She doesn’t have the built of a giant, but she has the effrontery of a giant. Right from her university days at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, Nafisa Atiku Abubakar kept her inquisitive streak running. Till date, she is still asking questions.
Forget that she is the daughter of former Nigerian Vice President, Atiku Abubakar: she has ingrained convictions bothering on national rebirth and young women in politics. Recently, she upped the ante of her cause when she presented her book, Girls Just Want to Run, at the Lagos City Hall, Mission Street, Lagos.
Present were popular Lagos politician and pharmacist, Jimi Agbaje, and his wife; Dr. May Ikeora, former Miss Nigeria; Abosede George Ogan, Founder of WILAN (Women in Leadership Advancement Network), among other dignitaries. The event was chaired by Honourable Fateema Mohammed, who, in her opening statements, decried the fate of the girl child in Nigeria.
“It is sad and pathetic that the society has restricted the girl child, the woman, and limited her locomotive movement just to crawling and walking. It is more sad and doubly pathetic that the girl has accepted her fate and limited herself to crawling and walking, even as every inch of her craves to run and even fly,” arguing for a shift and redirection in the mindset of our society.
Hence, she strongly believed that “Girls Want to Run will open our eyes where society has deliberately tried to keep it shut and our legs will take flight as we come together as women to do the bid of our nation.”
Emeka Valentine Utulu, Managing Partner of LegalCrest Law Firm, who saw the young author come off age, said, “She had a knack for nation building right from her university days. Her book is a very big attempt to interrogate a very topical issue in the Nigerian political space. She is trying to ask why women, especially the young ones, are not involved in the political space and what we should do about it.
“Nigeria is a country where he have six percent of the women in politics. Out of about 191 countries in the world, Nigeria is rated about 181 in female participation in politics. We are not even talking about young women; we are talking about women. That is what she is trying to address in her book. She doesn’t only want to address them, she tries to inspire her generation to pick up the gauntlet and run.”
Agbaje, in his remarks, supported the need for young women to run for political offices, but he wanted them to prepare the ground for the paradigm shift, “What you are trying to fight for is not new and it’s what happens even in the greatest democracies in the world, but my own hint is: the way to get people to run is to first bring them out to do something. There must be an action outside sharing on social media.”
He said further, “There is going to be the need to be an actionable plan. It hasn’t got to be politics, as in concerning the president or the governor. It can be COZA; it can be anything. You go to the street to demand for your rights.”
For Mrs Ogan, “Women have done it in other areas. That’s why I am convinced that we can also do it in politics as Nafisa said. Let’s come together to move the nation forward, not a fight against one another.”
Speaking on what inspired her book, the author said, “Young women are very critical and import to the conversation of nation building. To deny them of the space to be able to unleash their creativity and potentials isn’t right.
“To be honest, women have conquered almost every sphere, be it business, medicine, science, arts. But you can’t say the same thing for politics. This book is all about telling all the women, ‘We need to start; this is where you belong; you need to start on time’, because you cannot have women in politics and you don’t have young women among them.”
The author, a 2018 Walter Carrington Alumnus, is the founder of NYouthSpeaks, a civic education platform that sensitises young people on critical national issues. She is also on the board of Womeninpolitics.NG, a dynamic NGO dedicated to enhancing women participation in politics