male opponents to display sportsmanship by playing the game in accordance to the rule.
While urging Dahiru not to relent in recovering her mandate at the appellate court, the group called on the APC, women rights groups and Nigerians to rally behind her to ensure that her mandate is not thwarted through the backdoor.
The group noted that the APC candidate is well positioned to win the governorship race, pointing out that her victory at the primary necessitated the PDP led government in the state to swiftly replace its deputy governorship candidate with a female.