Former US First Lady, Michelle Obama was right when she said “no country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”
Before the curtain of campaigns for Governorship and House of Assembly elections draws to an end today, let me quickly make a case for the candidature of Senator Aisha Al-Hassan.
Aishatu Dahiru, popularly known as Binani, is a major voice in challenging stereotypes in politics and governance.
She is the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC in Adamawa state, Northeast Nigerian.
If she wins the Saturday poll, she would be the first elected female governor in Nigeria.
To clinch the governorship ticket of her party, Dahiru, who is currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, polled 430 votes to defeat her closest contestant, Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who got 288 votes and also defeated Muhammadu Jibrilla Bindow, the immediate past governor of Adamawa state.
During her journey to the green and red chambers, she contested with her male counterparts to clinch tickets and also the general elections. She has never been “lucky” to run against her gender.
So it’s clear that Binani didn’t just get there by mere coincidence but has worked her way from the bottom all through to the top.
Her stint in the National Assembly dates back to the 7th National Assembly where she represented Yola North, Yola South and Girei Federal Constituency of Adamawa State from 2011 to 2015 in the House of Representatives, before moving to the Senate.
While at the Senate, she made a mark for herself in gender advocacy and youth empowerment.
Binani is also a graduate of Electrical Engineering from University of Southampton, United Kingdom, which portrayed her as someone that loves to challenge the men. Engineering courses are mostly considered by the guys but she broke the stereotype and went for it anyways.
Now, here’s why Adamawa residents must elect Binani, Since the return of democracy in 1999, the wave of women’s demand for quality representation in politics and governance has hit Nigeria and only one woman has been close to making it happening, Late Senator Aishat Alhassan, better known as Mama Taraba.
The only woman who ever ‘slightly’ crossed that lane was Dame Virginia Etiaba who was Deputy Governor of Anambra state and later became Governor when her Principal, Peter Obi, was impeached. She held the office for only three months as Obi was reinstated by the courts.
The highest elective position a woman has attained in Nigeria is that of Deputy Governor, not even Chief of Staff to the President or Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Binani is running in one of the states in the North, a region where going to school and making attempt to be an engineer or a politician is abundantly exclusive reserve of the male, it will be heartening for her to win to serve as a motivation for the Halimah in Toto-Nasarawa that she can be an engineer, to inspire Maryam in Gashua-Yobe that she can be elected to the green chamber, to encourage even Opeyemi in Isin-Kwara that she can become a governor, to move Zahara in Chibok that she can become anything she wants to be and not be relegated because she’s a woman.
Lest I forget, the merits of Binani’s candidacy are not in her being a woman, Despite being a woman in an institution greatly dominated by men, she is a shining example of what a genuine representative of people is.
In the course of representing the people of Adamawa Central in the National Assembly, she is on record to have empowered a total of 1,667 young people through various skill acquisition initiatives.
In my research, there are about 28 women running for governorship elections this Saturday, but Binani is the only one on the ticket of a major political party and also contesting in the North.
In the almost ending 9th Senate, Binani is the only female member from the entire Northern Nigeria. With her exit from the chamber, the entire 19 northern states will not have a female senator.
The ‘Gimbiyar Adamawa’ (The Princess of Adamawa) has both legislative experience and pedigree in turning nothing to something from the way and manner she built her various businesses from scratch to multi-million ventures.
It was Helen Clark that said “Someone has to break the glass ceiling. And once it is broken, everybody else comes clamouring up behind”, so Adamawa residents must help Binani break that glass ceiling, so that Halimah, Maryam, Opeyemi and Zahara can also be motivated to climb through it.
Bagbansoro Uthman Olamilekan
Discussion about this post