When Ahman-Pategi hosted Kwara North women. By AHMED 'LATEEF
The permanent site of the proposed Ahman-Pategi University in Patigi town, Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State played host to women politicians from Kwara North on Saturday in their current drive for gender politics advocacy. AHMED 'LATEEF reports.
At about 2:14pm on Saturday, there was an usual surge in human and vehicle movement in the ancient town of Patigi, the Nupe speaking area of Kwara State. And suddenly, the road leading to the proposed Ahman-Pategi University in the town became hustling and bustling with huge cars flooding the road.
The occasional scene created some traffic on the road until many of the cars drove into the premises of the proposed institution.
For a mere onlooker, the arrival of the cars, with only women on board was very strange. Dressed in white local fabric (Iro and Buba) with white headgear and green veil to march, the guests gently alighted and filed into the administrative building of the incoming institution.
Other women who had been loitering around the building also joined the visitors and headed for the upstairs of the edifice for an important meeting. The women were led by a member of the House of Representatives for Edu/Moro/Patigi Federal Constituency, Aliyu Bahago Ahman-Pategi, to the venue where the meeting held.
Around 2:48pm, the proceedings of the meeting began. Contrary to some insinuation, the meeting hosted by the legislator, who is also the proprietor of the proposed University, was called to mobilize women in Kwara North Senatorial District, who are hitherto believed to be apathetic on political issues.
Another leg of the meeting was to sensitize them on the importance of permanent voter's card (PVC), which another round of continuous voter registration is ongoing across the country.
Apparently, the apathy exhibited by women from that axis was not unconnected with a combination of tradition, culture and religion. By sharing semblance with the Northern region of the country, women partisanship is perceived as anathema to the practices and dictates of religion.
And in keeping faith with the three factors, it became an arduous task for the women, particularly of Northern extraction to participate in politics. The practice has persisted for long.
But thanks to modernity that has begun to alter such ancient belief as primitive, anachronistic and archaic in spite of the factors that had stymied Northern women political participation.
The Kwara North Women in Politics, a new forum for mobilization appears to be working in tandem with the change dynamics, preaching that women should take their destiny in their own hands.
The forum believed that the factors had discouraged women in the senatorial district and condescended them to the rung of the ladder. On account of the factors, they could not acquire the needed education, which would have given them exposure to be seen as a major power bloc in the political process.
Speaking at the event, the President, Kwara North Women in Politics, Mrs Fatimah Yusuf, urged women in the district to discard the subsisting practice that opposed their active participation in politics like their male counterparts.
She enjoined them to see themselves as power broker in the axis the moment they show interest in politics.
Mrs Yusuf, a one-time Commissioner for Women Affairs in Kwara State also challenged them to register with the Independent National Electoral Commission to obtain their PVC in the ongoing continuous voter's registration.
She identified the PVC as a major tool to safeguard their future and fight for their right whenever an occasion demands.
Mrs Yusuf disclosed that the meeting was convened to form a synergy with all women from the senatorial district and make them relevant in the scheme of things.
The female politician, however, applauded the state political leadership for changing orientation and giving women opportunity to take active part in politics.
"We are here to form a stronger team and we thank Almighty God that Hon. Aliyu Ahman-Pategi hosted us, made us feel comfortable. We are grateful to our leader and the governor. We are grateful to his wife, who has kept on encouraging us that we should make sure we mobilize our women at the grass root, especially on this ongoing voter's card registration.
"This is because women are the nation, women are the ward, they are the local government and they are the state. We also thank wife of the Deputy Governor too, who has been motivating, supporting, directing and guiding us on what to do. She also made this Kwara Women in politics to be a realty.
"Today, the mission and vision of this forum is to encourage women at the grass root, especially because of our tradition, culture, background, the way we were brought up and education level. That is to talk of girl child education.
"We thank God for the mobilization, warm reception and understanding that goes on between us. If any woman from grass root in Patigi Local Government is being invited to Ilorin, the state capital, she will be there comfortably. She will know that she has her representative at the state level. She will also know that she has people that she can lean and rely on, that she care she discuss and share her mind with.
"We want to thank Mrs Toyin Saraki. She has been the brain behind all this encouragement of women in politics in Kwara State generally. Not only Kwara North, Central or South but she has been brain behind it and we thank her so much", Mrs Yusuf said.
Similarly, the Senatorial Woman Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara North, Mrs Jinat Ibrahim, who spoke in local dialect, urged Patigi women to shun age long tradition of being apathetic, saying their participation in politics was purely in their own interest.
She stated that women in the axis must change their orientation for relevance and recognition.
In his remarks, the host, Ahman-Pategi, admonished women in Kwara North to be efficient and determined in order make the district an indivisible entity.
He averred that only their involvement in politics would attract rapid development to their various communities.
Ahman-Pategi commended the forum of Kwara North Women in Politics for coming on board in the bid to mobilize women and encourage their participation in poltical affairs.
"You can see that all of them (the forum) are former political office holders from Kwara North. They decided to come together so that they can empower themselves, and equally promote the activities of the government of Kwara State and that of all political office holders, beginning with that of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed. And that is why they are here.
"They are touring all the five local governments of Kwara North, beginning with Patigi to Moro, Edu, Baruten and Kaiama. This is the kind of sensitization to ensure that if you want good governance, go and collect your voter's card, participate in politics so as to be engaged in political space.
"This is the reason they are here. They have got some experience from here in ensuring that the grass root is fully mobilized for the next round of election", the legislator observed.