- Rukayat Motunrayo Shittu, a 26-year-old female journalist, is now just one step closer to becoming a House of Assembly member in Kwara state
- The graduate of the National Open University has secured the ruling APC’s ticket to contest for the Owode/Onire State Constituency seat
- Ahead of 2023, Ms. Rukayat spoke about her experience in the primaries and how she emerged winner
Rukayat Motunrayo Shittu, a 26-year-old lady, has won the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket to contest for the Owode/Onire State Constituency seat in Kwara state in the forthcoming 2023 elections.
With the ticket of the ruling party, Ms. Rukayat will be contesting in the House of Assembly elections in Kwara state in 2023.
Kwara House of Assembly seat: How Rukayat won
Shortly after the APC announced the sale of forms for various positions, Ms. Rukayat, a journalist and graduate of the National Open University obtained the form to contest for the Owode/Onire State Constituency seat.
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She bought the Expression of Interest form for N500,000. For women, the ruling APC made the nomination form free.
“Much of the money was from my purse; the rest was through donation by people, associates, friends, colleagues, family,” Ms. Rukayat said in an interview published by The Punch.
RMS, as she is also fondly called, had a good campaign run and enjoyed substantial goodwill, especially on social media.
However, the primary election was tough. Asked if the election was free and fair amongst the aspirants, she told The Punch:
“It was disrupted, everything got scattered and we all had to find our way back to our homes. The incumbent representative of the constituency, Ibrahim Ambali, told his thugs to destroy everywhere. We were all there when he told them to stand up and scatter everything.
“There were gunshots everywhere, so we had to leave Alapa, (in Asa Local Government Area, venue of the primaries).”
She spoke further about the electoral process:
“Well it wasn’t a good one I must say, we were cleared to vie for this position at the primaries and we were ready. Since yesterday, two out of the three aspirants vying for the representative seat of my constituency were claiming to have emerged at the polls. On my part, I have put a release (press statement) out there saying there was no election yesterday.
“The incumbent, Ambali, is announcing himself as the winner of the primaries, he declared that he garnered a total score of 35, while the other man, Usman Alajere, scored five and I scored three. Alajere also declared himself the winner saying that he had 32 votes, while the incumbent had 3votes, and I had five votes. On my own part, I have made a public statement declaring that there was no election yesterday.”
Nevertheless, against all odds, Ms.the Rukayat eventually won the rerun which was conducted two days after the violence.
“We had a rerun two days after and it went peacefully after the stakeholders, party men take charge of the situation,” she told Legit.ng.
In the end, other aspirants in the primaries conceded defeat.
“They feel good and accept it (my victory) as God’s doings,” RMS said.
I didn’t pay any delegate, Rukayat says
During the primaries, the delegates (party members who were elected to vote for the candidates in the primaries) were “the beautiful brides”. Aspirants went from place to place seeking their votes. Many even went as far as paying the delegates huge sums of money.
For instance, a PDP delegate in Kaduna state shared the huge sums of money he made from the primaries.
However, Ms. Rukayat told Legit.ng that she paid no delegate to secure the ticket.
“I didn’t pay any delegates,” she said.
RMS believed being a youth and woman helped her win the ticket.
She added in an interview with BBC Yoruba that many decided to support her without paying them because they saw her commitment and the readiness to serve people in her. She, however, admitted that one cannot do without spending money to execute the campaign activities.
Vote buying is illegal and is punishable by a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both, according to Section 121 of Nigeria’s Electoral Act 2022.
However, the EFCC could not make any arrest even though its operatives were sighted at the venues of the presidential primaries of the APC and the PDP.
Rukayat is facing funding challenges
Elections in Nigeria, and elsewhere in the world, are capital intensive. As she prepares for the full campaign ahead of 2023, Ms . the Rukayat said she is facing a funding challenge.
“I am facing funding challenge for my campaign activities, though I have my donation account,” she said.
The House of Assembly aspirant told BBC Yoruba she did crowdfunding through Go Fund Me to source funds for the campaign activities.
Why I’m fighting for a seat at the Kwara House of Assembly - Rukayat
Ms Rukayat said she’s not going to the state House of Assembly to loot public funds but to provide quality representation to her constituents at Owode/Onire; to air the challenges of her people and provide solutions.
She said she is familiar with the people at the grassroots and knows their challenges and knows what is needed to be done to address those challenges.
RMS said her campaign focuses on representation, legislative advancement, executive oversight, and constituency outreach.
Her involvement in politics at such an age will serve as inspiration for other young ones to get involved in political activities, she also noted.
RMS added that her story will also help motivate parents to educate their female children, adding that being a woman is beyond just getting married.
First female APC governorship candidate emerges in northern state
The chairman of the Electoral Committee, Gambo Lawan, announced the result on Thursday, May 27.
According to him, Binani scored 430 votes to defeat her closest contestant, a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, who got 288 votes.