By Aminu Kabiru
Indeed, honours, accolades and encomiums are in most cases showered on those who richly deserve them. Even though, there are instances where persons that are so honoured fall short of the qualities and responsibilities that such accolades usually celebrate, it is not every day that a highly respected and widely revered traditional ruler, like the Emir of Ningi, His Royal Highness Mohammed Yunusa Danyaya bestows a title on an eminent personality, and this points without any iota of doubt that the recipient is richly deserving of such a noble recognition, especially when she is no other than the First Lady of Bauchi State, Her Excellency, Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar.
No wonder, that the drumbeat of celebration, felicitation, solidarity and approbation is threatening to reach the high heavens as the vast majority of Bauchi state citizens joyously marked her conferment with the prestigious title in recognition of her grassroots empowerment of women, youths, the widows, the indigent, the infirm and all other disadvantaged segments of society.
This royal recognition is the first of its kind in the history of Bauchi State as Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar has excelled in numerous grassroots initiatives where her predecessors could not. In most cases, the offices of the first ladies suffered serious abuse and to some, it’s an avenue for globetrotting to the chagrin of the hapless masses. But Hajiya Hadiza is breaking a jinx with a paradigm shift in helping the less privileged and the downtrodden majority in Bauchi State.
Given the fact that, the amiable First Lady who is also the energetic Chairperson of the Northern Governors’ Wives Forum (NGWF) is renowned for her generosity, benevolence, compassion, dedication and commitment towards uplifting the lives of the Bauchi women folks, it is no surprise that rather than pay lip service to her noble intention, she has gone the whole hog in initiating series of programs to ensure that the average Bauchi woman and youth is self-reliant, independent and capable of standing their ground in the socio-economic sectors of the state and the country at large.
The Emir of Ningi who is not known for sycophancy, conferred this ground breaking traditional title on Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar in appreciation of the tremendous impact of her non-governmental organization, the Bauchi-Sustainable Women Economic Empowerment and Peace Initiative (B-SWEEP) on the women, the children and other vulnerable segments of society. Among these programmes include; scholarship awards for Internally Displaced Persons Children. This is to help the IDP children who have dropped out of schools to return to their education and be reintegrated into the Bauchi society.
The programme which is spread around all the local government councils of the state and is meant to among other things complement the effort of government to deliver critical health services for safe delivery, immediate newborn care and to prevent increased maternal and newborn mortality due to preventable causes has also seen a dramatic drop in MIM cases thus boosting the healthy living index of the state for the better.
The closing ceremony of skills acquisition training and presentation of starter packs to 1600 women across the (20) twenty local government areas of Bauchi State by the CEO of Bauchi Sustainable Women Economic Empowerment and Peace Initiative (BSWEEP), Hajiya Hadiza MA Abubakar in collaboration with the Bauchi State Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Development was greeted with lots of encomiums.
The first lady’s achievements are even more worthy of celebration if we are consider the fact that like her predecessors, she could easily have dwelt in the opulence, comfort and glamour of the government house, Bauchi, far removed from the drudgery and toil of the common people but instead, chose the path of servitude; to commune and interact with the masses who voted for her action-oriented spouse, His Excellency, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, the Executive Governor of Bauchi state in 2015.
Her Excellency’s passion for the rapid and sustained education of the girl child is legendary and it has formed a crucial plank of her developmental desiderata and this has been further boosted by ceaseless campaigns, outreaches and community sensitization programs urging parents and guardians to send their female children or wards to primary, secondary and even tertiary institutions.
It is perhaps in recognition of her giant strides that B-SWEEP was invited as a critical stakeholder to the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) implementation of the ECOWAS Counter Terrorism Initiative as well as organized strategy action plan which was adopted by Head of States and Governments of West African Countries, as one of the priorities in tackling violent extremisms for which Bauchi State was selected among the pilot states. The occasion which was graced by the executive governor of Bauchi state in company of highly placed members of his cabinet drew participation of Youths organizations, Women organizations, Security Agencies, Traditional Authorities, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs), Religious Leaders, Media, and what have you.
The impact of B-SWEEP in raising awareness for the use of non-violent strategies as a proactive tool and response to conflict, through peace education and sport programmes is legendary. And these programmes are designed for young people in and out of school in communities in northern Nigeria, and they promote harmony and the peaceful coexistence of people from different backgrounds. Therefore, her novel approach which seeks to bring women into conflict resolution discussions considering they in company of children are the real victims of conflicts is highly commendable. Her excellency longs for a society where Women will not be excluded from participating in conflict management, mediation or inter-group negotiations.
Equally, with all of these ground-breaking achievements, am very sure the conferment of the title on his wife did not come as a surprise to the Executive Governor Barrister M.A. Abubakar because he is aware of his wife’s passion to help society’s underprivileged and the indolent. This should charge him up for his wife has been a solid rock beside him in his administration’s drive for the wholesale development of Bauchi state.
It becomes very hard not to support an administration such as this where both the governor and his wife are working tirelessly to better the lot of the people. Let me assure the first family of Bauchi that the people appreciates their commitment to the Bauchi project and will continue to support their many people-oriented policies and projects.
Kabiru writes from Bauchi