“For me, a better democracy is a democracy where women do not only have the right to vote and to elect but to be elected.” Michelle Bachelet, Head of UN Women and former President of Chile.
For Michelle Bachelet, Nigeria is not yet a good democracy because opportunities for women to seek elective offices at the top are still limited.
Since Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1999, one could easily count on the fingers women who had offered to run for president of the country.
Fewer are even those who managed to win their party’s ticket. But none has emerged the presidential candidate of any of the leasing parties since 1999.
In this report, THE WHISTLER explores Nigeria Women in Politics and female politicians who aspired to break the glass ceilings.
5 Women Who Want to be President in 2019?
Recently, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registered 23 new political parties bringing the total number of parties to 91.
Each party is expected to provide the electoral body with one (1) candidate to contest the presidential election which comes up in February 16th, 2019.
Although the parties are expected to commence primary elections between August 18, 2018 and end on October 7, 2018, various candidates with presidential bids have announced their ambitions.
Some of those aspiring for 2019 presidency are incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, immediate past National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and two-time governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi; Former Jigawa state governor, Sule Lamido; Gombe Governor Ibrahim Dankwombo; Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; a former Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Professor Kingsley Moghalu; Business man, Fela Durotoye; publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore; Former Cross River Governor, Donald Duke, amongst others
So far only five women who have announced their intention to run for presidency.
Prof. Remi Sonaiya
Prof. Remi Sonaiya is a retired professor of French Language and Applied Linguistics at Obafemi Awolowo University.
She has degrees from Obafemi Awolowo University and Cornell University.
63 years old Sonaiya was born on March 2nd 1955 in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. Her father and mother are Ibadan indigenes.
She was a recipient of various international research grants and fellowships, including the French Government Grant for Advanced Researchers and the German Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship.
Sonaiya is running on the platform of KOWA Party (KP). She was the only female candidate in the 2015 presidential election.
In the 2015 presidential election, she lost to President Buhari, winning 13,076 votes, 0.05% of the total votes cast.
Sonaiya, who has a five- point agenda if she emerges president encouraged more women to come out and contest for political positions in the country.
“By leaving the leadership position to men alone, we have denied ourselves our rights. I really hope that women will be determined and stand, in not just talking about the situation of things, but assuming responsibilities. We should not be begged to take charge.
“We cannot have a developed nation without women’s involvement. We have the skills and abilities to prepare for leadership,” she said.
Prof. Olufumilayo Adesanya-Davis
Professor Mercy Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies was born on 15 October 1962, daughter of Susan Adepoju and Isaac Salako.
55 years old Adesanya-Davies is a Nigerian politician, educationist, author, linguist and Bishop of Agape Bible Church, Rivers State, Nigeria.
A native of Ira Town, Kwara State, Adesanya-Davies is a recipient of the UN –POLAC World Peace Ambassadorial Award.
Olufunmilayo is a Professor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) of the Northwestern Christian University, Florida. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics and Communication Studies.
Adesanya-Davies officially joined politics as an ardent member of the ACCORD Party in Kwara State. She remained there for years, until she joined PDP.
While declaring her ambitions as a presidential candidate, Adesanya-Davies, in a press briefing, said of her ambition, “I am aspiring to be the next president of Nigeria. I am out to put laughter of joy on the mouth of all. I have discussed this with the former presidential candidate, Sarah Jubril, who incidentally is from Kwara State. Her reaction was that ‘if a miracle like this will ever happen, we have paid the price in Kwara State and it is going to happen in the state.”
She is however, yet to get a political party to endorse her candidature.
Elishama Rosemary Ideh
54 years old Elishama Rosemary Ideh was born and raised in Lagos to Mr and Mrs Ewohimi, Edo State former policeman father and businesswoman mother.
She read Mass Communication in Bowie University, Maryland, USA before returning to Nigeria to build a business empire around real estate.
She is running for the position of Nigeria’s president on the platform of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN).
On what inspired her to run for presidency, Ideh said, “One of the major reasons I am contesting for the post of the president is that the greatest problem in Nigeria today is Poverty. The Poverty Level is very high and in the World Clock Poverty Record, 12 Nigerians fall into extreme, not just ordinary poverty, which means every second a Nigerian is falling to poverty. 61% of Nigerians right now are below the poverty line and if you have to a Rough calculation that’s about 122 million, so how many are we in Nigeria that about 122 million are living below poverty line.
“So for me this became a serious burden and concern as a citizen of this great nation, we are more than this and we are better than this. With the case resources we have as a nation, with all of our mineral and natural resources that we have as a nation, Nigeria should not be at this level, almost all of our citizen are in poverty, over half are already in extreme poverty. Knowing fully well that 60% of the world’s natural resources are in Africa, and over 50% are in Nigeria, yet we only contribute to 3% of the global economy.”
Adeline Iwuagwu-Emihe is an American-trained political administrator.
She is running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Iwuagwu-Emihe, recently released a 10-point transformational and developmental agenda if she emerges president.
She said, “I believe that with the right leadership, equitable distribution and management of the nation’s given natural and human resources, it is possible to adequately provide for all citizens both big and small.
“Although the nation’s constitution is limited in its pagination, it is huge in its provision for equity and justice for all the people. We must use it as the common ground to love and care for one another,” she added.
Eunice Atuejide, 39, is a Nigerian businesswoman, lawyer, and politician from Enugu State. She was born and raised in Lagos state.
She studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan, in Oyo State; Business Administration in Germany, French, German and Spanish languages in different countries in Europe; Film Making, Acting and Communication skills in the USA, and numerous qualifications in law in the UK and Nigeria.
She is the founder of the National Interest Party (NIP) and presidential flagbearer of the party.
She has traveled to at least seventy-six countries and a hundred and thirty cities across the globe.
Why Nigeria Needs a Woman President
Despite the population of women in Nigeria, the country has never had a female president.
According to Nigeria Population Census, female population for Nigeria as at 2006 was 69,086,302.
The highest office a woman has occupied in the country is speaker of the House of Representatives, which Hon. Patricia Etteh held for 4 months and 26 days before she was compelled to quit over alleged corruption.
In 2003, Sarah Jubril became the first woman to contest a presidential election in Nigeria while Prof. Remi Shonaiya of the KOWA Party, in 2015, is the second woman in the history of Nigeria to contest a presidential election.
Nigerians have however, advised that more women engage in the political affairs of the country, calling for political bigwigs to support female leadership as it just might be the pill the country needs to progress.
British stateswoman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher said “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”