42 INSIDEPOLITICS

Ha­jiya Mariya Man­nir Yakubu is the wife of Deputy Gover­nor of Katsina State and Co­or­di­na­tor of the North­West Women Move­ment for Buhari 2019. In this in­ter­view, she ex­plains why Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari re­mains the can­di­date to beat in the 2019 pres­i­dent

Weekly Trust - - Interview - Maryam Ah­madu-Suka, Kaduna Ha­jiya Mariya Man­nir Yakubu: Ha­jiya Mariya: Ha­jiya Mariya: Ha­jiya Mariya: Ha­jiya Mariya Man­nir Yakubu Ha­jiya Mariya: Ha­jiya Mariya: Ha­jiya Mariya:

Daily Trust: What is the gen­eral con­cept of your group and what ac­tiv­i­ties do you en­gage in? The flagoff of the North-West Women Move­ment for Buhari 2019 took place in May this year in Katsina State with a unique ground break­ing cer­e­mony. And we have be­gun a mas­sive mo­bi­liza­tion for the re-elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari and Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo in the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The cer­e­mony had over 20, 000 women from across the North-West zone in at­ten­dance as well were some gov­er­nors’ wives and other dig­ni­taries. High­light of the event in­cluded the first/ini­tial phase of the women em­pow­er­ment scheme where thou­sands of women were sup­ported with over N10 mil­lion by the move­ment. Sub­se­quently, many other women were reached out to, amount­ing to more mil­lions of naira also be­ing spent by the move­ment in that re­gard. Un­doubt­edly, Pres­i­dent Buhari has been gen­der-friendly and has through many ini­tia­tives and poli­cies put smiles on the faces of women. He has been giv­ing money for the em­pow­er­ment of women so they can start small scale busi­nesses and other skills ac­qui­si­tion schemes. He made sev­eral prom­ises to the women dur­ing the 2015 elec­tion­eer­ing cam­paigns, and he has been ful­fill­ing these prom­ises in very marvelous ways. To­day, many women are ex­cel­ing in agri­cul­ture, poul­try, trad­ing and other ar­eas. There­fore, he de­serves the full sup­port of the women in the 2019 elec­tion be­cause his re-elec­tion will be a bless­ing for the women folk, not only in the North West or the north­ern part of the coun­try alone, but the coun­try in gen­eral. That is why I have been say­ing it time and again that Pres­i­dent Buhari re­mains women’s best op­tion for 2019.

DT: What sort of mo­bi­liza­tion are you com­menc­ing and how are you strate­giz­ing to­wards achiev­ing your de­sired goal?

Plans are un­der­way to visit all the North West states to stage mega ral­lies and grass­roots mo­bi­liza­tion for the pres­i­dent’s re-elec­tion, as well as the em­pow­er­ment pro­gramme of the women. The seven North West states to be vis­ited in­clude Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Ji­gawa, Kebbi, Zam­fara and Sokoto. Mean­while, the em­pow­er­ment pro­gramme is a piv­otal fac­tor in the mo­bi­liza­tion/cam­paign be­cause any­thing per­tain­ing to the ad­vance­ment of women is dear to the pres­i­dent and close to his heart. Dur­ing these ral­lies, the achieve­ments of the pres­i­dent so far and his pos­i­tive in­puts in all the sec­tors of the coun­try will be il­lu­mi­nated, in­clud­ing all he has been do­ing for women. This score­card is nec­es­sary to be pub­licly pre­sented to prove his crit­ics and those fan­ning cam­paigns of calumny and bit­ter­ness against the pres­i­dent wrong. We are go­ing to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to con­vince peo­ple to come out en-mass and vote for the pres­i­dent, and one of our great­est weapon is the pres­i­dent’s score card. Many gov­er­nors and their deputies in­clud­ing their wives have en­dorsed our move­ment, given us sup­port in many ways and boosted our morale. Cour­tesy vis­its will also be paid to other gov­er­nors out­side the zone who are com­mit­ted to the pres­i­dent’s re-elec­tion. This will en­able us put heads to­gether to fine tune our strate­gies and ex­change ideas in or­der to achieve our ob­jec­tive.

DT: Is your move­ment tar­get­ing only women in terms of mo­bi­liz­ing for the pres­i­dent’s re-elec­tion?

Even though our main fo­cus is women, the youth and men have also been sup­port­ive in sev­eral ways. Many male youths have come to me and asked me to in­te­grate them into our pro­grammes one way or an­other so that they too can of­fer their sup­port for the re-elec­tion course. Oth­ers have even of­fered to be vol­un­teers, and some even jok­ingly told me that they were pre­pared to ‘change their (male) caps to (fe­male) head ties’ in or­der to be part of our move­ment. You know that many peo­ple just love the pres­i­dent and will of­fer them­selves for ser­vices in what­ever ca­pac­ity and be com­mit­ted to it, so long as it is for the course of Pres­i­dent Buhari. So, I can add that the pres­i­dent re­mains the youths’ best can­di­date as well, and we are work­ing out a strat­egy to see how the male folk will be in­te­grated fully into our pro­grammes. This is be­cause we need their sup­port and vote equally in the 2019 elec­tions. By and large, you know that for any women’s pro­gramme to be ab­so­lutely suc­cess­ful, it must in­clude the men di­rectly or in­di­rectly. We need them to ad­vise us, to sup­port us, to per­mit their wives to be part of the pro­grammes and en­cour­age them to avail them­selves of the ac­tiv­i­ties, among other things.

DT: What is the struc­ture of the move­ment across the seven North West states so far?

We al­ready have a for­mi­da­ble struc­ture. As I said ear­lier, the gov­er­nors and their wives are part of our move­ment and are in full sup­port of our pro­grammes as well as the re-elec­tion bid of the pres­i­dent. That has fa­cil­i­tated so many things for us. We also have a good cam­paign struc­ture and state co­or­di­na­tors across the seven states al­ready. The lead­ers will be meet­ing in Kaduna for a strate­gic meet­ing and to put fi­nal touch to our blue print. Part of the meet­ing will also in­clude as­sign­ing of roles to them and to en­join them to go and work with lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas co­or­di­na­tors/women lead­ers who will on their own part li­aise with the ward lead­ers and then the rest of the grass­roots. We are also go­ing to go round all the states to set up of­fices. Apart from all of these ar­range­ments, it is a known fact that peo­ple across the North West love the pres­i­dent whole heart­edly and are ready to do any­thing for him. We are com­ing in to boost their love and com­mit­ment and to sen­si­tize them on all that is per­ti­nent be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter the elec­tion. This in­cludes ed­u­ca­tion on the vot­ing pat­tern as well as elec­tronic vot­ing, if that would be em­ployed fully by the elec­toral body in the elec­tion. You know that women re­quire con­stant en­light­en­ment on vot­ing, par­tic­u­larly if the vot­ing pat­tern is be­ing changed or dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies are in­tro­duced in the sys­tem.

DT: Are you cer­tain that the pres­i­dent will win in 2019?

Ab­so­lutely! His chances are very bright, even brighter than ever be­fore. Ours is to keep mo­bi­liz­ing and keep telling the peo­ple of his many good works, in­stead of them be­liev­ing the lies of some un­just crit­ics. Our struc­ture and plat­form are for­mi­da­ble to con­trib­ute tan­gi­bly to the re-elec­tion of the pres­i­dent. I re­call when I took the struc­ture and blue­print of our move­ment to the Spe­cial Ad­viser to the Pres­i­dent on Po­lit­i­cal mat­ters. He stud­ied it care­fully and af­ter two days, he called me and said it was ex­cel­lent. He even added that it would be good if it could be ap­plied in the whole coun­try and not only the North West zone. The pres­i­dent also went through it and ap­plauded it.

DT: How would you rate the pres­i­dent’s anti-cor­rup­tion fight, and what does it rep­re­sent for the women folk?

The pres­i­dent’s an­ti­cor­rup­tion fight is ex­cel­lent and on level. That re­mains one of his most prom­i­nent strengths and good­will which have earned him com­men­da­tion within and out­side the na­tion. This no­ble un­der­tak­ing by the pres­i­dent is a win for the fe­male folk be­cause cor­rup­tion has caused the na­tion a lot and its neg­a­tive ef­fect has trick­led down to house­holds/fam­i­lies. And as strate­gic mem­bers of fam­i­lies, any­thing that will tackle this na­tional catas­tro­phe will also be in the in­ter­est of the women be­cause the na­tion will be repo­si­tioned in the long run, the fam­i­lies will feel the good im­pact and women will be bet­ter for it.

DT: What is your ad­vice to women re­gard­ing the 2019 elec­tions gen­er­ally?

You know that women are very com­mit­ted to what­ever they are do­ing. So, I ad­vise them to par­tic­i­pate ac­tively in the elec­tions and vote in good lead­ers. They should not al­low them­selves to be rel­e­gated to the back­ground in this demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion so that they can also en­joy the full div­i­dends of democ­racy. All these how­ever be­gin with the women go­ing to get reg­is­tered and col­lect­ing their Per­ma­nent Vot­ers Cards (PVCs) be­cause that will be what will en­able them vote for the can­di­dates of their choice.

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