Nigeria’s presidential elections are taking place in 2019, and many people have put their names up for election, including President Muhammadu Buhari who is seeking a second term.
Among the many presidential hopefuls are six women who want to transform one of Africa’s biggest economies that is riddled with cases of insurgency in the north and corruption allegations across the country. It will not be the first time for women to contest for the presidency but none has been close enough to bring a huge upset to the status quo.
Just like many other women vying for political office, Nigerian women have been subjected to discrimination and sexism, both overt and subtle. A part of the electorate still holds onto the belief that only men are suited to run the country, while another thinks that it is disrespectful for women to rule over men.
Despite all these, women have not been discouraged to run for top offices in the government.
Scroll through to learn more about the six women looking to take over Buhari’s job in 2019.
At 63, Sonaiya is looking to try her luck at the presidency for the second time. She ran for the position in 2015, earning 13,076 votes. Sonaiya, a retired professor of French Language and Applied Linguistics, is the founder of the Kowa Party.
She believes that by vying for the presidential elections, she has shown Nigerians that they have options in leaders instead of just sticking to the same people over and over again.
Dr. Elishama Rosemary Ideh
Hoping to build a democratic and inclusive nation, Ideh is running on the Alliance for New Nigeria ticket. Ideh, a real estate mogul and preacher, will be vying for the first time.
Born in 1964, Ideh has a degree in Mass communications from an American university and has established a number of businesses in Lagos State. In a recent interview, she said Nigeria needs a new leadership and that’s why she’s vying for the post.
Nigeria needs a transformational leader right now. That is what we need to cause a shift from the norm. We need somebody with a vision that is totally different from what we have been having; the vision of a new Nigeria, backed up by the power of the constitution of our country to cause a radical change at the top.
Dr. Adeline Iwuagwu-Emihe
Running on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket, Iwuagwu-Emihe is an American-trained political administrator. She is facing a tough opposition from party members including former vice president Atiku Abubakar.
During the unveiling of her manifesto, Iwuagwu-Emihe said she believes that “with the right leadership, equitable distribution and management of the nation’s given natural and human resources, it is possible to adequately provide for all citizens both big and small.”
At just 39, Atuejide is among the young Nigerian leaders eyeing the country’s top job. The lawyer and businesswoman founded the National Interest Party (NIP), the first online political party, and has been interested in politics since her days at the Nigerian Law School in Abuja.
She recently came under fire on social media for stating that she is not a feminist,with many saying that it is ironical that she is disparaging the group of people that made it possible for her and other women to not only run for office but enjoy the same rights as men.
The Professor of Language and Communication Arts at the Rivers State University of Education and an evangelical pastor is vying for the presidential post on a PDP ticket. Her bid for the presidency was a long time coming and was boosted by the decision to make nomination forms free for women.
In 2015, she had wanted to be former President Goodluck Jonathan’s vice president but things did not work out.
Princess Oyenike Roberts
America-based Roberts has pinned her presidency bid on five aspects: Uninterrupted power supply, quality health care for all, the creation of one million jobs annually, quality affordable education and security of lives and property.
Running on a PDP ticket, Roberts has called out the previous regimes for focusing on money instead of improving the lives of Nigerians.
Our political system is driven by money and that’s why we have the kind of leadership. The system should be driven by meritocracy – what you know to do, how to do it and the will to do it. That is what should drive people; it’s not how much money you have or how much money you can invest in a person that you can control at the end of the day. That’s what gave rise to the godfatherism notion that it is who you know that gets you to the top. That system has continued for so long. But I’m seeing a new breed of leaders coming; a change that’s going to cause a shift in how we do politics in Nigeria. We don’t allow meritocracy to rule; we allow money to rule.