Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu is the National Woman Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, she reveals how women were mobilised to vote for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election. She also shares her thoughts on other national issues.
You were the director of women mobilisation of the APC Presidential Campaign Council. Now that the election is over, in retrospect, would you say you were successful in mobilising Nigerian women to vote for APC in the presidential election, which Gen. Buhari won?
First and foremost, let me say I am grateful to the Almighty God for making it possible for my humble self to be part of the recent political history in our country where our party, the APC, became the first to defeat a ruling party in a presidential election. It is a most remarkable feat, which would not have been possible if majority of Nigerians, especially the women, did not believe in the philosophy of change, which we espoused and more importantly, were not resolved that our President-elect, Gen. Buhari, represented their best choice in the prevailing circumstance to restore their hope in a better tomorrow, which they deserve.
Having said that, let me add that the beauty of democracy resides in the competing choices it offers the electorate to make informed choices. In fact, the period of electioneering campaigns offer a society in a democracy the opportunity to evaluate the various philosophical options for renewal. It is on the basis of the strength of these options and their acceptance that enables the electorate make up their mind on who or which political party best aggregates their collective aspirations in society’s endless search for a better order.
What am I saying? The extent to which Nigerian women appreciated the context of the purpose of the APC, as a political party in its search for power for the good of all, is the first victory for our party, in the just concluded elections. This explains why we not only won the presidential election, we also won majority of the seats in both chambers of the National Assembly, more governors and more members of the various state Houses of Assembly.
Now, the second vital component of our victory at the election is located within the purview of issues evaluation and acceptance, especially by the electorate. You will recall that during the campaigns, the major thrust of our message to Nigerians was the issue of insecurity and the compelling necessity to conclusively nip it in the bud. Gen. Buhari, considering his background as a Spartan fine soldier laced with ample integrity was in a far more commanding position to end the scourge, which had claimed several innocent lives.
We have to accept that in any given circumstance where there is crisis, it is women and children who bear the brunt. This distorts family harmony, which by extension saddles the woman both as wife, and mother with severe challenges, which often times, she really has no choice than to manage and ameliorate as the natural custodian of the family unit.
So, because Nigerian women trusted Gen. Buhari as a man of honour and integrity, they naturally accepted him as the most suitable to end the bloodletting. This affirmative reality now made the women rally massive support for him during the election because if the scourge is defeated, then of course, the women would be in a better stead to play their natural roles as custodians of harmonious and prosperous families. They also realized that with peace, development would be better enhanced which in turn would rub off on a far stronger propensity for prosperity absolutely necessary for them to train their kids, enhance the self worth of their husbands and generally find value for their lives as individuals who desire a better life. Naturally, this would stabilize the family which you may be already aware is the most important unit of development in every society.
So, it was on this concrete reality that Nigerian women were mobilized through various programmes anchored on persuasive conviction, and I am indeed encouraged by their massive support for Gen. Buhari as reflected in the fact that well over 55 per cent of those who voted for the presidential ticket at the election were predominantly women.
You’ve dwelt on insecurity as the major flank of the campaign, which attracted the women to vote for Gen. Buhari. How do you react to the fact that right now President Jonathan has virtually ended insecurity by the ongoing military action in the affected states, especially Borno?
We should not lose sight of the fact that the renewed offensive to end the scourge in the affected areas started after it became clear that the insecurity thrust of the APC presidential campaign had gained popular acceptance. Because the PDP was caught in the lurch on what to do, the presidential election earlier scheduled for February 14, had to be shifted to March 28, to enable them buy time to address the issue. They thought that if they could end the scourge of insecurity, they would weaken Gen. Buhari’s acceptance profile since it was anchored on his capacity to address the plague of insecurity, thereby making it possible for them to defeat him at the presidential poll.
But ironically, they forgot that Nigerians, especially the women, could not be taken for granted. The question now arose, if you could not address the issue in six years, how come you can now defeat it in six weeks? Who is fooling who? And you know, women, once their mind is made up on something they feel very strong about based on rational conviction, it’s usually difficult for them to change.
So, they were convinced that even with the relative successes made in the fight against insurgency, credit should be given to the APC which during the campaign anchored the solution to the problem on the antecedents and capacity of Gen. Buhari which made the PDP sit up to frontally confront it.
We should also not lose sight of even the important aspect of rehabilitation. Families have been separated forcefully. Homes have also been displaced. Means of livelihood have been impaired, if not irretrievably imperiled. The entire social structure of the affected communities has been dislocated with serious consequences on individual fulfillment, as vital social, economic or even political denominators.
So, through whatever perspective the issue is looked at, the Buhari factor comes in heavily and very significantly too, especially within the context of the resolve of Nigerian women during the election to effect change such that the issue of insecurity can be defeated.
You have just talked about the issue of rehabilitation of the victims of insurgency. What do you envisage would be the policy thrust of the Buhari administration in this regard?
Already by his utterances and body language since his election, Gen. Buhari has left no one in doubt of his intention to run a purposeful administration. I will counsel that we wait and not pre-empt him. But I assure you that he will tackle the issue conclusively in the same way he would certainly address other challenges that have plagued the nation. So, let’s wait and see.
The Sun news – culled from: http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=117715