PDP convention: Baraka’s quest to lead women

From Desmond Mgboh, Kano

In the twilight of the Jonathan’s administration in 2015, a singular voice stood against a holocaust of intimidation and harassment against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in most parts of Northern Nigeria, particularly in the ancient city of Kano.

That voice was surprisingly that of a woman called Hajia Baraka Sani (now known as Baraka Umar). She fought, she spoke and she chummed out poetry about her party and her presidential candidate, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

She refused to betray President Jonathan as many had so easily done. As a price, she was molested by thugs in her own polling unit, where she had gone to cast her vote.

This Saturday however, the former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kano State and later, Senior Special Adviser to former President Jonathan on School to Agriculture Programmes would be asking the members of her party to elect her into the office of the National Woman Leader of the PDP.

The position has been zoned to the North Western part of the northern region, and a number of candidates have indicated interest to occupy same office. Among them are: one time minister of Environment, Mrs. Lawrencia  Laraba Mallam and another party stalwart, Hajia Maria Waziri.

Daily Sun gathered that the contest would be a “tough one” as each of these women has something to offer and they are well supported.

Investigations however revealed that there are many favourable factors trailing the aspiration of Hajia Baraka Umar. Apart from her fidelity to the party and the former President in the time past, her loyalty to all blocks of political groupings in the party in the north west region is also seen as “a huge plus.”

“She can be linked to several of the big wigs of the party as she has been a very humble person” said Ahmed Rabiu, who felt the party has a lot to gain if it voted for Baraka on Saturday.

Hajia Baraka, herself is never daunted by the task ahead. She feels that she has all it takes to lead the party’s women and mobilise them towards ensuring victory for the party in the coming political dispensation.

Speaking with Daily Sun recently, she remarked that her background should be used to judge her work rate and predict her skills and capacity  Urbane, educated and beautiful, she went into the history books as the most active and diligent Commissioners in Kano State during the administration of Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as Governor of Kano State. For instance, when Kwankwaso was yet to conceptualise his policies, Baraka was far ahead, thinking out options that spearheaded the revolution credited to that administration.

She repeated same feat during her charge as the Senior Special Adviser to then President Jonathan on School to Agriculture Programmes.

Asked how differently she intends to pilot the affairs of her office as the Woman Leader if elected by her party men and women, she smiled and assured that she would serve the electorate. “I am in the race to bring about a new life to the party, to help rejuvenate our party and to help our party in the process of mobilisation” she explained.

“Mobilization and that is what I am coming on board to offer my party. I assure you that I would personally lead the efforts of in all parts of Nigeria to mobilise, remobilise and widen the numbers of our party base among Nigerian women.

“Women have always had their families in their hearts and together we would look at all the options available to them and we move them forward. Whatever is available, we would open the doors and share with our women, not just with PDP women but with the Nigerian women and their families and I think it is going to be exciting for the Nigerian women” she stated excitingly.

“We will work together. That means that apart from the urban women, we would look at the rural women in a very sincere manner and find support for them” she added.

According to her, the leadership of the party’s women would touch on every facet of their supporters’ base, carrying them along at all stages.

“From the state women leaders, together with the Local Government Women leaders and down to the ward women leaders, together we would work. And as we all are working together; the party is the best for it as I am sure that others would certainly desire to join the PDP family following the things we would be doing.

“One of the things we would be look into is to go the rural areas and support Nigerians against malnutrition and help them to see what they must do to fight against the menace,” she explained.

She added that she would lobby for favourable policies from the National Working Committee (NEC), from the members of the party in the National Assembly and from all stakeholders to the glory of the party.

”Also I will encourage an effective reward system in the party” she said, saying that many people who had worked for the party need to be recognised.

“I hope to lobby the National Working Committee (NWC) to support me on this. I look forward to come up with an effective reward system so that those who work for the party, especially in the rural areas, can be singled out and honoured” she stated.

According to her “a lot of them fought and were never defeated in their wards. These stalwarts need to be identified and celebrated and it would make them work even harder to ensure that PDP continue to win in their wards.

“We also hope to be organising many workshops to drive the manifesto of the party home to our members. Our party members need to be taught the mission and vision of our founding fathers. We need to have these workshops and we need to educate our members on this. Many members are not even aware of what is expected of them as members of the party,” she stated

Interestingly, like many Nigerians, she believed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) no longer holds a Midas Touch in the north anymore and would not be able to repeat its accomplishments of 2015 again in 2019.

“APC is no longer popular. You know that people would always want to try new things and I think that the people have tried out the APC and they now know better. You see, sometimes when we try new things, we come to the realisation that the old system was far better. I think that is the thinking in the north today” she declared.

While regretting the mistakes of the past, she agrees that the hope of the future is overarching.

Asked what her reaction would be if she failed to win the polls on Saturday, she said that: “Good or bad, whatever the result turns out to be we are certainly going to work together. It is a family affair and we are going to keep working together in the interest of our great party, the PDP. We all cannot win at the same time. If you zero your mind that you either win or somebody else wins, then it would be a win -win situation for you” she concluded.

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Author: Uche Atuma