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Page 19 Interview

Page 19 Interview Corruption edges women from the political scene- Princess Hadiza Princess Hadiza Ibrahim is an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant, who lost…

Page 19 Interview

Corruption edges women from the political scene- Princess Hadiza

Princess Hadiza Ibrahim is an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant, who lost to Prince Abubakar Audu in the primary election in Kogi State. In this interview, Hadiza, the Omiyakele Attah of Igala kingdom, speaks on the plight of women in politics and the new government among others issues. Excerpts:

By Muideen Olaniyi

You lost to Prince Audu in the recent APC governorship primary election in Kogi State. Do you still nurse the ambition to become governor?

I have never been the kind of person who gives up on a dream simply because I lost the opportunity to fulfill that dream. Like Mr. President, I will continue to pursue my goal to govern Kogi State until I achieve it. If, at first, we don’t succeed, we must dust ourselves up and arm ourselves with the necessary arsenal, learning from our past errors and forge ahead with the greatest momentum until we attain our goal. This is my exact strategy to attain the governorship seat in Kogi State. Each government in Kogi State has tried to maintain a minimal balance financially, economically and educationally. That is why Kogi State, which used to be the headquarters of commerce, has now lost her past glory.

You were once in the opposition PDP. Why did you decide to join the APC?

My decision to join the APC was influenced by the promotion and the practice of true democracy in the party. The APC is the only political party that has been creating an enabling environment where people from diverse backgrounds and with divergent views and opinions can be accommodated. But the PDP has the record of being the most unpopular ruling party in the political history of Nigeria. It is the one that bequeathed a culture of corruption to the society.

What is your take on the quality of persons picked by the president to serve in his cabinet?

What Nigeria needs is a presidency and a Federal Executive Council manned by men and women who are determined to lead on the path of change, and all of us can contribute to make that change happen. I am sure the president wants people who will reduce heavy workload from his table, who have ample knowledge of legal technicalities and implications of every action he takes. Remember, since he was sworn in, he has been preoccupied by efforts to right the wrongs of the past. Look at the probes going on in various sectors, I think the president wants people that will do things right. It is not always easy to determine the appropriateness or otherwise of a cabinet from nominations or composition. One thing that is clearly shown is that the team was drawn from diverse political backgrounds, bearing in mind that the APC was an amalgamation of several political parties. Many legal practitioners have also been appointed. Lawyers are usually high quality professionals. So, it’s not surprising that the president picked from their ranks.

But the truth must be told. At this stage, we cannot totally exclude politics from governance. The fact is without politicians, even the finest leaders will find it difficult to navigate the political terrain or attain political leadership position. We should rather redirect our energy to other important things. President Buhari should be given the benefit of doubt and be supported as he steers the ship of the Nigerian state from the imminent wreck it has been positioned by previous administrations which extend beyond the infamous administration of Goodluck Jonathan. So, my expectations were not to see saints really, but at least to see the fine mix of politicians and technocrats led by a leader who understands the vision, and communicates it clearly.

Are you satisfied with the current inclusion of women in politics?

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which of course, is the reference point for social co-existence among groups and persons has, not by means, discriminated against anyone, man or woman in the socio-political scheme of things. It is, therefore, unjustifiable for men to want to dominate the Nigerian political scene. Available statistics show that since the inception of democratic governance in 1999, women have been scantily represented in public offices either in the National Assembly or state houses of assembly.

The fact is that our politics is very expensive. 70 per cent of people who are poor in Nigeria are women. The violent nature of politics, the cultural and social norms and the general attitude that the woman’s place is at home and not in the public space are all contributing factors to the low representation of women in politics. The dominant philosophy in Nigerian politics is money. The money factor plays very vital role in the conception, mobilisation and winning of political offices at all levels. Money is very critical in the shaping, making and unmaking of public office which is supposed to be on trust. Thus, the higher and larger one’s financial muscle is in Nigeria, the greater one’s chances of winning public office. The system of corruption that has infiltrated the Nigerian system has practically put women on edge. Everything seems to be working against them (women) in favour of man.

Endorsing Audu by Buhari akin to endorsing corruption- Group

From Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja

A group, Anti-corruption Vanguard, yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari’s planned involvement in the campaigns of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State will be a litmus test for his anti-corruption posture.

In a press statement signed by the National Chairman of the group, Mr Pius Idakwoji and Secretary General Adesanmi Salami, the group urged President Buhari to put national interest above personal interest.

“It will be a mockery for President Buhari’s anti-corruption mantra if he attends the APC grand finale to endorse a party candidate who is standing trial for monumental corrupt practices.

“We want to put it on record that our group is non- partisan, but we are more interested in the progress and development of our state. We want a leader not just a governor, the statement added.

Functional LGAs will reduce burden on states- Fayose

From Doyin Adebusuyi, Ado Ekiti

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has emphasized the need for the country to have virile and functional local government system.

Fayose also reiterated the determination of his administration to conduct local government election in the state.

He spoke during an interdenominational thanksgiving service to mark his 55th birthday in Ado-Ekiti.

In a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, the governor noted that a virile local government system would take a lot of pressure from the state level.

He said, “Not everybody can come to Ado-Ekiti to see the governor, but people at local level can readily relate with council bosses. Moreover, the state cannot do all things, it is the local government that will complement that.

“We are therefore committed to a virile local government system and we are going to hold local government elections in this state by December 19 this year, by the grace of God.

“If it is only one political party that is ready to take part in the poll, no problem, we would do it. Boycotting election has never been used to annul elections in the country, “he added.

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