Senator Zainab Abdulkadir Kure obtained a BSc in Political Science from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She began her career as a civil servant and rose to the position of permanent secretary before running for the senate. While at the senate, she was appointed to committees on National Planning, Capital Markets and Agriculture and she also sponsored bills like the National Grazing Reserves Establishment and Development Commission Bill, 2008 and the National Poverty Eradication Commission Bill, 2008.
In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she reminisces on life as the First Lady of Niger State, making her contributions in the senate as well as impacting on the lives of people in her constituency in Lapai.

HOW would you describe the rate of education in Lapai? At the moment, it has improved especially since the establishment of this university. It has encouraged a lot of people around this area to send their children to school. They don’t now think of the distance when it comes to higher education anymore. Also, the establishment of the university has boosted the business and commercial activity of Lapai and that has a multiplier effect as the upbringing of children is concerned here. Most parents are also informed and they can now send their children to school. They also know that they have a university just around the corner for them.

Do you have any problems with the development of the girl-child?

We certainly do not have any problems with the girl-child here. This is because there has always been good attention about their education and well-being. Not only are married women very much involved in education, the atmosphere is also conducive. Even as I sat down here this afternoon, I sighted a number of them; some of them even brought their babies to school and kept them somewhere to be able to study. I would also say that, generally here in the North central zone of the country, we normally do not have problems with girl-child education.

What was it like for you personally? Was it easy getting education?

For me, it was very easy. My father was a teacher and he later became a principal. It was a natural thing in the family. There was nothing like ‘let’s think about the girl going to school or not going to school.’

What does today’s event mean to you?

It means a lot to me, while I am very proud of being a woman today. This is because a woman like us has done this; touched the less-privileged and always ready to do more. It is unprecedented but I am not surprised. Her name has always been pushed with development and we appreciate the success. I am excited because I am from here in Lapai. My husband was governor here and whilst I was in the senate, I was also able to attract the Institute of Marine Studies to the university. I am a member of the institution’s Trust fund and we have been running around trying to get people to come to our aid because government alone cannot do it. So based on her magnanimity, all we can say is that may the almighty God continue to bless her, bless the family and may she never get tired of doing this to the needy.

What are some of the legacies your late husband left behind that make you happy?

Asides from this one, there are quite a number of them. After taking over from the military administration, he was able to impact positively on the state according to the people. This is because it is from what people say that you try to gauge the performance.  He is also a man that was liberal in nature. He allowed me pursue my dreams of wanting to put in place a youth empowerment scheme programme. He encouraged it and I am grateful to God that I was able to do that as the first lady of the state. He impacted positively on the youths of the state and from there it became a stepping stone to represent my people in the senate

Let’s talk about life in the senate.  How was it?

It was wonderful. The experience in the senate was really good. It was an assembly of people from diverse cultures, people from different backgrounds, different educational backgrounds and all that. So, we had the opportunity of interacting, learning from each other and we were able to exhibit what we thought we had. It was exciting and wasn’t so much of a problem.

Let’s talk about the women that you admire?

There are a number of women that I admire, who are impacting on the society and their communities. These include Mrs. Maryam Babangida of blessed memory; she was always a mentor. She is no more alive but the memories still linger. I have admired her and she had mentored me and made a great impact on me and other women. I also admire Justice Fati Lami Abubakar, wife of General Abdulsalami  Abubakar. She is a woman that is focused, dedicated and hard working. I admire a lot of women, dead or alive. On the international scene, I admire women like Benizar Bhutto and Hilary Clinton. It would be good to see Clinton win the election; it would be another plus for women.

What lessons has life taught you?

Life generally has taught me how to struggle. You would say why? But it is very important. As a person, you must have dreams, and actualising these dreams means that you have to struggle. Life has taught me to struggle, to appreciate people not matter who they are. It doesn’t matter whether they are high up there or whether they are low down there. It is important to appreciate people for what they do and this would certainly encourage them to do much more.