Yahuza: El-Rufai Empowers Women into Leadership Positions

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Former All Progressives Congress Women Leader in Kaduna State, Hon. Hadiza Ladi Yahuza in this interview with Onuminya Innocent speaks on efforts of the State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-rufai, to empower women folks within the political space and the need for women in the State to vote for APC candidates in the 2023 general elections

What is your assessment of governance in Kaduna State, under your party, APC?

My honest assessment of the governance in Kaduna state under the leadership of  Mallam Nasir El-rufai is a perfect one expected of a visionary leader in any given society. He has transformed Kaduna from a sleepy state to a progressive, love and beautiful state. Let’s start from the many infrastructures that we are seeing today across the state. Take the roads for instance, that has further beautified Kaduna. These are developments that Kaduna has never witnessed since the time of colonial era. Our Primary and secondary schools have all been upgraded and furnished with state-of-the-art equipment.

Our hospitals have been given a facelift and upgraded. This has improved the wellbeing of our people. Not only infrastructures, if you look at other sectors. The Governor has given us a sense of belonging in all ramifications. We are proud to raise our heads up because we now know Kaduna state has taken its rightful position in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

Insecurity has been a thing of worry for residents in the state. What is your perception about this under Governor El-Rufai?

Before his government came onboard in 2015, what we were experiencing was cattle rustling and banditry. It later graduated to more serious criminalities like kidnapping and so on which is not peculiar to Kaduna State only. But the Governor was determined to tackle the menace with sincerity and determination. A ministry handling the issue of security was created by his administration. That ministry was headed by a competent person. Aside from that, security personnel have been given necessary support to enable them discharge their statutory duties in securing both lives and properties. The Governor brought all stakeholders onboard, including our traditional and religious leaders across the state. That is why you are seeing relative peace in the affected communities.

Governor El-Rufai has consistently adopted a female as his running mate. Did you see it as an added advantage for the party success in the forthcoming governorship election?

The Governor has shown us how women are integrated part of the state building and that it is statutory for women to be carried along in the society. By appointing a woman as his deputy was a signal and bold step to this commitment. That gave us (women folks) a sense of belonging. That gave the hope that a day will come for a woman to become the governor of this state. Are you aware that 50 to 60 percent of the total votes are accounted for by women in any given society? So, giving us the same woman as the party’s deputy governorship candidate in the forthcoming election is a testimony that he is still fighting for our cause. Today, about eight or nine women are in his cabinet. Not only that, about 40 to 50 percent of political positions are headed by competent women. His Excellency trusted women and saw them as major stakeholders in moving Kaduna state to a greater height. I can also point at myself as a great beneficiary of the Governor’s commitment to women development when he drafted me into politics.

When elections could not be held in my local government, he picked me out to pilot the affairs of Chikun local government council as head of Interim Management Committee (IMC) for a period of five years. That shows that he is more interested in identifying competency and empowering them to do great exploits in the political space. I must say I remained grateful to him for such an appointment. While I was in office, he provided all the support that I needed to pilot the council to a success.

Issue of political participation is still a long way to trend for women in Nigeria. What did you think could be a short way for their full participation, especially into elective positions?

For Women in Nigeria to participate in elective positions, we must adopt the system practised in Rwandan, which has raised the number of women in government. This is a quota system where elective positions are reserved for competent women at all levels in Government.

In the north, APC will be counting on some bigwigs to deliver its candidate for the presidential contest. What are the names you still believe can project your party to success come 2023?

I am very hopeful that my party will emerge victorious in the forthcoming general elections be it state assembly, national assembly, governorship and presidential elections. We have gone through very transparent primaries and came up with very competent, experienced and acceptable candidates. With the support given by His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-rufai to all candidates will pay off. At the national level, we have the united front of our Governors’ Forum to work for the victory of our presidential candidate is an added advantage. The candidature of Senator Uba Sani is already acceptable not only within APC supporters but among Kaduna populace. He is going to play a significant role in seeing our party through. I also know the efforts made by the northern senators’ forum headed by Distinguished Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko. He has proved to be a reputable political leader of note in the north. He is someone I so much respected. These are the frontiers in this journey, and I know with their support, experience and guidance, APC will become victorious in the general elections.

You are currently working with some like-minds in support of the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. What is the motive?

We have two to three supporting groups working for the success of the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. The first one is tagged; Tinubu Volunteers, a like-minded group. We founded this group because we reviewed the political antecedents of Senator Bola Tinubu as a frontline politician who has been building human capacity in politics. We saw this as one of the major attributes of being a good leader. That is why we felt he should be supported to a higher political level being the presidency. In partnership with others, we have another supporting group headed by Hon. Sadiq Mamman Lagos for Tinubu and Uba Sani 2023. We have been working tirelessly to canvass votes for both candidates in the forthcoming general elections.

You earlier mentioned that women accounted for significant votes in any given election. What advice would you give to women in exercising their voting rights without fear or intimidation?

My advice to women folks is to always have their own independent thoughts while making political decisions. There is a Hausa adage that says; if someone promise to give you cloth then first look at what that person is wearing. My advice for fellow women is to look at these candidates and ask this question. Are they what they claim to be? This is the question women need to ask. Today, all our candidates in the All Progressive Party have proved they are experienced in good governance. They should look at the qualities of our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and our governorship candidate in Kaduna State,  Senator Uba Sani, among others. These are people that have gone through the ranks of integrity. They have been tested in the position of leadership and found trustworthy in their own rights. Our women should vote wisely and not for material things on election days.

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