WILL women win the presidency in 2019? This a question six female aspirants have answered with a positive nod and marshalled reasons they want Nigeria’s topmost position and why the electorate must look the way of women, this time around.
The female presidential hopefuls are Professor Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davis, Dr Oluremi Comfort Sonaiya, Dr Elishama Rosemary Ideh, Adeline Iwuagwu-Emihe, Eunice Atuejide, and Princess Oyenike Roberts.
They represent 10 per cent of a galaxy of 60 presidential pretenders and contenders angling to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari, next year.
With 91 political parties, the women have a better chance of making more impact in the 2019 election compared to their efforts in the previous five presidential polls.
Women were not on the radar in 1999 when only two candidates, General Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic, PDP, and Chief Olu Falae of the Alliance for Democracy, AD/All Peoples Party, APP, slugged it out with Obasanjo emerging the winner.
However, women were on the ballot in 2003, which so far remains their best attempt at occupying Aso Villa. Of the 20 presidential candidates, two were women – Mrs Sarah Jubril of the Progressive Action Congress, PAC, and Major Mojisola Adekunle Obasanjo, retd, of the Masses Movement of Nigeria, MMN. While Major Obasanjo polled 3,757 votes at that election, Mrs Jubril scored 157,560 votes, the highest any woman has ever got in a presidential election in the country.
Ever since, the fortunes of women have been dwindling at the presidential polls. In a pool of 27 candidates in 2007, there was only one woman – Major Obasanjo, who garnered a miserly 4,309 votes.
In 2011, with 63 political parties in which 20 parties fielded candidates, there was also only one woman – Ebiti Ndok of the United National Party for Development, UNPD, who polled 21,2017 votes. Mrs. Sarah Jubril’s efforts to be on the ballot did not yield dividend. She got one vote at the PDP presidential primary.
In 2015, the poor run of women continued. Mrs. Oluremi Sonaiya, was the only female in a crowd of 14 presidential standard bearers and she got 13,076 votes.
We must get it in 2019
However, the women said for the good of the country, the electorate must elect a woman in 2019.
Rosemary Ideh, who is aspiring on the platform of the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, while making her intention known, boasted that she will defeat President Buhari and other opponents in 2019 and thereafter implement workable solutions to address the myriad of problems confronting the country.
Her words: “We will confront the monster of corruption with utmost vigour, but with a different mindset from past and current efforts. We will fight corruption in all its tangible and intangible manifestations. We will strive to enhance the independence and autonomy of the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) in terms of its funding, privileges, powers and even the composition of its leadership.
“Unlike our opposition, who seek to use the EFCC as an attack dog to fight their opposition while shielding their friends from the consequences of corruption and other misdemanour, we are confident in giving the EFCC the latitude it needs to carry out its statutory mandate and to prosecute cases without bias or prejudice, simply because we have nothing to hide. Nigeria needs a leader who combines integrity with intelligence and a deep and vast understanding of the implications of the 21st global economy and Nigeria’s place in it.”
She added that she is committed to the actualization of ANN’s ideology and ‘’innovative roadmap for the regeneration of Nigeria and the creation of the material and social wealth that will secure the present welfare and future security of Nigerians living today and generations yet unborn.”
Dr. Adeline Iwuagwu-Emihe, an American-trained political administrator, who is seeking for the presidency on the banner of the PDP, recently released a 10-point transformational and developmental agenda she promised to “vigorously” pursue, if elected.
Stating her desire to re-engineer the country in alignment with modern socio-political, agro-economics, educational, infrastructural, industrial, judicial, security, technological and quasi-evolutionary process if offered the opportunity by 2019, she said”I believe that with the right leadership, equitable distribution and management of the nation’s given natural and human resources, it is possible to adequately provide for all citizens both big and small.
“Although the nation’s constitution is limited in its pagination, it is huge in its provision for equity and justice for all the people. We must use it as the common ground to love and care for one another.”
USA-based Princess Oyenike Roberts, who is the vice chairperson of Nigerian- American Public Affairs Committee and the President, Association of African Media Practitioners in the USA, Nigeria will reap bountifully from her five-cardinal plans of uninterrupted power supply, quality health care for all, creation of one million jobs annually, affordable quality education and security of lives and property.
While addressing her supporters in New York, the Osun State-born politician vowed not to accept any donation from corrupt Nigerians to fund her ‘’Hope 2019’’ campaign. She attributed the problems of Nigeria to a faulty structure, saying the Nigerian president in the next political dispensation must have the will to restructure the country to realise its potential.
“Our political system is driven by money and that is why we have the kind of leadership we have. The system should be driven by meritocracy – what you know to do, how to do it and the will to do it. That is what should drive people; it is not how much money you have or how much money you can invest in a person that you can control at the end of the day. That is what gave rise to the godfatherism notion that it is who you know that gets you to the top. That system has continued for so long. But I am seeing a new breed of leaders coming; a change that is going to cause a shift in how we do politics in Nigeria. We don’t allow meritocracy to rule; we allow money to rule,” she lamented.
Mrs. Eunice Atuejide, 39, founder of the National Interest Party, NIP, said Nigeria needs an experienced well-educated and exposed president in 2019 .
Atuejide, who is a legal practitioner, has also travelled to at least 76 countries speaks Igbo, Yoruba, German, English and French fluently.
She said that Nigeria is stagnant despite her enormous human and material resources because her leaders are greedy and selfish, lack in vision and are bent on enriching themselves with national wealth.
While declaring her presidential ambition in Abuja, she said: “Men and women who rule us are greedy with an overwhelming degree of selfishness. They go into government simply to chop their portion of the national cake. They are into government to pay lip-service to the manifestos they give the electorate to get them voted into power.”
Atuejide argued that the only way to move the country forward is by putting the right people in position of leadership, adding: “My administration will not focus only on the interest of any person, tribe, religion, ethnic group, political group, campaign funding entities, businesses. Every person’s interest will be ably and properly represented, and each side will get that which is best suited for their circumstances in relation to the general circumstances of our dear country.
“I guarantee us equality on the negotiation table. No side is superior to any other side. We will all be heard and we will together find solutions for all our problems. Given the opportunity, I will take us away from the evil clutches of these leaders and deliver us into the hands of better people.”
Professor Funmilayo Adesanya-Davis, 55, a Professor of Language and Communication Arts at the Rivers State University of Education, hails from Kwara State. She said she is aspiring to be the next president of Nigeria in order ‘’to put laughter of joy on the mouth of all.”
Recalling that she started aspiring for the presidency in 2015 when wanted to be former President Goodluck Jonathan’s running mate in the 2015 election, she said this time she is ready to take the mantle.
Dr. Oluremi Comfort Sonaiya, 63, an educationalist, writer and founder of the KOWA Party, said she has learned from the 2015 experience.
Sonaiya, holds a Ph.D in Linguistics from Cornell University in America, said that leadership is Nigeria’s biggest problem, a vital ingredient she promised to provide, if elected in her second attempt in 2019.
Other pretenders and contenders for the throne
Apart from the women, there are no fewer than 55 presidential aspirants including President Buhari, who has declared his re-election bid.
The aspirants on the platform of the PDP include: former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Senator David Mark; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwabo; President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki; former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; former Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi; former Special Duties Minister, Tanimu Turaki; former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; another former Kano Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau; former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; and former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang.
Gunning for the prime job on the plank of the APC are Dr. Baba Datti Ahmed, Ahmed Buhari, Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, Christmas Akpodiete, and Adamu Garba.
On the long list of aspirants are Professor Kingsley Moghalu, Dr Donald Duke, Fela Durotoye, Thomas-Wilson Ikubese, Omoyele Sowore, Enyinnaya Nnaemeka Nwosu, Ayodele Fayose, Adesanya Fegbenro-Bryon, Charles Udeogaranya, Mathias Tsado, Eniola Ojajuni, Olu James Omosule, Tope Fasua, Usman Ibrahim, Chris Emejuru, Yul Edochie, Oluwaseyitan Lawrence Aletile, Omike Chikeluba Lewis, Ibrahim Ladaja, and Omololu Omotosho
The rest include Fidelis Akhalomen, Lawrence Ekoh, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, Chike Ukaegbu, Alhaji Ibrahim Eyitayo Dan Musa, Gbenga Olawepo, Mr Festus Obeghe, Dr Yunusa Tanko, Mr. Ayo Lijadu, Martin Onovo, Comrade Eragbe Anslem, Jaye Gaskia, Victor Ani-Laju; Alistair Soyode; Godstime Sidney Iroabuchi; Clement Jimbo, and Ayo Lijadu.