– Glaad Amadi reporting from Rivers State
Dr Mrs. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo is one of the first women in Nigerian history to run for political office in state elections. Glaad Amadi interviewed local people across the Niger Delta to ascertain what they believe Dr Harry-Banigo’s attempt to secure the position of Deputy governor of Rivers State means for democracy, women and men across the country.
Praise for the PDP
Though some suspect the political candidacy of Dr Harry-Banigo to be a PDP ploy to garner female voters, it has, nonetheless, drawn praise from communities in the Niger Delta.
Mrs Annabel, 38 years of age, thanked the PDP for the decision. “A big thanks to PDP. It is another opportunity for women to be more educated & the voice of women will be heard in the country.” Miss Favor – 30 – continued, “empowering women will bring a great change for Nigerian women. Abuse & assault will be lifted in the life of women.”
Politicians endorse Dr Harry-Banigo
Though Nigeria is strongly divided politically, even members of the opposition party see this candidacy as a positive step towards equality in Nigeria. Mr Francis, an APC voter – age 49 years – commented, “it is a powerful thing the PDP has introduced by recognising & giving women hope.”
Within political circles in Rivers State, the candidacy of Dr Harry-Banigo has also been welcomed.
Honorable Kelechi Nwogu, aged 40 years – and a member representing Omuma constituency in Rivers State house of Assembly – stated, “it is a welcome development from PDP and she needs everybody’s support.
It is also the first time for a woman running for such democratic position. It shows that women are not left out in the state.
– Honorable Kelechi Nwogu
“Women are relegated to the corridor due to cultural practice”
Flora Asieri – a Radar reporter operating in Bayelsa State praised the decision, but emphasised that Dr Harry-Banigo should have been given even more political responsibility. “In a society where women are relegated to the corridor due to cultural practice, it is elating to see gallant women bracing up and contesting political offices like the men. For Dr. Banibo, I feel she should have been the Governorship candidate instead of the Vice-Governorship. Having heard her speak, she is more composed and does not incite the public with utterances like Wike is doing. But on a scale of 1 to 10 – Ibanibo deserves an 8.”