Lagos based businesswoman and politician, Hajia Fateema Muhammed, in this interview with the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT shares her views on women development, developmental politics, lifestyle, among other issues. Enjoy reading…
There is the belief that women today are forcing change. How much would you say has been achieved in this regard?
Women have been and would always be change agents in whatever society you find them. I must say this; I have an issue with the question such that you’ve relegated the women. Perhaps you want to pretend to be unaware about the numerous impacts women have brought into politics, education, family etc. time won’t permit me to mention names of all women that stood tall against all odds. We have Folorunsho Alakija, Remi Bola Tinubu, Kemi Adeosun, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and many others. But when we measure the level of influence compared to their male counterparts, we will discover that women are still far behind. Now, if you look at it the other way, you will realize that a lot has been achieved. I want to see the women get to the point where we won’t be silenced or relegated. I want us to get to the point where it will no longer be a case of 5 percent ministerial appointment for women but based on equity, fairness and merit which is the bedrock of true development.
How would you define fashion and style?
I will simply define fashion as relationship to the external i.e. appealing to external trend, what is in vogue and popular among people. Style is relationship to the internal. It is borne out of internal desire, my perception, my orientation and feeling. A good example is asking yourself, does my dressing match my sense of who I am. Lastly, fashion distracts while style connects. Fashion takes away our attention from us. Style brings our attention directly to us.
How do we raise politically active women and create an environment that welcomes different opinions?
We’ve got to a stage where one can sit at home and make millions without stepping a foot outside. One can start with the social media, create a blog, have a page or twitter handle and be making posts on sensitive issues. We will always remember Linda Ikeji not because she held a political position or got married to political big wig but because she was able to transform the social media which was her hobby to her working place. Now, for someone like her, she can influence decisions whenever she feels her interest is at stake. Apart from using the social media, we can join groups within our environment such as associations, religious groups, social groups, professional groups, and political meetings etc. whichever one that is good and powerful if one knows how to make gains out of opportunity. You don’t just attend meetings and keep quiet when issues are raised. In totality, you must be able to make sacrifices such that might deny you of some basic needs.
What else do you do aside politicking?
I have a comprehensive drinks company, cooling vans etc. and I also sell wines and liquor in wholesales.
What is your ultimate target in politics?
Someday, I have a dream of becoming the very first female vice president of this great nation. That will be after my sojourn at the House of Reps and Senate.
How do you give back to the society?
As you know, there are many ways one gives back to the society. My own way of giving back to the society is by supporting children below age 15 in school with academic materials like text books, school bags, pencils, mathematical sets and all of that. I still go the extra mile in paying people’s hospital bills. But I support children’s education the most.
Tell us your opinion about Nigerian men’s way with beautiful women?
The essence of beauty is to attract. And it will be unimaginable for beauty to attract inordinate objects. So, for me, it is natural. And for that lady, you should appreciate God for such. But my input will be that such a lady should be able to control her emotion as such may endanger her and bring her to a state of disdain.
What are your favourite colour and food?
I love starch and banga soup. For colour, every cool colour works for me.
At what point did you consider changing from being Muslim to Christianity?
Religion for me is so personal, hence I do not as a matter of principle discuss it. Let me say I wholeheartedly believe in God.