On October 1st, the Senate president, Bukola Saraki announced that the list of Nigerian ministerial nominees was released to him for senate approval. The list, sent by President Muhammadu Buhari, contained the names of 20 instead of 36 appointees. However in the list, only 3 women were nominated as ministers.
During his campaign, Buhari promised to implement the National Gender Policy, which allocates 35 percent of appointive positions for women. Specifically, ‘Objective 5’ states, “Adopt special measures, quotas and mechanisms for achieving minimum critical threshold of women in political offices, party organs and public life by pursuing 35% affirmative action in favour of women to bridge gender gaps in political representation in both elective and appointive posts at all levels by 2015.”
But if out of the 20 names, women are only represented by 15 percent, it seems the President has a gender bias, which could be a big problem for him throughout the tenure of his presidency, especially considering the strides Nigeria has made in terms of women and political representation. Notably, President Jonathan brought about an increase in women’s political participation from 10% in 2011 to over 33% in 2013, with the appointment of 13 female Ministers out of 42, and four Special Advisers out of 18.
While we await the names of the outstanding 16 nominees, here’s a bit more information on the three women Buhari selected.
- Amina Mohammed (b. 1961)
She was the former Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on the Millennium Development Goals. During this period, she advised the presidency on macro-economic issues, sustainable development and poverty. She also established and implemented the Virtual Poverty Fund. Mohammed has served on international advisory boards such as the UN Secreatry General’s Global Sustainability Panel and the Gates Foundation.
In June 2012, she was appointed as the Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning to Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General.
- Kemi Adeosun (b. 1967)
Upon leaving her job at PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2002, she joined Denham Management and rose to the title of Managing Director. She was also the Managing Director of Quo Vadis Partnership, a position she held for about a year before she was appointed the Finance Commissioner in Ogun state in 2011. Adeosun has also been nominated by Governor Ibikunle Amosun to join the state’s cabinet.
- Aisha Alhassan (b.1959)
Alhassan, a retired Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, was the Taraba state Commisioner for Justice and Attorney General before she was elected a Senator for the Taraba North constituency of the state. Aisha Alhassan became popular by being the first woman to run for a governorship position in Nigeria.
For more insight about the women in Buhari’s ministerial list, listen to the podcast below: