As the government of President Goodluck Jonathan counts the days before it gives way for the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, a number of women will be setting up shop to better the chances of women in government and make a statement about the pedigree and capability of women in government.
True, the incoming government may not have as much women in principal positions as the out-going one, but given the nature of these women, it will only be a matter of time before their performances can affect lives of other women positively.
The 44-year-old wife of the president-elect, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, will become first lady on May 29 after her husband’s inauguration.
Born in Adamawa State, she graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration.
Though conservative and a woman of few words, she may not play the ‘silent’ first lady as many have predicted. She is also a graduate of the United Kingdom Vocational Training and Charitable Trust, the International Health and Beauty Council, as well as the Carlton Institute of London and the Academy Esthetique Beauty Institute of France.
As she promised during her campaign, she would show huge interest in women and youth development, two factors that would translate to the development of the country.
The wife of the former Lagos State governor and APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, needs no introduction. Her abilities and influence trail her like a faithful shadow. Tinubu is a senator (representing Lagos Central), an educationist, administrator, philanthropist and an Officer of the Order of the Niger.
She is also the founder of the non-profit organisation, New Era Foundation, which has been long dedicated to youth development, girl-child education, women empowerment and inspiring youths to excellence.
As an experienced senator, Tinubu’s re-election may be the tonic needed by a young 8th Assembly to make the necessary strides expected of it.
Little was known about the wife of the vice president-elect, Dolapo Osinbajo; that is until her husband’s name popped up as the vice presidential candidate.
Described by many as humble, unassuming and submissive, Osinbajo, who oversees the Orderly Society Trust, an NGO she and her husband formed in 2007 and dedicated to the promotion of Christian ethics and orderliness, also wrote a book titled “They Call Me Mama”. She couldn’t have captured the qualities she has become known for any better.
A practical woman, Osinbajo’s large heart and motherly care might be one of the many expected highpoints of the incoming government.
If there is one woman who joined the game as a novice and now plays like the best of them, that woman is former Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)’s broadcaster, Hon Abike Dabiri Erewa. The chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs is, unarguably, a force to be reckoned with in the incoming government, thanks to her objectivity and soundness.
The woman, who is the voice of Ikorodu Constituency of Lagos State, first came to the House in 2003, got re-elected in 2007 and in 2011 before she voluntarily took a break from contesting for any position in the 2015 general elections.
Dabiri-Erewa is one of few lawmakers who take the job seriously. She has sponsored a number of significant bills that were passed by the parliament, including the Freedom of Information Bill; a bill for an Act To Ensure Full Integration Of Nigerians With Physical Disabilities And Eliminate All Forms Of Discrimination Against Them; the Nigerian Infant Health Welfare Bill (ensuring every child under five receives free medical care); Nigerian Diaspora Commission Bill; a bill to repeal Nigerian Press Council Bill and replace it with the Nigerian Press and Journalism Council Bill (strengthening the NPC and promote responsible journalism and protect the welfare of journalists in Nigeria).
Buhari’s government may have to rely on her in order to formulate women-friendly policies and cultivate media relations.
Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan
When Senator Aisha Al-Hassan declared that she would contest for the gubernatorial seat of Taraba State, many knew she had given it deep thought and had foreseen her prospects as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a state weary of politicians who speak from both sides of their mouths and care less, in truth, about the people.
A serving senator of the 7th Assembly, she as good as kept her word when she proved herself an influential opponent with more clout than many people imained she could muster. She was close to coasting home to victory in the governorship election, giving her closest opponent and winner of the election, Arch. Darius Ishaka, a good run. After a re-run of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Darius won with 369,318, as against Al-Hassan’s 275,984.
The party must have been banking on her winning the Taraba election, but seeing as that did not materialise, the party will be looking to the best of its crop of women to make all the difference in its government.
Khadijat Bukar Abba
The wife of former Yobe State governor has really come into her own, thanks to a number of years of law-making under her belt.
Since her entrance into the House as a green horn back in 2007, she has gained experience by serving in a myriad of committees, proving her mettle and being led on by her love for women and passion for a better lot for them.
She has served on the House Committees on Privatisation and Commercialisation (as chairman), Culture & Tourism, Environment, Industries, Interior, Millennium Development Goals, Rural Development, Communication, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Youth and Social Development, among others.
Abba had disclosed her intention to contest for the position of speaker of the House before her party made it known that it had zoned the position to the South West.
She has since stepped down, but her experience is not in doubt and will,definitely come in handy as far as this government is concerned.