•‘Why I Want To Serve Ifako-Ijaiye In House of Reps’
By Lekan Bilesanmi
Hon. Fateema Muhammed is a woman politician. In this interview, Muhammed speaks on her ambition to represent Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency, Lagos in the House of Representatives in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), among other issues.
How long have you been nursing the ambition of going into public office and who and what actually encouraged you to go into active politics?
A whole lot of factors spurred me into taking part in active politics or perhaps participating in politics. The first and which I would describe as the major was when I was driving by and saw where a woman was abused by a man. When I say abuse I don’t mean verbal abuse but physical. I had to stop and mediate but to my greatest surprise, she never had anyone to support her, and the said man was also her husband. This gave me a pulse that there is the need for women to brace up and speak yet maintaining decency. Stand for their rights and demand for it not minding whose ox is gored. Another reason for participating was to clear this impression that women politicians are promiscuous and not assertive when it comes to governance.
Would you say you had leadership traits from childhood?
There is a popular saying that goes that everyone is born a leader, but it now depends on what role and purpose you are created for. Leadership has been an inborn right from my childhood, though my university days and to this moment.
As a grassroots politician, what exactly do you think is the main challenge confronting this country?
The main problem I would say we have as a nation is being selfish and not compassionate as individuals. Nigeria is naturally endowed to provide basic, infrastructural needs of its citizenry and also make every Nigerian gets the basic amenities but we would rather enrich ourselves than the nation. I pray for a Nigeria that will look at the national pledge and act accordingly; development does not rest on the shoulder of a particular peer group, nor respects age and agility, but rather bows to a man who possesses rejuvenated mind-set about development and growth. Based on the question, we also have the issue of trust; the inability of one group to see the other just as it sees itself. Let’s trust others just exactly the way we want them to trust us.
You are aspiring for the House of Representatives. Would you like to share the developmental programmes you have in plan for your constituents?
There is nothing I had ever wished to do politically that I have never done, only that there will certainly be an increase in the quality and size. I have always been a woman who loves to give back to the society. I am passionate about cushioning the effect of poverty. I have a comprehensive growth and development induced programs to embark on in no distant time. Whether I win or not, our women must be empowered with the basic and necessary tools so as to thrive in whatever environment they find themselves. The men are not also left out in my plans.
Do you think politics is really a dirty game?
Like I said earlier, everything in life is all about mind-set. What’s your mind-set about money, marriage, friendship, business, religion and politics? Your mind-set is the determining factor in the whole process of life. Some people might see politics to be dirty and ungodly, but for me, I see politics as a profession meant for people with mature leadership in correcting the anomalies embedded in the national structure.
If elected to the House, what is going to be your main focus in legislation?
One of my concerns so far has been gender equity and not gender equality. Obviously we can’t match the men when it comes to strength and wit but we can contribute our own quota in the society not forgetting that we are the mothers of the nation. My federal constituency is the second largest in Lagos and one of the least developed. But let me assure the good people of Ifako Ijaiye that I am here to change the narrative God willing when I become their representative. I would also step up my empowerment programmes and my community development would be taken to another level.