FlashBack: Meet The First Nigerian Women in Politics
Women’s participation in Nigerian politics is very important,
however, most of the times, women are relegated to the background, as
floor members and cheerleaders. Amazingly, in the pre-colonial era,
women have been an important part of our political set up. For example,
we have Queen Amina of Zaria in the 11th century who made Zaria a
prominent Commercial Centre through her strength. Also, Moremi of Ife,
Emotan of Benin, Omu Okwei of Ossomari, great amazons who displayed
wonderful bravery and strength in the politics and commercial scenes.
Here are a few other Nigerian Women who have represented the female folk in Nigerian Politics.
The First Political Activist in Nigeria is Mrs. Magaret Ekpo.
In the First Republic, born in Calabar, Cross River State, she was a
traditional political activist, both as a grassroots politician and a
nationalist. She fought for the civil rights of women and led Aba women
to vote. She is recognized as an Icon of Nigerian Politics.
The First Deputy Governor in Nigeria is Mrs. L. Okunnu.
Lateefah Modupeola Okunnu is an educationist and a civil servant. She was appointed in 1990, to be the Deputy Governor of La
The First Female Governor in Nigeria is Lady Virginia Etiaba of Anambra State.
First, she was a Commissioner for the state, later, she became a
Deputy Governor. After the impeachment of Peter Obi as the Anambra State
Governor, she became the first female governor of the state from
November 2006 to February 2007. She transferred her powers back to Obi
after the appeal court nullified the impeachment.
The First Female Senator in Nigeria is Mrs. Wuraola Esan (appointed)
Wuraola Esan was the first woman to break cultural protocols and
become the first female senator in the first republic. She entered the
political scene in 1950 and became a nominated senator from Ibadan West
as she became the first ever female member of Nigerian National
The First Female Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria is Diezani Allison-Madueke
Allison-Madueke was the first Female minister to head the Petroleum
Ministry. She was also the first female Minister of Transportation. She
studied architecture in England and then at Howard University in the
United States and she got her MBA from Cambridge University.
The First Female ‘Elected’ Senator in Nigeria is Franca Afegbua
Franca Afegbua who represented the former Bendel State of Nigeria was
the first Female Elected Senator during the second republic 1979-1983.
The two other female senators before her were appointed in 1960.
The First Female Permanent Secretary in Nigeria is Chief (Mrs.) Francesca Emmanuel.
The First Female Finance Minister in Nigeria is Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala
Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and Nigeria’s first female minister of
Finance. She served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria and was
previously Managing Director of the World Bank.
The First Female Gubernatorial Aspirant in Nigeria is Alhaja Basirat Nahibi.
Basirat Nahibi is a multimillionaire businesswoman and owns al-Bashir
Interior Decors in Abuja. She’s still involved in politics.
The First Female Cabinet Minister in Nigeria is Chief (Mrs.) Ebun Oyegbola
The First female Speaker of a House of Assembly in Nigeria is Hon. Margaret Icheen
The First Female Speaker of the House of Representatives is Rt. Hon. Patricia Olubunmi Foluke Etteh.
was initially elected in 1999 as an Alliance for Democracy (AD) member
but switched to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) when running for
re-election in 2003. She was elected to the position of speaker
unanimously in June 2007 and is the only woman to have held this
position in the Nigerian government
The first woman to contest a presidential election in Nigeria is Sarah Jubril.
2003, she took her ambition to the Progressive Action Congress, PAC and
became the first woman to contest a presidential election in
Nigeria. She later returned to PDP, to contest for the party’s ticket in
2007 but scored four votes at the convention which late President Umaru
Musa Yar’Adua won. Jubril’s presidential ambition dates back to 1998
when she aspired on the platform of the PDP and lost the presidential
ticket to Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who went on to win the polls.