The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) managing director, Hadiza Bala Usman, says she was able to rise through the ranks in public service and became what she is now because she did not let herself be limited by stereotypes like societal and cultural pressures.
Hadiza Bala who hails from Musawa LGA of Katsina State made that assertion on Wednesday during a panel discussion that centered on what it means to be a woman in Africa.
The event, organized by CNN Africa in partnership with the British deputy high commission in Nigeria was part of the “Women’s Month” celebration.
Making reference to her cultural background, the NPA MD said she did not allow herself to be roped into a system that holds women back from reaching out for top positions in the society.
“We refuse to allow ourselves to fit into a box. There’s a particular narrative that’s around who you are as an African woman–for me as a northern woman–that you’re required to stay in that nice happy box that they’ve put you in, and I refused to do that,” she said.
“I wouldn’t stay in that place they put me in and what happened is that I turn out to be the MD of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
“Where I come from in the north, women are conditioned to think that they’re not meant to be out there. But I’m a woman who will take what’s mine. I serve as an inspiration to young women out there.
“So I encourage all of us–young women, older women to just think of who we are and what we want to achieve and push the boundaries and refuse to be defined by anyone else.”
Hadiza Bala Usman said she’s still actively part of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement, adding that being in government has not restricted her from advocating the release of the Chibok girls.
“Five years later I’m still advocating, I wear my badge. I refuse to be put in that place that says you’re in government you can’t advocate,” she said.