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Why I Gave Up Nursing For Politics – Maryam Jatau - Nursing News - Nursearena Forum

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Why I Gave Up Nursing For Politics – Maryam Jatau by Peculiar005: Sat Feb 2022 04:42am
Maryam Jatau, Tauraruwan Dass, is a senior legislative aide to Senate President Ahmad Lawan on political organization. In this interview with LEADERSHIP Weekend, she speaks on her campaign to get elected as the northwest national woman leader of the All Progressives’ Congress at the convention later this month and what it would mean to have the support of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari.

How did you come into politics?

I started politics since primary school. There was a group that had to do with sports. It wasn’t exactly an election, but they chose me as their leader. This was when I was in primary three. I was the only female that was playing handball. As a junior student, I was the only one that participated in sports events for children’s day. When I was in primary 5, I was elected as assistant games prefect and in primary 6, I became the games prefect.

At that time, I did not have a mentor. In later years, particularly in secondary school, I participated club activities and I was elected as one of the excos in the social club. I like mingling with people. I wasn’t really a serious student. But anything that had to do with people coming together, I was instinctively chosen to be the leader. Because of that, I developed interest in politics. My older brother who had interest in politics and spent a lot of time around politicians. By then, I was the only female child left at home. My older sisters were all married. And I was the only left in the midst of boys. Most of the conversations were about politics. It was through that that I developed interest in politics. During elections, we were the ones that observed our unit.

Bauchi politics is known to be rebellious. Has that rubbed off on you?

Most of my politics, I participated in opposition. As a profession, I am a nurse. But at a time, I realized that the nursing profession was not my calling. In the hospital, I usually donated my blood to patients. But when I saw sick people suffering, I got emotional and would start shedding tears. So, I felt the nursing profession was not my calling and the best thing for me politics. And it turned out that I liked joining opposition.

So, how did you end up in APC?

We started with ANPP. As at then, my mentor was Nazif Gamawa. He was a senator and contested for governor under ANPP. By then, I was already married with three kids. I coordinated young women for him in my constituency. Before that, I supported Isa Yuguda when he was contesting for governor in ANPP. But when he joined PDP, I decided to join Nazif Gamawa’s camp in ANPP. After the merger, I followed my mentor, my boss. That is the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. He joined the merger in 2015 and we worked together because we are in the same constituency. In fact, most of his activities that had to do with women, I was the one that led them. When he joined PDP, I wanted to contest for the state house of assembly. Because of religion and our culture, they didn’t want a woman. Though there was a woman in the state assembly, Maryam Bagel. After her, I decide to contest. But there was resistance to elect a woman again. Because of that, I joined Isa Yuguda in the Green Party. He was the one that brough Green Party to Bauchi State. He contested in the bye-election for one of our senators that died, Ali Wakili. I joined in Green Party and contested for a seat in the state house of assembly. I contested against two candidates in the primaries and won. I was the only female out of the three. So, I contested the 2019 general election under my local government, Dass. Out of 8 strong candidates, I came third. After APC, PDP, Green Party was next. The remaining parties followed me. It was after that that I decided to go back to my party, the APC.

The National Assembly wants to give women 35 % of seats. Is it a good idea and will it work in a place like Bauchi that is known to be very conservative?

It is a very good idea and it will work. Do you know why? Most of the electorate are women. And most of the time, it is women that go house to house for campaign. You can’t go to my house and campaign. But I can go to your house and campaign to your wife. If I can convince her, I am sure she can convince you and her children. And nowadays, the politics is not like before. People are getting wiser and understanding politics more.

You just mentioned a scenario where you were denied a ticket because you are woman. You think this attitude can just change?

It depends on who you are and whether you have participated in politics before. In fact, it is only in Bauchi State, in northern part of Nigeria that about 30% of the permanent secretaries are women. There are three or four commissioners in the state. In some states in northern part of Nigeria, even the position of women leader, they give it to men, supposedly because no woman can handle it. In Bauchi, the story is different. Religious are preaching to people to allow girls to go to school. There is a huge difference between a man being a leader, and a woman being a leader. So many people benefit from a woman’s leadership. You are sure she will give to her children; she will give to her relatives and her relatives will give others. But with a man, the only thing he knows is his family.

Now, you are looking to be northeast women leader of the APC. Why a party position?

I want to make a difference through enlightenment, through awareness campaign, so that they will see the difference in leadership of women and men.

As women leader of the northeast, you will need to promote the party and whoever will be the presidential flagbearer of the party. Why do you think you sell APC over the opposition at this point in time?

The whole of the north is APC. Nobody can change that.

We have a first lady in Nigeria that has shown a lot of interest in politics. You looking to represent her zone in the party. Have you reached out her?

At present, I don’t have that privilege. If I get the seat, I will be in the position to meet her and I will work for the APC. As an aspirant, I need her support. Yes, I am a politician but I have limits in the people I can reach. I have never held any position. It would be different if I had been elected as a state house of assembly member. I would be in the position to introduce myself, and maybe my governor or ex-governor can connect me with her.

Why should APC leaders trust you with such a sensitive position?

Because of what I have done in the past. Most of these positions are zoned and they will seek advice from the stakeholders. It is the stakeholders that will sit down and look at the position that was zoned to area. That is micro-zoning. It is left for them to sit down and discuss who among the contenders for the position has the capacity. You know, in zoning, the stakeholder will sit and say maybe women leader, secretary will go to this state. I am sure if the stakeholders sit down and look at who has the capacity, they will pick me.

State governors are known to want to put people that are loyal to them for these positions. Right now, Bauchi is not an APC state.

Thank God for that. It is not a disadvantage because where there are governors, only the governor has a say. What they consider is the fact that states with APC governors have all opportunities to win elections but we don’t have governors need extra positions to help win in 2023. So, we need that position in Bauchi State, especially women leader.

Are you certain of the support of APC leaders in Bauchi?

I do. Most of them, I have worked with them, at one time or another. I believe they know my capacity. Quite alright, some people will say they will give you 100 percent support, but you know its politics. But from the way they talk to people about you, you know they are working for you. There are stakeholders, who single-handedly, have talked to the six states of the northeast on my behalf. That is, they have talked to party leaders and majority of their senators, house members, women leaders in the zone.

What is your position on zoning of the presidency?

I don’t have a position right now and even if I did, I don’t a say.

So, why should delegates from a state like Ebonyi vote for when you are not in support of zoning?

It is stakeholders from by zone that will campaign for me at the convention. Delegates from the southern part are also looking for other positions. So, it is a matter of trade by batter. We need women leader in our state and if you vote for us, then we will vote for you.

Source: Leadership Newspaper

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