19 May Only 25 women contested 2023 governorship elections, they all lost
Out of 419 candidates who contested for the position of governor in the just concluded governorship election, only 25 were female, which amounted to just 5.9 per cent; 94.1 per cent were male.
Females make up about 49 per cent of Nigeria’s population; and according to the voter register of the 2023 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, 93,469,008 people registered to vote out of which 44,414,846 or 47.5 per cent were females.
Governorship elections were held in 28 states with an average of 17 candidates in each state. 419 candidates contested in the 28 states, but only 25 of them were females. This is a sharp decline from the figures in 2019, in which 70 women contested for governor. Like in 2019, no woman won a governorship election in 2023. The only one that came close was Aisha Dahiru who contested in the Adamawa governorship election under the All Progressive Congress. She came second, losing to the incumbent Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party in the tightly contested race that culminated in a rerun.
Apart from the APC in Adamawa, the strong political parties in the various states neglected women in their choices of candidates. For instance, Mrs Dahiru was the only female candidate fielded by the APC in all the 28 states where elections were held; the PDP did not field any female governorship candidate; while the Labour Party which emerged as a third force had only one female candidate – Beatrice Itubo of Rivers State.
As shown in the chart below, the party with the highest number of female candidates in the governorship elections fielded only three.