5th December, 2015
On Saturday, November 7, when the tribunal sitting in Abuja nullified the Taraba governorship election on the grounds that the incumbent, Darius Ishaku, was not duly sponsored by any political party to run for the election as required by law, many people including myself were elated.
I was elated because, finally, somebody was cutting the politicians to size and telling them that the era of impunity was over.
The tribunal noted that it was a fundamental law in Nigeria that a candidate for an elective position must be duly nominated and sponsored by a registered political party before the candidature of such a person can be valid.
This ruling, apart from the fact that it will change the face of Nigerian politics for good, will help to check the lack of internal politics within parties.
Often times, most people who are chosen at the primary level are not necessarily the ones with the majority support or votes, because an influential member of the party would have imposed someone of his choice and all the party does is to put its stamp or mark on the person.
Now, no thriving democracy can survive that way, it is important for the Taraba ruling to stand so as to serve as a lesson to all parties that the right thing must be done at all times. If Nigeria wants to grow its democracy and stop referring to it as nascent as often done, then it is time for it to start getting things right.
It is unfortunate that after almost 20 years, many politicians still refer to it as nascent, and the big question is that whose interest is it for the democracy to remain at the baby stage? Are some people bent on insisting that the nation’s democracy has not matured, just as a way of getting away with impunity? We have to start getting things right, so as to entrench a democracy that can outlive everyone. It shouldn’t be about any individual or group; all decisions should be aimed at entrenching an enduring democracy.
First of all, we must recall that when Aisha went into the competition, not many people thought much of her; reason being that, politics in Nigeria has always been done in a particular way. It is either you are really rich or you have a known “god father” behind you. But when these woman began to make waves, first by clinching her party’s ticket, attention began to shift towards that area, not just from Taraba people, but from all Nigerians. A northern woman was on the verge of breaking the jinx and that was no small feat.
She then entered the campaign arena like a bulldozer, giving her male counterpart a run for their money. Never in the history of the country had a woman through competition gotten so close to the Government House and as such if this ruling is upheld, it will not just be confirming an age long saying that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man but that a woman can actually clinch it, not just go close to it.
A woman needs to occupy the number position in state politics and not just any woman, one who has proved her worth like Hajia Aisha has done. This woman weathered the storm and grew in her chosen career. She has indeed shown that a woman can rise to the top through hardwork. Her swearing in will in no small measure help to boost the morale of young women in the country, especially those from her region where, the enrolment of the girl-child is still very minimal.
She is indeed a role model to women all over, as she has been able to effectively combine profession and family life. What greater campaign will boost girl child education in the North than allowing this woman who has worked so hard to achieve her ambition, which is to serve in a state bedevilled with so many crises and begging for attention.
In any case the men have always governed the state and we are talking Change. Let us all embrace the Change of having a democratically elected female governor.
From Ummi Abullahi