Hon. Fateemah Aduke Muhammed was born on the 24th of July, 1972 in Warri, Delta State Nigeria. From Borno State: Maiduguri precisely, while her mum is from Delta State. A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where she graduated as a microbiologist in 1994, she had her secondary school education at Command Secondary School, and also her primary school education at Command Children School all in Lagos. For having penchant in self-dependency, she established her own business as a source of income named as Unstoppable Handlers, a comprehensive drink company.
Fatee, as she is fondly addressed, has held various positions from her childhood right to this present moment which has inspired a lot of people. As a result of her sagacity and tenacity, she has been decorated with various awards ranging from academics to politics; they include Excellence Recognition Awards 2017 Grassroots Politician of The Year, Women In Transformational Leadership Award, 2015, Icon of Humanity Award, Award of Excellence 2017 from the Nigeria Institute of Journalism 2017, and more. Presently, the Lagos PDP House of Representatives candidate for Ifako-Ijaiye, Fateema has, thus far, displayed a rare passion for giving back to the society with a lot of empowerment programmes for the youth, women, the aged and less privileged in the society. She spoke more about her life to the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT. Read on…
Are you satisfied with the present level of involvement of women in Nigerian politics?
I’m neither convinced nor satisfied with the level of political participation of women in Nigerian politics. Sincerely speaking, we’ve experienced dramatic progress in the level of participation of women since the advent of the 4th republic till this present moment, but that shouldn’t seal our fate of pushing for more participation, consideration and involvement in policy making and execution. The very moments where women are seen as equal contenders for position rather than what is prevalent now through consideration and allocation, I would be more fulfilled. I want to see a dispensation where women command support, become threat to their counterpart. More reason I am coming out without minding whose geese or goose is gored. We must set the trajectory for a better narrative else we continue to grope and roam without meeting the target. I must celebrate Hon. Rita Orji representing Ifelodun Federal Constituency for holding fort and inspiring other women on the need to dare the sea of politics.
As a mother, how best do you think the moral decadence prevalent among our youths can be tamed?
The question on moral decadence wouldn’t have set in in the very first place if our value system is balanced, fortified and championed. You should remember the bible stated that if the foundation be destroyed, what should the righteous do? In our own case in Nigeria, it is as a result of weak and defeated value system, where we support and celebrate mediocrity against hard work, jettison merit for favouritism and relegate sincerity for trickiness. All these amount to decadence among the youth, they no longer see the need to prove and develop themselves, looking for quick and sharp way to get rich; cutting corners and involving themselves in unimaginable acts to meet their numerous and unlimited needs. Also, our entertainment industry has caused more danger than good as they endlessly depict and display nuisance, nudity, recklessness and waywardness, glorifying same with various forms of vulgar language. The more we have these music videos with artistes smoking and drinking heavily, the direct message is that it feels cool to do same. Yet these sets of people are given preferential treatment wherever they find themselves by the government, religious institution, schools etc. The best way to tame them is to censor our entertainment industry by dishing out an executive order banning some indecent dressings and display of waywardness among artistes. Also, the need to celebrate academic and intellectual excellence above mediocrity and nepotism, inclusion of the subject of national values in our academic curriculum etc. all these can curb the decadence in the society.
Dressing is power. You have the natural look. What is your general style like?
Thanks for the compliment; for me, looking good is a binding principle that mustn’t be jettisoned. Just like the popular saying goes, you are addressed based on the way you dress and vice versa. My style of dressing is the type that celebrates the female gender, one that speaks and glorifies the women and one that affirms the sensitive and delicate position of the women in the cycle of life. Mostly dressed in African prints, but once in a while adorns myself in little of western cloths for outing, travelling and sport activities. For me, dressing speaks a whole lot about you and what you represent in the society where you belong. A shabbily dressed fellow might find it difficult to command respect and influence decisions.
As an active participant, have you noticed any shift in voter attitudes or not between when Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999 and now?
Obviously, there have been some degrees of electoral shift by the electorates during election since the advent of fourth republic in 1999. But then, one needs to make distinction on the various levels: it could be on the level of political party, gender, religious affiliation, political ideology, age and ethnic background. These aforementioned levels have in many ways determined electorates voting pattern of which a good example is the 2015 general election where the incumbent government lost power to the opposition. The voting pattern shifted from the normal trend of voting PDP as against the other parties but 2015 election saw a shift from widest and largest party in Africa to a more formidable party, APC. We’ve also experienced shift based on religious affiliation as the victory of President Buhari was brought about by the massive support he got from the North extraction.
More women all over the world are choosing politics as a career; don’t you think this could affect their traditional role as mothers and wives?
As much as I respect the traditional gender role of the woman in the family, I also believe that same institution has not limited the women as only managers at home, but rather as potential managers of bigger responsibilities. More reason most states or countries governed by women experience socio-political and economic stability. On the aspect of their inability to manage the home, that for me is a misconception and should be thrown to the trash can. We have women who engage in various things outside politics and still end up raising Godly and exemplary children. Despite their busy schedule, they still meet the immediate needs of the family. So using the intricacies of politics to scare women off is evil and should be stopped. Politics isn’t different from other engagements. It’s all about the management of humans and formulation of policies which is a normal and everyday thing. Politics doesn’t and won’t affect you as a woman if you venture into it which must be based on your mindset. Are you there to mark time or impact lives? It’s left to you to decide what you want to bring on board, else you become the ball to be played.
There are appreciable gender differences that should naturally make women more electable than men, but Nigeria’s case seems different; why in your opinion is this so?
The issue raised isn’t just peculiar to Nigeria alone but also prevalent in all African countries and some underdeveloped countries in the world. I will say this mentality stemmed from our cultural background where it is believed that women are meant to be home makers and caregivers, and as such shouldn’t dabble into mainstream politics. But we’ve seen in recent past how women have risen beyond this limitation to manage affairs of the nation brilliantly well without recourse to prejudice. Special respect to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dora Akunyili, Remi Tinubu, Oby Ezekwezili and many others who had held sway of governmental positions and still command a good percentage of reforms and policies despite being feminine.
Staging a protest against the traditional institution isn’t the best way to address this issue, but rather the women must rally round their fellow women in support of their candidacy. Ensure their victory and encourage them, the more this is done the more the better for us as women. The archaic mindset will be jettisoned and thrown to a trash can in due time.
The emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential flagbearer has justified your support for him, what are your expectations for 2019 at this stage?
My expectations are high and they are not out of this world. One of my expectations is seeing President Muhammadu Buhari defeated in the poll come 2019. That to me is the first, after which the need for a sporadic development that eliminates and eradicates this present situation. A change that cuts across all facets of the society from education to agriculture to defence and health sector of the country, not leaving the ethnic groups: major concerns to the minority groups. I am hoping to see major reforms and policies adopted in the area of the present federal structure.
In short, my hopes are high in regards to 2019 general election
You enjoy playing politics and empowering people, what else do you enjoy doing that people don’t know yet?
Hmmm, the other secret and unknown aspect of me is my undiluted love for my creator. My reverence to him and love for His almightiness over my life and family cannot be over emphasized. I don’t think there is anything that can come in between me and him.
Sexual assault is a nightmare most women do experience on the regular basis, how in the best way can this be fixed?
Like I have always preached and championed for a total system overhauling: that cuts across the federal structure and constitution. Setting laws and capital punishment isn’t enough to arrest the incremental and skyrocketing social issues but correcting the dysfunctional system by restructuring. The state police system is the best system to arrest the impeding social deviance experienced, as those recruited for such commission will be able to contain the crisis due to their understanding of the terrain and environment.
Some say that women occupying top political posts can have serious implications on the society while some say having women in high political positions is a good sign; what is your take?
The question I would like to ask such a man with a negating mindset is that ‘can he boast of his wife as good home manager?, if his answer is yes, then why should he think women lack the capacity to manage bigger and complex responsibilities.
You have emerged the candidate of the Lagos PDP to represent Ifako/Ijaiye at the House of Representatives, how do you plan to pay back those who entrusted you with this task?
My plans are all drawn out about what I intend doing for my constituency. I have had people who walk up to me to tell me Hon, you’ve done more than enough that not executing any project after the victory at the poll will be overlooked. I will assure you that Ifako-Ijaiye constituency will experience massive development through developmental projects.
What motivates you about life?
One of the things that motivate me about life are the achievements and successes of others ahead of me in various facets of life: political, economic, social and religious wise. Another aspect that motivates me is the need to end poverty, give voice to the depressed and champion the fight against rape and abuse. Many more, but these are the immediate few.
What has changed about you since you became an active politician?
Basically, nothing much has changed about me as I am still doing that which I used to do, such as attending to people’s needs, addressing communal challenges and attending social activities. When I say social outings, I mean weddings, birthday celebration, launching, naming ceremonies etc. I will agree with you only in the area of commitment, I am more committed to people’s plight than ever before, this I believe is the change I am experiencing.
What would you like to tell your supporters as the election time draws near?
Given the opportunity, my message will be not to sell their conscience during the poll, the need for them to defend their votes and vote their conscience not minding the prevailing circumstances. Vote mongers will come to price your vote but jettison such electoral malpractice and allow transparency to reign for once. Nigeria must get it right this time.