Nigerian women have continued to excel in the private sector and are serving at top-level positions globally, yet featuring in public life at home remains a challenge having factors such as cultural and societal beliefs contributing to the poor representation of women in Nigerian politics.
In Nigeria, women and girls account for half of the population and therefore represent half of its potential as an African nation. Yet out of Africa’s 54 countries, Nigeria ranks the lowest, coming 54th with a 5.45% female representation on the list of five worst-performing countries in the continent. For Nigeria to prosper and progress, it must increase the representation of women in decision-making positions.
Looking at the 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections at Federal and State levels in Nigeria, only 1,524 – less than a 10th of the 15,336 candidates are women, according to data from Lagos-based geopolitical risk advisory consultancy SBM Intelligence. Only recently, Nigerian lawmakers rejected a number of bills that would open the door for increased representation of women in politics, including legislation mandating that women fill 35% of appointed positions in government and 35% of elective positions, now results from the current rate of women candidates contesting at the elections not encouraging.
Nigeria has not had any women presidents or vice presidents. It has not elected any female governors across its 36 states. Its proportion of women representatives in both legislative chambers does not exceed 7%. The country’s national average of women’s political participation has remained around 6.7% in elective and appointive positions, far below the global average of 22.5% and of the 92 women who contested for the Senate in the February elections, only three won, while out of the 286 who contested for seats in the House of Representatives, only 15 have been declared winners.
As of the 2023 Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly Elections held on 18th March, only four female candidates were declared winners at the polls in Plateau State.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s Josephine Piyo is now the second female to emerge as deputy governor-elect in Plateau State since Pauline Tallen in May 2011. Piyo is a committed and cosmopolitan politician who has earnestly served the people of Plateau at different levels. She was a one-time Chairman of Riyom Local government area (2014-2015), a Former State House of Assembly member representing Riyom (1999) and a former Special Adviser to the governor of Plateau state (2008-2011) amongst many other aspects of leadership she has handled.
PDP’s Beni Lar representing Langtang north and Langtang south at the federal house of representatives since 2007 contested again and won the polls to retain her position. She is a legal practitioner, a member of the pan-African parliament and has chaired various committees which include the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights 2015.
The current speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly Yakubu Sanda lost the Pengana constituency seat to PDP’s Happiness Akawu. Another woman, Wanglek Tanimu has been elected to represent Pankshin at the 10th assembly.