OrderPaperToday– At the end of every term, each student is assessed and graded and for a former classroom teacher, Aisha Dukku will indeed appreciate the value of accessing her performance in the preceding assembly.
She represents Dukku/Nafada Federal Constituency and is one of the very few women who survived the tsunami that plunged the number of women in the House of Representatives from 21 to 11.
Who is Aisha Dukku?
Born on the 18 December, 1963, Dukku attended Federal Government Girls College, Bauchi and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Bayero University, Kano.
She worked as a school teacher for several years before being appointed as a minister of Education (for state) by President Umar Yar’adua from 2007 to 2010. In 2015, she was elected into the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and was appointed as the chairman of the House Committee on Electoral Matters and Political Parties Affairs, where she was saddled with the responsibility of navigating the amendment of the Electoral Act of 2010.
8th Assembly performance appraisal
Dukku’s assessment will start from the committee. Though a green horn in the 8th House, because of her status of being a former minister, she was appointed to head the House Committee on Electoral Matters and Political Parties Affairs due to the tradition of the National Assembly to appoint former top government officials to head ‘top committees’.
The process of amending the Electoral Act of 2010 was marred in controversy and ultimately failed, due to reasons that one may not want to blame Dukku. The friction between the leadership of the 8th Assembly and the executive contributed largely to the failure of the amendments which were passed on four different occasions but rejected every time by President Muhammadu Buhari for varied reasons.
However, it would be incorrect to say Dukku’s committee and her counterpart in the Senate did not play any role in the failure of the bill. The president, in a letter to the two chambers, had cited errors in the draft of the bill passed by the National Assembly.
The letter stated in part: “There is a cross referencing error in the proposed amendment to Section 18 of the Bill. The appropriate amendment is to substitute the existing sub-section (2) with the proposed subsection (1A), while the proposed sub-section (1B) is the new sub-section (2A).
“The proposed amendment to include a new Section 87 (14) which stipulates a specific period within which political party primaries are required to be held has the unintended consequence of leaving INEC with only nine days to collate and compile lists of candidates and political parties as well manage the primaries of 91 political parties for the various elections.
“This is because the Electoral Amendment Bill does not amend sections 31, 34 and 85 which stipulate times for the submission of lists of candidates, publication of lists of candidates and notice of convention, congresses for nominating candidates for elections.”
Dukku now has a second chance to prove that the rejection was more of politics than competence, having been re-appointed again in the 9th House as the chairman of perhaps one of the most sensitive committees in House.
The lawmaker from Gombe sponsored 6 motions in the 8th House. Although the motions seem low in number, they were centred on education, health and plight of people in IDP camps.
Her first motion was on need to develop a national plan for the prevention, control and treatment of Hepatitis.
It was moved on the 8th of October, 2015, and the House subsequently resolved to urge the federal government to create a policy on Hepatitis, akin to that of HlV, to aid efforts to reduce the burden of the disease.
The Green Chamber also adopted the second prayer of the motion which urged the federal government to create public awareness about the disease and integrate the Hepatitis B vaccine into the National Immunization Programme.
On the 4th of October same year, she also moved another motion raising alarm on the high rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria. The motion was adopted and the following resolutions reached:
Governments at all levels should make qualitative antenatal services provided by trained and skilled health workers at primary, secondary and tertiary health facilities, affordable;
The federal government should take a firm stand in aiding maternal child health in Nigeria and specifically, tackle challenges related to health and nutrition, education, agriculture, livelihoods, gender equality and other vital issues;
Federal government to take necessary steps in improving maternal health education and encourage collaboration between health workers and other care givers like the traditional birth attendants, being a feasible option that has proven to be effective in other areas with previous high maternal death rates;
Mandate the Committee on Healthcare Services to investigate the current status of the Midwives Scheme under the National Primary Health Care Development Agency adopted by the Ministry of Health to address the issues of National and Infant mortality in Nigeria and the reported lack of payment or absorption of the midwives under the scheme for over one year and report back to the House within one (1) week and urge the federal government to develop a national policy on family planning and population.
Again in 2017, Dukku moved another health-related motion on the need to address the high rate of HIV infections at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the north-east zone. The House, following the adoption of her motion, resolved to mandate the committee on Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Initiatives on North– East Zone (IDPs), and Healthcare Services to assess the problems and make appropriate recommendations on ways to ameliorate them and report back in four(4) weeks for further legislative actions.
They also urged the executive vice chairman of the Presidential Committee on North East Initiatives to submit to the relevant committees, a well-articulated plan to address the numerous issues of the North East.
And finally, urged the Presidential Committee on North East Initiatives (PCNI) to provide anti–retroviral drugs to all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the North East.
The committee did not submit any reply, and it is unknown if the executive complied with the resolutions.
Staying true to her background, the teacher turned politician also moved a motion on the need for states defaulting on the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Funds to pay up. The motion moved on the 16th of March, 2016, got the nod of the House to call on the federal government to remit statutory allocations for the months of January to April, 2015 to the UBEC Fund without further delay.
They also urged defaulting state governments and the FCT to, in national interest, contribute their counterpart funds to enable them access the UBEC fund to bring education in the states to the reach of every child.
Dukku’s bills in 8th House
She sponsored a total of 9 bills out of which four were electoral amendment bills while the rest are Produce (Enforcement of Export Standards) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Reform Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Cerebrospinal Meningitis (Prevention, Control and Management) Bill, 2016; Federal Polytechnic, Dukku (Establishment) Bill, 2017; National Universities Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
Dukku was also very vocal in plenary. She was in attendance most times and could be placed high on the list of female lawmakers had a good outing in the 8th Assembly.