One out of Eighteen! The sad tale of gender disparities in Africa’s political space

By Imali Ngusale

On Wednesday this week, the curtains closed on Africa’s largest political campaigns when the Independent Nigeria Electoral Commission declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu, 70-year-old male as Nigeria’s new President-Elect.

However, with the announcement, the continent continued with its dismal display of disdain for gender parity on matters political governance.

Tinubu, a male, takes over after President Muhammadu Buhari, 80 whose two-term tenure ends at the sunset on May 2023.

Tinubu, is a Chicago State University graduate former governor of Lagos state 1999 and 2007) and real estate mogul. His accolades perhaps tell that Nigerian presidential seat belongs to the elite and male dominated system. This presupposition has sustained relevance since the end of military rule in 1999.

Nevertheless, in what has become the norm across Africa, a younger looking woman accompanied Tinubu by his wide while giving his victory speech. It appears that African politics only allows women to stand by their victorious husbands during such occasions.

Unknown to many political analysts and international observers, Nigeria had a woman political candidate Princess Chichi, 44 year old, graduate from the American International School of Lagos, Institut Le Rosey, and North-eastern University, and, the presidential candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM).

Despite critics, Chichi entered the race to Nigeria’s State house hoping to represent the “marginalised,” and “oppressed.”

According to, a Germany-based firm that consolidates statistical data on over 80,000 topics from more than 22,500 sources, Nigeria’s sex ratio in 2021 was 102.78 males per 100 females. There are 107.15 million males and 104.25 million females in the country making the percentage of female population to stand at 49.31% compared to 50.69% male population. In other words, Nigeria has 2.90 million more males than females.

The above facts however did not display in the just concluded elections. While figures are yet to be available, it is incomprehensible that in a country with such female to male ratio.

However, the outcomes of the poll do not show exactly how many votes she was able to garner.

Reactions of the polls seem to be mired in a lot of controversy as some political aspirants feel that the process was neither free nor fair. However, for people like Olumide a renown Nigerian Climate advocate,  “politics in Nigeria needs to accommodate women but women themselves need to come out for each other and speak with one voices”.

In December 2022, the Statista noted that women in Nigerian politics are incredibly too few. In the National Parliament, there are since 2019 only 29 women (about six percent of the total), including both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Men, instead, are 440. Nevertheless, there was an increase compared to the cabinet 1990-2003.

Writing an analysis in the Premium Times of Nigeria, Medinat Kanabe said women’s representation in Nigeria’s parliament is among the lowest in the world but could be worse based on the new list of candidates for the next parliament.

At present, only 7.3 per cent (8 of 109) of Nigeria’s senators are women while only 3.6 per cent (13 of 360) of the members of the House of Representatives are women.

The writer is a prolific African writer passionate about amplifying Feminized, Pan-African stories on socio-Economic and Climate Justice. She currently works as a communication officer and knowledge management support personnel at the African Women’s Development and Communication Network


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