The Niger State governorship candidate for the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya, says the electorate in the state are tired of voting for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Mrs Abdullahi-Iya, who was a vice-presidential candidate for the Alliances for New Nigeria in the 2019 general elections, stated this during an interview with DAILY NIGERIAN on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to her, the electorate have since come to the realization that the two major parties do not have much to offer aside from pervasive insecurity, corruption and a failing economy.
She said: “The electorate are tired of the APC and PDP, everybody is tired. Even from the research we conducted, they are tired. Look at the killings, for the past seven years now, Niger State has not known peace.
“Niger state, according to datafied.com, has become a hotspot for terrorism. The rate of deaths, as of January 2022, has increased to over 167%. That was in January, not to talk of the ones happening lately.
“From the research that we have done, you would know that there is a real need for intervention and if Allah (S.W.) decides that that intervention is going to come through our team, falillahil hamd!”
Answering the call of Niger youths, women and the aged
The governorship candidate revealed that when the youths of Niger State called upon her to contest, she initially rejected the idea but had to convince herself that it was a call to service, which is one of her cardinal principles.
She said: “I have been in development space for over 15 years and have established and founded a group of social enterprises that focus mostly on woman development, children and the youth.
“Some of the things I’m very passionate about is the value system. So, my value system personally is called ERES (empathy, responsibility, accountability and service). Everything that I do or am going to do radiates around these values.
“So, when I was called upon by the youths of Niger State to come and serve them, I resisted it for a while but eventually, by Allah’s will, here I am as the governorship candidate for APGA.
“I had to convince myself that yes I’m needed. I found out that over the years, Niger State has been having leadership issues, just like Nigeria.
“And if we keep sitting on the fence and complaining that this is the problem then what are we going to do about it? What am I going to do about it?
“So, it’s not enough for us to be complaining and saying that these people are not doing the right thing. What are we doing as human beings to see that the lives of our people are changed?,” she quizzed.
Lamentations on the sorry state of Niger
Mrs Abdullahi-Iya lamented that the state is so blessed with both human and natural resources but leadership failures have depleted these potentials.
She said: “Niger State has a lot of potential but the problem of insecurity has further depleted the potential because a lot of people would say ‘I can’t go to Niger State’.
“Are we to talk about the terrible roads that we are famous for or the educational system that is declining every day or the hunger people are suffering from”
“With these potentials, I don’t think Niger State should be among the first 10 poorest states in the country but the state is among the first 8.
“We have no problem being poor in Niger State because we have so much we can do.
At some point, Niger State was feeding the entire country. Niger State was electrifying the entire country.
“So, the question is, why are we so backward in our development? The solution lies incompetent leadership.
“I have been in the development space for a very long time and have made contacts with development partners. My network has also become so global that I can bring the changes we need in the state.
“This is one of the reasons I know that I have the capacity to be the governor of Niger State.”
Overcoming stereotype as a female in a male-dominated space
Mrs Abdullahi-Iya said that overcoming the stereotypes faced by some women delving into the endeavors dominated by men does not take much from her because of the belief she has in herself.
“I think everything has to do with whether or not you are competent. When you have the capacity and you have the character to do the task.
“Most importantly, overcoming the stereotypes was not the problem because the youth felt I have the capacity to do the job, that is why they came calling and I answered.
“So, when we started off, we had to meet with some stakeholders in the state – the women bodies, the traditional institutes and the rest. The response we are getting has been very amazing and stimulating for me. This means there is a reason Allah (S.W.) pushed me to the forefront.
“Some people say I am courageous, and I don’t think I am courageous. I think when Allah wants you to do something, he gives you all that you need – all the ingredients you need to do it – Be it the ingredients of confidence, ingredients of courage, he gives all that to you.”