Fatured Image via Flickr/Wahlkampf
According to a 2012 report published by the British Council, only nine percent of presidential candidates were women in the 2011 Nigerian general election. However, the upcoming 2019 elections in Nigeria is one many women nationals look forward to. The 2019 elections have seen a number of Nigerian women declaring their candidacy for the Nigerian presidency. With the recent initiative to make presidential nomination forms free for potential women candidates. From female professors to U.S. based Nigerian nationals, the female candidates for this upcoming election is quite diverse.
One of the candidates, Olufumilayo Adesanya-Davis, is a female professor of Language and Communication Arts at Rivers State University of Education. Adesanya-Davis stated, “2015 was when I first thought about being a presidential aspirant. This is for the main reason that I was born October 15th and I got married at October 15th. That time I said with (former) President Goodluck Jonathan in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), I was going to be his running mate.”
Adesanya-Davis explained that while she has not received endorsement for her candidature by any political party, she claims that Sarah Jubril (former 2015 presidential candidate) has expressed her support for her candidature. “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 said.
Another female candidate, Princess Oyenike Oyedele Roberts has put her hat in for the presidency of Nigeria, but is based in the United States. Unlike her opponent, Roberts has declared her candidacy on the platform of opposition od the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 election. She is running campaign on the promise of no corruption. Her slogan is Hope 2019. Roberts also claims to have support in all the 774 local government areas.
“Our political system is driven by money and that’s why we have the kind of leadership. The system should be driven by meritocracy- what you know to do, how to do it and the will to do it. That is what should drive people; it’s not how much money you have or how much money you can invest in a person that you can control at the end of the day,” she explained.
According to Vanguard Nigeria, Roberts’s aspiration is built on a five principle plan: Uninterrupted power supply, quality healthcare for all, creation of jobs annually, quality affordable education and security of lives and property.
These two presidential candidates amongst others are an indication of women beginning to play more powerful roles in Nigeria. The first female presidential candidate in Nigerian history, Remi Sonaiya said, “Women cannot keep on being cheerleaders in this country.” She explains that although women are dominating the business world, politics remains dominated by the men. This was her reason for running in 2015. The future of women in politics looks optimistic, although slow. There have also been organizations with the objective of encouraging women participation in Nigerian politics. Women like Ebere Ifendu who runs a non-governmental organization called Women in Politics Forum.