The member-elect of the Kwara State House of Assembly representing the Owode/Onire Constituency, Rukayat Shittu, has asserted that her identity as a woman and youth are not barriers in politics.
On May 31, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Not Too Young to Run Act into law with the aim to reduce the minimum ages for elective offices provided for by law.
The enactment paved the way for Shittu’s historic emergence as the youngest female House of Assembly member-elect in Nigeria.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily on Friday, the All Progressives Congress (APC) member stated that the stereotype of being a young person and a woman did not stand in the way of her political ambition.
“I don’t see that as a hurdle to me; it is not an obstacle, because I believe no matter what you want to do in life, you just have to face one thing or the other,” she said.
“Regarding my age and gender, the atmosphere in Kwara has already redefined the roles of youths and women in governance, so I didn’t find it so difficult for me to sell myself to people because I am a female or a young person.”
The 26-year-old described her drive and enthusiasm for governance and community development as a strong test to counter stereotypes in the political sphere.
“I have been someone who has been very passionate about governance and politics and this is something I have engaged myself with since my university days,” she said.
“I have been able to prove to people that I have the capacity, I have the capability to do things and I know what the legislative work is all about. I did so well to occupy the legislative arm of the student union government.”
The former Senate President of Congress of NOUN Students (CONS) admonished young people to be optimistic, responsibility-inclined and not to shy away from political positions, adding that competition is a major part of achieving democracy.
“This is not something I woke up from the bed one day [to pursue]. Young people need to be optimistic. We don’t have more youths, we don’t have more women in the decision-making table,” she said.
“If I am privileged to get this kind of position, I want to use it judiciously to inspire young people and women in governance.”