Representations matter

I am so pleased to hear about Ms Hindatu Umar, a 25year old newly appointed local government chairperson in Argungu, Kebbi state northwest, Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria often (rightly) gets criticised for being behind in education and a region that openly supports child marriage. Given the way news filter through the web, opinion is often skewed to areas where we want attention to be drawn to, which is not a bad thing as improvement from the stagnancy of old habits is what we seek.

Ms Umar is said to be deputy to the chairman for sometime before being promoted to the new position when the position was vacant. Local government chairperson is quite an important post as they are closer to the people, in a way they are the eyes and ears of the state governors in their local areas.

What is significant about this appointment is that Ms Umar was giving the opportunity to serve her people because of her commitment –  her gender, marital status and age were not issue to prevent the appointment.

Everyone needs a champion they can relate to, no doubt that Ms Umar’s appointment likely to inspire many girls in the area that if she could be handed a trusted leadership position at 25, so can anyone. Many who are susceptible to childbride will likely look up to her for advice.

I know we still have a long way to go with gender equality in workplace, but this is a brilliant example that it can happen if (merited) women are given opportunity to lead in their communities.

May be southerners will take a cue from this allowing young active women to hold important leadership position to build up skills?

Congratulations to Hindatu.