…I will seek for death penalty for rapists if elected to Nasarawa Assembly
In this interview with The EYEWITNESS Hon. Amina Danyaro Ibrahim, Garkuwan Mata Nasarawa, Special Adviser to Governor of Nasarawa State on Special Education, speaks on the need to include women in governance, especially elected offices so that they can contribute their quota.
Following the demise of the Member representing Nasarawa Central at the Nasarawa State House of Assembly. What do you desire to achieve if elected as the member representing that constituency?
First of all I will start with word of prayers to God Almighty for my junior brother late Alhaji Usman Adamu whom Allah in his own will said it is time for him to leave us. And he has done that. I pray Almighty Allah grand his soul eternal rest and grand him Aljana Firdausi.
Secondly this is my third time of aspiring for the seat of Nasarawa State House of Assembly. I contested in 2015, I did in 2019 together with the late member. He came first and I came third. And I contributed earnestly to his success. Because he was a brother and we preferred him to be there than any other person. And I worked tirelessly and wholeheartedly for his success during the general election because if my party won, my brother won. I made sure he scaled through the general election and he did that.
Looking at my political antecedents I am not new in the political arena of Nasarawa State. I was once the first and the fourth PDP women leader in Nasarawa State. At the inception of PDP I was a member. Later I became Commissioner in the State Electoral Commission, I became the pioneer chairman of adult education in Nasarawa State, I was the one that established three hundred centres in Nasarawa State and I became a Special Adviser in 2012 up to 2019. This is my fourth time of becoming a Special Adviser. And I happen to be the oldest serving Special Adviser in the history of Nasarawa State.
So you see being the oldest serving Special Adviser I think I have acquired very adequate knowledge of governance, active partisanpolitics and adequate knowledge of governance, because for me to be able to be retained in government for more than eight years it is because of a lot of trust and loyalty. That means am loyal to whoever comes as a Governor and being dedicated to any assignment being assigned to me.
So if today the people of Nasarawa Central will entrust their confidence in me to go and represent them in the chamber of Nasarawa State of House of Assembly definitely they will have no regret because I have acquired enough input and enough experience on how to lobby for dividend of democracy to my constituency, to the people of Nasarawa State and to the women folk.
Look at Nasarawa State today out of the twenty-four members. I don’t think whether you can remember seeing any woman among them. If you look at the party manifesto of APC it says in any appointment, any elective position of the party women will be recognized. Men will carry two while women carry one.
Look at it in Nasarawa State out of the thirteen Local Government Chairmen can you show me a single woman? Absolutely no.
Out of the State Assembly members can you see a woman? No! out of the three senators in Nasarawa State can you see a woman? No! out of the four or five House of Representatives members can you see a woman? No! Then where is the women representation that our party manifestoes is talking about? Definitely the women are being relegated.
The party needs to show it to the electorate, needs to show it to the supporters that APC is a women friendly government because women of Nasarawa State constitute 75% of the voting strength. In Nigeria women constitute 85% of the voting strength.
So we are requesting, we are pleading with our stakeholders, with our party and to our government to carry women of Nasarawa State this time around. Let’s have one woman representing the women of Nasarawa State at the State Assembly. Look at the issue of rape that is happening where a three months old baby is being raped. Even in animal kingdom you can’t find this kind of life.
Have you ever seen a cock chasing after new born chicks? Even in animal kingdom you don’t find this animalistic way of life. If we have a woman in the State Assembly, because only a woman understands the pains of women, only a woman can understand the cry of a baby. The father will ask her what is the baby saying. It is the mother that will tell the reason why the baby is crying. Or when the baby starts talking at the early stage the father will usually ask the mother what the baby is saying.
So it is a woman that understands the pains of a woman, it is a mother that understand the feelings and the pains of her children. Nasarawa State women are yearning for support and they need this only chance in the state House of Assembly.
Quickly, what do you think should will be done in correcting the trend for better women participation?
I think what the party needs to do is to make it an enforcement. That in every position let the party be specific, out of three senators in each state one must be a woman. There should be allocation of positions to women. The party must make it a mandate. Out of three senators of each state one must be a woman, out of four or five House of Representatives of each state two or one must be a woman. And out of the total number of each state Assembly seat certain number must be allocated to women.
For example, Nasarawa State where am proud of coming from we have twenty-four members of House of Assembly the party should make it a law. Out of this twenty-four five or four must be women.
When such thing is made women will be able to have a say because when we go to contest they will tell you it is a man’s world. The man had forgotten that he came into the world through the woman. So how can you say politics is a man’s game. And if the women did not vote honestly there won’t be total percentage of the vote required to make you get that seat. If women refuse to vote the required percentage to take you to that seat will not be obtained.
So we are requesting during this by-election women of Nasarawa State, that party should make it a consensus. Let the men give chance. We shouldn’t even go in for the primary election. Why should all the men come and be fighting a single woman for a single seat? Out of twenty-four why should men come and fight women for a single seat? We are requesting that the men should consider those ones.
Let them consider we women as partners in progress. Leave this for us as a consensus. They should show us the love they have for the women of Nasarawa State.
Are there specific bills you have at heart?
We have a lot of bills. Like this issue of rape case if you look at it is murder. And when a woman is there definitely I will sponsor this bill against rape. And women of Nasarawa State will back me. Is it not only life imprisonment that it is now as a law, but I will make sure that every person that rapes any woman should be hanged to death. We will seek for death penalty.
And I will also request for law for women maternal health. We shouldn’t pay for checkup when we go for maternal examination. Because we are bringing life, we are bringing leaders into this world. Why should we pay? After undergoing the emotional and psychological pains that no man can understand what a pregnant woman undergoes. No man can understand the pains a woman go through labour to bring out life. So it is a psychological thing.
If I get elected into the Assembly I will make sure I sponsor this kind of bill that will protect girl child, and also protect the lives of women in general. I will struggle for the child rape act to be enacted and be fully enforced. Not just to be mentioned and signed and be kept in the house. But fully implemented. If you look at what is going on at the end who are the ones suffering? Women and children we are the ones suffering.
So if am elected into the house ensure I sponsor laws that are beneficial to the women and the children at large. And I will also make sure I pursue a lot of dividend of democracy to my Nasarawa Central Constituency through my lobby and be obedient to the government of the day.
As you have said women are not being represented at the State Assembly. What do you think is responsible?
What is responsible is just all about our way of thinking. As I said earlier the men look at politics as a men dominated game. And when you come out as a woman they will say you are just a woman and you cannot participate. If you look at the women, the potential, the ability and the determination we have, we are equal even more than some men. We can do it.
I remember during the impeachment saga of the former Governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Almakura, the role I played that time. I was the only woman to confront the security agencies. They fired with wood and plenty teargas. Where were the men then? It was as a result of my resilience that some of the men later came up. I was in the forefront defending the vote of the people of Nasarawa State. Where were the men then? You see we misinterpret the religious aspect. We say a woman is not supposed to rule. I am not leading the Sallah prayers in the House of Assembly. I am not the chief imam of the mosque in the House of Assembly. I am not saying they should vote for me to become the emir of my town. No!
I am seeking for representation. To represent my people. Go to Benue State House of Assembly. There are two women. There was a time we even had a Speaker from the Benue State House of Assembly as a woman. Go to Plateau we have woman in the Assembly. Go to Niger we have Honourable Binta in the State House of Assembly. Look at the House of Representative.
Most of the northern states have women in House of Reps and the Senate. Look at Yobe the former Minister, the wife of the former Governor. She is in the House of Reps representing her people. Look at Kaduna State we have a woman as the Deputy Governor. When the Governor is no more in terms of death or anything she becomes the Governor. What is hindering us in Nasarawa State from electing a woman to the State House of Assembly?
She is only there as representative to make sure when government is making budget ensure allocation is also done to her constituency, to make sure government presence reaches her domain. That is what I will go and do in the House of Assembly if elected. Not to go and become the chief imam or the Emir of the town.
Governor Abdullahi Sule is one year in office. What is your take as regard to his achievements?
Governor Abdullahi Sule has done a lot to be appreciated in his first one year in office. If you look at the area of road constructions. You can see a lot of roads cutting across the three senatorial districts of the state that he has started.
In Akwanga, there is this Farinruwa road that he has started, we have the Adudu road, look at the one he has done in Lafia. The Filling station by-pass, look at the continuation of the one he is doing at Shinge road. Look at the hospital he is equipping them and renovating them. Look at our primary schools a lot of renovation all over the state. look at the completion of Lafia cargo airport. Look at the completion of banquet hall in government house. Look at the Presidential lodge. Governor Sule has done a lot.
Go to the area of agriculture, he made sure our farmers got fertilizers as earlier as when required. Look at the youth empowerment. Within 48hours in office he started empowering women and youths. The Governor has done a lot. All he needs from us is support and prayers to help him succeed.
Some people will be complaining that there is no project he initiated and completed. Government is a continuous process. A lot of resources has been put since they started the project. They want him now to abandon the projects and look for resources and start a fresh one? Finish them before you start another one.
Look at the area of investment. He is getting more investors to the state. A company has come for rice production. We have flour mills company that are in the state, the Dangote sugar company.
The Governor is doing a lot for state he needs our prayers and support for him do more. Nasarawa State people should expect more from Engineer Abdullahi Sule.
Are you satisfied in women participation in his governance?
I am not satisfied. If you look at in Nasarawa State, we have only two female commissioners and only two female Special Advisers. Compare our contributions and total number of votes and our struggles to this government. No woman will look at it and say she is satisfied. We need more. Women should be given more.
At least out of this sixteen number commissioners, the women should have not less than five. Look at Kaduna State many women commissioners. We are pleading with the Governor to bring more women to his government. We have the capability, we have the educational requirement, we have the technical knowhow to help him manage the government. And insha Allah he shall succeed.
Now that the government is focusing more on investment and attracting investors into the state, which area specifically in the remaining years ahead do you think the government of Engineer Abdullahi Sule should focus on more?
You know Governor Abdullahi Sule has a blueprint for the state. You can see how he has been handing the affairs of the State. And if you look at how he has started so far he is doing well. Look at the educational sector is doing well, the health which he is giving attention too. He is doing well in that aspect too.
So far there is no place that you will say he should give more attention, because all what he is doing requires his attention. The educational, the health, the infrastructural development he is doing and the youth empowerment which is the backbone of every developmental government goal. He is doing well in all these aspects. As I said he only needs prayers. We cannot say he should give more attention to this side and leave the other side all of them are interwoven. And the way he is conducting it, he is doing perfectly well.
Political jobbers are spreading rumours across the State, right from the hundred days in office of Abdullahi Sule that there has been faceoff between Al-makura and Governor Sule. Looking at their relationship as an insider, what is your take?
First of all, I will start by saying in every aspect of life there are people with different missions, different jobs. The rumour mongers have their work to do, to carry rumour which are unrealistic, which are not true and things that are beyond human imagination they will say it.
Even you the journalist when look at Governor Al-makura and if you look at Governor A. A Sule, you know they are two symbolic and synonymous human beings. It is only God that knows the level of confidence they have on each other.
And we at the government side we know that these two humble, gentle human beings have no problem with each other. Governor Abdulahi Sule has repeated it so many times. The former governor Al-makura is his master, his mentor and he will continue to respect him to end of his life.
Al-makura now is a serving Senator and Engirneer Abdullahi Sule now is the Governor steering the ship of Nasarawa State. The two are working hand in hand to move Nasarawa State forward. There is no any reason to panic. The rumour mongers can do their job. They will always be put to shame because there is no any crisis between the two.
Looking at your aspiration to the Nasarawa State House of Assembly. Looking at the INEC and the security, do you have any fear in any quarter?
I don’t have any fear. Going into the State Assembly is the will of God. The day you were born Allah has designed whatever you will become. INEC and security are to compliment to make sure that rule of law is followed. So I have confidence in the two agencies of the government and I pray that Almighty Allah will continue to guide them to perform their job effectively. And I hope and pray that very soon I will be declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission as a member representing Nasarawa Central Constituency.
…I will seek for death penalty for rapists if elected to Nasarawa Assembly