Personality Profile: Binta Masi Garba
The Elegant, Northern Lady Politician
Binta Masi Garba was born on April 19, 1967 in Kaduna Army Barracks to Muslim parents. Her parents are Higgi from Bazza, Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
Binta is a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and when she was growing up at the barracks, her father Mr Garba Tumba was an Army Officer. Binta Garba is the second child of her parents, thus she was named Masi according to Higgi traditional naming convention.
Between 1975 to 1981, she had her Primary School Education at Army Children School, New Cantonment D, Hayin Banki, Kaduna from 1975 to 1981. From there she proceeded for her Secondary School Education where she obtained her (GCE/WAEC ‘O’ Level) in Government Day School, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna South, Kaduna, between 1981 to 1987. She thereafter attended Kaduna Polytechnic and obtained an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Marketing, in 1990 and Higher National Diploma (HND) in Marketing, in 1997. In 2004, she went to Harvard Kennedy School of Government – Harvard University (Public Financial Management). She holds two Diplomas in Theology from the Bible School of Church Growth and Practical Ministry, and Matthew Owujaye’s Ministry, Kaduna. She is a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Theology from Smith Christian University, Miami, Florida.
Binta Masi Garba began her political career in the year 1998 in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Prior to her getting into politics, she worked with the New Nigeria Newspapers as an advert officer. She however felt discriminated against when it got to the year she was expecting a promotion in the office, her male colleague got a double promotion and she was left out even though she had the same business schedules like him. This singular incident of gender inequality prompted her to take up the mandate to represent women, the poor and oppressed in the Federal House of representative Kaduna South Federal Constituency. Her first bid in 1998 was not successful.
Her desire for service made her to contest again in 1999. As a Christian, she won against her male opponent with a margin of not less than 5,000 in a Muslim dominated community. Her victory made her the youngest Federal legislator in Nigeria in 1999. After her first successful tenure, she contested again in 2003 and won against her opponent with a margin of not less than 50,000. Her opponent was a Muslim Mallam that was teaching in one of the Islamic Secondary School. Despite her religious background, she was never discriminated against.
In 2006, close to the end of her second term in the Federal House of Representatives, the then Governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna, having heard of her excellent performance as a legislator representing Kaduna South, prevailed upon her to come back to her State of origin, Adamawa State, and contest. After due considerations, she consented and came down to contest for House of Representatives in Madagali/Michika Federal Constituency under the Platform of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). She eventually won the seat and represented the constituency from 2007 to 2011.
After her third consecutive tenure in the Federal House of Assembly, she re-contested and lost against Titsi Ganama. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) under the Chairmanship of Bamanga Tukur had serious leadership crisis and a new faction emerged in 2013. The new faction of the PDP was under the Chairmanship of Abubakar Kawu Baraje. The new faction was called new PDP (nPDP). Binta Masi Garba was appointed the Woman leader of the nPDP. She however later defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC) alongside Governor Murtala Nyako and other Governors. She contested and emerged as the Chairman of the Adamawa State Chapter of APC.
The victory at the polls made her the first female State Chairman of a registered major political party in Nigeria. Binta Masi Garba fought hard to unite the party due to the unrest within the party which made many to see her as a symbol of Unity and rallying point. She oversaw one of the most successful party primaries in Adamawa State as a seating Chairman of the Adamawa State Chapter of APC. She was given waiver to contest for the Senate seat in the party primaries and she eventually emerged victorious against her male contender.
On 28 May 2015, she won the Senate seat of Adamawa North Senatorial District by winning in 3 local government areas of the 5 LGAs in the zone. It is worthy to note that Binta Masi Garba is the first politician to represent two different Federal Constituency at the National Assembly. She was the first parliamentarian to start poverty alleviation program for the women and youths in 2003 when she was representing Kaduna South Federal Constituency. In 2009, she was elected as the first Vice President of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) under Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in Cameroon.
She is the only female Senator-Elect in all the 19 Northern States of Nigeria in the 2015 election. She won a Senate seat against a seating Governor, Bala James Ngilari, with over 22,000 votes margin. She was the only female delegate from Adamawa State to the National Conference in Abuja. She is the Senator representing Adamawa North Senatorial District of Adamawa State, Nigeria.
However, Binta Masi Garba has won several awards including the Jaycees International Young Person Role Model Award 2002; PRS – The Women of Merit Gold Award; Prime International – Women in Leadership Merit Award May, 2002; Association of Market Women and Men, Abuja Role Model Award Sept., 2002; Dame Publication – Nigerian Women Award (Role Model) – 2002; National Women Mobilization Committee Award – our Jewel (NAWOMCO); Leadership Distinction Award (Most Distinguished Representatives); Valuable Contribution to Development of Parliamentary Democracy in Nigeria Award.