The Role of Women in Nigeria’s 60 Years of Nationhood
By Juliet Ugwu
It will be unreasonable, and cruel to wish away the critical effort of ladies in attainment and sustainability of Independence in Nigeria. There is no doubt that women have performed a very considerable function in Nigeria for the duration of these 60 years of gaining her independence. Women’s function in nation constructing can be considered in all ramifications such as politics, public service, public administration and so on. Globally, the role, impact and charismatic preposition of women is considered to be relevance toward attainment of overall world peace and mutual co-existence.
However, women’s political participation at some stage in the colonial time until date has contributed immensely toward shaping the Nigerian politics no longer solely in democratic government; but through the pre-colonial era. Female have been allowed to take section in the nearby administration earlier than the arrival of the colonial masters. For instance, Iyalode (Women leader) of the old, Oyo, Empire has remained the reference point on how political involvement of ladies can engender a free society. Their involvement helped to form the political system of the length and additionally acted as mediators in inter-ethnic rivalry.
It was once women’s war that set the basis for Nigeria’s anti-colonial struggle and independence which befell in 1960, simply over 30 years after the women’s war.
Women’s Achievement Throughout Colonial Generation (Pre-Independence)
The introduction of colonialism made ladies to disengage in political participation in the Nigeria to the extent that women’s role used to be restrained to trading and different social activities, leaving out politics for the men.
However, Prior to the attainment of Nigerian independence from British colonial masters in 1960, there were women whose influence not only paved the way for Nigerian to stood up to their colonialist then but also led to an active political and social-economic actions that culminated into Nigerian Independence that took place in 1st day of October 1960. These influential women are; ladies like Mrs. Obasa who formed the Lagos women league in the 12 months 1901. This was stress group used to enhance the sanitary conditions of women and the training of women. The contribution of women can also be determined in the Aba Women’s Riot of 1929 led with the aid of Madam Nwanyereuwa towards Colonial repression that resulted to the loss of life of fifty-one women. Again, late Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti fought the British colonial masters which includes Nigerian standard leaders used to put in force their rules. This went successful with the assist of different women in her organisation – the Abeokuta Women’s Union in the late 1940s. Eventually, their persistence protest in opposition to the king Alake Ademola of Egbaland when he wanted to impose taxes on ladies which ultimate for 4 years, forced Oba Ademola II to resigned from his thrones. Though, in spite of the lives lost, the women’s battle was profitable and the taxes have been no longer imposed. Thus, the ladies warfare was a stable chance to nearby colonial guidelines and British colonial administration as well. Kuti was once the first Nigerian Lady to create political parties. Mrs kuti used to be also opportune to be one of the delegates who negotiated Nigeria’s Independence from British colonialists. Similarly, Haija Gambo Sawaba was once a remarkable political activist in Northern Nigeria with little formal education, she struggled for the emancipation of the Northern girls in spite of being severally imprisoned and tortured. Furthermore, in the year 1954, Aba Township Women’s Association was shaped by late chief Margaret Ekpo which she was once able to flip into a political strain group, a year after the N CNC nominated her to the regional House of Chiefs. Chief Ekpo joined Ransome-Kuti to protest the killings of the leaders of a nearby team that protested against the practices of the colonial masters at Enugu Coal into the Eastern Region Parliament between 1961 and 1965. These ladies made tremendous impact throughout the pre-independence era. In spite they surmounted so many obstacles and limitations their exploit nonetheless stand today as an unforgettable legacy.
Women’s Political Influence InThe Post Colonial Nigeria.
The women’s political repute have soared to peak as they are taking a lively phase in the politics of the country and are completely decided to compete in opposition to male in every expert work of life. Despite the fact that our records has been gender sensitive and records has omitted the contribution of female to state development. Women had franchise in our country as early as 1960 in the Southern part of Nigeria. This gave Mrs. Esan Wuraola room to come to be a member of parliament. Margret Ekpo contested elections under the platform of the (N CNC) and received a seat in the Eastern Nigeria House of Assembly in 1961 and Women like Miss Ekpo A. Young and Janet Mokelu also gained seats then.
However, ladies became absolutely lively in the country’s politics when Maryam Babangida hooked up the workplace of the first lady. Other female who have made influence in the country’s politics includes the following; Dr. Obi Ezekwesili, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, late Prof. Dora Akunyili and host of others, they all performed creditably well in all their offices.
Presently, in the three arms of government, ladies make major contribution to move Nigeria forward. We have in the legislature female Councilors and Local Government Chairpersons, elected to lead the people. Also in the National Assembly, there are elected female in both Senate and House of Representative respectively.
Women’s role in the Nigerian society nowadays must no longer be underestimated as they are one of the predominant motives at the back of the progress of the nation. However, there is no society whose improvement is driven with the aid of solely men or women. I am so bold to say that each gender have equal role to play toward country development.