The Widening Gap of Gender Inequality in Nigerian Politics

About half of Nigeria’s population is made up of women. However, it is quite surprising and unfortunate that women occupy a very marginal political leadership position in the country. Rather than get better, the outcome of the 2019 general election has shown a worsening of the abysmal representation of women in government.

Since independence, Nigeria has had very little by way of women participation in the Nation’s governance. The recently concluded 2019 general elections saw 73 candidates vie for the position of presidency, however, only 7 of those 73 were women.

Since independence in 1999, Nigeria has not produced a female President nor a female Vice President. Neither has any of its states produced an elected female Governor (The only female “governor” in the fourth republic, Dame Virginia Ngozi became Governor following the impeachment of the then Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, by the state legislature for alleged gross misconduct. She occupied the position for three months before an appeal court nullified the impeachment.

In 1999, only 3 women were elected into the Nigerian Senate. This is the lowest number of women in the Senate to date. 2007 and 2015 elections recorded 8 women occupying the hallowed chamber and the 9th Senate will see a total of 7 women following the announcement of the 2019 election results.

For deputy governors, the 2007 and 2015 elections produced female Deputy Governors in 6 states which remains the highest till date. The recently concluded 2019 election saw only 3 states having female deputy Governors.

The 9th House of Representatives is expected to have the lowest number of women representation since independence. The 2019 election results showed that of the 360 available seats, only 11 of them will be occupied by females. Contrast this with what obtained in 2011 when 26 women won election into the house (the highest till date).

For a more illustrative look at women representation in political leadership position in Nigeria since 1999, please see the infographic below.

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