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With 18.75%, Tinubu Nowhere Near 35% Inclusion of Women in Cabinet As Promised

The closest any of his predecessors got to the 35% affirmative action for women was when Goodluck Jonathan achieved a 31% representation in 2011.

During his campaign ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election, All Progressives Congress candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu stated in his written and signed manifesto, ‘Renewed Hope 2023: Action Plan For A Better Nigeria’, that he will push for legislation to increase women’s participation in government to at least 35% of all governmental positions.

According to Tinubu’s document, “This legislation shall also mandate the federal executive (particularly the cabinet and core senior advisers) to reserve a minimum number of senior positions for women.”

Just after Tinubu’s inauguration as President, Betta Edu, speaking as National Women Leader of the APC, expressed confidence that women will get 35% of the positions in Tinubu’s government.
“Women can be assured that they will be given the right seat at the table.

“They will be given 35% affirmative action from the President.

“Beyond that, women will be empowered from the grassroots all the way up,” she said.

However, the composition of President Tinubu’s ministerial nominees don’t match the proposal in his manifesto.

On Wednesday, Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, presented Nigeria’s Senate with an additional list of 19 ministerial nominees, following the initial 28 sent a week earlier.

The list was much-anticipated for various reasons, including the number of women present.

The initial list had seven women which represented 25% of the names put forward. This stirred excitement among those seeking more female representation in governance, with cautious optimism that the subsequent list will follow suit or maybe go beyond to achieve the 35% goal set by President Tinubu himself.

However, the second list had only two female nominees out of the 19 names forwarded.

One of the names – Maryam Shetty – was later withdrawn, and replaced with Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure, which in addition to another new nominee, Festus Keyamo, took the overall number of ministers to a record 48.

Of this total, there were eight women, amounting to 18.75%, approximately half of the target percentage.

The women who made the list are, Doris Aniche Uzoka, Iman Suleiman Ibrahim, Uju Kennedy Ohaneye, Stella Okotette, Nkeiruka Onyejocha, Betta Edu, Hannatu Musawa, Lola Ade John and Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure.

The Gold Standard

The closest any of Tinubu’s predecessors got to the 35% threshold was when Goodluck Jonathan achieved a 31% representation of female ministers in 2011.

The 13 women Jonathan’s 41-member ministerial cabinet include: Hajia Zainab Maina, Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi, Omobola Johnson Olubusola, Hadiza Ibrahim Malaifa, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Ama Pepple, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi, Viola Onwuliri, Ruqayyatu Rufai, Erelu Olusola Obada Sarah Reng Ochekpe and Olajumoke Akinjide.

One of those who have reacted to Tinubu’s list is the senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Mohammed Sani Musa, who durring an interview on ARISE NEWS gave credit to the President for the calibre of women nominated but said gender sensitivity should have been considered more.

“We should have considered more (women). If we cannot meet the 35% affirmative action standard, we should be able to do more.

“The president has done it right. We will only appeal that, in his wisdom, when the next opportunity comes, more women will be considered.”

He proposed that if there were any male nominees “that are not performing well in office in the next 3 to 6 months” they should be swapped with women that will perform.

In the meantime, below are the women Tinubu found worthy to include in his cabinet.

Dr Betta Edu

Edu is from Cross River state and the youngest among the ministerial nominees. She is the national women leader of the APC and a former commissioner of health in Cross River state.

In 2020, she became chairman of the Cross River State COVID-19 Taskforce.

In August 2022, she was appointed National Chairman of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum.

Edu obtained her first degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Calabar, Cross River state. She has a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health for Developing Countries from London School Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, a master’s degree in Public Health in Developing Countries from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Doctor of Public Health from Texila American University.

Barr. Hannatu Musawa

Hannatu Musa Musawa from Katsina state is the recently-appointed special adviser on culture and entertainment economy.

Musawa, who is the daughter of the late Katsina politician, Musa Musawa, is a lawyer, politician and author.

She served as deputy spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council.

She studied Law at the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom; and holds Master’s degrees in the Legal Aspects of Marine Affairs from the University of Cardiff, Wales; and Oil and Gas Law from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

She is also a qualified solicitor in England and Wales, UK; and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Musawa is currently completing a doctorate, which she has been doing part-time.

Lola Ade John

Lola Ade John is a skilled leader in the development, integration and management of core systems for global financial organisations. She has experience in support for central and distributed working environments at small, medium and large scales.
Lola Ade John is currently the Principal Consultant at Novateur Business Technology Consultants, which she established in 2014.

The firm delivers technical management and consulting services to clients in both the commercial and public sectors.

She graduated from the University of Ibadan with a B.Sc in Computer Science in 1984.

She has worked as a System Analyst at The Shell Petroleum Development Company Of Nigeria Ltd for 7 years and 3 months.
She promptly joined Magnum Trust Bank Ltd. (now part of Sterling Bank Nigeria Plc.), where she rose to the position of ex-Group Head of Corporate Services & Tech, and was instrumental in developing Information Technology, Administration, Personnel & Training, and Business Development divisions.

She also helped to pioneer the use of structured cabling in the Nigerian banking market, and she effectively introduced new technological platforms for the bank, ensuring its competitiveness and expansion.
She led innovative initiatives for 13 years and one month, including the development of a new Head Office facility and data centre with a $3 million investment in technology.

Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure

Mariya Bunkure was born in Kano state, Bunkure town. She was appointed as the commissioner for higher education in Kano State by former governor of Kano state, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje,

She studied at Bunkure Gari Primary School, GGASS T/ Wadan Dankadai for junior secondary, and subsequently Girls Science College Garko and graduated in 1995. She then moved to College for Remedial Studies, where she completed her IJMB in 1996.

She was accepted to study medicine at Bayero University Kano in 1997 and later advanced her schooling to become a family medicine consultant at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.

She announced that the state-owned tertiary education institutions would resume on October 26, 2020 after seven months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Dr. Doris Aniche Uzoka

Uzoka is a career banker with over 20 years of experience at Zenith Bank, Nigeria. Despite studying medicine at the University of Benin, she pivoted into banking in 2002.

She is from the Imo State and she previously served as Imo State’s commissioner for finances and economic coordination and general manager at Zenith Bank Plc.

She graduated from the University of Benin with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, and attained two MBAs from the London School of Economics and the New York Stern School of Business.

Mrs. Iman Suleiman Ibrahim

Sulaiman-Ibrahim is a native of Keffi, Nasarawa State, although having been born in Jos, Plateau. She earned a sociology degree from the University of Abuja when she was 19 years old. She graduated with an MBA and an MA from Webster University at the age of 21.

Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim previously served as the director-general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) from 1 December 2020 until 27 May 2021, at which point she was reassigned as the Honourable Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons after former President Muhammadu Buhari announced a change of role.

Hon. Uju Kennedy Ohaneye

Uju Kennedy Ohanenye was born on December 23, 1973, and she is from the eastern Nigerian state of Anambra. She was the only female candidate in the 2023 All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential contest, however she eventually dropped out to support Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s candidature.

She is the MD at the Kenuj 02 Mall in Owerri, Imo state and is recognized for her charitable endeavours while contributing to the construction of health facilities in states such as Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Imo, and Anambra.

Hon. Stella Okotette

Stella Okotette was born in Delta state in 1984. She graduated from Benson Idahosa University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Diplomacy. The Rivers State College of Arts and Sciences also awarded her a diploma in law. Additionally, she has a master’s degree in both peace studies and conflict resolution and public administration.
Through 2011 and 2015, she worked in Delta State as the MDG focal point, where she oversaw the creation and implementation of programmes with agency groupings to ensure that the goals of the “United Nations Millennium Declaration” were achieved.

She has worked with internally displaced people at IDP Camps in Ughelli, Maiduguri, and Abuja and is heavily involved in volunteer work.

Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejocha

The Honourable Chief (Mrs.) Nkeiruka C. Onyejeocha was born in Nigeria’s Abia State on November 23, 1969, in Isuochi, Umunneochi Local Government Area. She is a politician and businesswoman who has represented Isuikwuato/Umunneochi in the Federal House of Representatives.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in 1993 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 2005, she graduated with a Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy from Imo State University. She also graduated from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Oyo State with a Master’s in Shipping.

Under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Nkeiruka was first elected to the Federal House of Representatives in 2007 and later re-elected in 2015. She presided over the House Committee on Aviation and the Women in Parliament committees at the National Assembly.

-Frances Ibiefo

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