INTERVIEW: How I Emerged APC Candidate For Kwara Assembly Seat – 26-Year-Old Aspirant
Rukayat Motunrayo Shittu is a 26-year-old aspirant for the Kwara State House of Assembly election. In this exclusive interview with THE WHISTLER, she talks about her foray into politics, action plans, and campaign fund sources.
Tell Us About Yourself
My name is Rukayat Motunrayo Shittu, I am 26 years old. I have a B.Sc in Mass Communication from the National Open University of Nigeria. Also, I am a journalist with an online news medium in Kwara State.
What Is Your Motivation For Joining Politics?
Being a media personality and someone who has actively participated in Students’ Union politics, I am an advocate for good governance as well as women and girls’ rights. All of these motivated me. Also, I understand what is happening in my immediate community, I know what they need, so I am here to bring all those things to them.
How Long Have You Been Politically Active?
I’ve been politically active for years now, but I got my membership card the last time we did our APC membership registration in February. Asides from that, I’ve attended several training, workshops, and seminars on politics. Although being a media personality, I couldn’t be partisan then.
The Governor of Kwara State (Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq) is my political mentor and he is a member of the APC. He is gender-friendly and youth-friendly and is including everybody regardless of gender and age. Once you have the capacity and the experience, he will bring you in. we have a number of youth special advisers, and commissioners in Kwara state and that motivated me to vie for a position under the ruling APC.
In the just concluded primaries, we had more than 24 women that contested various elective positions. We owe it to the governor that made it easy and gave us a level playing field. He encouraged us that we all need to come out if we want a good democracy. A lot of us won in the primaries. He has been the one inspiring us and motivating us that yes, we can do it, and we are doing it anyway.
Why Are You In The House Of Assembly Race?
Being a youth and being a woman is number one. Also, as a media personality, I have covered all the local governments in Kwara state due to the nature of the work I was doing, so I know what our people need, particularly my people in Asa local government. I know what we are lacking when it comes to quality representation and I’m not going there to play. I have four cardinal points that I’ve already set for myself; quality representation, legislative advancement, executive oversight and constituency outreach. Let me touch on the constituency outreach part briefly, even though it is not the core responsibility of the legislative arm, it is a major focus for me because I know what our people need. If elected, I will facilitate some of those things to my constituency by God’s grace.
How Much Of A Grassroots Politician Are You?
I stay within this constituency, I know my people, they know me, they know me for my work, and I’m well known when it comes to grassroots politics.
Your Thoughts On Affirmative Action?
I think more women should be involved in politics, we need to break the bias and leave the sidelines, we need to come in, and we need to take our stand. Rome was not built in a day. We need to be consistent. If I do not win this election, I will go again.
Also, it is important for all women in positions of power, especially political power, to pave the way for others. Let us train people, let us mentor people. As a young woman going to the state assembly, one of the things I believe I should do is to promote youth and gender inclusion bills, so we can have more of us in the space.
How Do You Intend To Manage Expectations That People May Have Of You If Elected?
I can’t be 100% perfect, but I will try my best. I will bank on the advice of elders, close associates and political mentors, I don’t make much promises. I don’t promise what is not within my powers. The only thing I’m campaigning with is my four cardinal points which are already outlined.
How Did You Emerge As Flagbearer?
Our governor signed a bill last year which provides for a number of women in the state assembly, it stipulates that any local government with two constituencies is mandated to have one man and one woman as representatives. All of these and a consensus arrangement made me the flagbearer of our party.
How Do You Intend To Fund Your Campaign?
People who are inspired by my coming out have been quite supportive because I’ve been spending since I announced my intentions to contest. They are the ones that have been donating to the campaign. I am still getting money from loved ones, stakeholders and partners.
How Did You Raise The N2m Nomination Form For The Primary Election?
They eventually reduced the money to one million naira. Also, female aspirants were given 50% off, so I only paid five hundred thousand.
Did You Pay From Your Pocket?
Yes, I work and I’ve been saving up for quite a while now. I’m an entrepreneur, so I have my money.
Do You Have A Godfather Or Political Sponsor?
I have a lot of people supporting my candidature, but no godfather, no sponsor.
After 2023 What Next?
I am quite confident I’ll win and become the first young person in the history of Kwara State to be elected into the state assembly, I know I’m going to do my best and we just have to wait and see what happens after 2023, for now, I can’t really say. It is in the hands of God.