by Isqil Najim
Engineers in Politics is a subject that has been long debated but which does not need debating. Engineers are at the core of national development. No nation can develop in the absence of flourishing practice of engineering and technology. Therefore, Integrating the engineers into the development process is, a starting point to the development.
Women have come a long way in Nigerian politics but their numbers in elective positions is still far cry from expectations. It is even more worrisome when we look at the STEM professions, which is male dominated.
Since Margaret Ekpo’s first direct participation in political ideas and association in 1945, Nigerian women have remained on the fringe in Nigerian politics. In November 2022, the United Nations announced that Nigeria was part of the countries with the lowest level of female representation in the national parliament at 4.1%. Compared to Senegal’s 57% and Rwanda’s 67% rates, this is an insanely low rate for women. No Nigerian woman has been elected as Governor in any of the State in the country. Yet, Nigeria’s political history is filled with the exploits of many great women who have left positive impact in the country. From Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti to Chief Alimotu Pelewura, women have been involved in Nigeria’s struggles towards democratic freedom.
In engineering (and indeed STEM profession), considering that the country has produced many women in top management positions in across various sectors of the economy, it is disappointing to note that women have not been fairly represented in politics, as they rightly should. Hence we bring you the profile of women engineers who are contesting in the next election across 28 states.
Of the 24 women who will be contesting in Saturday’s governorship elections being conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on platforms of eighteen political parties, there are two are engineers who stand the chance of emerging as first elected female Governor in Nigeria.
Only two women won the tickets of any of the three major parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the new sensation, Labour Party.
Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani)- Adamawa
Perhaps the most prominent among the candidates running for governor on Saturday is Aishatu Dahiru, who is flying the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State.
Mrs. Dahiru, Fondly called Binani, is a graduate of Electrical Engineering, a politician and entrepreneur and currently a senator representing Adamawa Central senatorial district in the 9th Assembly. She is expected to offer the stiffest challenge to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). She had defeated many prominent male politicians, including a former boss of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, to take the APC flag in the state.
Binani had her elementary and secondary education in Kaduna State before heading to the University of Southampton, where she obtained a Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering. She is the founder of Binani Nigeria Limited, the Binani Group of Companies aimed at boosting and revamping the economy of the North East Region, where she originated.
She started her political journey in 2011 when she was elected as a House of Representatives member to represent Yola North/Yola South/Girei federal constituency as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) between 2011 to 2015.
She later defected to the All Progressive Congress, where she won an election to emerge as the senator representing Adamawa Central Senatorial zone in the 2019 general election. As a senate member, Binani served as the chairperson Senate committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Binani is married to Professor Ahmed Modibbo and they are blessed with children
Engr. Rosaline Ada Chenge, First female Mechanical Engineer from Northern Nigeria- Benue
Benue State has two women seeking to be its first female governor on Saturday. One of them, Engr Roseline Ada Chenge of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) has recorded many firsts in her education and professional career. According to her resume, Ms Chenge is Northern Nigeria’s first female mechanical engineer. She is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE.
Engr. Roseline Ada Chenge has steadily climbed to the echelon of societal respect, starting with her trail blazing feat as first woman in Benue State to graduate as a Mechanical Engineer. She proceeded to cap her record of many firsts as the first female CEO of the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority (LBRBDA).
Engr. Chenge has held in public service so far, including her tenure as General Manger, Benue State Water Board she has performed creditably. It could be recalled that her stewardship at the Benue State Water Board saw the commissioning of the Greater Makurdi Water Works by President Goodluck Jonathan and expansion of water works in Katsina-Ala and Otobi.
Roseline Ada Chenge, has pledged to change the educational fortunes of students in Benue State by offering free education in the state. The former Managing Director, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, also stated that she would replicate the Federal Government Civil Service scheme in the state, so that the welfare package of Benue workers would be at par with that of their colleagues at the federal level.
Other Women in STEM
Beatrice Itubo is the Labour Party (LP) candidate for Rivers State. She is the Chairperson of Rivers State Council of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), former Chairperson of the Medical and Health Worker Union of Nigeria, Rivers State branch, former Treasurer of the Nigeria Labour Congress in River State and pioneer Board Member of the Primary Healthcare Management Board. She attended College of Health Science & Technology, where she obtained her Higher National Diploma in Environmental Health. She later went to Abertay University, Dundee in the United Kingdom to study Workplace Health, Safety, and Welfare.
In Abia, the women seeking to be governor of this South-east state are Gladys Johnson-Ogbuneke of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Lancaster Okoro of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP). While Ms Johnson Ogbuneke is a graduate of the College of Medicine of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she obtained her MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery), Ms Okoro is a chartered accountant.
There are also two women among the governorship candidates in Akwa-Ibom State. Ekanem Abasiekeme of the Action Alliance Party (AAP) is a graduate of Chemistry from the University of Uyo and founder of Sengah Life Foundation, while Udoh Emem Monday of the SDP is an expert in integrated reservoir modelling and an asset development strategist, Petroleum and Technical Reservoir Simulation.
Full List of the 24 female governorship candidates are as follow:
- Adamawa state; Dahiru Ahmed Aishatu(Binani)- All Progressives Congress (APC)
- Abia State ; Gladys Ikonnaya Johnson-Ogbuneke -Social Democratic Party (SDP)
- Abia State; Lancaster -Okoro Nnennaya Ngwamma – People’s Redemption Party (PRP)
- Akwa-Ibom State ; Ekanem Abasiekeme Mfonobong -Action Alliance Party (AAP)
- Akwa Ibom ; Udoh Emem Monday – Social Democratic Party (SDP)
- Benue State ; Chenge Roseline Ada -Action Democratic Party (ADP)
- Benue State ; Dabo Adzuana Aondona – Sharon Fumi Catherine- Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)
- Borno State; Abubakar Fatima – Action Democratic Party (ADP)
- Cross river State; Ibiang Marikana Stanley – Action Democratic Party (ADP)
- Delta State ; Onokiti Helen Agboola -Accord Party
- Delta State; Cosmas Annabel -All People’s Party (APP)
- Ebonyi State; Igwe Chinenye Judith-Allied People’s Movement (APM)
- Enugu State ; Nweze Pearl Ogochukwu – Social Democratic Party (SDP)
- Jigawa State ; Umar Binta Yahaya -Action Alliance (AA)
- Kano State ; Yakubu Furera Ahmad -Boot Party (BP)
- Kano State ; Mahmud Aishatu -National Rescue Movement (NRM)
- Kwara State; Jaiyeola Motunrayo Deborah -Allied People’s Movement (APM)
- Lagos State; Kupoliyi Funmilayo A -Allied People’s Movement (APM)
- Lagos State; Adeyemi Abiola Roseline – All People’s Party (APP)
- Nassarawa State ; Tsakpa Patricia Danlami -Action Democratic Party (ADP)
Bachelor of Education from University of Jos
- Niger State; Abdullahi-Iya Khadijah – All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
- Oyo State ;Euba Aduragbemi – Young Progressives Party (YPP)
- Rivers State ; Itubo Beatrice – Labour Party (LP)
- Zamfara State; Hadiza Usman- Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)