Politics not for faint hearts – Abubakar

Zainab Marwa Abubakar, a lawyer and gender balance advocate, is the Founder of Zawram Foundation; an organisation that promotes peace and uplift economic status of citizens.
In this interview with ENE OSANG, Zainab who is also the daughter of former Lagos state Military Administrator, Gen.
Buba Marwa, said politics is not for the weak, and urges women to be mindful of the perils as men do.

Zainab Marwa Abubakar

Zainab Marwa Abubakar is a wife to her soul mate, a mother of amazing children, a sister and a daughter.
I am a lawyer by profession, a philanthropist with the goal of improving the quality of life of mankind regardless of religion, creed or class.
I am a gender balance activist, a politician, a motivator and a woman raised by guiding principles to appreciate all and embrace the society as it comes to me.
I was born on April 8, 1981, at Specialist Hospital, Bauchi state.
I was raised in a multi Tribal and multi lingual family, with a father from Adamawa state and a mother from Imo state.
My father, Brig.-Gen.
Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd.) is a service oriented former soldier turned businessman and politician.
My mother, Chief Mrs.
Zainab Marwa, is a homemaker of Igbo descent.
I am the last of four children, with two older brothers, Abubakar and Mohamed, respectively, and one older sister, Mariam, we all happen to be law graduates.
I grew up in Nigeria, America and the United Kingdom.

Background Like I earlier mentioned, my father is a former military man and to that end we were blessed to move around a lot and immerse ourselves in different cultures in and out of Nigeria.
I recall that I once counted attending 14 schools across Nigeria, America and the United Kingdom.
I, however, spent the most time at a wonderful school in Kaduna called essence international school where I learnt so much and was so inspired to go out and be the change I want to see in the world.
I was in essence from JSS2 to SS3 when I graduated and proceeded to the UK for my foundation, degree and masters.
I got my degree with honours from the University of Buckingham in the UK where I graduated at the age of 19 for my masters of science in service management, I returned to Buckingham as they were the only ones offering this particular course in the UK at the time.
I was accepted into the university of Salford in the School of Built Environment for PhD Studies In Disaster Management in 2017, my proposed working title for my thesis was Gender Responsive Recovery For Sustainable Peace; The Role of Women In The Post Conflict Re-construction of Mubi, Nigeria, I, however, differed this entry to pursue my political ambition of becoming a member of the national assembly representing AMAC and Bwari constituencies in AMAC.
I also recall my community service which was a prerequisite to graduating from secondary school.
I spent mine teaching at a local government primary school; I distinctly recall the fact that they had no chairs and the unspeakable joy the children showed upon our arrival.
We also visited ABU Teaching Hospital which was at the time located in Kaduna, my heart broke at the sight of a young girl with cancer of the eye, I recall most of us weeping at this sight and what I remember even more is that something was lit in me that day, a need and yearning to live to help others, to make their lives easier, to serve.
Like a small match causing an explosion, this fire burned in me till I finally launched my NGO in 2006, but registered it legally in 2014.
All these incidents have led me and carried me to where I am now, still with service on my mind but this time in a bigger arena, that of the national assembly of the federal republic of Nigeria as a parliamentarian.

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Your childhood dreams I recall my maternal uncle calling my siblings and I and asking all of us what we want to be when we get older.
I must have been about 6 years old.
My elder brother said he wanted to be a pilot, the next said he wanted to be a soldier, my sister said she wanted to be a teacher and when it came to my turn I looked my uncle dead in the eyes and said, I want to be a mother.
Of course, everyone proceeded to roar with laughter as I threw myself on the bed and sobbed for dear life, till this day I don’t know what is funny about such a lofty and honourable dream as being a mother.
Unlike so many that had the dreams of going into space as an astronaut or studying dinosaurs as a paleontologist, I, Zainab Marwa, wanted to be a mother, that was the sum of all my childhood wishes and dreams, and looking back I think it was because of the wonderful job my parents did with us.
I guess I wanted to be loved as much and as innocently and as unconditionally as I loved them and I also wanted to give all that love too.
As God would have it, I am indeed a mother to four amazing kids and I must say, the reality by far surpasses the imagination, I thank God for the opportunity to be the guardian of these four precious beings and I am humbled by His Grace daily.

 Desire for House of Representative in 2019 What inspired me to join politics and also seek for an elective position could easily be linked to my desire to promote the social status and welfare of people around me, I have done a lot in my drive to promote peace and uplift the economic status and quality of life of those I have been able to aid through my NGO Zawram Foundation.
Now, I see this as a way to broaden the perspective by interacting more with my constituents and others, to bring development from door to door, angle to angle.
Also, this dream and desires can only be achieved to such great magnitude if elected as a representative of the people as a parliamentarian.

How would you describe the nation’s political terrain as a female politician? There is no problem too great that a committed and dedicated group of people cannot overcome.
The involvement of women in politics in Nigeria is on the rise and their contributions cannot be over emphasised.
The terrain is conducive as you have the will, the desire and the passion to contest.
People will warn in the beginning against the perils of politics, but in my opinion this is done to everyone regardless of gender because indeed politics is not for the faint of heart.

Do you think more women will be successful in 2019? Yes, I do see chances of more women representation in politics, judging by the increase in the number of women contesting for elective positions.

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How would you describe the conduct of the recent Ekiti poll? The Ekiti state governorship election has come and gone with a plus to my party; I congratulate the governor-elect, Dr.
Kayode Fayemi.
On the issue of money politics and buying Zainab Marwa Abubakar, a lawyer and gender balance advocate, is the Founder of Zawram Foundation; an organisation that promotes peace and uplift economic status of citizens.
In this interview with ENE OSANG, Zainab who is also the daughter of former Lagos state Military Administrator, Gen.
Buba Marwa, said politics is not for the weak, and urges women to be mindful of the perils as men do.
of votes, I cannot comment on what I have no firsthand knowledge of.
I was not in Ekiti state during the elections, neither was I among the team of observers.
I am yet to lay my hands on any report on the subject.
Our election process is well defined to give room for the aggrieved to seek redress in an election tribunal.

What lessons for women politicians, come 2019? The women of Ekiti state are known for their positive and energetic participation in politics.
The market women association in Ekiti state is strong and their numbers can determine the outcome of an election.
I am sure the governor elect is aware of this and we look forward to gender balanced governance in Ekiti state.
The lesson learned is that the women in Nigeria are capable of determining the outcome of elections in any state of the nation.

What are the chances of women running for positions? The world over the tune is being changed governments, political institutions; private organisations etc are all leaning towards gender mainstreaming which is a step above gender balance.
I would personally encourage more women to come out and partake in the political process and also encourage political parties to make a level-playing field for female aspirants bearing in mind the pitfalls and bottlenecks on their journey to success.
What winning strategy for women; what are the past challenges? I believe that the winning strategy for women in politics is to rally around each other, the mantra united we stand and divided we fall comes to mind.
Politics is a game of numbers and women have the numbers.
We have had a lot of challenges, financial, stigma in society and fear to name, but a few.
Who should be blamed for youth restiveness, particularly in the North? The task of building a home and raising children does not just belong solely to the woman but to the society at large inclusive of the community, leaders, schools, religious institutions, social media outfits, the press etc.
Even at that, no one can deny that the women play a vital role and they are always at the front of guiding and moral training of children and youths.
However, I totally disagree with the view that it is solely due to the woman having a career that has led to the breakdown of society.
There are many contributing factors and I daresay that if statistics are taken the areas where the society is at its worse actually have a majority of housewives.
I personally believe that the determining factors of youth restiveness cannot lie solely on one anchor.
There isn’t one stratum of the society to be blamed, it takes a village to raise a child and it also takes a village to ruin a child, everyone has a part to play and when several salient character deficiencies are present in any one individual the blame can be spread across the board of those who contribute to the good upbringing of the child.

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How do you manage the home front as a career woman? I consciously and deliberately devoted a decade of my life to having my babies and raising them the way that my hearty desired.
Only setting off for the exploits of my NGOs, where I generally dictate my working hours and my work load.
Only now am I truly being faced with the issue of looking into career and family.
First of all, being married to my power partner, my soul mate, my helper and supporter matters a lot in this difficult equation.
But I won’t sugarcoat anything as that is not my style.
I have struggled at times with saying good bye to my kids so that I am able to make trips and the like for securing my future and theirs too in extension.
While I think a woman should use her discretion which also has a lot to do with her abilities financially and otherwise, when talking of working or not working.
I fully stand by the fact that if a woman has a lot to offer, a lot to give, being forced into only one particular version of herself-a mother and wife, can be counterproductive.
Some of us need to fly when the time is right and for me that time is now.
I have tremendous support of my family, my parents, siblings and husband, my kids have too much love and support so I never feel pressured by the thought of leaving them to their own devices or the devices of domestic staff.
That takes a lot off my mind.
It’s a tough nut to crack for most women but I must confess that for me other than the raw emotion of missing their cuddles I have not found it too hard to manage.
Any regrets? At quite a young age I wanted to go into a business which I did, but I was met with so many road blocks, I promptly gave up.
I had amazing ideas which by now would be worth millions in the bank; I know this because I have since followed the field and watched others excel at it.
In any case I gave up at the first sign of difficulty; I guess I must have been waiting for some external force to push me to greatness in the field.
I didn’t realise at the point that I was actually meant to push up and push through such obstacles and that is the only way to succeed.
So, I ended up dropping the business and failing at it, woefully at that because I didn’t even lift off the ground.
So, my attitude to failure since that time is to push through, never give up and never give in, keep trying, fall down five times get up six times, that’s my attitude to failure now.
How do you relax? I relax by watching shows that interest me, reading novels or whatever interests me and also by taking time out of life, pausing, speaking to myself.

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