Benue Women Demand Gender Power Shift

By Hope Abah

Different women groups in Benue State are demanding for power shift based either on gender or geopolitical zone. Both ways the women stand to gain, our correspondent reports.

As the build up to the 2015 general election gathers momentum, the issue of power shift based on geo-political zone and gender have become strong issues in Benue State.

While women from the North-east senatorial district of the state are demanding for power shift based on gender to enable a woman become governor, their counterparts in the South senatorial district are calling for the next governor of the state to come from the zone.

The latter group of women, under the umbrella of Mothers of Zone C, in their quest to ensure the enthronement of an Idoma as the next governor of the state, took their agitation to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

On the other hand, the Tiv women, under the auspices of Wives of Seven Local Governments Chairmen in Zone A senatorial district of the state, have argued on the need for political gladiators to begin to believe in the ability of a female governor to make the desired change in Benue.

The women said they have rejected the “weak and inferior” labels placed on them by society and as such would not step down in the forthcoming election as they are prepared to rise up to the challenge of confronting the men.

However, the women of the North-west senatorial district of the state are yet to come out with a stand apparently because it is generally believed among the Tiv people that the area should be supported to produce the next governor.

Richard Nyitse, of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) while commenting on the issue, expressed confidence that the women can achieve their aim if they are truly united but said it would however be really difficult.

But in the thinking of a university lecturer and executive director of Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative, Elizabeth Jeiyol, it is very possible to achieve the women’s dream in the coming election.

Jeiyol believes that, “there is hope in the candidature of women in 2015. With all the advocacy and sensitisation that we have been doing, it is possible for women at this time to break the jinx.

Mrs. Susan Adoba, who spoke on behalf of the Idoma women at a recent visit to the state chairman of the PDP, said it would only be logical for power to rotate to Zone C in the forthcoming election because the zone is yet to produce a governor in the state.

Wives of the seven council chairmen in Zone A recently took their resolve a notch higher, saying they are set to mobilise support for Mrs. Roseline Ada Chenge, so far the only female guber aspirant in the state.

The chairperson of Kwande local government council, Mrs. Priscilla Bem, who led the delegation on a visit to the guber hopeful in Makurdi, opined that a woman should be given the privilege to administer the state in the forthcoming election as governance had long been a men’s affair since the creation of the state.

“We are here to ask her to contest next year’s election so that women’s position would not continue to be vacant. It’s been a men’s affair all the while but now we want a woman to govern the state and Ada Chenge is the right person to do so,” she said.

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