When the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan ends it will definitely be remembered for having a lot of women in sensitive positions of the government.
The petroleum minister, Deziani Alison-Madueke, the minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former minister of aviation, Senator Stella Oduah and the wife of President Jonathan, Patience Dame Jonathan (Mama Peace) are very influential in the decision making of Jonathan’s government.
With a new administration of the president-elect, Muhammudu Buhari, set to take power on May 29, there are sure to be new female faces in the government. Fisayo Falodi for The Punch has compiled a list women who we should watch out for when Buhari’s government begins.
Aisha Buhari 1st lady-elect, Hajiya Aisha Buhari is a 44-year-old Adamawa state-born cosmetologist. She attended the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration.
Some claims she is a member of the United Kingdom Vocational Training and Charitable Trust and the International Health and Beauty Council.
Unlike Patience Jonathan she is an introvert. She is said to be a consummate politician and strong believer in project Nigeria. The alumnus of the famous Carlton Institute of London and the Academy Esthetique Beauty Institute of France told everyone during the election campaign that her husband, if elected, would give women opportunities to contribute to the development of the country.
Dolapo Osinbajo will become the 2nd lady of the federation come May 29 when the Jonathan administration hands over to the incoming Buhari administration.
She is a grand-child of the late politician, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Like her husband she is much involved in church activities and is the leader of the Ladies Fellowship of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Jesus House Paris, Banana Island, Lagos.
Dolapo has been described as humble and submissive by those who are close to her family. In 2007 she supported her husband to establish “The Orderly Society Trust,” a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the promotion of Christian ethics and orderliness.
Mrs. Osinbajo in an attempt to reach out to the poor and under-privileged launched a book, “They Call Me Mama.”
She said the drive to write the book came from her experiences with some “street boys and men in Lagos State.” According to her, she aims to use the proceeds from the book to sustain her efforts in getting the street urchins off the streets and into homes.
Mrs. Osinbajo said, “My weekly visit to the boys in their hideout under the bridge for several years has filled me with unforgettable stories. Reminiscences of these times are the focus of this book. Our original meeting spot which was lovingly referred to as ‘Under’, today; it has been transformed to the Muri Okunola Park.
“To me, they are beloved children and they call me ‘Mama.’ They are lost, but can be found. That was why I was compelled to write the book and I dedicate the book to everyone who is lost.”
Remi Tinubu Yun Bana Jagaban of Borgu is representing Lagos Central in the national assembly. She is an educationist, administrator, philanthropist and Officer of the Order of the Niger.
She was described as an exemplary First Lady of Lagos state between 1999 and 2007 during which period she founded the New Era Foundation, a non-profit organisation, dedicated to youth development, girl-child education, women’s empowerment and inspiring youths to excellence.
If hearsay is to be believed, Tinubu’s re-election into the Senate would lead to her becoming more influential in the next government as she may head one of the sensitive committees in the upper legislative chamber.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the broadcaster turned politician is a senator who she hosts a quarterly town hall meeting with her constituents to render accounts of her stewardship and obtain feedback on their developmental needs.
She has sponsored three bills to date: to provide social security for elderly citizens; to seek the amendment of the Labour Act to enhance employment opportunities for women; and a bill to provide special economic assistance to Lagos state in view of its status as a former capital city and the commercial capital of Nigeria.
She is the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs and was one of the first legislators to push for the return of Nigerians in South Africa as the xenophobia attacks worsened.
Dabiri-Erewa was first elected to the House of Representatives to represent Ikorodu Constituency of Lagos state in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. She also won re-election in 2011.
The former chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity has also sponsored a number of significant bills that were passed by the Parliament, like 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 promoting responsible journalism and protect the welfare of journalists in Nigeria).
Though she did not contest for any elective office in the just concluded general elections; it is believed that she will be appointed a special adviser or minister due to her impressive performance as chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, as well as her activities during the APC campaign.
Hajiya Ramatu Aliyu, as the APC Women’s Leader, Aliyu is sure to command some a position when the roll call for special appointments and minsters are called out. She is also the president general of the Global Women & Youth Empowerment Strategy.
Ramatu Aliyu like Abike-Dabiri was very active in the APC campaign to ensure that the party won the last presidential election.
Aliyu demonstrated her commitment to the party by mobilising the electorate, especially women, to collect their Permanent Voter Cards.
“The collection of the PVCs represents a veritable instrument to ensure that the people, to whom power resides, exercise their franchise in the legitimate pursuit of free choice and popular sovereignty,” Aliyu had said in a statement in Abuja.
She said, “Nigerian women constitute over 50 per cent of active voters during elections in the country. It is therefore, important that they avail themselves of the historic opportunity offered by the exercise to strengthen their electoral value and consolidate their demographic advantage, especially as we approach the 2015 general elections.
“Accordingly, I call on Nigerian women to rise in unison and ensure their active participation in the exercise. They should troop out en-mass and ensure that they collect their PVCs so that their votes will not only count but make the difference during elections.
“I urge that in the prevailing circumstance, our women should reaffirm their faith in democratic change and strengthen their resolve to enthrone good governance rooted in popular franchise, free and fair elections and robust democratic engagement.”
Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, mama Taraba might have lost the elections as the Independent National Electoral Commission declared that the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Darius Ishaku, won the Taraba state governorship election, the APC candidate in the poll has demonstrated that she is a force to be reckoned with.
Mama Taraba saw her popularity grow after she defeated three male aspirants to clinch the APC governorship ticket at the party’s primary held at Jolly Nyame Stadium, Jalingo.
She could have become the the first woman to be elected governor in the political history of Nigeria had she won the Taraba state governorship election.
Al-Hassan, a lawyer by training, rose to become Taraba state’s attorney general and commissioner of justice. She was appointed the chief registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on December 17, 2003.
After she retired from service, she won election on the PDP platform to represent Taraba North Senatorial District in 2011, but defected to the APC to seek the latter’s governorship ticket ahead of the 2015 general elections.