BREAKING: Top 7 female lawmakers in Nigeria making waves on International Women’s Day

Elizabeth AtimeMarch 8, 202412 min

These female lawmakers have been instrumental in shaping policies, advocating for gender equality, and championing the rights of women and marginalized groups across the country.

As the world commemorates International Women’s Day (IWD), it is essential to shine a spotlight on the remarkable contributions of female lawmakers in Nigeria who have been making significant strides in shaping the political landscape.

These women are increasingly breaking barriers and making strides in politics, particularly in the legislative arena by demonstrating resilience, intelligence, and a commitment to driving positive change.

There are currently 20 female lawmakers of the 469 from the Senate and House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly. Four of these are senators and 16 are in the House of Reps.

Here, we highlight seven exceptional female lawmakers in Nigeria who have been making waves and inspiring change as we mark International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024. We examine these female lawmakers in no particular order.

Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, (PDP, Kogi Central)

Natasha Hadiza Akpoti is currently the Senate chairman Local Content Committee. 

Unlike her other colleagues, Akpoti became senator of the Federal Republic in November 2023, whereas her colleagues were sworn in in June 2023. On October 31, 2023, the Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, declared Natasha as the winner of the February 28 Kogi Central Senatorial Election after polling the highest number of lawful votes in the poll.

She came to national prominence after presenting an investigative report to the National Assembly on corrupt activities regarding the Ajaokuta steel mill. The report detailed the repetitive waste of government funds and embezzlement since the initial construction of the steel mill which has remained moribund despite multiple attempts to get it running.

The report was opposed by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development while Akpoti was accused of promoting misinformation.

Akpoti is a trailblazer in Nigerian politics, advocating for women’s inclusion, youth empowerment, and infrastructure development. She has sponsored bills aimed at advancing women’s rights, enhancing access to education and healthcare, and promoting economic opportunities for women across Nigeria.

She’s a lawyer and Social Entrepreneur. She ran for the post of Senator for Kogi Central Senatorial District under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 2019. She contested the 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Election held on 16 November 2019. 

Since her swearing-in, as a senator, Akpoti has been very active and vocal during plenary sessions. Also, her contributions and participation during Committee engagements can not be overemphasised. She brings the energy of an advocate to the 10th Senate and is doing well.

Senator Ireti Kingibe (FCT, LP): Women Affairs Committee

A Member of the Labour Party (LP), representing the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Senator Ireti Kingibe is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs 

She is the wife of Amb. Babagana Kingibe, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

The second female to win a Senatorial election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kingibe began her career in politics in the 1990s as an advisor to the National Chairman of the now-defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Years later, she ran for the FCT Senatorial seat under the platform of the (now defunct) All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). Having lost out at the polls in 2003, she made unsuccessful attempts in 2006 under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2015 when she withdrew.

During a chat with OrderPaper Nigeria, she assured residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of her readiness for quality representation through accessibility, SDG-centered projects, mass housing, and agro-processing businesses stating her readiness to work with everybody irrespective of political affiliation, tribe and religion to make FCT a model for other States.

She has not only walked the talk but has shown commitment to responding proactively to issues that affect her constituents.

She co-sponsored a motion on the operation of illegal garages and pick-up points within the Federal Capital City as they pose a security threat to residents. She is known for her commitment to good governance, human rights, and women’s empowerment and has been at the forefront of legislative efforts to address gender-based violence, promote women’s participation in politics, and advance women’s rights in Nigeria.

The lawmaker is also very active during plenary sessions as her contributions to national issues make her one of the female representatives making waves.

Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim (Yobe APC): Maritime Committee 

Rep. Khadija Bukar Abba-Ibrahim was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2007 to represent the Damaturu/Gunna/Fulani/Tarmuwa Federal Constituency in Yobe State.

She delved into politics in 2004 with her appointment as Commissioner for Transport and Energy by former Yobe State Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim whom she later married in 2006. She contested for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2007 and won. She was re-elected in 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023 respectively.

A seasoned politician who has been a strong advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. She has sponsored bills and motions aimed at eliminating discrimination against women, enhancing access to education and healthcare, and promoting economic empowerment for women in Nigeria.

As an experienced politician, her versatile knowledge of legislative business is not in doubt with her meaningful contributions and active participation as she has shown bravery, capacity and courage in the National Assembly.

Zainab Gimba (Borno APC): Chairs Steel Committee 

Rep. Zainab Gimba is a member of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) and she was first elected in 2019 to represent the Bama/Ngala/Kala-Balge Constituency of Borno State. A former lecturer at the University of Maiduguri before joining active politics.

Before her election into the House of Representatives, she served as commissioner for poverty alleviation and youth empowerment and also as a commissioner in the State Universal Basic Education Board. Between 2015 and 2018, she was a commissioner under the Ministry of Water Resources in Borno State.

Rep. Gimba is currently serving her second term in the House. In the ninth (9th) assembly she sponsored 3 bills between 2019-2022 based on the OrderPaper scorecard.

She is a passionate advocate for youth empowerment, education, and women’s rights and has been actively involved in legislative initiatives focused on improving maternal health, promoting gender equality, and addressing the challenges facing women and girls in Nigeria.

Gimba who is the only female representative from her State has maintained the tempo through active participation during plenary sessions and Committee activities.

Mariam Onuoha (Imo APC): TETFUND Committee 

Rep. Mariam Onuoha, also known as Princess, is one of the lawmakers who came to the House after a rerun of the 2019 House of Representatives elections after the Court of Appeal ruled that the election that produced Obinna Onwubuariri was not conducted in compliance with the provisions of the electoral act. She won the rerun election and was inaugurated to represent Isiala Mbano/Okigwe/Onuimo on the platform of the APC.

Mariam Onuoha once served as a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Bayelsa State on International Development Cooperation.

She is the only female lawmaker who indicated interest in contesting the position of Speakership of the House of Representatives. She however did not push through with her ambition even though she was part of the G-7 group that went to protest the decision to hand the Speakership position to Tajudeen Abbas.

She is also the only female lawmaker who clinched a Committee Chairman position from the South East zone out of the six returning lawmakers to the 10th Assembly from the region. She was the pioneer Chairman of the House Committee on Disabilities and Special Needs in the 9th House and now heads the House Committee on TETfund and other services.

A committed advocate for women’s rights and social justice, she has been instrumental in pushing for legislative reforms aimed at promoting gender equality, enhancing access to education and healthcare, and addressing the socio-economic challenges facing women in Nigeria.

Rep. Onuoha is very vocal and her contributions during Committee sessions are commendable. Nigerians and her constituents are looking forward to what she has to offer.

Kafilat Ogbara (Lagos APC): Women Affairs and Social Development Committee

Rep. Ogbara is from Ogun State, representing Kosofe Federal Constituency, Lagos State. She was the presenter of the NTA programme, ‘Faces and Events, as well as the Publisher of Today’s Prime newspaper. She also worked with the National Mirror newspaper where she served as the Managing Director/CEO. She contested the federal seat in 2003 and 2007 on the platform of the PDP but was not successful. 

She is a first-term lawmaker but that has not deterred her from participating actively during plenary.

She is particular about ensuring that the Ministry of Women Affairs and the National Women Centre deliver services for which budgetary allocations are provided. 

She is a women’s rights advocate dedicated to improving the lives of women and marginalized communities and has been actively involved in legislative efforts to address gender-based violence, promote women’s participation in politics, and advance women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria.

The Lagos lawmaker in November 2023, sponsored a motion on the need for the “Elimination of violence against women and girls.”

Her participation during legislative activities is highly commendable and it promises to be even better.

Adewunmi Onanuga (Ogun APC): Deputy Chief Whip

Rep. Adewunmi Oriyomi Onanuga is currently the Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives and the only female principal officer in the 10th House of Representatives. Before her election to the lower chamber, Onanuga had served in different capacities at the grassroots politically. Adewunmi Onanuga represents Ikenne/Sagamu/Remo North Federal Constituency in Ogun state and was chairman of the House Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development in the 9th Assembly. She is currently serving her second term.

She has sponsored bills aimed at improving the welfare of women and children and has been actively involved in legislative initiatives focused on gender equality.

As the only female principal officer of the 10th National Assembly, it is highly expected of her to make meaningful contributions that will shape the 10th National Assembly. 

On this International Women’s Day, it is crucial to recognize and celebrate the achievements of these outstanding female lawmakers in Nigeria. Their resilience, leadership, and dedication to public service serve as an inspiration for aspiring women leaders across the country. As these women continue to make waves in Nigerian politics, they contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society, fostering positive change for generations to come.

Elizabeth Atime

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