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Date Published: 05/11/10

Vice President: Where are our women politicians? By Muhammad Ajah

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Naturally, it would have drawn more attention and sympathy if the Nigeria women and especially the politicians among them blew their trumpet and made this complaint by themselves. But the situation is so tensed-up that the womanliness in them manifests.

Since the death of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on Wednesday 5 th May, 2010, and the eventual crowning of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as the President and Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces, there has been serious lobbying by politicians and non-politicians to deputize him. According to the 1999 Constitution, the Vice President has to be solely picked by the President in this situation, but must be confirmed by both chambers of the National Assembly.

In Nigerian politics, a vice or a deputy is just a name. It is a mere cog in the political machine and commands no relevant authority. Like the governors at the state level, the President has the sole authority – let us not quote what powers the Constitution gives to the vice. This fact is not hidden to our politicians. They know it is a position of name and not service. But why all the dangerous lobby? Maybe our women politicians understand this better, because most of them in the system seem to be serving than making only names.   

At least, over ten persons have been shortlisted for the position. Who says there is no high unemployment rate among our politicians? The difference is only that when ten 10,000 Nigerian youths compete for fifty (already appointed) job opportunities, here we have twelve tough Nigerian politician displaying our normal do-or-die strategy for a non-relevant position. Yes, it is not relevant but there is too much money to be made. There lies the reason for the whole struggle. If not, any Nigerian graduate with vast experience including this writer, can fit in the shoes. Where does a Nigerian patriotic graduate get the money to compete in this do-or-die lobby!?

In the list, one can sight people like Senate President David Mark, Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido who has performed tremendously as a revered politician, former President Shehu Shagari’s son Mukhtar Shagari, Niger State Chief Servant Babangida Aliyu, late Yar’Adua’s brother or so Murtala Yar’Adua, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Yayale Ahmad, Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda, National Security Adviser Aliyu Gusau, former Kaduna State Governor Senator Ahmad Makarfi, Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives Bayero Nafada, former Minister of Federal Capital Territory Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Nuhu Ribadu and a host of others.

In the whole list, there is no Nigerian female politician. Where are they? What have they done or not done that none of them have been found responsible and eligible for the Vice President of Nigeria? It is a fact that some of those names are fronted by political allies. It is pedaled that one or two persons in the list are former president Obasanjo’s favoured. As this writer has written that God answers Obasanjo, Nigerians are watching to see how God will guide Jonathan to make the best choice for the country.

I think that the period after which this position will expire is only one year. What can be achieved within this period is yet questionable or to put it milder arguable. So, my candid suggestion is that President Jonathan should pick a competent woman politician to complete with her the tenure of former President Yar’Adua. Then, if he wishes to vie for the president in the 2011 presidential poll, he can pick a man from the rumoured list.

But before then, let our female politicians fight for their rights in our polity.   

 Muhammad Ajah , a writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance writes from Abuja (mobahawwah@ yahoo.co. uk)

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