By Yemi Itodo
Dr (Mrs) Jennifer Douglas Abubakar, on Thursday, 7th of Feb. 2019, rounded up her series of Town Hall meetings with women across the Southern states in Nigeria.
The initiative, tagged “Let’s Talk”, was organised by Mrs Abubakar in a bid to sensitise the women to various rudiments on voters’ education, as well as to mobilise the Nigerian women for the victory of her husband, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), in Saturday’s election.
For a full month, Mrs Abubakar, in company of the wife of PDP vice presidential candidate, Mrs Margaret Obi, the PDP national women leader, Hajia Mariya Waziri, her deputy, Hajia Hadizat Umoru, female members of the National Assembly and various women leaders; criss-crossed the southern region with a message of women rising to vote and defend their votes.
With palpable commitment, dedication, agility and sincerity of purpose, Jennifer Abubakar, exemplified the grassroots women mobiliser, which is a treasured quality of a woman who wants to see her husband succeed.
In Nigeria of today, women are the bedrock of every election as they make up 60% of eligible voters. Unfortunately, their voices are not heard most of the time, due to the domination of the male folks in decision making capacity.
The sensitisation of women also became necessary, owing to the gradual decrease in their participation in active politics and low turnout during elections in recent times.
Statistics available at the Independent National Electoral Commission shows a marked decrease of the “number of women who won elective positions since 2007, with 11 per cent in 2007, seven per cent in 2011 and 5.6 per cent in 2015.
“Also, in 2015 General Elections, only 44 per cent of female voters were accredited to vote, compared to 56 per cent male voters’’.
This is contrary to previously wide held view that more women came out to vote.
Although Alhaji Atiku Abubakar made a commitment that Nigerian women and youths would make 70% of his government, its implementation would not be possible if the women do not mobilise for PDP’s victory.
For her part, Chief Mrs Josephine Anenih at the Town Hall meeting in Edo urged women in the country to come out enmass to take power and change the story to save Nigeria and Nigerians.
Senator Chris Anyanwu also lent her voice to Jennifer Abubakar’s advocacy for women participation in Nigerian politics during one of the Town Hall meetings.
Senator Anyanwu urged women to join the crusade for a better Nigeria, not necessarily as was done by the Ransom Kutis and other great women fighters, but using the by ballots to protest and rescue the country.
Jennifer Abubakar also ignited the hope of the women in areas of business opportunities, job creation, good education policy and a place of reckoning in the society, when her husband gets to power.
She was practically moved to tears when, on her tour to Benin-city, Edo state, she visited the Internally Displaced Persons in Ohoghua community and saw the plight of the children and women.
Mrs Abubakar, in an emotion-laden voice, vowed that she would ensure none of the children drops out of school, including the 26 lucky teenagers who got admission to the universities recently.
Like the saying goes, show me a prayerful woman and I will show you a woman whose husband is always successful in his endeavours, Dr (Mrs) Jennifer Abubakar is not only a humanitarian par excellence, but also an epitome of a prayerful intercessor.
In Asaba, the capital of Delta state, she led hundreds of thousands of women to pray for unity of Nigeria and peaceful general elections.
The prayer session also had other notable intercessors, like the state first lady, Deaconess Edith Okowa and wife of PDP national chairman, Pastor Mrs Ene Secondus, in attendance.
State by state, Mrs Abubakar chorused the ‘get Nigeria working again’ mantra with resounding assurances from women across the states, that no stone would be left unturned in mobilising and voting for Atiku Abubakar and all PDP candidates at the Saturday polls.
Wife of Nigeria’s first Head of state, Lady Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi, who is in her 90s, also lent her voice to the sensitization crusade.
She did not only endorse the candidature of Atiku Abubakar, she also vowed to lead the fight for women mobilisation in Abia state.
Also, wife of the first Premier of Eastern Region, Chief Mrs Adanma Okpara and her son, Chief Uzodinma Okpara, assured Mrs Abubakar that it would be a 100% victory for Atiku Abubakar in Abia state, as adequate mobilisation of women were underway.
Dr (Mrs) Linda Ayade, wife of Cross River state governor, and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, a women advocate, while receiving Mrs Abubakar in Calabar, urged the more than 50% total women registered voters in the state to come out enmass to vote.
Mrs Racheal Disckson, wife of Bayelsa state governor, her counterpart in Abia, Mrs Nkechi Ikpeazu, that of Akwa Ibom state, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel and other women in the states visited, unanimously agreed to mobilise women in their respective states for the PDP.
The sensitization of women on the collection of PVCs and voting procedures as well as Town Hall meetings and consultations with traditional rulers, religious rulers, market men and women and leaders of thought amongst Nigerian women, have also yielded enormous results, as large number of women have since picked up their PVCs and are ready to vote on Saturday 16th of February, 2019.
No doubt, Jennifer Abubakar has recorded tremendous success in getting women of the southern region sensitised ahead of the forthcoming general elections, with many vowing not to sit back but take the front seats in electioneering activities, governance and political participation.