“I objectively find this administration to be very slow – too slow for the public’s good” LLA speaks to Munira Suleiman Tanimu, Kaduna’s Member State House of Assembly Constituency Candidate.
What influenced your decision to go into politics? And what is it like being a female in politics?
I come from a political background so, factually speaking, politics has always been a part of my life. However, what influenced my active participation in politics is the nagging desire to be a part of the change that Nigeria so desperately needs. And, being a woman that continues to serve my community through my many philanthropic endeavors – under the umbrella of my foundation that works closely with women and children – I realize that, more than most Nigerians, I, in fact, know and understand the what plight of everyday Nigerians are; a knowledge that I’ve come by through my work with impoverished women and children who continue to be castoffs and throwaways of their societies. Just like paying of taxes and obeying the regulations of this country, I believe reaching out to the less fortunate is my civic duty as someone with the good fortune of having a successful entrepreneurial career. So, I realized earlier that for my work to have lasting institutional impact in the broadest way possible (in terms of policies and legislations that directly or indirectly affect women and children), it was incumbent on me to avail myself for such responsibility in whatever shape or form – and, it so happens to be through this office that I’m running for.
What is your take on the current administration?
Not to mince words, I objectively find this administration to be very slow – too slow for the public’s good. And you’ll agree with me that Nigerians, en masse, think so, too. I find that there’s been a lot of lip service and so many campaign promises that are yet to be fulfilled. Unemployment is still high, insecurity is still a challenge and so is the economy and other aspects of the society.
What principles have kept you going as a woman in politics, can you share some experiences?
I am proud to be a woman, and I’d say my tenacity, drive and devotion to not only the causes close to my heart, but also my personal goals are some of the things that continue to sustain me in this murky sector. I am determined and ready to be a voice, and advocate for policies that will impact on everyday Nigerians. And, like I mentioned earlier, I will continue to leverage my experience and wealth of knowledge in humanitarianism to guide and direct my goals in politics.
Come 2019, what position are you vying for and why? What difference will your administration bring if you win?
I’m running for Member State House of Assembly, Lere East constituency, Saminaka, kaduna state. I am running for this office so I can bring true change to my people through reforms in the following sectors: Education, Healthcare, Employment, Poverty Alleviation and Women Empowerment. I believe, in my personal capacity, I have proven time-and-time again that I truly care, and I have also shown how passionate I am for the sectors through my many humanitarian and, entrepreneurial efforts.
In your own opinion, what are the challenges Women in Politics face?
Most importantly – being taken seriously, even when we are as qualified as the men, but I am always happy to put behind all those doubts and nay-says to rest with hard facts. And, to be honest, this should never deter any woman from reaching for her dreams in politics or governance.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of other challenges that women face in politics such as; access to funds, violence and intimidation, cultural norms and religion.
Do you think Nigerians are ready for a female President?
Yes, Nigeria as a country is very ready for a female president – every country is, in fact, ready! But it may be a long time coming with the pace at which we’re going with room for zero political participation for women. But I do hope all that, too, changes with time.
What is your take on grassroot networks? And how strong is yours?
I believe that grassroot networks are very crucial to the success of any government and, dare I say, politician/government official. But more than anything, I believe grassroot networks keep you grounded and on the pulse of what really matters – of what your constituents really, really need especially in a country like Nigeria where politicians are out of touch with what matters.
Talking about National issues, the prognosis about the Nigerian economy is bleak and frightening even if some people might not know this right now, if you are elected into office, what measures are you going to take to turn things around in no distant time? (Or constituency issues as should be applied)
As a legislator, I believe that my focus will championing policies and legislations that provide employments, empower my constituents and cater to their education and healthcare, and all these directly and indirectly feed into the economy of the state.
Are you a feminist? What does feminism mean to you?
I am really not one for using labels – but I can assure you, as my life’s work and career indicates, of my devotion to women and the issues that affect them. What would you say that makes me? I’ll leave it up to you.
Can you tell us about some women in politics that are mentor figures/major influences to you?
I have learnt a lot from Winnie Mandela’s fearless militancy and advocacy for the rights of Black South Africans, and Hilary Clinton’s studied and strategic approach to issues and politics. From the both of them I learn different things, which I choose to emulate.
If you do not win in this election, what will you do to aid those that won?
Well, I’m already doing that through my foundation, Green Heart Impact Foundation (GHIF), which focuses on poverty alleviation amongst women, through empowering women across Nigeria and through innovative programs that address root causes of poverty.
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series which focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes women empowerment and gender inclusion for women of African descent.
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