Chief Mrs Pauline kedem Tallen was born on January 8, 1959, in Shendam, Plateau State, Nigeria to the family of Baba Paul & Mama Elizabeth Kattiems.
Sworn into office on 29th May, 2007, Tallens leadership traits were visibly prominent while in secondary school and after her studies there, she gained admission at the University of Jos where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology in 1982. After graduation, Pauline realized that her hometown would never be able to emerge and advance unless there were more permanent educational facilities in place. Tallen’s first political awakening and commitment may have come when she realized that something had to be done to remedy the situation.
Starting her public service career in the Shendam local government Council in 1976 as a Clerical Officer and later to the Ministry of Local Government Affairs in that same position, Mrs Tallen later moved her way up to a position of Member of the management committee of the Shendam Local Government Council when she won her first political appointment to the local council in 1994 as Councillor. From the moment she entered into politics she has barely had one moment to herself because of many people who clamour around her in her home in Shendam. Her lively spirit at all times shows that she thrives on the interactions and on the chaos. Tallen never seems tired despite her very busy schedule, one always wonders where she gets her energy. She seemed quite happy to have her every moment engaged.
Pauline’s husband, John Tallen, an elder in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State and a politician all of his life as well, has firsthand knowledge of what Politics entails and encouraged her to go into politics. Therefore she went a step further into politics by competing for the Chairmanship of the Council. She was deeply into this campaign when the military government took over power. Luckily for her, the new regime viewed her as an asset in her community and appointed her into the position of Commissioner in the State Executive Council overseeing the Ministry of Social Development, Youth, Sports and Culture, the position she held until the regime redeployed her to the Ministry of Health as a Commissioner one year later. She served in this position from 1995 until 1999.
Tallen yet moved further into politics by becoming a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Inauguration Committee in 1999, in June of the same year she was appointed to the position of the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology because of her outstanding contribution to the party and society as a whole. Mrs Pauline Tallen is the first female to ever hold the post of a Minister of Science and Technology in the history of Nigeria.
While in this office Mrs Tallen helped to formulate strategic plans to enable the ministry accomplish its objectives and used her strong and wide political influence and contacts within the Legislative and Executive arms of Government to garner resources for the ministry. Mrs Tallen portfolio as Minister of State and her feminist nature did not weaken her resolve to make a huge difference which was glaring and has drummed up the goodwill the Ministry is enjoying presently from the Government and people of Nigeria. Various media reports during her tenure described her as a positive leader that has provided the impetus for the growth of the Science and Technology sector of Nigeria. Many awards from within and outside the country have clearly demonstrated this.
Encouraging women, especially the girl-child to embrace technology, is another important role she played as a Minister. Her message has been that unless women embrace technology, they will not be able to advance economically and thus stand to become irrelevant in the 21st century. As Minister of Science and Technology she has been able to, through sheer hardwork, contribute to the three - fold increase in the budget of the Ministry and its overall development before she left office in May 2003.
Mrs Pauline Tallen also ensured the placement of many Plateau Indigenes into various senior and junior working positions in the federal Civil Service and because of her Nationalistic approach has also influenced the appointment of indigenes of other parts of the country into the service. Many Federal projects on the Plateau were directly influenced by this patriotic woman who has consistently exhibited her love and passion for the development and upliftment of Plateau State.
She was one of the few Ministers who had survived all the cabinet reshufflement throughout the first tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the reason is quite obvious, her hardwork, loyalty dedication and commitment to duty.
Her administrative acumen was once again recognized by President Olusegun Obasanjo after her Ministerial appointment when he appointed her as Chairman of the Governing Board of one of the high profile parastatals in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC). Her stint there did not surprise many as she instituted innovative programmes like, the high profile monitoring of all RMRDC projects throughout the country which has hitherto never taken place in the history of the Council. Mrs Tallen has received numerous National and International Awards and recognitions for her outstanding contribution to community development; women mobilization towards National development, science and technology development, youth development, proficiency in Business Administration, development of Education and Health Care in Plateau State and politics amongst several others.
In 2005, Mr. President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo crowned her with the prestigious community service award of, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR). Politically, Mrs Pauline Tallen has paid her dues and has played several roles in party politics, conflict resolution and reconciliation at both National and State level. She is one of the strongest political voices in the middle Belt forum which has the likes of General Theophilus Daujuma, Senator Iyorchia Ayu etc.
This pragmatic and highly accomplished woman is one of the greatest female politicians ever to come out of the middle belt. She is a notable rural mobilizer, a member of many community development associations and has widely travelled to all the continents of the world.
With the election of this deeply religious woman, wife, politician and mother of 5 children as Deputy Governor of Plateau State, she has scored another first, as the first and only female Deputy Governor in the entire Northern part of Nigeria.
Her contributions to politics and women development are unequalled in the history of Plateau State and the Middle Belt and she can aptly be described as, “Magajiyan Matan Plateau” and “The Greatest female Political Gladiator in the Middle Belt.”