" />
Published On: Sun, Sep 17th, 2017

Mama Taraba: A vote of no confidence on President Buhari

Obinna Ezugwu

At Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, alias Mama Taraba was the cynosure of eyes. It was only a week prior that she rattled not only President Muhammadu Buhari, but the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) when she spoke these words:

“Your excellency, our father and our president by the grace of God come 2019. Before you are your people, your supporters for life; the people of Taraba State. They are here to show our homage and to greet you on the occasion of Sallah and for all that Allah has done for you…Chairman of the party, he is our leader, because he is the chairman of the party, I was only made leader of the delegation.”


The words were not only an endorsement of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar whom she had led a delegation of party members from her State, Taraba, to pay homage on the occasion of Eid Kabir. It was a vote of no confidence on the sitting president, Buhari, under whose government she serves as a minister, and to be expected, chieftains of the ruling party have not relented in berating her.

Senator Alhassan bucked a trend. Never in the history of Nigerian democracy has a serving minister openly declared support for another candidate ahead of an election. It is an aberration, a total departure from the norm. Her words have remained a talking point since last week, and will remain for a few days. On Thursday last week, she met with the APC National Working Committee where she reportedly apologised.

It had been reported earlier that the meeting would hold on Monday to decide her faith alongside the former vice president who despite having begun campaign ahead of 2019, remains a member of the party. In the end, nothing was done in that respect. Some would argue that the APC ceased to exist in real terms as a party since Buhari took power. The party hardly ever meets. Buhari had been running the country with his clique, the so called Aso Rock cabal. A point buttressed by the non apologetic Atiku in a statement by his media aide, Mazi Ibe Paul.

“His Excellency, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar stands by what he said. There is no point beating about the bush, how can anyone equate a private meeting with a meeting of party organs?” he questioned.

“When was the last time the party organs held any meeting? Has the Board of Trustees or what they call the Elders’ Council been inaugurated? When was the last time stakeholders and party leaders invited him to a meeting? The Wazirin Adamawa spoke as a lover of this country, democracy and the party.

“People who are not too conversant with history as far as democracy is concerned in this country may cast aspersions on the former Vice- President for stating the obvious. The party should do the needful.”

Apparently, they party is fractured. Despite the fuming of some of its chieftains who had suggested that she be fired, Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai noted that it was the prerogative of the president to decide her fate.

The governor had narrated how, in the first place, it was against the advice of party members that Buhari appointed her as minister in 2015. According to him, she neither supported the party’s candidates in 2015, nor voted for Buhari at the party’s primary election in 2014.

“In the APC, she was never in Buhari’s camp, she did not support our candidates during the National Convention and she didn’t vote for Buhari during the primaries,” the governor said.

“But out of the largeness of the President’s heart and to encourage women in politics, he felt that even though she was never a supporter of his politics or his beliefs and because of what she had tried to do in Taraba State, he felt she earned being nominated as a minister.

“Many in Buhari’s camp did not support it, but he overruled everybody because that is how he is; he tries to be inclusive, he considers every Nigerian as his own son or daughter and he nominated her as a minister.”

The governor however, insisted that neither Buhari nor the APC is worried about the development. Wednesday’s FEC meeting proved this to be true.

She had been accused of spending N12m on ‘familiarisation visits’ to unnamed skill acquisition centres in November 2015 as contained in a report from the Auditor-General’s office. An accusation, many found rather amusing coming just days after her declaration.

“They will soon discover billions in her toilet,” wrote Facebook user, Aderemi Michael.

Another, Bello Rabiu noted, “Now, the attacks begin because she is no longer with them.” And Onyenwere Ukeje summarised it thus: “Predictable. That’s how they fight corruption.”

It was believed that the accusation was a ploy to remove her, but she didn’t bate an eyelid. In a later interview with the BBC Hausa service, she restated her stance, maintaining that while she remained grateful for the opportunity Buhari gave her to serve, she would support Atiku in 2019, even if the President was running.

“Let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah, I will go before him and kneel and tell him that ‘Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister,” she said.

“But Baba just like you know I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather if Atiku said he is going to contest.”

But opinions are largely divided on whether she is justified to have declared openly, her lack of confidence in Buhari, and support for Atiku. Some say, she ought to have resigned if she felt the president is not doing well. For others nonetheless, she is a hero who has spoken the mind of the majority of Nigerians.

She is being equated with former Information Minister, the late Professor Dora Akunyili who invoked the doctrine of necessity paving the way for Goodluck Jonathan to assume office as president following Umaru Yar’Adua’s ill-health and eventual death in 2010. At Thursday’s meeting, the party said it recognised her right to hold her opinions.

What her fate will be is a question only time will tell, but it is highly unlikely she would serve punishment, the president being her kinsman – both are Fulani. Whatever be the case, the former senator had defied the odds on a number of occasions to be who she is politically. In a Christian dominated Taraba, she has managed to transcend religion and ethnicity to become the most accomplished woman in the state’s political scene.

In January 2011 PDP primaries, she defeated an incumbent Senator, Manzo Anthony, and running an inspiring campaign, she garnered Christian support and went on to defeat former governor, Reverend Jolly Nyame in that year’s senatorial election to win the Taraba North senatorial seat, thus becoming the first woman to be elected senator in the state.

She had also been the first female to be appointed Taraba State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice as well as the first woman to be appointed as Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Judicial Council and later appointed the Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on December 17, 2003.

It was only by the whiskers that she lost out in her bid to become the first elected female governor in Nigeria in 2015. Running under the platform of the APC having joined the party earlier, she was poised to defeat the PDP candidate, now governor, Darius Ishaku, but eventually came short due to a combination of factors.

She proceeded to the tribunal to contest the result and indeed on November 7 2015, the tribunal removed Ishaku, declared her winner of the election, but the decision was later reversed by the Appeal and Supreme Courts.






Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • PDP expresses concern over Senator Abaribe’s Safety …demands his release by DSS

      By OBINNA EZUGWU The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed worry over the safety of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, (PDP Abia South), who was arrested by the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) on Friday. The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan lamented that the Gestapo-style arrest of Abaribe had further […]

  • Ohanaeze demands Abaribe’s release, say army should produce Kanu

      By OBINNA EZUGWU Apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has demanded an unconditional release of Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, insisting that the onus lies on the country’s security forces who invaded the Umuahia home of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu to produce him. This was contained in a […]

  • Breaking: DSS arrests Senator Abaribe

    The Department of State Security (DSS) has arrested Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe representing Abia  South on the platform of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Abaribe who is Chairman of the South East Senate Caucus, has been a vocal critic of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. He was picked up on Friday and no reason has […]

  • Saraki assures Russian investors of conducive business environment

    The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has assured the Russian Government that Nigeria is conducive for investors especially in the oil, gas, agriculture, mining and power sectors of the economy. Saraki stated this during a meeting with the leadership of the Upper Chamber of the Russian Parliament – Federation Council of the […]

  • Seplat Petroleum succumbs to profit taking

    Seplat Petroleum, for the second day running topped the losers’ table on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), dropping by N32.20 to close at N685 per share, amid profit taking. Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd, attributed the development to profit taking. Omordion said that the stock was undervalued considering its fundamentals and […]

  • Buhari: How National Assembly mutilated budget

    President Muhammadu Buhari told a shocked nation on Wednesday how the National Assembly mutilated and rewrote the budget proposals for 2018 as presented by the Executive last November. In a brazen usurpation of executive powers, the National Assembly slashed 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to it  for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects […]

  • Kachikwu: Nigeria opposes boost in crude oil supply

    Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, said Nigeria would advise against additional oil supply to the global market by OPEC and non-OPEC members. Kachikwu made the country’s position known in an interview with journalists on Thursday ahead of the 174th Meetings of the OPEC Conference and the OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial meeting […]

  • Coronation Merchant Bank CRO emerges RIMAN President

    The Chief Risk Officer of Coronation Merchant Bank; Mr. Magnus Nnoka has been elected as the president of the Risk Management Association of Nigeria (RIMAN). His election  took place  at the 18th Annual International Conference and Annual General meeting of the Association which took place recently at the Eko Hotels and Suites. Now in its […]

  • Wema Bank Introduces Agent Banking in Kano, Targets Retail Sector in North-West

    Wema Bank Plc has introduced agent banking in Kano as it seeks to deepen its retail footprint across informal economic sectors of the North-Western states and to drive financial inclusion within the entire northern region of the country. Agent Bank is a cost-effective medium employed by Banks to provide financial access to unbanked, underbanked, and […]

  • Airtel Restores Hope for Family of Five in 2nd Episode of ATL 4

    The second episode of Airtel Touching Lives (ATL) Season 4, which aired last Sunday, June 17, documented how Airtel literally touched the lives of the Olanrewaju Komolafe family; a family of five, battling with a streak of unending tragedies. The episode, which aired on Africa Magic Family, revealed how Olanrewaju Komolafe, a barber and commercial […]

  • Investors cautious as banking stocks remain weak

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU As market volatility continues to be more pronounced, investors have become increasingly torn between putting their hard earned money in the money market, capital market and other sectors which might offer superior returns. Market analysts become jittery over the slow paced growth of the economy (1.95 percent), high non-performing bank loans (average […]

  • Renaissance Capital initiates coverage on top Nigerian staple food producers

    Renaissance Capital, a leading emerging and frontier markets investment bank, initiated coverage on the shares of Nigeria’s staple food producers: Flour Mills of Nigeria, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Flour Mills and NASCON Allied Industries. This coverage aims to provide investors with the in-depth analysis necessary to make informed investment decisions. The initiation report states that […]

  • Anxiety mounts over U.S. interest rate hike

    …expect capital flight, experts warn FELIX OLOYEDE There is growing concern over the effects of U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to raise its benchmark interest rate, would have on the Nigerian economy as experts expect investors to take a flight. Investors are usually looking out for areas of higher returns and greater political stability. The Federal […]

  • Democracy Day controversy:  How Orji Uzor Kalu masterminded my humiliation

    By Sir Don Ubani The World over, governments, especially democratic governments, place maximum emphasis on protocol. The observance and application of protocol in the affairs of a government determines, to a very reasonable extent, the definition of civility and, of course, respectability it attracts to itself. According to an Elizabethan playwright and dramatist; Jane Smith, […]

  • 2019: Ambode’s re-election bid in jeopardy

    By OBINNA EZUGWU The political future of Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode is said to hang in the balance as his political godfather, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is allegedly plotting his replacement in 2019 over certain unresolved issues. Business Hallmark learnt from sources that Tinubu is under increasing pressure from people around him, notably […]

  • Fidelity Bank aims for the top

    .           Okonkwo’s relentless drive yields dividends Barely 30 years after it was licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate as a commercial bank, Fidelity Bank has successfully risen to the leadership position amongst tier-2 banks in Nigeria. The bank’s 2017 financial year performance is a testament to the significantly improved optimisation of […]