2023: APC losing the battle In Adamawa

One of the most interesting outcomes of party primaries across the country last week is the emergence of Mrs. Aisha Binani as the governorship flagbearer of the APC in Adamawa state. Binani trounced former Governor Jibrilla Bindow, former EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu and a host of other strong aspirants. Her victory is no mean feat considering the heavyweights she floored.

And as someone in the vanguard for forefront of affirmative action for women, nothing brings me more joy than the thought of a woman, no less one who is experienced in the art of politics finally getting a crack at the office of governor. Another woman contested against Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state and lost honourably, which is why Binani’s victory is significant.

Unfortunately, it does appear Binani is in the wrong state, and this is putting it lightly. Mrs. Aisha Alhassan, fondly called Mama Taraba, tried and failed even in a Taraba state considered a bit more liberal compared to Adamawa. This was an Aisha Alhassan who was a very popular minister of women affairs, before resigning to pursue her governorship ambition.

Binani, though a two-term senator, is an obscure name in Adamawa politics. Before she became APC flagbearer, not many will say they have heard the name. And, not even among those close to the politics of the National Assembly will her name ring a serious bell. Mrs. Binani’s new found popularity may be attracting lots of sympathy across Nigeria, but Adamawa is in every sense a culturally reserved state where instead of sympathy, her gender could easily draw the ire of voters.

As I write this, many voters in Adamawa are already frowning on the woman’s audacity. Her constituents are especially fired up in rage, considering the rain of money allegedly splashed on delegates. This is particularly painful because they would have wallowed in extreme poverty but for the people- centredness of the Governor Ahmadu Fintiri administration.

Still, Binani’s audacity could have been something to look forward if just for her daring poise. Sadly, it will appear she has come too early as far as Adamawa state is concerned. Besides the fact that she’s cultural disadvantaged, she will be facing off against an incumbent Fintiri who has changed the face of governance in the state. Even her party, the APC, is a stumbling block on her path. The widespread disaffection against the party’s woeful showing at the centre, and the poor antecedent of Bindow Jibrilla in Adamawa robs off on her very badly.

It is my conclusion that Binani was deliberately misled into running for governor. Perhaps, the men in her party knowing it will be hard to dislodge her from the senate ticket, because she will come cradling deep pockets with which she can buy up delegates, connived to collectively cajole and goad her running for governor, safe in the knowledge that she will lose the general election. If this was the plot, then it has worked.

It will seem Binani has been railroaded into signing her letter of resignation from politics. Apparently, she won’t be in the senate come 2023, nor does she stand any chance of pulling off any offset when her opponent is an incumbent who is loved for performing beyond expectations in several sectors of governance.

She may think she has a deep purse, but whereas it is very easy to buy up delegates as party primaries have been commodified, it will be almost impossible to buy up the entire people of Adamawa state with money or feminine charm. Let’s face it, even the United States of America that prides itself on gender refinement is yet to enthrone women leaders. Hillary Clinton came closest only to be thwarted by a patriarchal gang up. She never recovered.

In conclusion, it is my belief that Binani represents a great deal of hope for the female constituency, but she’s leading a dream that is not only ill-timed, it is at odds with the cultural realities of Adamawa state and it attempts to offend the joy of the Adamawa people who have benefited immensely from Governor Fintiri’s best efforts at giving governance a human face in the face of the economic catastrophe that her party, the APC has brought on the entire nation.

Yunusa writes from Yola, Adamawa state

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