Former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, has been barred from holding public office by a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.
The court condemned Ms Tallen’s disparaging comments against the judiciary concerning a decision of the Federal High Court in Adamawa State last year.
The controversy stems from the 2023 general election and the candidacy of Aishatu Dahiru, widely known as Binani, for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Adamawa State. Binani won the party’s primary election, but the victory was challenged and ultimately nullified by the court due to alleged non-compliance with electoral regulations.
Ms. Tallen, a staunch supporter of Binani, reacted to the court’s decision by calling it a “Kangaroo judgement” and urging Nigerians to reject it. She further alleged that the court ruling showcased the marginalization of women in Nigerian politics.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyau, demanded an apology from Ms Tallen for her comments or face legal action. Her refusal led to the NBA initiating legal proceedings at the FCT High Court.
In its judgment on Monday, the court labelled Ms Tallen’s remarks as “unconstitutional, careless, reckless, and disparaging,” deeming her call to disregard the court’s decision as “contemptuous.” The court granted an injunction restraining her from holding public office unless she issues a public apology in two national dailies—The PUNCH and Guardian Newspapers—within 30 days.
Former Deputy Governor of Plateau State and the first woman to be a Deputy Governor in northern Nigeria, Pauline Kedem Tallen OFR was born in 1959 and served as the Minister for Women Affairs Minister and Social Development.
She was appointed in 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari after turning down ambassadorial nomination in 2015 on the grounds that she was not consulted prior to the announcement of the appointment and that she would not accept the offer for equal distribution of power among the three senatorial districts of her native state of Plateau Because she is from same local government as Governor Simon Lalong.
In 1999, she was appointed Minister of State for Science and Technology to the cabinet of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
She also contested to be Governor of the state in 2011, but lost to Jonah Jang.
She is presently a member, board of trustees of All Progressive Congress, and was honoured as woman of the year for her contribution to Nigeria at the 10th African Icon of Our Generation Award.