October 31, 2010

2011: Can Sarah Jubril sail jubilantly?

‘My campaign is a rescue responsibility’

By Clifford Ndujihe

If zoning to marginalised sections of the polity and voting power were to be the only determinants of the 2011 presidential polls, Mrs. Sarah Jubril says she would be the biggest beneficiary. According to her, women had been grossly marginalised in the power-sharing arrangement, with no woman occupying the nation’s highest office since independence in 1960.

And this is in spite of the fact that women account for about 51% of the voting population of the country. The highest office a woman has occupied is Speaker of the House of Representatives, which Hon. Patricia Etteh held for  four months and 26 days between June and October 2007 before she was compelled to quit over alleged graft.

Jubril told Vanguard that it was time for things to change in the affairs of the nation, with women, whom she said bear the brunt of Nigeria’s mismanagement, taking charge and re-directing the ship of the state. The presidential aspirant declared that she would provide “rescuer-leadership” to refocus and raise the country “from delayed development to steady wealth and rapid development.”

The nagging puzzles
Will voters give women a chance in 2011? Will the majority women voting population back a fellow woman? Can Jubril face her male opponents eyeball-to-ball electorally in terms of  electioneering strategy, war-chest and voters mobilisation? Hailing from Pategi, Kwara State in North-Central geo-political zone that has held power longer than any other zone, will other zones back somebody from the area to have power so soon? Can she outwit President Goodluck Jonathan, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Gen. Aliyu Gusau and Dr. Bukola Saraki to pick the PDP ticket? These are some puzzles Sarah Jubril must resolve to sail jubilantly at the polls, after three botched attempts.

Asked if she was going to make any headway this time, she said: ‘Why not? Have you not heard about Abraham Lincoln? I am not in the contest for nothing. I am there for a mission. I am not running as a joker. I am zoning neutraliser candidate. Women should have it in 2011.  We are not making empty noise. We are doing it step-by-step. My campaign is a rescue responsibility. There is nothing to emulate from the other aspirants. They  have ruled in the past or have been in power, what can we learn from them? We are out to apply our God-given knowledge to develop the country.”

A veteran presidential aspirant of sorts, Mrs. Sarah Jubril, is the only woman standing in a crowd of 18 aspirants across all political parties ahead the 2011 polls. She is aspiring on the plank of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. She said it would be in the interest of majority of the citizenry, especially women and the youths to cast their lots with her because “my campaign is a rescue responsibility.”

In her early 60s, Jubril’s presidential ambition dates back to 1992. She was an aspirant in the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP in the botched Third Republic. She also aspired in 1998 on the platform of the PDP and lost the presidential ticket to Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who went on to win the polls.

In 2003, she took her ambition to the Progressive Action Congress, PAC and became the first woman to contest a presidential election in Nigeria. She  later returned to PDP, to jostle for the party’s ticket in 2007. She scored four votes at the convention which late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua won.

Jubril, who is the Chairman of the Governing Council of College of Education (Technical), Asaba and declared her presidential intention on August 26, said politics in Nigeria must be redefined.

The president Nigeria needs
According to her, the kind of president Nigeria needed now was one who had the serenity to be creative so that people would no longer leave Nigeria for greener pastures.

She attributed most of the crises bedeviling the country to the absence of character in most of the people occupying public offices and pledged to address the “quality of being of the citizens and underdevelopment of the system in the family, the communities, professions, economy, politics/governance, infrastructure and diplomacy,” if elected.

The politician said she was in a better position to tackle the deluge of problems because “I stand as a neutralizer who will provide parenting therapist as president.”

Jubril said she joined the race to ensure quality economic development and improved citizenry, pledging to provide “rescuer-leadership”, to refocus and raise the country from “delayed development to steady wealth and rapid development.”

Her words: “I remain with an unquenchable spirit that I can and with all of us, can re-teach and re-nurture Nigeria back to sanity, orderliness, serenity, peace, and systematic discipline in all sectors. The president that Nigeria needs very urgently is the one who can roll up his or her sleeves to teach good character or ethics in the pursuit of excellence in every area of our quest, goals, and vision.”

On zoning, Jubril said the controversial arrangement in PDP was for “political convenience,” adding that there were over 450 ethnic groups in the country that the zoning formula intended to give sense of belonging. But more importantly, she asked that the exalted seat be zoned to women in 2011.

Neutraliser candidate
“I am standing as a neutralizer candidate, to neutralize the argument of North or South. I am coming as a comforter to those who want pragmatic change. You have relegated women to the background in this country. At home, it is the woman that nurtures the character of the child. If we want to restore our cherished values, we must concede political office to women who are naturally born to teach and mould character. Why do we have so much criminality in Nigeria? You have relegated the teachers of human conscience to the background and that’s why you are having problems. Today, we have lost our moral integrity, because nobody is asking, ‘who gets what and how?” she said.

The woman, Sarah

Jubril gained a wide range of experience as a teacher, housewife, sportswoman and counsellor. The one-time Commissioner for Social Development, Youths and Sports in Kwara State and former assistant athletics coach, Kaduna Sports Council, also taught at the Advanced Teachers College, Kano.

She attended Datford College of Education, London and Kansas University, USA, where she graduated with a B.Sc. in Education among others. In addition, she bagged a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Lagos and specialised in Educational, Social and Family Psychology.

A consultant of repute, Jubril is a social reformer and devoutly religious. She believes every aspect of life or success is rooted in ethics. She has been moving around the country with her ethical message for a new Nigeria.
Whether or not her message for a new Nigeria has been heard well will be known at the 2011 poll.