Special focus in the yet to be announced election of some inconclusive National Assembly elections would be on Oluyole Federal Constituency of Oyo State. The election in the federal constituency is of great interest to Nigerian women, especially coming barely days a woman, lost the bid to become the first woman-governor in Adamawa. Either crook or hook, this has dampened the morale of many women, who saw light at the end of the tunnel for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa state, Senator Aishatu Dahiru famously known as Binani, until Governor Ahmadu Fintiri’s local government’s results blocked the end of the tunnel.
Besides, results from the February 25 National Assembly Election left a very sordid picture of the struggle by Nigerian women to be part of decision making in the country. The dismal outing by the womenfolk was highlighted by the return of just three candidates as winners in the Senatorial poll.
Down from the yet unimpressive five female members of the Red Chamber, the election of Ireti Kingibe of Labour Party (LP) in the Federal Capital, Lar from Plateau and Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo (Rivers State) both from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), into the 109-strong upper chamber represented a further constriction of the political space against women.
However, despite the poor showing in the upper federal legislative elections, it is on record that in Oyo State, no woman has ever put up a strong show in politics, like the incumbent Representative of the Oluyole Federal constituency, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe.
The Oluyole Federal rep, won the 2019 National Assembly election in Nigeria in a landslide victory.
Despite that auspicious circumstance, attempts by female politicians to mount the political saddles in Oyo State have always ended in near misses or outright technical infringement to their efforts.
This is about to be played out in Oluyole in the 2023 elections, despite the fact that it is on record that Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, who is seeking a re-election as a Lawmaker, is leading the pack.
Akande-Sadipe is close to becoming the Lawmaker representing Oluyole Federal Constituency during the February 25 election. However, the failure of INEC to announce her as the re-elected Representative may be informed by the awkward egoistic issue her male opponents had. Information from eyewitness has it that her opponents stormed the collating center with political thugs who disrupted the electoral process, after the count and winner was announced at Polling unit.
Perhaps, this will be a build up to the first wind of change that blew across Oluyole federal constituency, after a rerun of elections in some wards.
Pundits have tipped Tolulope Akande-Sadipe to win the supplementary elections that will hold in some polling units in Oluyole Federal Constituency.
It is against this background that the hopes of womenfolks have been rekindled, hoping that a woman would hold her ground this time around.
Her political trajectory has not been easy. For Akande-Sadipe, who was a Senior Special Assistant under former Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s administration, before winning the All Progressives Congress primary, it was one controversy unto another, with men who do not want her there. She was declared winner after polling majority votes to defeat her closest rival, Abass Aleshinloye, a former Local Government chairman, during the primary.
Aleshinloye and his cohorts probably, do not see Tolulope Akande-Sadipe as their political leader. They, therefore, want to see an end to her reign as a Federal Rep.
In her remarks after being returned as winner of the primary, Akande-Sadipe promised Oluyole a representation in the 10th Assembly.
However, no sooner than she was announced as APC’s Oluyole Federal Constituency standard-bearer, than Aleshinloye, her sworn-political rival ported to Accord Party. Aleshinloye contended for the Representative seat on Accord Party’s platform, though he was distance third in the electoral process, that is yet to be concluded.
In fact, Lawmaker Akande-Sadipe’s journey to clinching the APC ticket was riddled with intrigues and series of litigations.
However, the Court of Appeal upheld Tolulope’s nomination and, during a visit to Oyo for his campaign, President-elect Tinubu laid all speculations to rest, as she was part of his train.
Though she is overwhelmed, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, is seeking to demystify a stern attempt to pigeonhole women into the perpetual position of lieutenants that today’s election seeks.
Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, no doubt runs on the popular perception that she has done well for the people of Oluyole, especially the women folk, as well as the belief that the National Assembly election in Oluyole would be a referendum of track records of her performance in the receding four years.
While arguing that Akande-Sadipe’s reelection, as Lawmaker representing Oluyole would broaden opportunities for Nigerian women. This will also send a positive signal to the world about Nigeria’s democratic and leadership maturity, if she wins.
With this strong woman in serious contention for the Oluyole seat in Oyo State, whatever results INEC posts at the end of balloting would show her as a giant killer and attest to the giant strides of women in the nation’s polity.
Adewale Oluwole wrote to OYO NEWS from Oluyole Federal Constituency