Nigeria’s First Lady: Who does the cap fit?
Words by- Josephine Agbonkhese
Yesterday, Nigerians trooped out in their numbers to participate in the 2023 general elections kicking off with the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Eighteen contenders slugged it out for the highest office in the land.
It is the morning after and as the cloud clears over the election, in a short while, new president will emerge and standing by to support him will be a First Lady!
All over the world, wives of leaders play complementary role to their partners by engaging in courses that help to uplift the lives of usually the vulnerable of society—women and children.
The First Lady who has the ears of the president has an indirect impact on the affairs of leadership, good or bad.
In this edition, we randomly examine the wives of top contenders as we await the final results and the emergence of a new president.
Wife of the presidential candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, and former Vice President, Mrs.Titi Abubakar, is an advocate of women and child rights.
A former lecturer at the Kaduna State Polytechnic where she was offered automatic employment as a lecturer due to her exceptional performance as a student of the same institution, she holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, both from the University of Abuja.
When her husband, Atiku Abubakar became Nigeria’s Vice President, she started an advocacy to end forced prostitution and other forms of human trafficking.
As First Lady, she founded the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation, WOTCLEF, and then sponsored a private bill for strict punishment of traffickers, and for the establishment of a federal agency, the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, responsible for fighting trafficking of persons in Nigeria. The bill was inspired by her experience seeing Nigerian girls on the streets of Rome while furthering her education in the city.
Margaret Obi, wife of the Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi, is a philanthropist, human rights activist and a businesswoman.
Margaret, who had served as First Lady during her husband’s tenure as Governor of Anambra State, has been married to the presidential candidate for 30 years, having tied the nuptial knot with him in 1992.
While as First Lady, she created numerous organisations and women initiation programs in the state.
She is the brain behind her husband’s National Gender Affirmative Action, a cause aimed at ensuring women earned a seat in Obi’s cabinet while he was Anambra State’s governor.
She greatly brought to bare her abilities as a women’s rights activist while serving as First Lady of Anambra State. She primarily saw to the creation of family courts in the state’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development, MWAPD, which is aimed at dealing with issues involving the abuse of children and the violation of women’s rights; especially widows, ensuring they inherit their deceased husband’s properties.
In one of her initiatives, she managed the disbursement of grants for dry season agricultural equipment to women’s cooperatives. This led to women farmers having access to production equipment.
Oluremi Tinubu is the wife of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate.
Popularly known as Remi, she is a third-time senator representing the Lagos Central district. She is also a former First Lady of Lagos State, her husband having been governor from 1999 to 2007.
As First Lady, the educationist, administrator and philanthropist established the New Era Foundation, dedicated to establishing centres for all-round development of young ones and promote public awareness on environmental health and community service. She was involved in social activism within the state.
She is an ordained Pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
The New Era Foundation is notable for the organisation of several programmes such as Spelling Bee, Council of One Day Governors, Wheelchair Tennis Championship, New Era Youth Camp, and more, which help to develop a culture of healthy competition among young ones.
Since 2011 when she joined the National Assembly, she has continued in her stride. For instance, she pushed for the reform of the Nigerian Postal Service in March 2021.
Opeyemi Oluwole Sowore
Opeyemi Oluwole Sowore is the wife of Nigerian journalist Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC. They got married in 2004.
A Nigerian-American based in the United States, she is the Vice President, Head of Consumer Engagement at Teladoc Health, having previously led as executive at American Express (for 12 years), Citigroup and Delta Air Lines.
Opeyemi holds a BA from State University of New York at Binghamton and an MBA from the Simon School of Business from the University of Rochester.
She notably led several protests and discourses advocating for her husband’s release during his repeated arrest by the Department of State Services, DSS.
The mother of two who leads a very private life, only came to public view after the advocacies carried out for her husband to be released.
Salamatu Rabi’u Musa is the wife of Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, and former governor of Kano State. The duo have been married since the year 2000.
She served as First Lady while her husband was governor of Kano State. Unlike other wives of governors, almost nothing has been reported in the media of her activities during her reign as First Lady. Salamatu, who is rarely seen in public sphere, attended Government Girls College, GGC, Kabo.
With all of these profiles at your fingertips, who would you say the cap fits? Whose husband deserves the seat of the president?
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