If you have ever had the opportunity to attend high-level political meetings or set up a team for a political purpose, then you will probably be able to attest to the fact that women are usually in short supply for most high-level political ventures. Often times, this results to lowering the standards, or giving in to pre-conceived arrangements to give women a chance of entry into the political arena.
In fact, as at today, the easiest means for women to gain political relevance in Nigeria, is to have a spouse who has attained some political position either by election or appointment.
Let’s look at the numbers: In the 8th Senate, out of the 109 Senate seats only 7 is occupied by women. Southeast has only 1 woman out of 15 Senators. For National Assembly members in Anambra state, there are 2 women out of 15 Members (1 Senator, 1 Rep Member). For State Assembly, it’s 4 out of 30. Of course, you wouldn’t be needing google to tell you how many female State Governor’s we have – It’s 36 over 36 in favour of the gentlemen!
One would ask, are women really in short supply? Well, according to research as at 2015 male to female birth ratio in Nigeria was 102.64 males per 100 females – this figure has hovered around this value since 1970, meaning that there are close to as much female as male in Nigeria’s population.
But then, a look at Senator Uche Ekwunife’s political blueprint puts her on a different level entirely when compared to the female folks. Ekwunife has shown interest to contest election 5 times since 2007, of these times, she has declared interest to govern Anambra State twice. Out of her 5 declarations, she has contested 4 elections and has been returned elected 3 times.
Floyd Mayweather, the renowned U.S boxer in one of his popular saying, would say: men lie, women lie but numbers don’t lie. If not for anything, Senator Uche Ekwunife by her records, against all odds, has managed to subdue the demon that has kept women away from seeking and winning elective positions. Infact, since 2011, Senators that have represented Anambra central Senatorial district have only been able to act as Deputy chairmen in their various appointed Senate committees, however, in 2015, Ekwunife became the first south easterner to Chair the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, one of the 65 standing committees of the 8th Senate. Prior to that, as Member of the 7th Assembly, she chaired the House Committee on Environment. She equally represented Anambra state in the constitutional review committee of the 7th Assembly and was the Caucus Leader of the 11 Rep members in Anambra state. Clearly, Ekwunife’s political successes remain impressive, a testament of not only her courage but her acceptability.
Kingsley Chukwuemeka Ubani
Writes from Awka.