Nnedi Ogaziechi pens an open letter to Aisha Binani, Adamawa APC and first female governorship candidate in the 2023 elections.
Many Nigerians were excited when you, Senator Aisha Dahiru Binani, won the governorship primary in Adamawa state. This made you the first woman to have won the nomination of a major political party like the All Progressives Congress (APC). Then the post-nomination court cases challenging your nomination began and many held their breath. You eventually won the case in court.
I rooted for your candidacy through My RoundTable Conversation page and other editorial interventions.
We need more women on the political space.
The election of 18 March 2023 came and INEC declared that of your State Adamawa as inconclusive. The excitement was palpable but the election umpire, but INEC still declared the election inconclusive.
Fast forward to 15 April 2023, the date for the Supplementary elections. News filtered out that the Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner, one Hudu Yunusa Ari, hurriedly and illegally rushed into the collation venue. He was in the company of the Commissioner of Police and a state Director of DSS to announce Aishatu Binani as winner of an election. Before collated completed, Ari came armed with a piece of paper he took out of his pocket to make the announcement!
INEC quickly waded in and declared his announcement invalid, of no effect whatsoever. Neither was the process completed nor is he legally empowered to announce results in the state.
Senator Aishatu, you had in another venue read what you termed ‘an acceptance speech’ thanking the people, President Buhari, and your party.
All that seems irrelevant for now. What is relevant is that in another venue, an angry mob beat up a top INEC Commissioner and a former Vice Chancellor of a University to a pulp. The mob mistook him for the REC that made the illegal announcement. We saw him in a viral video, stripped to his underpants and bleeding. Caught and interrogated by the mob, the DSS officer alleged an inducement of about N2.0billion to promote the illegality.
Hopefully, an investigations will verify the allegation.
Think about the consequences that followed. As the minutes ticked into hours and days, Adamawa state citizens inched towards chaos of catastrophic outcomes, as you, the governor and governments at all levels were slow to act to defuse tension. INEC could not hold the meeting it summoned on Monday to resolve the issue as PDP and your APC supporters took to the streets.
Senator Aishatu Dahiru Binani, you have approached an Abuja High Court with prayers I’m not definite about. But you needed to rein in your supporters in the interim. If you were pronounced as Governor, you would have been governor of the whole state, not just of your supporters.
Your supporters were unwilling to accept that your being declared winner was an error and illegal. PDP as a party equally gave INEC hours to do the right thing! There was danger of polarization of your dear state.
Adamawa was on the edge. It is a surprise that the Adamawa REC claims to be a lawyer and yet carried out an illegal action. You, Senator Binani, are a serving Senator! Both of you, principal parties in this show of shame, should know the LAW.
Even as women long for inclusiveness, I don’t think any woman wants to be the reason blood is shed in the process, either in victory or defeat. You should not let an election put more women in danger. As a Senator whose main job is lawmaking, you should be like Caesar’s wife, above reproach! The REC who introduced himself as a lawyer ought to know better and obey the law.
For a moment, Adamawa was on the marks to combustion! Chaos was in the offing. It is necessary for the political parties and you, Senator Binani, as a woman, to toe the line of due process and peace having in mind that any violence produces more female victims. Already, too many female Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are in the Northeast Region, including in your Adamawa State.
You should have been a mother at this time.
Completing the electoral process was the right thing to do. Did we need to jump the gun? I don’t think so.
Too much blood has already been shed in the country and Adamawa should not add to the chaos. Should the restiveness continue, kindly use the nurturing and peace-building qualities of a women to rein in your supporters.
You lost today but tomorrow is another day.
©Nnedinso, April 18, 2023