Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had decided, recently, that Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, the All Progressive Congress, APC, candidate of the April 11 gubernatorial polls in the state was the rightful winner of the election.
It directed that Alhassan be sworn-in as the governor of the state. She is, therefore, set to be the first elected female governor in Nigeria’s history.
The victory of “Mama Taraba,” may bring to an end, the leadership of Mr. Darius Dickson Ishakuwho was earlier declared winner of the election at the end of a fierce race in March, a development that has since been adjudged executive interference in the judiciary by the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
When Alhassan was nominated for Minister, it was generally viewed as compensation for her loss at the polls. Nigerians, especially women, were therefore shocked at the verdict but the euphoria that greeted it showed that women saw it as wisdom like none in the country’s political history. They are still celebrating this victory; some of their comments were captured by the Nigerian Pilot Saturday.
Reacting to the feat, the Founder/CEO Optimum Women & Youth Empowerment Foundation, OWYEF, Barr Omotese Egbefo said she is very happy about it.
“It is a victory for Nigerian women; we have waited long enough for this. Hajiya Ashia Alhassan is a very confident, intelligent and hard working woman. She will not disappoint Nigerians. I expect her to run an all inclusive government and give women their place of pride in the state.
“Again, I am optimistic that becoming a governor will serve as a way of giving women in her state opportunity to excel. She will definitely succeed because she has got the pedigree and capacity to do so. Being a woman and a mother, she will be more sensitive and responsive to the plight of women and children,” Egbefo said.
Former Minister of State for Health, Dr Amina Ndalolo, while speaking on phone with Nigerian Pilot Saturday, said “I am very happy about this victory of Aisha Alhassan. It is great victory for Nigerian women.
The Transition Committee Chairperson of Jos North Local government of Plateau State, Theresa Azi , hailed the judgement of the Tribunal, stressing that Nigeria’s democracy is growing.
She also described the judgment as a victory for all women.
Speaking to our correspondent in Jos ,Azi described the Judgment as fair, she congratulated the people of Taraba for having the first female governor elect in the country and called on members of the APC to give her the necessary support. Azi said it is a sign of good things to come. She therefore, urged women in the country to participate in politics and not to be relegated to the background.
Hajiya Larai H. Shira in Abuja said, it’s a great victory for women. “Alhassan has had interest for women and has actually been assisting women for a long time, since she was in the Judiciary. I work in the National Centre for Women Development and since she has been appointed as Minister for Women Affairs, I would selfishly wish that she is my Minister, but for the benefit of her state, her people of Taraba would want her to be their governor because she is going to take development to their doorsteps. Her victory is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria”.
In Kaduna, a woman activist and the Executive Director, Gender Awareness Trust, Dr. Lydia Umar said Aisha’s victory as first female governor was least expected from the North. “The Taraba election tribunal judgment in favour of Hajiya Aisha Alhassan and her emergence as first female governor in Nigeria, particularly coming from the North, was least expected because of the perception surrounding the womenfolk in Nigeria especially the Northern region.”
Dr. Umar said the fact that Aisha had the courage to head to the court is commendable and it has deepened the nation’s democracy and added value to the judiciary. It has also shown that women have broken the jinx. The position of governor is no longer only for men.
Founder of Deborah Foundation, a foundation that takes care of widows and orphans, Pastor (Mrs.) Chika Emmanuel Ebinne, said producing a first female governor in the country is a welcome development and will give other women courage to participate actively in both political and administrative positions in the country.
Expressing her satisfaction further, Ebinne said, “As a woman and despite the controversies, I expect that she stands out and prove to people that she can do it.”
On whether Aisha Alhassan will succeed in governing the state, she said: “She will succeed because she knows that there are challenges before her and there are some quarters waiting to accuse her and find faults to use against her so, I think she will be careful in her dealings and will not do anything that will implicate her.
“You know every woman that is given position of authority in times like this is being marginalised where the 35 percent affirmative action is not implemented. But I believe that as a female governor, she will represent the women folk because if she does not perform well, it will affect the entire generation of women coming into power henceforth, so she has to stand out and have it at back of her mind that she is just like a messenger that is there to prove that irrespective of gender, women can perform in public office.
“I am optimistic that her being a governor will not only increase the number of women in politics, but this will also make a statement to Nigeria’s populace that women can live up to any expectation.
“ She is a mother and I do not see her as a present generation mother or fast food generation mother, I see her as a mother who is advanced in everything, I feel she will bring out old mothering counseling that she has 10 years, 20 years ago that will benefit other generations,” she concluded.
It would be recalled that in her recent speech before she was declared winner, Hajiya Alhassan said, “So many things are wrong in Taraba State. With due respect to the government of the day, so many things are wrong and I promise to make a difference.
“Government is about the people, you have to look at how people are faring, and the best way to better their lives. People are suffering, hunger is killing everybody, and people call us every day with such complaints. So, since the people for which the government is in place are not happy, are not feeling the impact of their own government, then you should know that something is fundamentally wrong. Preventable diseases now kill people in Taraba, our schools are nothing to write home about, and our hospitals have neither equipments nor drugs just like poverty and starvation is everywhere. But by the grace of God, if they give me the mandate, you will see the difference. Anywhere I go, I make a difference. If I become the governor of Taraba State, the world will see the difference.”
However, women have appealed to her to keep her promises and exhibit that sensitive and responsive attribute of a woman to make things happen and to make a difference in such a way that women and children will benefit.