4 March 2019

Nigeria: Women Who Will Shape Ninth Senate

When the Ninth Senate of Nigeria is inaugurated in June, there will be at least no fewer than seven women in the 109-member chamber, if the results of the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections are anything to go.

So far, seven women have been declared winners of senatorial contests across the country. They were among 22 female vice presidential candidates, 232 female senatorial and 532 female House Representatives standard bearers, who contested the elections.

The seven senators-elect is a repeat of the number of female senators who served in the Eight Senate. Five of the senators-elect are of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP while the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, produced two.

At the end of the 2015 elections, eight women were declared senators-elect, namely, Stella Oduah (Anambra North), Rose Oko (Cross River North), Abiodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) and Fatimat Raji-Rasaki (Ekiti Central), Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), Binta Garba (Adamawa North) and Alhaja Monsurat Sunmonu, Oyo, and Uche Ekwunife, Anambra Central.

There were among 21 women won elections into the National Assembly then.

However, Uche Ekwunife lost her seat at the tribunal to Chief Victor Umeh, reducing the number of female senators to seven.

The seven who are going to shape the Ninth Senate are Oluremi Tinubu, Lagos Central, APC; Uche Ekwunife, Anambra Central, PDP; Stella Oduah, Anambra North, PDP; Akon, Eyakanyi, Akwa Ibom South, PDP; Aishatu Ahmed, Adamawa Central, APC; Rose Oko, Cross River, North, PDP, and Betty Apiafi, Rivers West, PDP.

Remi Tinubu

Senator Tinubu, the wife of APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will be serving her third term in the Upper Chamber. She was first elected into the Senate in 2011 on the plank of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. Again in 2015, she re-contested and also won the seat for Lagos Central on the platform of the APC, a feat she repeated at the last election.

Uche Ekwunife

The banker-turned politician was a two-term member of the House of Representatives, representing Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia Federal Constituency of Anambra State. She was deputy chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts in her second term.

In 2010, she contested for the governorship of Anambra State on the plank of the Peoples Progressive Party, PPA and lost. She also lost the race on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in 2014.

She won the Anambra Central senatorial seat in 2015 on the platform of the PDP in 2015 but lost the position to Senator Victor Umeh of APGA at the tribunal.

Betty Apiafi

Apiafi, an economist, retired banker, school teacher and politician, will be going to the Senate with legislative experience having served for three terms in the House of Representatives since 2007. In the 2007 general elections, she was elected to the House of Representatives on the cards of the PDP to represent Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Federal Constituency. She was subsequently re-elected in 2011 and 2015. In 2019, she aspired for a higher position and got elected to represent Rivers West Senatorial District on the banner of the PDP.

Rose Oko

Rose Oko was a member of the House of Representatives representing Yala/Ogoja Federal Constituency in the Seventh National Assembly on the card of the PDP. She was elected into office as the first female representative from her constituency in June 2011 and sat as deputy chairman House Committee on Education. She became the first female senator in Cross River North in 2015 and she retained the position at the last poll.

Stella Oduah

The former minister of Aviation is one of the three female senators that got re-elected. The other two are Remi Tinubu and Rose Oko. She won the Anambra North senatorial seat for the first time in 2015 and repeated the feat last week.

Aishatu Ahmed Dahiru

Aisha Dahiru won Adamawa Central Senatorial seat on the platform of the APC, making her the only female senator-elect so far in Northern Nigeria. She could be the only female senator in the Ninth Senate as her predecessor, Binta Masi, lost her bid to return to the upper legislative chamber.

Akon Eyakenyi

Former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Akon Eyakanyi, is another woman who is expected to make huge impact in the Ninth Senate. The first time lawmaker is a leader of the PDP in Oron and Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District.

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