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Ayisha Osori: Demystifying the Idea of African Women in Politics

[bctt tweet=”What is the view of politics amongst young women in Nigeria? Read this article by @OnukoguFavour ” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] The right to vote as women was the main demand for the women’s movement in history. Fast forward to 2018, at the eve year of another fast-rising, monumental election in Nigeria, It seems women are less interested in politics, voting and running for office as compared to their male counterparts. It seems another year of time changing decisions will be made and women will not be part of the decision making. Regardless of what the government has done to break that re-occurring malady, women still occupy a mere 19% of every political office in Nigeria, sadly the same is to be said for almost all African countries. There are varied notions women have about politics in all. Politics is the most bizarre part of the public system. What do we know about politics except for the things we see on the news, and how many young African women are interested in politics enough to source out vital news in that field. It seems like the average African woman has given up on politics, she doesn’t believe in her public officers and she has completely washed her hands away from anything concerning politics, calling it brutal, aggressive and bad. So in general what is the view of politics amongst young women in Nigeria? Politics is not for women Politics is not for young women especially A woman cannot be a Public Leader, and a good wife and mother at the same time Politics is for greedy people who want to have a share of the National Cake Politicians cannot be trusted, once you become a politician you lose your trust. Stay away Even if we want to change things, we can never change things by voting or leading a Public office If you have ever had one or more of these myths in your head you’re not peculiar, so does millions of young women in the country. Ayisha Osori, is a writer, activist, lawyer and a fellow from the who ran for the office of the House of Representative in 2014. In her book _ Love does not win elections, she completely destroys all we think about Politics and tells all, beyond emotions what politics in the state of Nigeria really means. Her book is an eye-opener as it details her journey by becoming a member of a politic party, running for an office, experiencing the challenges of Godfatherism, and losing an election. She says from her experience running for a position, she understood that by the election date, 80% of decent leadership is already lost. This because not a lot of people get to vote for the representative of the party at the primaries.   From her own words: “Political parties won’t change themselves without pressures from within and without. We’ve been putting pressure from outside.  What might work would be going into the party and forcing change from within If young people join political parties several things happen”.  “First they become part of the conversation, they can become delegates and they stand a better chance to be elected when they vie of an office,” says Ayisha Osori “Our political parties are generational. Nothing is going to die out. It has become a system, a process, and a culture. I met fathers who are preparing their sons to take their positions bearing the same mentality.  Whether we have old people or young people it would be the same if we do not develop a different strategy to make things work” she continues. The 21st century has ushered young women in science, technology, and engineering, in all aspect of the society women are taking pace and leading. When it comes to politics, it seems we are only crawling at snail pace. Nigeria has never had a Female President and it doesn’t look like we will for the next twenty years. Coming down to the grassroots, towards and local government, only 19% of women are in the government.   And most of them would be gone with this generation that is they have served for long they’d soon have to hand over. Do we have enough successors that are going to take their place? Do we have enough women right now who are active in political affairs? And why do we have to be interested in politics, after all, we can change the world through entrepreneurship?  We can only do so much as entrepreneurs, small business is like small building blocks for a LEGO house, little by little can create a magnificent edifice. Politics is like the bond that binds them all together, if we have a decaying system, people will grow businesses that will only crumble due to forces beyond them. Through politics, we can create better incentives for smallholder farmers, startups, and budding entrepreneurs. All of these will be possible if we have good governance down to our grassroots level.   If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your startup story with us.

Young women, you can have it all – Amb. Kema Chikwe

71 years old Ambassador Kema Chikwe is a woman whose drive for inclusion and results earned her notable career opportunities in Nigeria. She has successfully held positions as the Minister for Transport, for Aviation and Chairman of Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB). Amb. Chikwe gracefully held the office of the National Woman Leader where she created opportunities for other young women to achieve career and political ambitions. In all of this, she remains optimistic about the future of women in leadership and is the founder and chairperson for Women in Leadership Institute (WLI). Talking with Amb Kema has no dull moment. Añuli Ola-Olaniyi, an SLA contributor, sat through an interview with this remarkable woman and shares with all the deets with us.  How did you begin your career? I finished my secondary education at age of 17 and I got a job at the Pay Section, Ministry of Education, Nigeria. How did you become an Ambassador?   I challenged myself to take the position. It was an appointment actually which I believe was given to me based on merit and results from my previous appointments. I served as the Minister for Transport and Aviation. Later I became the Chairman of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). Also, I contested for the office of the Governor, Imo State. Hard work, commitment to public service, and my result-oriented attitude have always propelled me. What would you say is your proudest achievement today   I am very grateful for all my accomplishments to date, some of which are my exposure to many years of public service and strong legacies. A notable accomplishment was the reformation of the Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport -MM2. As the Minister for Transport and Aviation, the reform projects spoke for themselves. As Transport Minister, we achieved 48 hours turnaround and 24 hours of port operations. While I was the Chairman of JAMB we embarked on the automation of the system and some of the results from this are the use of scratch cards for examinations. However, as a  National Woman Leader, the adoption of the bill to mainstream disability in political parties was achieved. The office of the National Woman Leader was institutionalized, a Gender audit was conducted and we developed programmes for women running for office. We created and ran the E-Women Network for young women and we have to date, women who have benefitted and done well. What’s the boldest thing you’ve done?   My boldest move was to contest for Governor of Imo State, Nigeria. I was the only woman campaigning in an era where the mindsets weren’t particularly ready for a female Governor. Did you encounter any setbacks, and how did you get past it?   My biggest setback was not winning my governorship and Senate elections. When you invest a lot in something and it doesn’t end up the way you envisioned, it can be difficult to comprehend sometimes. I overcame it by understanding that failure is a challenge, you rise and fall. My dad (who was also my mentor) had a rhyme he used to encourage us and it says “If at first, you don’t succeed, always try and try again” After losing the election, I had tremendous support from people like President Yaradua and Baba Kingibe with the Ambassadorial posting. Please understand that when you work very hard, people support you and anything you do will eventually go well because people will recognize your efforts based on the legacies and results you have shown. Once you focus on your career, work, job or assignments and perform well, the recognition comes. I must add that there must be a virtue of hard work in Nigeria amongst young men and women. A person qualified for a role or position should get that role/position. No shortcuts. [bctt tweet=”I stay inspired by watching people succeed- Amb Kema Chikwe” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] One piece of advice to your 20-year-old self would be…   Be more adventurous and courageous. I was nervous about stepping out of my comfort zone. Moving forward, I realized that life outside my comfort zone wasn’t as scary as I thought. With focus, determination and positive support. I was able to achieve my goals. Look at me now; many young women can be me or even greater. What would you advise people starting a career or going into politics?   My best advice is this – convince yourself that it is what you want to do. Let it also be that you are meeting or creating solutions for the needs of people. I also encourage young women to know that you can have it all. Career, marriage, children, business, all of it. Raising a family is possible with a thriving career. There are many benefits of marriage. I understand that not every woman is lucky, but note that it is an important institution. [bctt tweet=”I want to encourage young women to know that you can have it all. – Amb. Kema Chikwe” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] How are you keeping up with the new trends   The future excites me because the rate at which innovative ideas are quickly changing our lifestyles and the way we view the world gets me really excited to see what next is in store. Imagine some people who do not speak a word of English, operating a mobile phone with such dexterity. The internet culture has made this world a smaller place by bringing a better understanding of life.   What are your future plans for the Women in Leadership Institute?   I founded the Women in Leadership Institute and this is positioned to give a new orientation to women in Nigeria and Africa. It will change narratives, give women the opportunities to study and be experts in Women and Leadership Studies. The future is very exciting for women.  If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.


Hello, millennials! You’ve probably received advice on how you can “build a more successful career” from a handful of people. However, very few people give a break down of how you can advance yourself, or what to do when you face a challenge, like when your boss is not paying you what you’re worth – sounds familiar? Designing a career you’re passionate about or deciding on a career path can be challenging, and the chances of getting a good class that can really teach you how to do that are slim. Well, with a few career hacks, you can take small steps every day that will bring you success in the long run and that’s why you don’t want to miss this discussion! Join us on Tuesday, June 26th, for a Facebook Live chat with Añuli Ola-Olaniyi, founder of HEIR Women Development, who will be giving advice on how to achieve the ultimate career for yourself. Añuli believes women are strategizing to become empowered and rule the world alongside men. She has effectively delivered cutting edge training that has elevated people both in their professional and personal life. [bctt tweet=”Design the ultimate career with @anuliolaolaniyi, founder of @heirwoman on June 26th at 1PM WAT! Click here for more:” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] Some of the topics we’ll cover So you got the job, now what? Career habits to avoid How to maintain career capacity How to handle job rejection Facebook LIVE details: Date: Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 Time: 1PM Lagos // 2PM Joburg// 3PM Nairobi Watch Facebook Live with Anuli: About Anuli Añuli Ola-Olaniyi is the founder of HEIR Women Development, an enterprise created to support young women in capacity and skills building in a career. Prior to this, Anuli began her career at John Lewis Partnership UK and she is currently the Deputy Managing Director of HM Ltd, ED of DV Solutions NG and an Advisory Board Member of the Women in Leadership Institute (WLI). With a wide range of experience across a number of different sectors and having completed tasks for high profile companies, Anuli graduated from the University of Ibadan with a BSc in Psychology and holds a Masters in Human Resource Management from Middlesex University UK. A believer in continuous professional and personal development, Anuli is a CIPD certified Human Resource Professional as well as a qualified Prince2 Practitioner in Project Management. She also holds certifications for Gender studies from the UN Women Training Centre. PMP trained, Anuli is currently working towards her certification from PMI Institute.  


For as long as we’ve known, politics has been viewed as ‘a big boys thing’ and not for women. Well, guess what world? It’s time to take a step back because ladies wanna play too! From leading political organisations to being at the centre of political movements across the continent, women are increasingly taking charge of the political platform. Admirable examples of #MotherlandMoguls in politics include Bostwana’s 29- year old, Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, who was recently appointed as Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry and Nigeria’s Ms. Rinsola Abiola, President of the APC Young Women Forum (amongst other titles) – the list goes on! But let’s be honest! Even though there has been a rise in the number of women in legislatures across the continent, more work still needs to be done to integrate women into ‘political governance’. That being said, ladies get in formation…let’s talk about building a fulfilling political career!! To learn more, join us on Wednesday, May 30th for a webinar with Abosede George – Ogan, who is the Chief Facilitator of Women In Politics NG, as well as the Director, Strategy, Partnerships and Stakeholder Management at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. Abosede will be sharing useful nuggets on what it takes to build a successful career in politics. [bctt tweet=”Kick start your career in politics with @abosedea on May 30th at 11 AM WAT! Click here for more: #WomenInPolitics” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] Some of the topics we’ll cover: Why you should be interested in politics The building blocks to pursuing a career in politics Types of jobs available in the field of politics Advice on how to build a successful political career Webinar Details: Date: Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 Time: 11AM Lagos // 12PM Johannesburg // 1PM Nairobi Location: Register below to get access to this opportunity Watch here: About Adebose Abosede George-Ogan is a tri-sector leader with over 14 years’ experience working across the non-profit, private and public sector as a development professional. She is the Chief Facilitator at Women In Politics NG, an online platform that seeks to engage, encourage, equip and empower women especially young women to get involved and participate in politics in Nigeria. In addition to this, Abosede is currently the Director, Strategy, Partnerships and Stakeholder Management at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. Abosede began her career in development over a decade ago with ActionAid International Nigeria. From here, she moved on to lead Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Citizenship for Keystone Bank, FirstBank and Samsung Electronics West Africa respectively. Likewise, Ms. George-Ogan has a degree in Political Science/Public Administration from Igbinedion University and an MSc in Communication for Innovation and Development from the University of Reading.   She is also the author of the recently launched book, “Building a Conscious Career: How to build a fulfilling and financially rewarding career”. For more information about the book, you can visit  


44 African leaders made history in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2018, when they signed up for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The agreement will create one of the world’s largest free trade areas – a single market for goods and services for a population of over 1.2 million people – if all AU members eventually sign and ratify it. The AfCTA is in line with the broader goals of the AU reforms initiative, which intends to move away from the current situation of multiple, almost competing for economic blocs to a single pan-African unit that facilitates the free movement of goods and services across the continent. The AfCTA is a milestone achievement that could change the economic trajectory of the continent. A celebratory photograph of the various leaders who gathered in Kigali was rapidly shared across various media platforms to commemorate the singularity of events. Yet, anyone paying attention quickly noticed one thing about the photograph – there were no women. Can the AU reforms process create room for women in the highest levels of political leadership on the continent? The final round of negotiations for the AfCFTA, unfortunately, coincided with the resignation of Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the first female president of Mauritius. [bctt tweet=”Outside of South Africa and Malawi, no woman has run for president in the Southern Africa region- @tanaforum @nanjala1″ username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] There are now no female heads of state on the continent. Before Gurib-Fakim, we had Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, Joyce Banda in Malawi and Catherine Samba-Panza in the Central African Republic. Of the four, only Johnson-Sirleaf completed a full term with both Gurib-Fakim and Banda leaving office under tenuous allegations of fraud and Samba-Panza electing not to run for office after serving as a caretaker president. If there are any unifying lessons to be learned from these experiences it is that African women political leaders are often held to higher standards than their male counterparts and that much more work can be done to incorporate women into political governance on the continent. The subject of equality of women in politics in Africa is complex. In the pre-independence era, there are a number of examples of women rising to the top of their societies, particularly in fraught political moments. Today, South Africa is the most un-equal country in the world according to the World Bank, with entrenched poverty directly linked to the “enduring legacy of apartheid”. [bctt tweet=”Madikezela-Mandela was punished for doing exactly the same things that her male counterparts did- @tanaforum @nanjala1 ” username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] Madikezela-Mandela’s experience echoes the experience of women on the continent who form a slight numerical majority of the population but are systematically shut out from high-level politics. She was punished for doing exactly the same things that her male counterparts have done throughout the ages. Women were at the center of liberation movements across the continent; not just in supporting roles but also leading political and military organizations.  Madikezela-Mandela was branded a murderer and denied a seat at the table of power in post-apartheid South Africa. [bctt tweet=”Rwanda has the highest number of women in parliament at 63.8%.- @tanaforum @nanjala1″ username=”SheLeadsAfrica”] Today, the situation facing African women in politics is mixed. Between 2005 and 2015, the proportion of women in legislatures in North Africa more than doubled from 7% to 18%, while in sub-Saharan Africa it increased from 15% to 22%. Globally, Rwanda has the highest number of women in parliament at 63.8% and, because of the increasing use of quotas, women make up more than 30% of the legislature in most countries in East and Southern Africa. And as mentioned, four countries have put women in the top seat, more than Europe or North America combined. Nonetheless, there have also been significant losses, particularly where women aim for the presidency. Read the concluding part of this article here… Sponsored post. This article was originally written by Nanjala Nyabola, a writer and political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya for the Tana-High Level Forum on Security in Africa 2018.