SINCE 2015, Mrs Nnenna Martha Aladum, a lawyer, has been seeking to represent Ideato South State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly.
She hasn’t been able so far but she believes that with 2023, the time has come. A member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), she reflects on the obstacles that have conspired to hinder her aspiration. “It hasn’t been easy winning the party primaries, and when I did, I suffer the old prejudice that reminds me that as a woman I didn’t stand a chance to win against men,” she said.
An unyielding and loyal member of PDP, Mrs Aladum said that, “it is my desire to break that jinx, to be the voice of Ideato South in the House of Assembly. I am further inspired by the fact that all who have represented this state constituency in the House of Assembly, have relied on votes from my own town, Umuobom. Perhaps, this could be pay back time.”
She said further that, “my aspiration is an opportunity for Umuobom, in this democratic dispensation to elect a woman into the Imo State House of Assembly.
“Umuobom has not produced a member of the House of Assembly. This is long overdue for a town that is the most populous and that should be setting the political pace in the constituency. In electing a woman legislator, we will be setting a huge precedent, a progressive tendency that other towns in Ideato South should emulate.”
As she sets her sight on the March 11 governorship and house of assembly elections, she reflected further on the challenge before a woman in politics in a conservative cultural setting and what drives her.
She said, “the view of a woman contesting against men is generally not easy. When I am elected, I will not only be making history I believe my election will encourage other women, especially our daughters in Ideato South to aspire to run for public offices. Ideato South Constituency is just ripe enough to give competent and capacity driven women a chance to represent them.”
Mrs Aladum has prepped herself for the job. She is thoroughly educated. She whetted her taste for tertiary education when she qualified as nurse from Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) School of Nursing; she went to the Delta State University, Abraka and bagged a degree in Business Administration and followed it up with first and second degrees in law. She was called to the bar in 2009.
A mother who has juggled her time so well, she has complimented her educational pursuits with an active social life. She is a member and leader of several social, professional and religious groups while she has also remained active as a philanthropist.
She doesn’t regard herself as new in politics. She ventured into politics in 2012 as a member of PDP. In 2015, she stepped out at the primaries in her bid to represent Ideato South Constituency in the House of Assembly. Not discouraged when she didn’t make it, she returned in 2019.
With the benefit of hindsight she said that “the experience in 2019 was hugely rewarding because people became aware of me. In most of the communities in Ideato South, people recognized me beyond party circles. That’s how I became popular in Ideato South politics.”
Mrs Aladum hopes that 2023 will crown her sojourn so far, especially after the difficulties she went through in the courts after the party primaries.
She said: “To be the PDP candidate in this election, I went as far as the Supreme Court to secure my ticket after my opponents in the party tried to muscle me out. I am the only female candidate and I have remained consistent since 2015.
“I should not just be voted for on the basis of women inclusion in political leadership but also for competence. As a lawyer, I am professionally suited and have the capacity to represent Ideato South.
“Also, if equity, justice and fairness are applied here, then Umuobom should be allowed to represent Ideato South. My opponents have hitherto represented Ideato South Constituency. And the other ones don’t have my experience and competence.”
She noted: “There is nothing that says that a man is better placed to represent a community and foster good governance. We have brilliant people in the constituency and we should cap it up with a progressive inclination seeing how dynamic the society is today.
“I have personally suffered all kinds of discrimination but I have remained strong, knowing that I am not fighting for myself but for other women and our daughters.
“This particular election is crucial in our history seeing the kind of change and progressive movement that is impacting on our elections. I am hoping that Ideato South will join that change and set the pace for other constituencies.
A progressive minded woman, she condemns every form of discrimination and prejudice raised against women just to keep them under. She said her experience will reflect on her agenda in the House.
She said, “If elected, as a lawmaker, I will seek laws and support bills that support the development of rural areas, protection of the people, especially the girl child. I will stand against any form of discrimination against the underprivileged. I will do all I can to attract development of the communities in the constituency, with better schools and hospitals.”