FIRST WOMAN GOVERNOR IN NIGERIA; Which Political Party Makes History?
The Nigerian women have continued to take more proactive steps in ensuring that beyond the appointive positions that women should be given the chance to govern a state. As an expression of the commitment of Political parties in ensuring that a woman emerges governor in 2015, the All Progressive Congress (APC) is on the verge of making history in the country with the emergence of a woman as its Governorship candidate for Taraba State in the 2015 general elections in a primary election held yesterday, wherein Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan out rightly defeated four males to emerge winner.
The significance of Al-Hassan's emergence as the APC gubernatorial flag bearer in Taraba state is underscored by the fact that before now, it is difficult and challenging for a woman to be in politics in a very conservative North Eastern Region of the country. Women from that part of the country are by upbringing very shy and lay back because of religion and culture; but Senator Aisha's victory is an indication of how determined, dogged and politically astute women could be.
This calls to mind, other states where women are aspiring to be governors as well, especially as the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP)'s state primary elections are in view; a vantage position should be accorded the few credible women who have thrown in their hat into the rough and tumble nature of politics for real change by allowing a free and fair primary elections based on character and content of aspiration.
For instance, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Olejeme is a successful entrepreneur, an astute Politician and Administrator of repute. A boardroom guru with a wealth of experience, she has a proven record of success in administrative governance and business management. Olejeme has received several recognitions in Nigeria and abroad for her impact in the society but the reward for her excelling contributions for a better society is not just in the plagues that dote around the wall, but it is in seeing the less privileged cared for, seeing equity in wealth distribution. Supporting women build back their economic and social life are some of the projects that fires up her passion. No wonder as governorship candidate in Delta State in 2007 her campaign was configured on ending poverty and improving quality of life for all in the oil rich state.
Her Foundation; 'Ngozi Olejeme Foundation', underscores her passion for social security. It caters for the widows, it empowers women and the under privileged. Also her role in the Country's Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program, SURE-P; a program derived from the partial removal of subsidy for fuel, speaks of her capacity to care for the poor through adopting poverty alleviating policies.
Beyond humanitarian services, Dr. Olejeme has invariably proven to be a great asset in public service both at the state and at the federal levels. Fortuitously, she has been endorsed by all the relevant stake holders in Delta state as the frontline candidate among the whole aspirants under the Peoples' Democratic Party.
In Imo State; Senator Chris Anyanwu is one woman who has contributed to the enactment of good legislation that has directly and/or indirectly impacted on the quality of life of Nigerians. Empowerment of and employment generation, social security, security of life and property, environmental regeneration, women's empowerment and full inclusion and finally reinforcement of basic freedoms and human rights of the individual including the freedom of expression have been her passion.
On the one hand, Senator Nkechi Nwogu in Abia State has overtime distinguished herself as an embodiment trust, honesty and integrity. While at the lower chamber of the National Assembly, she served in various House Committees and performed creditably well. Since there is no hiding place for a golden fish, this woman of substance who has made humanity proud with her vast national and international political contacts coupled with administrative and managerial wizardry was not done yet. And so having demonstrated outstanding qualities she moved up the ladder and ran for the Senatorial seat under the largest political party in Africa -The Peoples Democratic Party. Determined to battle in the men's world, she secured the overwhelming Electoral victory of her people thereby emerging victorious as the Senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District at the upper legislative arm of the National Assembly where she is presently the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.
By and large, APC has set the ball rolling in recognizing the fact that women have great potentials to contribute meaningfully to the development of their country and the world at large. The time has come for PDP to make a resounding statement on a democratic process of leadership emergence based on credibility and content of aspiration especially in Delta state. Delta State is particularly interesting going by the fact that it is a state where a woman of national significance and influence in the person of Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Juliet Olejeme is riding on the crest of the desire of the people for real change in 2015. So, most analysts are finding it difficult to write her off going by her unprecedented political profile and her closeness to the most powerful segment of the ruling People's Democratic party and in fact one of the most fiercest loyalists of the PDP in the race for the office of state governor not only in Delta State but in Nigeria as a whole. More so, she is the leading aspirant from the Delta North Senatorial zone which has never produced the state governor since inception. So the social justice pendulum and the will of the masses swing favourably and positively towards Dr. (Mrs.) Olejeme more than the other compatriots from her Senatorial zone that have indicated interest to run in the next year's election for the office of the state governor of Delta State. Just as in the case of Senator Al-Hassan, if the PDP state primary elections are done free and fair, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme is unbeatable.
It is therefore another defining historical moment of political realism, of realignments and bridge building for the Peoples Democratic Party. Today's decisions have got far reaching implications for our future both as a Party and as a nation.