THE MOBILIZATION OF WOMEN IN ILORIN POLITICS 1979-2003
Gender incongruity in politics is a worldwide phenomenon, literature abounds showing that the level of women’s participation at the highest level of political activity accounts for their invisibility in the top positions of power. Locally and internationally, such low representation cut across countries with different
political systems and at different stage of economic development.
In Nigeria, it would appear that women have never really tested power in the realm of Nigerian politics. However, literature abounds showing women’s participation in politics. The place of women in politics during the pre-modern period is sufficiently familiar. The exploits of legendary women like QUEEN Aminat of Zauzau, Iyalode Efunsetan Aniwura of Ibadan, princes Inikpi of Igala and Emotan of Benin reality come to mind. During the period, women asserted and expressed themselves politically. Some women who made their mark on political scene at the colonial period in Nigeria included: Mrs Margret Ekpo of the famous Abba women riot of 1929, Madam Abibat Tinubu of Lagos and Egbaland, Mrs Funmilayo Ransome
Kuti of the Abeokuta women union of 1948 and Hajia Sawaba Ganbo of Northern Element Union (NEPU) to mention a few. Though women enjoyed high political authority in Southern Nigeria, this was not a general Phenomenon; men had always been dominant in the political structure with women complementing them. Women activities were subordinate and supplement to the existing structure3.
In Nigeria studies show that the participation of women in democratic politics has been largely low 4. In liberal democracies, political parties, legislature assemblies and executive councils are vital sources of decision making among other power centres. Political parties in particular provide the citizens with the opportunity of participating in the management of a country’s airs and constitute a major platform for selecting and promoting candidate for elections. They also provide avenue for mass mobilization and provision of political leadership for the Nation. Political parties also organize and share power in parliament as well as influence the decision of government and other executive bodies. Since the emergence of indigenous political leadership in 1960, Nigeria women have remained invisible in the party system. Women were grossly underrepresented in party membership as well as in decision making organs. The marginal showing of women in political parties made it difficult for a visible women party constituency to emerge or develops.
1.2 AIM AND OBJECTIVE
Women through the ages have contributed immensely to the social and economic development of various communities world over. Their political involvement might not have been that pronounced but current women’s participation in politics all over the world is witnessing tremendous increase in leaps and bounds. This is the result of the United Nation and other international bodies 1975-1985.
In Africa and other developing countries only a small percentage of women is actively involved in both high level politics and decision making processes. Actually, women participation in politics in the developing world is concentrated mainly in the lower echelons of public administrations, political parties and trade union. Only very few women occupy top decision making position.