19 February 2019

Nigeria: Women Have Roles in Shaping Govt - Ummi El-Rufai

interview

Wife of Kaduna State governor and co-ordinator of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign in the state tagged 'APC Gida-Gida,' Hajiya Aisha Ummi El-Rufai, has been leading her team round the state creating awareness on the giant strides of President Muhammadu Buhari and Malam Nasir el-Rufai, and why they should be re-elected. She bares her mind on the journey so far. Excerpts:

Would you say you have delivered on the mandate of the 'APC Gida-Gida' campaign you initiated?

The 'APC Gida-Gida' for Buhari/El-Rufai 2019 is a holistic campaign project meant to serve as a special purpose vehicle and create awareness for the grassroots on the great efforts and achievements of the APC government from the federal through the state to the local government levels. This is because we feel that people at the grassroots need to be reminded and educated of such achievements. They also need to be enlightened on the message of democracy in Nigeria.

It is the responsibility of a good and responsible government to reach out to its people and feel their yearnings and aspirations. It is in the light of the above that we came up with the 'APC Gida-Gida' concept, not just to campaign for the success of APC candidates, but also to note some key subjects surrounding the welfare and development of the electorate.

We are doing this because we believe there is always room for our leaders to fine-tune their administrations for the better. In places where we encounter misconceptions, we dispel such by shedding light on the reality of the matter. Likewise, where the people have valid reasons for their complaints, we note their points for the attention of the authorities.

We hear directly from the people what they feel about the policies of the government, their appreciation or complaints where necessary, and the suggestions regarding their needs and expectations from the government. By so doing, we have a suggestion report, a practical workbook for the APC government to come in and do the right thing for the people upon re-election. So, I can assure you that our campaign team is uncovering many things.

We are also extending our hands of friendship to all target electorate, for the re-election of President Buhari and Malam Nasir el-Rufai. This is to enable them continue their good works by completing all ongoing projects, which we are confident will be done after their re-election by God's grace.

I can assure you that the 'APC Gida-Gida', an Hausa phrase for 'APC house-to-house,' is beyond the literal meaning. The team reaches out to people in their houses, markets, shops and other gatherings, to interact with, and inform them of the real mission of our issue-based electioneering campaigns. Alhamdulillah, I can say that my team has done very well.

How demanding was your campaign, especially as the APC is being firmly challenged by the opposition parties?

I am optimistic that our great party, the APC, can perform wonderfully well at the polls, because its marketable policies are meant for the progress of our dear nation. Of course, no one can predict the future results until after the final vote is counted and announced; however, I can confidently tell you that APC is much more formidable now than during the previous election.

That is to say that the APC stands in the right direction to win the elections by God's grace, because it has obvious, tangible and practical proof of performance to back its mission for re-election. Thus, we have a clear vision for our APC Gida-Gida campaign. We have trained our field officers, who strictly engage the people on issue-based campaign. They try their best to connect with the people because the 'APC Gida-Gida' is all about the people.

We trained our officers and ambassadors to understand the need to be more focused on putting a personal touch, as they interact one-on-one with ordinary people in the state. This is to enable us know our strongholds as well as areas of challenges.

Again, it is important to state that in all our campaigns, we lay emphasis on creating awareness for the youth not to be involved political violence. We call on them to serve as peace ambassadors.

As a cardinal point in the campaign, we have professional teams that go house to house to persuade women, as mothers, to take up to their primary obligations in training their children to shun hooliganism.

As a housewife, a mother and a politician, how do you balance these with the arduous demands of the home front?

I am a wife and a mother but I am not a politician. Rather, I am a politician's supporting wife. I am a full-time housewife who takes her roles seriously and performs her duties diligently. I have children and perform my home rituals. I am fully in charge of what goes on in my home even to the least things.

You see, this is a point that needs elaboration. Women have divine roles to play in the formation of any government. Thank God the APC government is giving us the opportunity to contribute our own quota for national development. A woman can be a housewife, but she can also have the opportunity to go out and support the government, and be an active part of governance.

As a woman, I perform my duties without any hindrance, even as a supporting wife of a politician in government. I also lend hands, voices and efforts towards women and societal development.

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