Reading Lounge / Spotlight

Top 7 Influential Northern Women In Government

Reading Lounge / Spotlight img_0931_mohammad_lb

Women in government in the modern era are under-represented in most countries worldwide, in contrast to men. Even though, some progress has been made during the last two centuries, this tendency is still persistent. However, women are increasingly being politically elected to be heads of state and government. The Northern Women are also not “just sitting there”.

We made a list of Northern Women who have been on fire recently…

Check it out!

1. Amina J. Mohammed


Amina J. Mohammed was born on June 27, 1961 in Kaduna State to a British mother and Nigerian father. She is from Gombe State.

She was educated at Columbia University, New York in the United States. Mohammed has been working in the field of development for more than 30 years, both in the public and private sectors.

Previously, she worked as a senior adviser to the president on Millennium Development Goals for six years. In this position, she was in charge of designing and developing government projects to reduce poverty around the country.

Between 2002 and 2005, she worked in the United Nations Millennium Project as a coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education.

On November 11, 2015, Mohammed was sworn in as the minister of environment in Buhari’s cabinet. Mohammed has also served on many international advisory boards and panels such as the Gates Foundation and the UN Secretary General’s Global Sustainability Panel.

Since April 5, 2016, Mohammed has served as chairman of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). She is a recipient of the National Honours Award of OFR in recognition of her contributions and accomplishments.

2. Hadiza Bala-Usman


Hadiza Bala Usman was born in Zaria on January 2, 1976. She is an activist and politician.

She has a first degree from the Ahmadu Bello University and a master’s degree from the University of Leeds. She is currently the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). President Muhammadu Buhari appointed her to this position on Monday, July 11, 2016. She was the chief of staff to the Kaduna State governor.

Bala Usman is an active member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). She worked for a non-governmental organisation, the Centre for Democratic Development and Research Training (CEDDERT) in Zaria as a research assistant for a year. She also worked for the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and as a special assistant to the then minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on project implementation.

In 2011, she worked as Director of Strategy for the Good Governance Group (3G). In 2015, she was appointed chief of staff to the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufa’i.

As a very strong member of the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group, she helped to coordinate meetings with parents of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls and the Nigerian government.

Bala Usman was featured in Financial Times and the CNN for her work with the BBOG.

3. Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan (Mama Taraba)


Aisha Jummai Alhassan, the current Minister of Women Affairs, was born on September 16, 1959 in Taraba State. She was educated at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. She is a lawyer. She became the first female to be appointed as the attorney- general and commissioner for justice in Taraba State.

She nearly became the first elected female governor in Nigeria during the 2015 gubernatorial election. She represented Taraba North in the Senate. Aisha was the first woman to be appointed as the secretary of the FCT Judicial Council. She rose through the ranks and became the first female chief magistrate in the FCT in 1996. She was the first female deputy chief registrar and director of litigation, High Court of the FCT, Abuja. She was also the first female chief registrar of the High Court of the FCT in 2003.

In 2009, she voluntarily retired from the FCT judiciary as chief registrar. This was the beginning of her political career.

4. Sadiya Umar Farouq

Sadiya Umar Farouq, who was born on November 5, 1974, is a politician and business administrator. She is a founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). She served as a member of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council during the 2015 presidential election.  She graduated with a BSc in Business Administration (Actuarial Science) in 1998 from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She also obtained a master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy in 2008 and an MBA in Business Administration in 2011 from the same university.

She served as the national treasurer of the APC from June 2013 to June 2014. She was also the national treasurer of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), one of the four political parties that merged to form the APC. She is currently the commissioner for refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons. She is from Zamfara State.


5. Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa

Zainab Bulkachuwa, who was born in March, 1950, is a jurist and the president of the Court of Appeal. She was called to Bar in 1976 and was appointed to the Bench of the Court of Appeal as justice in 1998. Before the appointment, she was a judge at the High Court in Bauchi State. She presided over the Sokoto State governorship election petition of 2007. In 2014, she was appointed as president of the Court of Appeal by former President Goodluck Jonathan and sworn in by Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, the former and first Chief Justice of the Federation.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan approved the appointment of Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as the acting president of the Court of Appeal in 2012. The National Judicial Council renewed the appointment of Justice Bulkachuwa.

6. Aisha Abubakar


Aisha Abubakar, who hails from Sokoto State, was born on July 20, 1966. She obtained a degree in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick in 1990. She also got her master’s degree in Development Studies at the University of Leeds in 1991.

She worked at the African Development Bank (ADB), Abidjan as a Senior Bilateral Co-operation Officer from 1993 to 1997 and in the Lagos office of the ADB from 1998 to 1999. From 2010, Aisha Abubakar worked at the Abuja Enterprise Agency, rising to the position of managing director in 2013, a position she held until June this year.

Most recently, Aisha was the Director of Corporate Services in the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). She is currently the Minister of State, Trade, Industry and Investment. She is described as a role model to many women.

7. Khadija Bukar Abba


Khadija Bukar Abba was born on January 6, 1967. She represented Damaturu/ Gujba/Gulani/ Tarmuwa federal constituency of Yobe State in the House of Reprersentatives between 2007- 2015. She was made the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.

The Queen’s College, Lagos graduate attended Headington School, Oxford, after which she obtained a National Diploma in Business and Finance from Pardworth College, Reading, UK. She also bagged BSc in Business Studies and Sociology from Roehampton Institute for Higher Education, an affiliate of the University of Surrey in 1989.

Khadija was the Commissioner for Transport and Energy in Yobe State where her primary responsibility was to oversee energy supply in rural areas and transport networks. In 2006, she was appointed a resident commissioner, Nicon Insurance, Yobe State.

She has received many awards, including the Thisday Woman Distinction Award, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Inspirational Leadership Forum (SATBILA) Award, and Distinguished Leadership Award by The Rotary Club of Maiduguri, amongst others.

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