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FACT CHECK: Bello el-Rufai erred. Hadiza Balarabe isn’t Nigeria’s first elected female deputy governor

FACT CHECK: Bello el-Rufai erred. Hadiza Balarabe isn’t Nigeria’s first elected female deputy governor
March 14
22:04 2024

Bello el-Rufai, lawmaker representing Kaduna north federal constituency in the house of representatives, has claimed that Hadiza Balarabe is Nigeria’s first elected female deputy governor.

The lawmaker spoke in a podcast hosted by Seun Okinbaloye, the broadcast journalist.

The podcast, with 16.3k subscribers, has 94,760 views, 602 comments and 2.9k likes.

Bello is the son of Nasir el-Rufai, former governor of Kaduna state.


In 2018, Nasir el-Rufai picked Balarabe as his running mate for the 2019 governorship election in the state.

He said the decision to pick Balarabe was because Barnabas Bantex, his deputy at that time, had informed him that he would be contesting for a senatorial seat.

Before her selection as el-Rufai’s running mate, Balarabe was the executive secretary of the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency.



Speaking on the achievements of his father in Kaduna, the lawmaker said his father, through Balarabe, revamped all the 255 primary healthcare centres in the state.

“Fortunately, one of the things my father did with his deputy governor, Dr Hadiza (Balarabe), who was the first female elected deputy governor in Nigeria, was to revamp the 255 healthcare primary centres in Kaduna,” the lawmaker said.

However, checks by TheCable revealed that since the return to civilian rule in 1999, Nigeria has had several elected female deputy governors in different states before Balarabe.



Lagos was the first state to elect a female deputy governor. In 1992, during a short civilian rule, Micheal Otedola was elected governor of Lagos state under the National Republic Convention (NRC) with Sinatu Ojikutu as his running mate.

Ojikutu served in that capacity till November 1993 when the military took over.

In 1999, Nigeria transitioned to civilian rule. Bola Tinubu won the Lagos governorship election under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) party with Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor as his running mate.


From that time, the likes of Adebisi Sosan, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, and Oluranti Adebule went on to serve as elected female deputy governors of Lagos between 2007 to 2019.

Abiodun Olujimi was appointed by Ayo Fayose as the first female deputy governor of Ekiti from September 2005 to 2006. Funmilayo Olayinka deputised Kayode Fayemi from 2010 to 2013 before her demise while Modupe Adelabu became the deputy governor in May 2013.


In Ogun state, Salimat Badru served as the deputy governor from 2003-2011, and Yetunde Onanuga was the deputy governor of the state from 2015 to 2019.

In Osun, Olusola Obada served as deputy governor from 2003 to 2010 during the administration of Olagunsoye Oyinlola, while Titilayo Laoye-Tomori became the deputy governor of the state from 2010 to 2018.


Pauline Tallen became the deputy governor of Plateau state in 2007, and the first woman to be a deputy governor in northern Nigeria while Ipalibo Banigo deputised Nyesom Wike in Rivers from 2015 to 2023.

Cecilia Ezeilo served as the deputy governor to Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi after winning the state governorship election in 2015.


Noimot Salako-Oyedele was elected alongside Dapo Abiodun in Ogun state in 2019, the same year Balarabe was sworn in as the first female deputy governor of Kaduna.

In 2022, Balarabe was chosen as the running mate to Uba Sani. In March 2023, she was re-elected as the deputy governor.


Bello el-Rufai’s claim that Balarabe is the first elected female deputy governor in Nigeria is incorrect.

Sinatu Ojikutu was Nigeria’s first female elected deputy governor.


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with additional information.

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