Adamawa State was thrown into confusion Friday after Governor Jibrilla Bindow swore in Aliyu Tola, a man, as the Commissioner for Women Affairs.
Mr. Tola was inaugurated alongside 20 other commissioners in the state.
Women Affairs ministries at state and federal levels of government, are seen as symbols of gender balance, and are traditionally headed by females. The ministry handles issues affecting women.
Mr. Tola is the first male to head the ministry in Adamawa State.
The appointment has elicited reactions from women groups and politicians.
A female activist in the state, Rahima Bala, said she could not see the logic behind the governor’s decision.
“Actually I see no wisdom in appointing male commissioner to oversee ministry of women affairs. We will continue to educate him. The government is already in confusion,” Mrs. Bala said.
Also commenting, a supporter of the All Progressives Congress, Rifkatu Dantsoho, said she saw the appointment of most of the commissioners as patronage by the governor merely to compensate his cronies.
“It was just a payback to those he considers as factors that helped him have the control of the state. Well, four years is at corner, only time shall tell!” she said.
Mrs. Dantsoho however called on the governor to rescind his decision, saying, “I think it’s not too late to amend and rectify the anomaly”.
She said the change people voted for should not be seen in lopsided appointments that give women little or no role in governance, warning that the decision may lead to protests on the streets.
Another critic in the state, Muhammad Damare, blamed the state lawmakers for screening some of the commissioners, saying the lawmakers had since shown that merit and professionalism were not virtues worthy of recognition in screening nominees.
Contacted, the chief Press Secretary to the governor, Yohannna Mathias, cited a precedent, saying Mr. Bindow was not the first governor to appoint a male commissioner for women affairs.
“It’s a normal practice as it happened in Bauchi and other states. He is to oversee ministry of women affairs and social development. Those who are making noise are just making mockery and being mischievous,” said the spokesman.
The controversy is the latest for the north east state that has been in the spotlight lately over questionable government decisions.
Mr. Bindow had earlier triggered anger after he was reported as saying that the government will spend N200 million for prayers against Boko Haram. He later denied the reports.
In August, the State House Assembly also faced a barrage of criticism following the lawmakers’ decision to clear the daughter of a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Fatima Abubakar, and the son of the state paramount traditional ruler, Lamido Adamawa, Muhammad Barkindo-Mustapha, as commissioners in absentia.
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