Northern Women Breaking Barriers in Nigeria’s Male-Dominated Political Landscape
NEWS DIGEST – That the Nigerian political scene has historically been dominated by men is not in doubt; with its attendant and ceaseless advocacy by pro-women groups for a better deal in political and governmental affairs. Despite these obstacles, there have been exceptional women who have stood tall, shattering boundaries to assert their pedigree. These women have proven themselves intellectually and politically astute, with their achievements being the result of hard work and grace. Celebrating them to inspire the womenfolk has become imperative.
SENATOR AISHA DAHIRU BINANI
Senator Aisha Dahiru Binani is a Politician, Businesswoman, and founder of Binani Group which houses Binani Printing Press and Binani Air among others, She obtained her Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southampton, She was a member of the green chambers representing Yola North/Yola South/Girei federal constituency, As the Senator Representing Adamawa Central and APC Gubernatorial Candidate, She is known for her industriousness as well as her humility. I have been around her on several occasions, and you will hardly even feel like you are in the presence of a public figure.
Her philanthropic activities in her home state of Adamawa State are well documented, making her a beloved figure. Sen. Binani won her Senatorial Seat in 2019, Against all odds and is poised to become the first elected female Governor in not only the North but in the whole of Nigeria, a feat that will undoubtedly serve as a source of inspiration and make her a beacon of hope not only to Northern Women but to women in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
HADIZA SABUWA BALARABE
Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe is the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, In the 2019 governorship election, Governor El-Rufai who was facing the baggage of the unpopular revolutionary reforms and policies of his administration, as well as the backlash from Southern Kaduna Christians for daring to jettison the Muslim/Christian ticket decided to risk his reelection bid by nominating Dr. Sabuwa Balarabe as his running mate, breaking the norm in Northern Nigeria by choosing a woman as his running mate and his unwavering faith in her paid off, she became the first female to be elected to that office in the whole of Northern Nigeria
Like myself, Dr. Balarabe is a graduate of the University of Maiduguri, where she received training as a Surgeon with over two decades of experience in public health. She served as the Director of Public Health in the FCT in 2014 and held the position until February 2016 when Governor El-Rufai appointed her as the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency, she was renominated as the Deputy to the Kaduna State Governor-elect, Senator Uba Sani in the 2023 election, She has fortified her position as one of those exceeding boundaries set for women in a male-dominated field of politics
RAMATU TIJJANI ALIYU
Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, a certified Urban and Regional Planner from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has gained a lot of popularity in Nigeria’s Political Arena in recent years. Fondly called “The Amazon” by her supporters, RTA has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Security and Strategic Studies from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi. She also earned an Honorary Ph.D. in Public Administration from Commonwealth University, London, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Abbey College, London. She is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners and the Nigerian Institute of Public Administration.
Dr. Aliyu’s career trajectory has been fascinating. She has worked in the private sector in a civil engineering firm, serving as one of the Managing Directors of the firm, which made her a practicing town planner as well. She adroitly held several high profile offices from the defunct ANPP to the current APC where her contributions tremendously helped her Party towards resounding successes in 2015 and 2019. She was then appointed the Minister of State for FCT, a role she has been discharging to the admiration of many.
The politician in Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu is always visible, like the saying, “A Gold Fish has no hidden place”, This was evident in the just concluded 2023 General elections, through the group Nigerians Unite for Tinubu/Shettima (NUFTS), her project for the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign. She held several positions during the electioneering campaign, including Chairman of APC FCT Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Co-Coordinator of FCT APC PCC, Coordinator of the PCC Women Wing, Matron of Tinubu Support Organization, and several other Tinubu Support Groups. She played a significant role in the campaigns across the FCT and Kogi State. APC made tremendous progress in the FCT Winning 1 House of Representatives seat, a position formerly occupied by PDP going into the election, She is no doubt one of the top politicians to watch out for going forward.
HADIZA BALA USMAN
Hadiza Bala Usman’s impressive career path has made her a source of inspiration for many, she attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She later went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Developmental Studies from the University of Leeds in the UK. As the former Chief of Staff to the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mal. elrufai, Her appointment to this position was a clear indication of her intellectual Capacity, brilliance, and competence. Her rise to the top was not surprising given her previous role as one of the strongest policy drivers of the APC Campaign in 2015.
Ms. Bala Usman’s tenure as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority was a Vindication of the faith placed in her for such a position. She implemented innovative policies that led to the overhaul of the entire port authority. She fearlessly tackled the challenges in her job even if it meant stepping on toes. Her exploits propelled her to the top echelon of the leadership ladder and won her the admiration of many Nigerians. In 2023, Ms. Usman was appointed Deputy DG (Admin) of the APC Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council. She continues to inspire young women to strive for excellence in all their endeavors
SENATOR BINTA MASI GARBA
Senator Binta Masi Garba is a remarkable advocate for women’s rights, She attended Kaduna Polytechnic, where she obtained Higher National Diploma (HND) in Marketing. In addition, she attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and earned a Certificate in Public Financial Management. She began her professional career as an advert officer at New Nigeria Newspapers.
Senator Garba was elected to represent the people of Kaduna South Federal Constituency at the green chambers in 1999, at the time, she was the youngest Federal legislator in Nigeria. She contested for the same House of Representatives in her home state of Adamawa State, representing Madagali/Michika Federal Constituency, and won, making her the first politician to represent two different Federal Constituencies at different times. When the All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed, she became the first and only Female State Party Chairperson to date. few individuals, regardless of gender, can achieve this feat. In the 2015 elections, she was the only female Senator Elected in all 19 Northern States of Nigeria.
LATE SENATOR AISHA AL-HASSAN
This write-up will not be complete without the Honourable mention of Late Hajiya Jummai Alhassan, She defeated the then-incumbent Sen., former Ambassador Manzo Anthony in Taraba North Senatorial Primaries. She then went on to defeat a former governor in the general elections, A trained lawyer, she became the first female to be appointed Taraba State AG and Commissioner of Justice. She was also the first woman to be appointed Secretary FCT judicial council and later appointed the Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, She contested for the Taraba State Gubernatorial seat in the 2015 and 2019 elections under the Platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and UDP but lost the former to the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Darius Ishaku under controversial circumstances, her enigmatic cult following earned her the name “Mama Taraba.”.
President Buhari, however, appointed her as his Minister of Women Affairs in 2015.
Muawiyyah Yusuf Muye, a media expert writes from Abuja.