ONLY36 WOMEN HAVE BEEN SENATORS SINCE 1999

From Onimisi Alao, Yola

A report by an indigenous non-governmental organisation (NGO), Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has said the Nigerian Senate has had only 36 women since the birth of the current Republic in 1999.

The CITAD report, which was unveiled during a training for journalists in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, Yola, states that the Senate has had 654 members since 1999, with 618 men and 36 women.

This, the report said, shows 5.5 per cent women and 94.5 per cent men.

The number of senators was deduced from Nigeria’s electoral history within the period under review, in which case elections were conducted in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 (six times), during which 109 senators were elected at each election.

The report, which dug further into the archive, notes that out of the 109 senators elected in 1999, only three were women; while in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, only four, eight, seven, eight and six women were elected as senators.

A deeper study revealed that the number of specific women would be less than 36 because some of the women did or have done more than one term at the Senate, including Chief Remi Tinubu, who is doing her third term, having been elected first in 2011 and re-elected twice in 2015 and 2019.

Also, the number of men, on their individuality, would be less than 618, as many individuals did or have done more than a term at the Senate.

Such senators included David Mark, who was first elected in 1999 and was re-elected repeatedly until he opted out in 2019.

The CITAD report attributes the poor outing of women at the Senate to, among other things, gender-related hate speech, which put women at a disadvantage.

The report notes that during the period under review, there was a preponderance of gender-based hate speech with derogative words and phrases used to describe women in politics.