The Independent National Elec­toral Commission (INEC) has cleared no fewer than 380 candidates to contest the February 28 governor­ship poll in 29 states of the federation.

The detailed statistics dis­playing the comprehensive lists with the age, party and aca­demic qualifications of the candidates on INEC’s official website further revealed that Imo, Kano, Sokoto and Zamfara had the highest number of governorship candi­dates. While Imo and Kano have 22 candidates each, Sokoto had 21 and Zamfara have 20.

According to the list, Enugu has 19 governor­ship candidates, Delta and Rivers with 18 candidates trailed the top list of states with the highest number of governor­ship candidates. Jigawa, Yobe, Cross River, Benue, Katsina, Nasarawa, and Ebonyi states top list of states with single digit of candidates.

The list also shows that Jigawa has four candidates, Yobe and Cross River have five governorship candidates each. While Plateau has six candidates, Benue and Nasarawa have eight candidates each. Ebonyi tops list of states with lowest number with a total of nine candidates.

A further breakdown of the cleared candidates shows that while 25 female candidates were given the nod to battle their male-dominated counter­parts, no fewer than 60 females were picked as deputy gover­nors in all the states.

Although some states, espe­cially the southern part of the country, proved to be female friendly, some north­ern states like Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara paraded mostly male governorship and deputy candidates with Zamfara prov­ing to be the worst gender sensi­tive state with only one female deputy out of the 20 aspirants.

The breakdown further shows that the political parties in Enugu State proved the most gender sensitive as they paraded the highest number of female candidates. The state has three governorship and six female deputy governorship candidates though none of the major par­ties was courageous enough to field a female governorship candidate.

Other states trailing Enugu in giving female politicians sense of belonging include Delta, Ebonyi, Niger and Kwara with two female governorship candi­dates, just as the political parties in Kano, Taraba, Lagos, Sokoto and Rivers states fielded only one female candidate each with the All Progressives Congress (APC) surprisingly picking a female governorship candidate, Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan, in Taraba State.

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