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Is Adamawa set to make Binani first elected female Executive Governor in Nigeria?


Senator Aisha Dahiru Ahmad

By AK Ozi Yakubu

The month of September 2022 is significant in Nigeria’s march towards the 2023 general elections. According to the Timetable and schedule of Activities for the 2023 General elections as issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), campaigns for the general election will begin this September-precisely on Wednesday the 28th -that’s about 150 days to election day.
From all indications, the 2023 general elections in Nigeria is set to be significant in view of the evolving scenario that points towards the attainment of a new milestone in the nation’s political history. The expected milestone that could come as a result of the 2023 general elections is the emergence, for the first time in the history of Nigeria’s democracy, an office that is equivalent to what we now know as the ‘office of the wife of the governor’ or ‘office of the first lady’ of a state.
The new office might go by the name, ‘office of the husband of the governor’, but better still, it could be named, ‘office of the first gentleman’ and I think the latter sounds better. Adamawa state is set to go down in history as the first state in Nigeria to attain that feat as the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate of the state for the 2023 elections is of the feminine gender. So, the ‘office of the first gentleman of Adamawa state’ will really sound nice to the ears.
Aisha Dahiru Ahmad, who’s the APC governorship candidate in Adamawa is first and foremost a very lucky woman because she has 100 percent support of her husband in her quest to serve the people of Adamawa state. Her husband, Alhaji Dahiru Ahmad is always there for her, giving her the necessary support and this brings to the fore, the popular saying in Nigeria but in reverse order, that ‘behind every successful woman is a supportive and understanding man (husband)’.
As a journalist that have worked for over 10 years in Adamawa state, the closest and the only encounter I had with Aisha Dahiru Ahmad popularly known as Binani was in 2014 or 2015. This was during one of the activities lined up prior to the 2015 general elections. This encounter was during an event at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Jimeta-Yola.
As a producer and presenter of a political programme in one of the Radio stations in Yola and seeing Binani seated on the front row in the hall at INEC office, I took the advantage of that opportunity to walk up to where she was seated to invite her to feature as a guest on the programme. But I did not walk straight to her as I first went to her husband who was seated two rows behind her. I introduced myself, explained my mission to him and he responded that I should feel free to invite her to feature on the Radio show. I couldn’t follow-up to that encounter with Binani, she never featured on the programme and that was the first and last time I saw her at a close range.
Aisha Binani is known with a variety of names to the people of Adamawa state which is as a result of the support and assistance she has been giving and still gives the people. Many calls her ‘Maman mu’ which means ‘our mother’ and others simply call her ‘Uwar marayu’, meaning, ‘mother to the orphans’ or the less privileged. What makes her popular in Adamawa state is her support to women, youth empowerment and community development.
Anyone following the activities of Binani in Adamawa state will attest to the fact that nearly 90 percent of her interventions are about women and youth empowerment; her priority has been women and children. And the womenfolk in Adamawa have not failed her as they rallied and supported their own during the APC gubernatorial primaries which was held in May 2023.
Binani who emerged victorious at the primary election scored 430 votes by defeating her closest rival and a former Chairman of EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu who had 288 votes while the former governor of the state, Bindow Jibrilla came third with 103 votes. Her victory at the primary election did not come as a surprise to many in view of Binani’s popularity and the support from the women delegates.
Looking at the composition of the delegates, one may not be wrong by assuming that about 70 per cent of the women delegates gave Binani their votes. Going by APC guidelines which stated that every ward must have five delegates and out of the five delegates, two must be women; this therefore favoured Binani. Adamawa has 226 wards and if you multiply that number by two, you’d get 452 women out of the 1,130 delegates and Binani scored 430 votes in the primary election. This is the first-time women are united to cast their vote to one of their own and this solidarity has unsettled the political class in the state.
By this feat, Binani has already made it into history as the first female flag bearer of a major political party in Adamawa state and the second in Nigeria. There are however nine other women that emerged as flagbearers of their various political parties in their various states.
The support given to Binani by the women of Adamawa and her eventual victory at the APC primary election has made the ruling PDP in the state to re-strategize to ensure they are re-elected in 2023. Following this development, Governor Fintiri dropped his Deputy Governor and opted for a female running mate for the upcoming elections.
One of the biggest hurdles before Aisha Ahmad Binani before the 2023 elections is within the APC itself and if members of the party can put aside their differences, I think her victory is certain. And this will put Adamawa state in the annals of history as the first state in Nigeria to produce a female governor. I am beginning to imagine the kind of newspapers headlines/captions that will herald her victory in 2023 and I believe editors are already at work.

Yakubu writes from Jabi in Abuja and can be contacted via: abdulkareemykb@gmail.com

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