The critical role of women in Nigerian politics

The critical role of women in Nigerian politics

By Rita K. Gonyok

Over the years women have been relegated to the background in issues of the overall development especially in the developing nations like Nigeria. This is borne out of the sentimental attachment on feminine gender. Historical evidences are available to prove that the Nigerian women have for long been playing crucial role in political life of the country, and this has contributed in no small measure in shaping the political system of the nation. For development of any kind to be successful, a vantage position should be accorded the women, as they constitute larger proportion of the population. In this regard, they should not be left out in the issues of decision making that bothers even on their lives as a people.

Today, women are participating more actively in political issues than ever before as a result of political re-awakening and awareness. More often than not, they are besieged with challenges of which discrimination is more rife. Majority of the men more on chauvinistic disposition are preoccupied with the notion that decision making is exclusively for the men folk while women are to be instructed on what to do. This idea of seeing the women playing the number two role at homes has come to play itself out in the political life of the people. And this ought not to be so with regards to the ever dynamic nature of things globally as women are now seeing in other communities as avant-garde in developed nations. It is surprising that the same mindset of yester years is still what is obtained in our country.

Despite the difficulties faced by women in politics, they continue with their political ambition, contributing enormously to the political and national development in their own way as the challenges militating against them are not present, although Nigeria is yet to have a female president. Women over the years could be said to have recorded some measure of appreciable political achievement in other political fields of endeavors, meeting their political objectives with limited support and resources at their disposal.

In 1957 during the pre-independence era of Nigeria, a couple of women political activists such as, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Mrs. Janet Mokelu and Ms. Young were members of the Eastern House of Assembly. The late Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, though not a full-fledged politician, was a very strong force to reckon with in the politics of the Western Region. And Hajia Gambo Sawaba waged a fierce battle for the political and cultural emancipation of women in the North. One can say that women have always played viable political roles in Nigeria in spite of all the limitations and encumbrances.

The Babangida era marked a turning point in the history of women struggle in Nigeria, when Maryam Babangida institutionalized the office of the first lady in 1987. She became the first working First Lady and launched the "Better Life for Rural Women" program. Other women who have made impact in the country's political scene include, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala former minister of finance, who saved the nation records of billions of Naira as a result of her hard working nature as a public officer. Mrs. Obi Ezekwesili also laid a land mark in the history of Nigeriapolitics. Prof.. Dora Akunyili, the NAFDAC boss has also performed credibly; leading the fight against adulterated pharmaceutical drugs, her name can never be forgotten in the annals of history. There are myriads of women in politics even presently that have done very well and are still performing excellently well.

Liberia's head of state Ellen Johnson Sir-leaf has made history as Africa's first female president. In the United States, Senator Hillary Clinton has made a positive impact in America's politics. Also the Republican Party's presidential candidate John McCain picked a woman - SarahPalin, the Governor of Alaska as his running mate for the U.S election. This could be seen as the strong factor women constitute in the political parlance of any nation.

Today, many countries of the world are making efforts to bridge the gap between men and women in politics. But in Nigerian the representation of women in Government even though has improved than before is still very low compared to what obtains in other nations of the world, particularly in the developed nations. The representation of women in the last republic, 2003 election, was poor only 3 women made it to 109 members senate house, while 21 were elected in 360 members lower house of representatives. As it were, the number of serving female Ministers is still very few.

There is no doubt that women have some potentials and rights to contribute meaningfully to the development of their country. Therefore, the Nigerian government should work towards achieving gender equality in democratic governance, increase women participation and access to politics. It must be realized that the role of women as home makers can not be down played in that it equally has an extended impact on their responsibility in service, the women touch anywhere cannot be matched. 

Rita k. Gonyok

Rita_gonyok@yahoo.com

National Press Centre, Abuja

 



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Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
Dewdrops posted on 11-19-2008, 05:07:52 AM
Another means of facilitating the world's oldest profession......prostitution.
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
MrOneNaija posted on 11-19-2008, 09:59:04 AM
WOMEN IN (NIGERIAN ) POLITICS


It is a bit puzzling that the author of the initiating article of the thread has not seen it fit to mention the Asian examples of women in politics. I'm thinking here of the charismatic women of India and Pakistan. Indira Ghandi and Mrs. Bhuto, both late, did impact their respective societies in a way that few women before and after them have done. That both figures belonged to developing societies that have varying degrees of similarities with the Nigerian setting does make their stories particularly compelling to students of the role of women in contemporary Nigerian politics.

In the USA, the name of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, has greater resonance with the average American than that of Sarah Palin.

And talking of Nigerian politics, I'm not so sure that a Mrs. Babangida can be said to have contributed positively in the furtherance of an all-inclusive political agenda involving women. Like other so-called first-ladies in the Nigerian context, the wife of the ex-dictator is known more for her social engagements that were avenues for self-aggrandizement and obscene vanity than anything else.

P.S. It is curious that the name of Nigeria's first female speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs, Patricia Etteh, is not mentioned in the article. And what about the first female speaker of a Nigerian state legislature, Mrs. Chen of Benue?
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
RAYNOSA posted on 11-19-2008, 10:13:10 AM
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics

Very Simple.............First Lady.
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
Abraxas posted on 11-19-2008, 10:16:32 AM
Hi, folks!

It is obvious that most Nigerian women would prefer to be cheerleaders, and/or derive their socio-political relevance from the shadows of their spouse's political power.

Clearly, it is better, easier, safer, and more lucrative to be a First Lady (of a local government area, or of a state, or of Nigeria), or to be even a buddy of the First Lady, than to be a female senator, or female governor, or female PDP National Chairman.

By the way, are there any women members of the PDP Board of Trustees?

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
Dewdrops posted on 11-19-2008, 11:46:31 AM
QUOTE:
Hi, folks!

It is obvious that most Nigerian women would prefer to be cheerleaders, and/or derive their socio-political relevance from the shadows of their spouse's political power.

Clearly, it is better, easier, safer, and more lucrative to be a First Lady (of a local government area, or of a state, or of Nigeria), or to be even a buddy of the First Lady, than to be a female senator, or female governor, or female PDP National Chairman.

By the way, are there any women members of the PDP Board of Trustees?

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)


In a Christian-Sharia filthy environment?

In your dreams!

I do not respect "ANY" female in that Nigeria with political appointments....unless she is outside the country with at least some decent exposure to what it is to work without using your ar$$ for the most part.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala comes to mind.....gladly left after the "poto-poto" politics.

Forget the rest......no exceptions!

Just name one that did not start her so-called career in the trunk of a "mini-mug"?

QUOTE:
In the USA, the name of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, has greater resonance with the average American than that of Sarah Palin.


What an insult to women of the civilized world....to be compared to those pubic hair dressers like Madam Etteh and the likes "bred" in Nigeria.......on the same thread for crying out loud......
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
M. Akosa posted on 11-19-2008, 11:57:46 AM
Dear Rita Gonyok,

I quite very much like your suggestions that Nigeria and in fact the world needs more female participation in politics and governance.
But please go and read this book, before you touch this subject again, in order to inform your knowledge more on this subject.
The title is "If voting changed Anything" They will abolish it. Ken Livingstone (1987)

The problem or question is "WHAT TYPE OF WOMEN ARE WE LOOKING FOR HERE?"
Is it cheerleaders as some one on this thread said?
Is it courtesans or high class mistresses and prostitutes?
Is it daddy's girls and favorite wives?

I rather have a million Obamas govern my society or to be in power than 1/4 Sarah Palin !!!

Thank you very much and God bless you.
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
MrOneNaija posted on 11-19-2008, 12:01:53 PM
THE SENATOR IYABO OBASANJO EXAMPLE

One should also not forget to mention the Honourable Senator Iyabo Obasanjo, daughter of the ex-tyrant. If this woman were to be the measure to judge the role of women in Nigerian politics, most Nigerians would safely conclude that Nigeria is doomed, with or without women at the helm of affairs.
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
Dewdrops posted on 11-19-2008, 12:05:41 PM
Still not one mention of a "notable classy female" politician in Nigeria?


Still waiting.

Poor Sarah Palin.....which makes the people of Alaska all dunces then for being their governor. At least she does most of her sleeping in her home with all the kids she has to show for it and a full-time house husband at her service every night. This is without the role of that famous title "MRS." by her name. But in Nigeria, every female politician is a "MRS"...even the ones with "ghost husbands".





Frankly George Bush is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more dense than Sarah Palin....how can anyone forget that?
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
Abraxas posted on 11-19-2008, 12:08:16 PM
Hi, Ms. Dewdrops!

Why do you seem to give the impression that Nigerian women in politics have to get their congos shined in order to be wherever they find themselves politically?

I am also curious to know why you think Nigerian women in the diaspora are superior to their Nigeria-based fellow women, vis-a-vis materials for political
appointment.

Please shed some very urgently needed light on this serious matter, I beg you.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS
(III)
Re: The critical role of women in Nigerian politics
Dewdrops posted on 11-19-2008, 12:13:07 PM
QUOTE:
Hi, Ms. Dewdrops!

Why do you seem to give the impression that Nigerian women in politics have to get their congos shined in order to be wherever they find themselves politically?

I am also curious to know why you think Nigerian women in the diaspora are superior to their Nigeria-based fellow women, vis-a-vis materials for political
appointment.

Please shed some very urgently needed light on this serious matter, I beg you.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS
(III)


Who said anything about women in the diaspora being superior? Is the president of Liberia not a female?

I say they are more credible female political figures and can stand up in public to address issues without being used as sporting goods by their male counterparts in the diaspora than you have in Africa.

Please prove me wrong....name one credible female politician in Nigeria?

Do I need to spell out the obvious?

This thread is about the "critical role of women" in Nigerian politics and I have summed it up as one of prostitution. Na lie?
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