A Crack in the Glass Ceiling

We have followed with keen interest the proceedings of the Taraba State Governorship Appeal in the Supreme Court and the verdict upholding the election of Darius Ishaku as the Governor of Taraba State thereby affirming the decision of the Court of Appeal.

The verdict though not in favour of Sen. Aisha Alhassan is still a win for Nigerian women because we have cracked the glass ceiling. A ceiling that has held the highest offices in the land as an exclusive right of our men.

The current indices from the 2015 general elections and subsequent elections have been highly unfavorable to the female gender despite the fact that women make up 49% of the population.

The current 8th Parliament has 8 women in the Senate and only 19 in the House of Representatives. Regional analysis shows that there will be only 1 female senator from the 19 Northern states, 2 from the South East, 4 from the South West and 1 from the South South. In the House of Representatives, there are a total of 6 female legislators from the North (5 North East, 1 North Central and 0 North West), while the South has 13 (4 South East, 2 South West and 7 South South).

Invariably, the 8thNational Assembly has only 5.7% of female legislators, confirming that the representation of women in parliament is steadily declining (9% in 2007, 7% in 2011).

At the State level, in the 2011 State Houses of Assembly elections we had 68 women out of 990 State House of Assembly members. There has been a little increase over the years: in 1999 24 women (2.4%); 2003 40 women (3.9%); 2007 57 women (5.8%) and 2011 68 women (6.9%). At the Executive level, we have no female Governor, though there has been an improvement in female deputy governorship positions; we had 3 in 2011 and presently 5 elected as deputy governors. This shows some remarkable increase for executive positions and reinforces the need for continuous advocacy, strategic engagement and participation in the electoral process.

Hence, we congratulate Sen. Aisha Alhassan for giving a good fight and for edging us closer to the mark. She has pushed the frontiers for women as we continue to aspire to surpass expectations.

One crack a time a time, the glass ceiling will come shattering down!


Signed: The Nigerian Women Trust Fund