NIGERIA has got its first ever elected female governor after the election appeals tribunal declared Senator Aisha Alhassan of the All Progressives Congress (PDP) as the duly elected governor of Taraba State this morning.
After the April 11 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) had declared Darius Ishaku of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the Taraba State governorship contest. However, Senator Alhasan rejected the result and lodged a suit with the election appeals tribunal claiming the polls were marred with irregularities.
In April, Professor Kyari Mohammed, Inec’s returning officer in Taraba State, said Mr Ishaku scored 369,318 votes to emerge victorious. He added that Senator Alhassan came second with 275,984 votes, while Chief David Kente of the Social Democratic Party polled 29,966 votes to come third.
Since then, the matter has been pending before the election tribunal with senator Alhassan claiming that the results ascribed to Wukari, Donga, Takum, Sardauna, Zing, Yorro, Kurmi and some parts of Ussa, Karim-Lamido, Bali, Ardo-Kola and Lau local government areas were not acceptable as they did not reflect the true results of the votes cast. This morning, the tribunal agreed with her and sacked Mr Ishaku as governor, declaring Senator Alhassan the duly elected governor.
While the case was pending, Senator Alhassan was nominated or a ministerial position by President Muhammadu Buhari and subsequently was screened and cleared by the Nigerian senate. Following her victory at the tribunal, President Buhari will now have to nominate another minister from Taraba State.
According to Senator Alhassan, all the complaints about the irregularities and abuse of the election guidelines were promptly reported to Inec but that no action was taken. With her victory, she will become the only female among Nigeria’s influential 36 state governors.
Nigeria has never had a female governor before, although several states have women as deputies. Between November 2006 and February 2007, Anambra State deputy governor Virginia Etiaba served as governor following the impeachment of Governor Peter Obi but an appeal court nullified the impeachment, also nullifying her tenure as a governor.