Hajiya Salmatu Bello Jibrin, aka, Mai dankwali AMAC, is a female politician whose passion is to improve the society and touch lives. She is also the founder of APC democrats
I am from Kogi State, the first daughter of a polygamist. I was born and brought up in Lagos. I attended Victory Nursery and Primary Home School, Toyin Street from there, I went to Methodist Girl’s High School, Yaba for my secondary education and then to University of Lagos. I studied Mass communication.
After my graduation, I started as a freelance writer with Hip-hop magazine now Hip TV. That was when I was still having babies. I later joined politics fully.
I started politicking from home as a single girl but not partisan. I was just a young girl emulating my parents because they were politicians in those days. My mother was the woman leader of NPN back in 1979. So I saw a lot of politicking. My father was also a politician and a businessman and was always involved with politicians.
I am somebody who likes to correct a lot of things in the society. I felt if you want to correct what you feel is wrong with governance, you have to partake in the selection of who leads you and that’s why I joined CPC in 2011.
I was there from the inception of CPC, I was part of the convention activities during the CPC but I never took interest in seeking political office. I was just doing what I love doing, trying to support the party and making sure whatever the party wants is what I did. When APC was formed, I was part of the interim government of FCT.
I’ve been through lots of challenges especially when you are a married woman in politics. Africans and Nigerians, especially, view women in politics as semi-prostitutes. They believe you are an easy woman.
However, in my own case I have always carried myself as a married woman so I don’t condone any kind of sexual harassment or any reason for anyone to disrespect me sexually. I have male friends but that’s where it stops and any man that is my friend always meets my husband and knows my house so there is that respect. No one has tried to seduce me.
Other challenges in politics are from betrayers some people think because you are not easy prey for them sexually, when you are seeking for an appointment that’s an avenue to frustrate you as to make you succumb to their demands. I have always walked with my head high. I always believed in the power of the people especially when it comes to voting.
People will vote for you if they like you. I have always had political structures since the birth of APC, I was the one that put some people in party positions in our wards especially AMAC because we have been there from day one of APC and I created a group called APC democrats which I encouraged every member of the democrats to go to their various wards and try to get political positions.
A very good number of ward executives got their positions through APC democrats. I taught them to be united and fight for what they believe in and never to be intimidated. Each ward out of the 12 wards of AMAC has a good number of Democrat’s executives today. I have my own kind of supporters, it is just that politics costs a lot of money.
Money is also a challenge, yes you need to have financial resources to be able to catch up. Money swerves people to the other side. But the unfortunate thing is that after making mistakes they will come back and say they are sorry.
I contested twice for Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) chairman 2016 and 2019 with the incumbent and he knew I gave him a good run for his money and he respects me for that, especially because he knew I didn’t have the financial muscle he had.
Another challenge is with those who feel that when they empower you, you will take over from them. This is especially common with those who have low educational background and exposure. I however don’t believe in impossibility. Politically, if you fight today and lose get up tomorrow and continue. I am an encouragement to many, especially the youths and women.
Philanthropy means so much to me I think it’s good to be kind to people and give what you can. I was brought up by a philanthropic father in Lagos and all over the country those who have come across Alhaji Yakubu Bello Kampala will tell you that he is a great philanthropist. He taught us to share with those who don’t have.
This I am also passing down to my children. I just can’t imagine myself having N1 and someone suffering for 20 kobo and not helping out. I try to share and help take their pains away. I feel so happy when I see people smile, irrespective of tribe or religion.
To me mentoring is helping those under you to become great as you are or even greater by teaching them the principles greatness. It goes both ways, you can be a mentor to some people and you can also have your own mentors, people at whose feet you are learning.
You encourage others not to give up. You give them a chance to learn from you. I still love to be mentored by great minds and achievers not only in politics but in business and even marriage. One of my mentors that led me to studying mass communication, was Danladi Bako. As a young girl in secondary school, I admired the way he anchored morning ride, a programme on NTA. He was so eloquent and fluent in English. He made me realise that a Hausa man could speak English that well.
Others that also influenced my going in for mass communication are Sienne Allwell Brown, Ronke Ayuba and Abike Dabiri.
Politically, President Mohammadu Buhari style of leadership when he was a military head of state made a lot of impression on me. I experienced his leadership in 1983 and I enjoyed it. He was so real and honest. Then Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, I so love the man I was privileged to be among those who voted for him twice as governor of Lagos State.
Even though I have been the woman leader of Asiwaju Ahmed Foundation for several years, I have only been privileged to meet with him with the group. I have never had anything politically to do with him apart from he being my leader.
I also have Mallam Nasiru El- Rufai the governor of Kaduna State as one of my great mentors. His doggedness and sincerity is what I love most about him.
God, my family, honesty, sincerity and determination.
I want to be remembered for my sincerity and honesty, for touching lives for fighting for the less privileged for my voice for the voiceless, for inspiring men and women who are weak and couldn’t stand up for what they believe in and for being a woman who wants the best for others