7 Nigerian Women Icons Worth Celebrating

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Nigeria has a rich history of women contributing considerably to the political terrain. They have championed equal rights, justice and change – a legacy that will continue to live forever in the hearts of the men and women raised under that same roof. As compiled by Naijassador, here are seven remarkable Nigerian women in politics in Nigeria worth celebrating.

1. Chief Funmilayo Ransome Kuti (1900-1978)

A genuine pioneer, Kuti was an educator, campaigner, and a strong political leader and activist. She was the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria and she was the mother of Afrobeats legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. She would fight for the rights of women, advocating for suffrage and children and women’s education. Kuti is remembered for her bold criticism of colonialism and the gender discrimination that persisted in traditional Yoruba practices. That legacy still inspires many today as she is fondly remembered as the “Mother of Africa”.

2. Lady Kofoworola Ademola (1913-2002)

Lady Kofoworola Ademola was a notable educator, writer, and women’s rights activist. One of the most important of these is that she was included in the founding of the Nigerian Women’s Union (NWU). This was created to oversee the contributions to the creation of social welfare programs for women and children. Due to her lifelong commitment to the world of education, Ademola was elected the first female chancellor of a Nigerian University.

3. Margaret Ekpo (1914-2006)

Another first lady who broke ground was a mother of market women, who turned into a strong political voice to help her people. This was a first for the Eastern Region of Nigeria as a woman was elected into parliament. Ekpo was also a female vocal supporter of bringing more women into politics and cushioning the effect of political and economic harassment of women during her time.

4. Hajia Gambo Sawaba (1933-2001)

Nicknamed “The Iron Lady of Northern Nigeria”, Sawaba was a tough politician who refused to allow the male-dominated political system to undermine her stand even in the conservative part of Northern Nigeria. Ashe was an advocate for women’s suffrage and social justice, she was even jailed for civil disobedience. And the indomitable spirit of Sawaba remains an inspiration for women in politics even today.

5. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (1954-Present)

A globally recognized economist, Okonjo-Iweala was Nigeria’s Finance Minister for two terms She became the Director-General of the WTO for the first time and the first woman and African person to hold the post. Okonjo-Iweala has brought great leadership in economic development and a great commitment to transparency and accountability.

6. Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili (1963 -Present)

A former World Bank Vice President, Ezekwesili is an activist for the need for good governance and anti-corruption. She is also a passionate advocate and she was one of the prominent voices of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign of the kidnapped Chibok girls by Boko Haram in Borno State in 2014. Similarly, Ezekwesili remained an unrepentant critic of social injustice and an advocate for the active involvement of the citizenry in governance.

7. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi (1963- Present)

An influential writer and activist, Adeleye-Fayemi is one of the most well-known voices on the topic of women’s rights in Nigeria. She was the Former First Lady of Ekiti State from 2010 to 2014 and from 2018 to 2022. She is also an advocate for Gender Equality and Social Justice. Adeleye-Fayemi’s work is related to ending violence against women and promoting girls’ education.

In conclusion,

These are just a few remarkable Nigerian women who have significantly contributed to the development of the country. Their courage, dedication, and leadership continue to inspire future generations of women to get involved in politics and make a difference.

Written by Sarah Aboje

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