Tuesday, 5 May 2015

This Woman might become Nigeria’s 1st Female Deputy Speaker!

By on 11:44
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Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim

Right from her entry into parliamentary democracy at the beginning of the 6th national assembly in 2007, Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim made a solemn covenant with her conscience and the people of her Damaturu/Gujba/Gulani/Tarmuwa federal constituency to be an outstanding legislator in her parliamentary endeavors.
 And today, as she returns for a third term after being endorsed by her people and her party APC and with an advanced knowledge in parliamentary democracy, it is obvious that her experience is needed at a higher level of political leadership.
Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim is seen as the face of CHANGE which is the domineering policy of the incoming government of APC. With every political alignments and re-alignment taking place before the inauguration of the 8th assembly in June, Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim from the North East is mostly favored on many fronts to become Nigeria’s first female deputy speaker  of the lower house. Apart from making history with such a sublime decision at the lower chamber of the bicameral assembly, the opportunity of having a woman as a deputy speaker of the lower house in its’ first outing as a ruling party is seen by gender enthusiasts as one of the biggest achievement of the APC government in her determination to fulfill a gender balance.
Basking in the euphoria of a credible assurance of “New Deal” for women and youths by General Muhammad Buhari, a group of concerned gender enthusiasts is presently looking at the credibility, experience and parliamentary maturity of Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim as one politician who is well prepared ahead of time with her three term experience in the lower house.
General Buhari who is seen as a honest democrat who honors his words with action made a promise during his campaign to give women a befitting affirmative slot in his government. His promise and that of his party APC is viewed with fervor. In his words, General Buhari who has suddenly brought lots of fair play and fair sense into the democratic space within a short time said “We shall commit ourselves to merit based affirmative actions to level the playing field for women and provide them with opportunities to be part of decision making and governance at all levels”.
 Why Khadija  Bukar Abba Ibrahim  might become the APC choice.
In 2007, the PDP government gave Nigeria her first female speaker, a hair dresser from Ikire town in Oshun state in the person of Honorable Patricia Olubunmi Etteh. Today, many PDP enthusiasts viewed that singular gender achievement as a noble cause but the nobility suffered merit as the circumstances that led to Etteh’s removal from office after 7 months still hunts the outgoing PDP till date. Today, the incoming APC government through General Muhammadu Buhari is changing the game by going for merit first before sentiment.
Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim comes on board with a luggage full of merits. She joined the 6th national assembly on the 29th of May, 2007 after her public service experience as the Honorable Commissioner for Transport and Energy in Yobe state between 2004 and 2007. During her first tenure as a lawmaker, she held several leadership positions that came with lot of tasks. She was Deputy Chairman of both the House Committee on Rural Development and House Committee on Communication. She also served as member in the Power, Water Resources, Interior, Women Affairs, Appropriation, Electoral matters, Banking and Currency, Petroleum upstream, Police Affairs, Sports and Constitution Review committees.
In 2007 she was returned to the lower chambers of NASS by her people and her responsibility in the parliament doubled; she was appointed Chairman, Privatization and Commercialization Committee. She also sat on the board of committees on Culture and Tourism, Environment, Industries, Interior, Millennium Development Goals, Niger-Delta Development Commission and youth and Social Development.  
Her legislative interest cuts across humanitarian projects like development of health sector, development of the education sector with regards to the female child education, women empowerment and maternal protection.
Born on January 6th, 1967, Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim has a BSc in Business Studies and Sociology from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom (1989). Before then, she bagged a National Diploma in Sociology from Padworth College, Reading, UK (1986). She got her O ‘level certificate from Headington School, Oxford, UK in 1985.
Apart from being a lawmaker and public servant, Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim was a Resident Commissioner for NICON Insurance, Yobe state between 2006 and 2007
Today, Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim has won several awards for her meritorious acts in politics. She won Thisday (Newspaper) woman of distinction awards 2012. Early that year, she equally won Transparency and Accountability Innitiative Award” as “Most Outstanding Female Lawmaker” in Nigeria. In 2008, she was honored with the SATBILA Award by NEPU-PRP committee. She won the Northern Nigeria Women Merit Awards in 2007 and Rotary Club International gave her a “Distinguish Leadership Award” in 2006.
A Lawmaker away, a Good Samaritan @ home
Apart from her legislative stake in Abuja, Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim has been much at home in the war against the destrucion of her people by the deadly Boko Haram sect. Two of the 4 LGAs under her constituency were overran and taken over by the Boko Haram terrorists and this has equally earned her an advocacy role against the deadly terrorist group. She dedicated her efforts at lobbying government at both state and national level to liberate her people which is coming with measurable results. Khadija  Bukar Abba Ibrahim is also engrossed with the advocacy and support for internally displaced people, which includes her donation of money and relief materials to the camps of the IDPs. She has also given some of the IDP children scholarship. She also mobilized NGOs and International donors for support especially in the area of clinical psychology and counselling for the displaced people to help them recover from the post event trauma.
Factors that will work for her
Toady in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim is the most highly ranked female member of the house that has never decamped or cross carpet into any other party than APC. She is equally the only female member that is on her 3rd term mission in the National Assembly on the platform of APC.
With the promise of giving affirmative act based on merit, the APC will be making good her dream as a party by giving just one of the top elective political offices in Nigeria to a woman. (i.e. President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker, Deputy Senate President, and Deputy Speaker)
With the failure of the outgoing PDP to get merit on her card when appointing Etteh in 2007 and with the poor outing of Mulikat Akande as House majority leader in the 7th house, the APC will need to make a great impression by merging merit with sentiment for a maximum expression on gender balance. With an incoming presidency where the office of the first lady will be much more silent, the least position that can give the incoming ruling party a niche to her pedigree is that of Deputy Speaker.
For the prominent role Nigerian women played in working for the actualization of the CHANGE mantra, the position of a deputy speaker will go a long way to console and consolidate the gains of gender leadership in Nigeria.
The position of deputy speaker which Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim is eminently qualified for is not seen as a political slot per se but a gender slot that will confirm APC as a gender sensitive party.
The analyst speak…
In his submission, Professor JAF Adegbulu a public affairs analyst and gender enthusiast gave his opinion about Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba’s dream “The beauty of this whole argument is the fact that the APC as a party is not in short supply of eminently qualified women who can fly the flag of the party in any capacity in government. It can be argued that this advocacy (Gender equation) is more germane in the legislative house where there has been a paucity of women principal officers’ vis-à-vis their male counterparts since the beginning of this democracy in 1999. If there is any arm of government where the principle of Affirmative Action should be strictly adhered to, it should be at the national assembly where our laws are made”
Professor Adegbulu took deep look into factors that will work for Honorable Khadija Bukar’s Abba Ibrahim’s candidacy as Deputy Speaker of the 8th house “Looking at the geo-political configuration based on current power equation, it appears that the South West may be favored to produce the speaker of the House of Representatives. If this calculation is correct, it is only logical that an experienced woman, versed in legislative processes and procedures, be chosen from the North East as Deputy Speaker”
Adegbulu gave his reason for choosing North East above any other  geo-political zone in Nigeria “The North East zone is considered the most cheated in the power equation of National Assembly since 1999, as no woman from the zone has been privileged to serve as principal officer of the legislative body”
Adegbulu deepened his points “Besides, the North East is considered the third most populous in Nigeria after North West and South West; having the highest minority tribes who are often the victims of marginalization in the country’s power sharing arrangement. Moreover, in the just concluded presidential and national assembly elections, the North East produced the second highest number of Federal Lawmakers for the party (APC)”
Professor Adegbulu quickly acknowledged the fact that his advocacy for gender equation in the Nigerian parliament is not an act of image laundering but a honest consideration for a fine pedigree of hard work and a record of excellence in a woman who will be bringing to the legislative business a whole gamut of experience spanning three years in the legislative enterprise. He added “Besides, it is anchored on APC’s policy of a “merit based Affirmative Action” aimed at providing a level playing field for women and provide them opportunities to be part of  decision making and governance at all level”.
“Based on the outlined facts, the choice of Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim from the zone as Deputy Speaker in the 8th National Assembly will be a logical step to the much vaunted policy of APC on women participation in political leadership”
“It will be seen as putting a round peg in a round hole”. Adegbulu concluded.

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