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Letter of Intent To Contest for the House of Representatives, Jere Federal Constituency,  Borno State; By Aisha Waziri Umar

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Hajia Aisha Waziri Umar, APC House of Representatives aspirant, Jere Federal Constituency, Borno State

Assalaamu Alaikum,

Warmest greetings my fellow party members, aspirants, political appointees, elected representatives, and the good and resilient people of Borno state. I am happy to be among friends and fellow aspirants contesting the position to represent Jere Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

As a true daughter of Borno state and one with firsthand understanding of the challenges that our great state has been through over the last decade, I formally indicate my intention to represent the people of Jere Federal Constituency in the forthcoming 2023 General Elections. So much has been done by His Excellency, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum -the Executive Governor of Borno State- towards restoring Borno state to its glory years before the Boko Haram conflict. As your representative, I intend to build on His Excellency’s efforts at rebuilding, rehabilitating and restoring the livelihoods and economy of not just the people of Jere but the entire state.

Before I explain the motive behind my decision to represent the people of Jere Federal Constituency in House of Representatives, it is only respectful that I tell you a bit about myself. I am a ‘woman’ and as such, I carry the hopes and aspirations of women and girls in Borno state on my shoulder as I vie for this position. I possess over 30 years’ professional experience in both the public and private sectors where I have provided legal services to various projects in the education, transportation, agriculture, development, and oil and gas sectors. I possess a ‘Postgraduate Diploma in Global Business’ from Oxford University obtained in 2017, and a “Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Trade Studies” obtained from the World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland in 2021. I am currently a Doctorate Student at the University of West Scotland-Centre for Africa Research and Enterprise and Economic Development–CAREED, and my research is focused on, “Africa’s engagement with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and strategies for boosting value added Agriculture exports”. Coupled with my law practice and doctoral research, I am the founder of Inara Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization established to support communities affected by violence in Northeast Nigeria. I am also the CEO of iproduce Africa, a start-up Agri-business company promoting trade and value-addition of agricultural products sourced from rural communities in northern Nigeria.

As you can deduce from my professional experience, I will bring considerable value to the people of Borno state as your representative in the National Assembly. I am in no doubt as to the challenges that lie ahead in restoring our state to what it was before the conflict. As a mother and international development expert, I have witnessed firsthand the effects of the conflict on not just the economy but the livelihoods of our people. Make no mistake, I have also lost friends and relatives to the conflict. This was why I established a foundation to support conflict-affected communities in North Eastern Nigeria. Through my Foundation, “INARA FOUNDATION”, I have secured funding from international and local donors to implement development interventions aimed at increasing access to education for displaced children and strengthening the livelihoods of displaced youth women and girls across the state. I have also leveraged my public sector experience to provide technical assistance and administrative support to various committees instituted by His Excellency, Professor Babagana Zulum. My involvement in these activities equip me with deep understanding His Excellency’s economic recovery agenda for the state, which I am totally in support of. As your representative in the National Assembly, I will push for bills that prioritize the interests and concerns of not just Jere people but the indigenes of Borno state.

My candidacy is borne out of the vision to make our dear state the envy of other states in Nigeria. This is “possible”; and His Excellency has proved to us that it is indeed ‘possible’ to remake our state. So, I am hinging my political campaign on this mantra: “TOGETHER, IT IS POSSIBLE!”. Our country is plagued with several challenges and chief amongst this, are economic and security challenges. Our state is not immune to these challenges. Given the shrinking resources at the national level, the time has come for us -as a people- to look inwards. All hands must be on deck if we are to uplift the people of our state and bequeath to future generations a Borno state that is economically viable, investment-friendly, educationally advantaged, and most of all, ‘secure’. “Together, it is possible”.

We can no longer deny that the competition for resources at the center has become ever more intense; and this is likely to be case for the foreseeable future especially with the continued shrinking of our national resources. To this end, our people need representatives with the strategy and nuance to navigate the minefield of laws, agitations and competition for shrinking resources to secure the best deal for Borno state. I am that person who can achieve this! My intent to represent the people of Jere Federal Constituency is borne out of the exigencies of time. Quality representation at the National Assembly is critical to ensuring that our state is not left out in national conversations about the future of the country. I understand how the lobbying machinery works in the National Assembly having worked in the State House Abuja in 2011 as Senior Special Assistant to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In this capacity, I provided policy advice and technical support to the Federal Government on matters relating to social and political development. This experience will prove useful to securing the best deal for our state.

As your representative in the National Assembly, I will lobby and push for laws and policies that do not place our state in a disadvantaged position. The decade-long conflict in our state has already placed us in a very difficult position; we have lost countless lives and property to the conflict. So, we must strategically engage and forge alliances that benefit and protect the interests of our people. The National Assembly represents a strategic tool for achieving this goal. So, as your representative in the National Assembly, I will coordinate and collaborate with our brothers and sisters in both the House of Representatives and House of Senate to push for laws and policies that uplift our state and our people…”Together, it is Possible”.

In closing, my candidacy is borne out of the vision of Borno state as a prosperous, equitable and just society. This is possible! The timing of my candidacy is right given the myriad of challenges that our state and Nigeria at large faces. The indigenous people of Borno state deserve more; they have been resilient and long-suffering in the face of the complex difficulties that they face. As a true daughter of Borno state, I carry the hopes and aspirations of women and girls in our state in vying for the candidacy of representative of Jere Federal Constituency.

His Excellency, our Governor, has shown that it is possible to surpass the peculiar socioeconomic challenges that our people are faced with daily. I put myself forward to serve so that I can use my representation in the National Assembly to secure the best deal for our state…..”Together, it is Possible”.

Jere, Borno State, 23 May 2022

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