OrderPaperToday – The clamour for female representation in politics still has a long way to go. At least as far as parliamentary representation is concerned.
Female presence in this arm of government since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1999 till the recently concluded National Assembly elections is a story of one step forward and two steps backward. This is the peculiar situation with the Senate.
From 1999 till date…
In the 4th assembly (1999 to 2003), there were only three women out of 109 senators. This is a meagre 2.8% of the composition of the chamber and till date, the least number ever recorded within the prism of this analysis. The female senators then were Florence Ita-Giwa (Cross River South), Stella Omu (Delta South) and Khadijat Abdulrazaq-Gwadabe (FCT).
By the next assembly (2003-2007), there was a slight increment with four women amounting to 3.7% of the total number of senators, including Daisy Danjuma (Edo South), Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara central), and Iyabo Anisulowo (Ogun West).
The 6th Senate (2007 – 2011) had the highest female representation with 9 women which stood at 8.3% of the total 109 senators. This contingent comprised of Nkechi Nwogu (Abia Central), Chris Anyanwu (Imo East), Zainab Kure (Niger South), Grace Folashade Bent (Adamawa South), Joy Emodi (Anambra North), Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara Central), Patricia Akwashiki (Nasarawa North), Eme Ekaette (Akwa-Ibom
South) and Iyabo Obasanjo Bello (Ogun Central).
By the 7th assembly (2011 – 2015), the number had dropped to seven. The female Senators then included: Nkechi Nwaogu (Abia Central) (although her victory was upturned by the court), Helen Esuene (Akwa-Ibom South), Chris Anywanwu (Imo East), Nenadi Usman (Kaduna South), Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), Zainab Kure (Niger South) and Aisha Alhassan (Taraba South).
Eight female senators were elected into the current 8th Senate but one was removed in December 2015 following a judicial intervention. They were: Stella Oduah (Anambra North) who served as Minister of Aviation, Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central) who lost her seat to Victor Umeh, Rose Oko (Cross River North), Fatima Raji-Rasaki (Ekiti Central), Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), Binta Garba (Adamawa North) who is currently the only woman from the North, Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo Central) and Biodun Olujinmi (Ekiti South), the first ever female minority leader of the red chamber.
A peep into the 9th senate…
From the National Assembly polls conducted on the 23rd of February, 2019, seven female senators-elect will make their way into the 9th upper legislative chamber.
The following incumbents scaled through: Oduah, Oko, Tinubu and Ekwunife who would be returning after defeating Mr. Victor Umeh who kicked her out in 2015 through the court. These four would be joined by: Betty Apiafi (Rivers West) who is a current member of the House of Reps, Aishatu Dahiru (Adamawa Central) who was a former Reps member in the 7th assembly and Akon Eyakenyi (Akwa-Ibom South), a newbie.
Attempts by Senators Raji-Rasaki, Garba, Sunmonu and Olujimi to return to the red chamber failed as they lost their elections.
It is worthy to note that Oluremi Tinubu, wife to APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, holds the record of the longest tenure in the red chamber with her recent victory. She would be inaugurated for her third term in June this year.
Female Senators who served for just two tenures are Nwaogu (2007 and briefly in 2011), Anyanwu (2007 and 2011), Gbemisola Saraki (2003 and 2007) who is the sister to the incumbent Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Kure ( 2007 and 2011).
South East and South West regions hold the highest female representation in the Senate from 1999 with six women respectively.
This is followed by South South region with five then the North East and North Central with four each.
FCT and North West have so far had just 1 female Senator each.