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Nigeria Women’s Participation In Politics Still A Dream?

Recently, women have been struggling and demanding that a chance be given to them to lead.  This struggle has gingered many a woman to develop more interest in politics with the hope that one day the dream will come true.

In Africa, realizing the dream is not an easy task. Over the years, some women have dared the rough road and got frustrated at the end. But, the women did not relent.

In Nigeria, many women both past and present have made remarkable efforts to have their footprint recorded in the sands of time.

Nigerian Women in Politics

In the first Republic, Mrs. Funmilayo Kuti, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Mrs. Margaret Mokelu, and Mrs. Esan Waraola in the then Western Region were the only women in the senate.

These four women played active roles that made it possible for them to be among the delegates who represented Nigeria at the London Constitutional Conference. The active role they played throughout their stay in the first International Year for Women in 1975 helped in no small measures in giving impetus to women of the 2nd Republic.

Among such women in the 2nd Republic was Mrs. Feliz Abert Mortune. She launched the National Democratic Action Party but unfortunately was disqualified by the then Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO). Mrs. Kofoworola Pratt, ex-Lagos State Commissioner for Health attempted to launch an all-female party but was equally later disqualified by the FEDECO.

In the 2003 election, Mrs. Sarah Jubril under the platform of the Progressive Action Congress (PAC) contested the 2003 Presidential Election against President Olusegun Obasanjo and lost.

Till now, women have been making serious efforts to ensure that they have good representation in politics and governance. From 1999 to 2023, over 160 women have been elected into the 469-member National Assembly and the House of Representatives.

Not relenting, a few educated women formed Feminist organizations to educate and sensitize women on the need for active participation in politics and what they stand to gain.

Participating in politics is one thing when it comes to voting, but when it comes to vying for elective positions, it becomes another thing.
Vying for elective posts in a male-dominated society is never very easy for women, especially when society is so biased and women are their enemies. A woman will give reasons why she will want to vote for a man even when it is obvious that the opponent who is a woman is a better candidate.

The few that had interest were discouraged by the attitudes of the men. Caucus meetings were held at night during elections, ballot boxes were stolen and figures manipulated, leaving the women with sad memories of the chances they missed.

When Elles Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia broke the glass ceiling and joined the all-men club and became the first African Female President, women all over Africa cheered when they heard the result, because it had been a long wait.

With her election and victory, women will finally begin to be represented globally throughout politics and government in line with their skills and their rights.

Despite every effort to bring women into politics, gender inequality, poverty and lack of education still play major roles in preventing women from realizing their dreams.

To improve on this, many African countries have adopted the Beijing Declaration of 30% appointive positions in politics and governance to women. Such countries include Rwanda which has the highest proportion of women in the world with a 61.3% female majority in parliament in the Chamber of Deputies. It is hoped that with the efforts the women in Nigeria are making if all obstacles are eliminated their way,  one day they will get there.

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