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Top 6 Nigerian Women in Politics

When talking about politics in Nigeria, the majority of names you’ll hear are male names. Since independence in Nigeria, no Nigerian woman has made the presidential seat. Only 2 women have managed to be governor and deputy-governor respectively.

According to LSE, Nigeria has the lowest number of female political representation in sub-Saharan Africa. While this is a poor record for a country where women make almost half of the population, there are some women in Nigerian politics that are doing well. In this article, we will be discussing the top 6 Nigerian women in politics. 

1. Oby Ezekwesili 

The first woman on this list is the highly celebrated Oby Ezekwesili. She currently works as a senior economic advisor and Public analyst. Oby Ezekwesili served as the federal minister of solid minerals from 2005 to 2006. She was then appointed as the federal minister of education and she was in office from 2006 to 2007. Madam Due Process as she’s also called was appointed as Vice President of the World Bank’s African region after serving as minister of education. 

Oby Ezekwesili played a very major role in the #BringBackOurGirls in 2014. This earned her some pressure from the Nigerian government as she was once detained by the SSS. Nevertheless, it also earned her a Forbes Woman Africa Social Influencer Award. This celebrated politician ran for the Nigerian presidential seat in 2019; an election that Muhammadu Buhari won.

2. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

On the 1st of March 2021, Madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala took over local and international headlines when she was began working as the director general of the World Trade Organization (WHO). This was the first time a Woman and an African would hold such an esteemed position. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s first major political office was during the Obasanjo regime when she became the federal minister of finance in 2003.

In 2006, she was made the Nigerian minister of foreign affairs for about 3 months. Madam Ngozi was again made federal minister of finance in 2011 during the Goodluck Jonathan’s regime. She left the office in 2015 after Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election. In 2020, she was nominated as the Nigerian candidate for the WHO director general position. By 15 February 2021, she won the appointment after a series of events.

3. Kemi Adeosun 

Kemi Adeosun took over from Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala as the federal minister of finance in 2015. She spent most part of her life in London where she got her education and also started her career. She initially served as the commissioner of finance in Ogun State from 2011 to 2015. However, she was forced to resign from her federal ministry office in 2018 following investigations of an NYSC Certificate Forgery scandal. 

Kemi Adeosun was the first woman to occupy the office of the Ogun state commissioner of finance. She contributed more during her tenure as the state commission than as a federal minister. Notably, she helped boost the economic status of Ogun state via the then Governor’s Mission to Rebuild project. Upon resigning as the federal minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun was succeeded by Zainab Ahmed.

4. Stella Oduah

Stella Oduah was appointed as the federal minister of Aviation in 2011 where she served until 2014. She had her tertiary education in the United States after which she returned to Nigeria to work with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the 90s. Stella Oduah left the federal corporation to launch the Sea Petroleum & Gas Company Limited (SPG).

She currently serves as a Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District since 2015. With this, she was among the just 8 women to claim senatorial seats in that year’s election. She contested for the seat a second time in the 2019 elections and she won again.

Stella Oduah is a renowned female politician in Nigeria. In 2013, she was appointed alongside the senate President to attend the Papal Inauguration of Pope Francis. She is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

5. Kema Chikwe

Kema Chikwe served Nigeria at the federal level in different ministries. In 1999 to 2001 she was the federal minister of transport and from 2001 to 2003, she was the federal minister of aviation. Currently, Kema Chikwe is the National women leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

At a post in her career, Kema Chikwe took the bold step of running for Governorship in Imo state although she lost. Afterwards, University of Nigeria, Nsukka graduate was appointed as the Nigerian ambassador to Ireland in 2009.  

Taking away her political career, Kema Chikwe is a celebrated journalist, publisher, and editor. She onced worked for Prime Time Limited as a publisher and chief executive. Having contributed to lots of works, she also has published about 3 books. It’s worthy to note that Kema Chikwe is the mother of Nigerian rapper, Naeto C. 

6. Abike Dabiri

Abike Dabiri is the incumbent Chairman/CEO of Nigerian Diaspora Commission. She had earlier served in the federal House of Representatives where she represented the Ikorodu constituency in Lagos State. 

To prove her political elegance, Abike Dabiri was appointed by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari as his special senior assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora in 2018. During her tenure in the house of reps, she sponsored many major bills including the Freedom of Information Bill, Nigerian Infant Health Welfare Bill, and Nigerian Diaspora Commission Bill.

Abike Dabiri is also a well educated scholar. She had several certificates including an English Language degree, masters and PGD in mass communication. 

Bottom Line

Nigeria needs to welcome more women into its political system. While that is expected, the 10 Nigerian women listed in this article have contributed their quota to the political system. They stand as mentors and as an inspiration for other Nigerian women who have interests in political offices.