How close is Aisha’s journey to Taraba govt house?

How close is Aisha’s journey to Taraba govt house?The 2015 general elections may have come and gone, but the activities before, during and after the elections are still very fresh in the minds of people of Taraba State, especially when viewed against the backof the recent tribunal ruling, which sacked the incumbent governor, Darius Ishaku and returned Hajiya Aisha Alhassan as winner of the poll.

Since that ruling, discussions in the state have been centred on the political affairs as it is capable of changing the trend in the state.
Many questions have dominated the political arena, with some asking if the Taraba ruling is the end of godfatherism era among others.
People of the state were beginning to settle to life after the 2015 elections when the tribunal ruling suddenly changed the mood.
The electorate, irrespective of party affiliation, are now watching and wondering.
What next for the major contenders Taraba, like every other state in Nigeria, has its political peculiarities. Undoubtedly, some of those peculiarities were brought to bear during the elections.
Famously, the issue of political godfatherism and religion played huge role during the poll.
The candidate of the PDP, Darius Ishaku, who is the current governor of the state, was said to have been anointed by a political big wig in the state, retired General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma.
And during the elections, pundits believed that all the odds were in his favour, due to the purported  Danjuma connection, and the fact that the  PDP was the ruling government at the time.
Sources said General Danjuma financed the campaigns of Ishaku; dolling out enough money and other resources that culminated in his declaration as winner.
Hajiya Jummai Alhassan, the new minister of Women Affairs was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Mr. David Kente, championed the flag  of the Social Democratic Party  (SDP).
Beside Ishaku, Aisha and Kente  were  the two visible contenders for the election.
Kente was initially the favoured candidate of Southern Taraba, until a meeting was allegedly convened  in Takum, where  people of the area decided to shift their support to  Ishaku.
However, Kente did not hide his disappointment over the decision, prompting him to address journalists at that time, where he said despite the development, he will not be deterred, but will work hard to clinch the number one position in the state.
While Ishaku and Kente were battling to get the upper hand, by deploying various tactics,  there was a formidable force to deal with in the person of the APC candidate, Senator Aisha Alhassan.
Political analysts say despite the fact that the she is a woman in a politically male dominated environment, Aisha showed political prowess.
It is believed that she is not new to the terrain, having defeated a sitting governor, Reverend Jolly Nyame, to clinch a senate position in the past.
Following that feat, which made her the first female senator from the state, Aisha’s profile continued to increase,  and forcing politicians in the state to get to terms with the fact that  she is a force to reckon with.
While at the Senate, Sen Aisha’s performance endeared her to people of the state.
She launched empowerment programmes for both men, women as well as physically challenged persons, a development which earned her the title, ‘Maman Taraba’.
The senator, a lawyer by profession, is a woman of many firsts.
She was the first female Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Taraba State, before  her appointment as a High Court Registrar in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
When she showed interest in contesting for the governorship of Taraba
State,  serious commentators  predicted that  she was not a push-over.
And true to their “prophesy”, and  as events progressed, Aisha’s popularity among the people increased.
Analysts said she remained undaunted, despite the fact that she did not have the political might or funds that were at the disposal of the PDP and its candidate.
During the election, she fought doggedly so much so that the initial results were declared inconclusive, a feat that has never been recorded by any woman in the country.
Prof. Kyari Mohammed, who was the Returning Officer for Taraba State governorship and state Assembly elections, which were held on April 11,  announced that the governorship election was inconclusive.
He, therefore,  fixed April 25 for a rerun  in over 200 polling units across 10 local government areas of the state.
Our correspondent reports that that singular development had generated a lot of controversy.
In retrospect, the decision of  the commission was necessitated by the public outcry that the elections were marred by irregularities in most polling units in the 16 local government areas of the state.
Both Senator Aisha Alhassan and  Kente protested and lodged complaints at  the office of the Resident  Electoral Commissioner in Jalingo.
They both argued that the elections were characterized by massive rigging and heavy presence and interference of the military, as well as government officials who, according to them, moved round polling units to harass, molest and intimidate voters.
Daily Trust gathered that in many polling centers  in  Wukari, Takum,Kurmi Zing, Sardauna Karim Lamido and part of Ardo-kola, voters were not allowed to cast their votes.
 Guns and other dangerous weapons were also allegedly used by supporters of PDP against supporters of opposition political parties.
During the ensuing confusion, Aisha told newsmen at a press briefing, shortly after announcement of the election result by the state returning officer, that INEC had  made available, PVCs of over 50,000 persons who had fled their homes in Wukari, Ibi, Gassol, Takum and
Donga local government areas as a result of the recurrent communal crisis in the zone.
She alleged that the PVCs were given to PDP to rig elections in the areas.
 She therefore insisted that she be declared winner, having scored majority of the lawful votes.
She also refused to take part in the rerun elections in some polling units across 10 local government areas of the state.
According to her, “In Sardauna Local Government, the PDP officials colluded with INEC officials to reduce APC votes from 72,584 to
28,860, after having declared the initial result of 72,584 in favour of the APC at the polling units. In many wards, cutting across many local governments, the elections did not hold in accordance with INEC guidelines.
“Despite several reports, complaints and protests to INEC (SPOs, EOs,
REC and ROs) by our party field officers, myself and the state party chairman on the irregularities while going on and after at collation levels, the INEC failed to react and went ahead to accept most of the flawed results,” she further stated.
 Sen. Aisha also alleged that massive fraud took place in  Wukari, Kurmi, Yorro, Karim Lamido, Ardo Kola, Sardauna, Zing, Bali, Lau, Donga and Takum.
According to her, 11 out of the 16 local governments recorded irregularities.
 She said she was armed with evidence of electoral fraud committed during the governorship election and will proceed to tribunal to reclaim her mandate.
Despite the fact that INEC and the PDP insisted that the election was free and fair, she proceeded to the tribunal to reclaim her mandate.
Among prayers sought, she asked that she should be declared winner of the poll as according to her, the PDP did not even conduct  primaries to  produce a candidate for the polls.
Therefore, after months of deliberations, the tribunal ruling, which declared Aisha as the actual winner,  did not come as a surprise to many stakeholders in Taraba State.
They cite her determination, resilience, enough facts and figures at her disposal, as well as the resolve of the panel of judges to resist temptations, as some of the factors that led to Sen Aisha’s triumph.
Though the incumbent governor has appealed the ruling,  people of the state are waiting with bated breath to see where the pendulum  will swing.
For sure, the expected judgment by the Appeal Court will be a defining moment, not only for Taraba State but Nigeria at large.
 If at the end of the day, Aisha is sworn in as governor, she will inevitably add another first to her already many firsts.
There was never an elected female governor in Nigeria’s political history.
Observers also believe that her swearing-in ceremony may also break the brick wall between the Christians and Muslim in Taraba state.
For now, all are watching and it is only time that will tell.


- Daily Trust 

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