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 1.
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 politics2. 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 affairs 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 under-represented 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 develop5.
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 6.
This research work tends to evaluate the participation of women in Ilorin politics from these periods of 1979 -2003, their role in politics during pre-colonial, colonial era as well as their mobilization groups. couple with their achievement in Ilorin between the periods of study. In discussing Ilorin politics, it is indeed necessary and vital to have a broad understanding of the area, geographical description and development that took place there in.
However, many research works have been under taken on similar subject matter which has either dealt on general politics of Kwara State and the participation of Kwara state and the participation of men. This in its own has prompted this research work.
This research work is an appraisal and objective analysis of the work, achievement of the mobilization group and their achievement of the women who venture in to politics in Ilorin.
Infact this work aimed at the activities of women in mobilization process, their impact and their role in political sphere in the development of politics in Ilorin and in Kwara State in General. This work would also examine the successes and problem of women in Ilorin politics.
Justification on the subject matter was prompted by the urge to contribute to the election of the society. It should therefore need to be discussed and documented properly. Bye and large objective of this research are conscientious study aimed at achieving a remarkable history of women mobilization for politics in Ilorin.
1.3 SCOPE OF WORK
This work is basically study the participation of women in political processes in Ilorin from 1979-2003. This period however, in Nigeria are regarded as remarkable period and even in Kwara as whole.
1979 happened to be the period when second republic begins. After so many years of military intervention which brought to an end to the first republic in Nigeria. In 1979 the military head of State major Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo deem it fit to return the administration of the country to the civil rule. 2003 marked the first successful transition of government from civil rule to civil rule in Nigeria.
This research work is based on the mobilization of women in political terrain in respect to their achievement in pre- colonial and post colonial Nigeria, such political achievement has the origin of the office of the ‘Iyalode’ a chieftaincy title exclusively of women in Yoruba land and various other traditional offices in other part of the Nigeria7. The place of women in pre-colonial governance would be looked in to and critically examined, other aspect of women activities would not be left out.
Finally, the effect of the colonial rule in political development in various part with Ilorin as a case study couple with the eventual evolution of female active participation in politics in Ilorin .
This work is divided in to four chapters, chapter 1 is the Introduction, Chapter 2 is the Antecedent of Mobilizing women for politics, Chapter 3 is mobilizing of women in politics in ilorin from the period of 1979 to 2003, while Chapter 4 talks about the impact of women’s participation in Ilorin and their general appraisal.
1.4 METHODOLOGY AND PROBLEM
Historical methods were adopted in under taking this research work they includes: Primary and Secondary sources. A Lot of steps were taken in the course of gathering information as regards the mobilization of women for politics in Ilorin.
Preliminary survey of this research was the use of library and the use age of archival materials are regarded as Secondary sources of history. Exclusive interview were also conducted, relevant materials such as published books which were relevant to this research work, books that were indirectly comparable issues of the subject matter were also conducted, and unpublished materials such as internets, pamphlets, Newspaper and Journal were not left out.
In carrying out this research work several problem were encountered. First, there were little or no published materials or works dealing directly on the research work, also the ability of informant to give accurate dates of event and names of person, in some other cases there were conflicting claims and counter claims.
To compound issues, there was some kind of reluctance on the side of the interviewed which in other words hindered free answer to question. On oral interviews because of the political scene in Ilorin at this period of which this research is been undertaking, individual were not ready to disclose information available to them as a result of feeling in secured. In turn some asked for financial reward before information could be rendered.
There were also the issues of low involvement of women in politics in Ilorin which was a controversial issue until recent due to mobilization of women empowerment which is still in low measure. It should be noted that there was an extremely low participation of women in political activities because in the developing countries mostly Africans saw politics as an exclusive activities of men. This in turn posed problem to this research work since few women actively involved in political processes.
1.5 GEOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF ILORIN.
The city of Ilorin lies in the 300kilometers North of Ilorin on latitudes North 80 30 and longitude East 4035 near the Southern fringe of derived savannah and forest Zone 8 in the past, the city was surrounded by a wall of about 10 mile in circumference and as much as 20 feet high in some places.
Later development was to transform it in to emirate and with the colonial rule in to province. Ilorin province therefore consisted of an extension of a strip of territory situated on the right bank of the River Niger from Jebba to a point opposite Idah, comprising about 14, 430 square mile. Ilorin province thus incorporated people with different origin, tribe, language, culture and beliefs. It embraces the Ibolos, Ekiti, Igbomina and kabba. Speaking people, including the Kaiama , Bussa and Patigi.
Ilorin is bounded by the River Niger in the North and by kabba Province in the West and South. It shares common boundaries with southern Nigeria provinces of Oyo and Ondo.
The mainstays of the people’s economy were weaving (a staple industry engaged in by both men and women); bead making, dyeing pottery, molding and farming. These were to be aegises of various industries and trading activities in the 19th and 20th century. This earned it appellate of “one of the most entrepot of central Africa.
Substantially, a large part of the province is located on the grass plains with undiluting landscapes well watered and highly agricultural. By the Southern Nigeria provincial borders where the Elevation 15,00 feet there is a water shed with river generally running from West to East and flowing in to river Niger. The ecology of the region plays an important role in people’s decision on whether or not to settle with a particular area. It has a ‘mean’ annual rainfall of 1,318mm (51.9m), which allow its inhabitants to practice rabble farming. The mild climate had also attracted the Northern pastoralists to the region.
1.6 LITERATURE REVIEW
The outcome of this work is achieved by the use of published and unpublished works Archival materials and oral traditions are of valuable importance to this work.
Even though there are little or no published works directly on the subject matter, some materials treat Issues that provide general information for this work.
However, Ninu Emma Mba in her book titled “Nigeria Women Mobilized”9 in 1982 was indeed useful as it traced the origin of female traditional title such as Iyalode in Yoruba land and town in Nigeria. She further traces it down to the formation of political parties and establishment of female wings of the NCNC party. Though it is not directly on mobilizing of Ilorin women but it provides background information on the activities of Nigeria women mobilized for politics therefore relevant to this study.
The book by S.O Arifalo10 “The evolution of Nigeria women in politics examines the process of Nigeria women in colonial era which demanded for Universal adult suffrage and female representation, It also examines the power sharing structure which was in favour of men. Colonial period were also discussed up to the so called second republic.
K uchendu in his book. The role of Nigeria women in Politics, Past and Present. Enugu: fourth dimension, 1993, this book also shed light on the role played in Nigeria politics in past and present in which the mobilization of women and methods of mobilization for politics were discussed. In “Nigeria the Role of Women in National Development”11.
Eno Blankson Ikpe. Nigeria people and culture (Ed). Akinjide Osantokun and Ayodeyi Olukoju13 contributed to the research work by showcasing the role of women in National and Development, it also examine some female politicians in Nigeria such as Gambo Sawaba, Ayoka Lawani, Olufumilayo Ransome kuti, Magret-Ekpo and host of others. Their motivation and prowess in politics was examined as well as their influence on other women. This work is relevant to the subject matter in the sense that some of these women influenced other women in our area of study and served as source of inspiration to them.
Bolanle Awe (Ed)12 in her book “Nigeria women Historical perspective” Ibadan Sankore/book craft also discussed the activities and role of women in the time past and how they were relevant to the Nigerian society in various spheres of life. This literature was assistance as regards the activities of women in every sector of Nigeria social, economic and politics as the case may be.
Various unpublished works on the emirate also focused on Ilorin politics. Danmole’s “Frontier Emirate” gives considerable attention to the establishment of the emirate with emphasizes of its administration and Islamization of the region. R. A. Olaoye focused on the involvement of women in the distribution of the finished work of the weaving industry. His other work, opened healthy discussions on the pattern of British administration in Ilorin during the period covered by his studies13.
NOTE AND REFERENCE
1. Nina Emma Mba: Nigeria Women Mobilized Women’sPolitical Activity in Southern Nigeria, 1900-1965 (Berkeley Instituted of International Studies of California 1982) pp 105-114.
2. Ibid 110.
3. S.O. Arifalo Edt: The evolution of Nigeria women in politics in essay in Contemporary Nigeria History pp99-118.
4. Eno Blankson Ikpe: “The Role of Women in National Development Akinjide Osantokun and Ayodeji Olukoju pp 245-268.
5. Ibid 101.
6. Adam Habeebah Nike: Participation of women in Emirate Politics (MMA Thesis) 1955-1999 pp5-7.
7. Ibid 31.
8. Ibid 98.
12. Bolanle Awe (ed): Nigeria women in Historical perspective Ibadan, Sankore/Book craft, 1992.pp134
13. Ibid 32