Nigeria is both a traditional and a progressive country. It is traditional in the sense that it still follows ancient African cultures. But it is progressive at the same time, particularly in its public and political figures. Consider, for instance, Senator Nenadi Esther Usman, the former finance minister from the state of Southern Kaduna. She is progressive not just because she took on the position of minister, but because she did so in the economic and financial sector. Furthermore, although she is from Kaduna, a traditionally Christian part of the country (as is she), she married Mr. Usman, a man of Muslim faith. So with women like Nenadi Usman making such huge ripples in society, is the country perhaps ready for its first female president?
Is Nigeria Ready for a Female President?
Nigeria has been plagued by poor male leaders in the past. In fact, it has been women like Esther Nenadi Usman who have been able to hold the country together, providing the constant of common sense that is so badly needed. Some 180 million people live in Nigeria. There are 774 areas of local government and 35 states. It is also one of the countries on the African continent that is of interest to investors.
Unfortunately, as Nenadi points out, since the country gained independence in 1960, 80% of the country’s population continues to live in poverty. Furthermore, just 10% of the population is classed as truly wealthy. For Esther, this simply isn’t good enough. She experienced the lack of social amenities, poverty, and corruption first hand, and wanted to make a true difference.
One way Nenadi Esther Usman aims to do this, is to help sponsor young women today, particularly those from tertiary institutions, to develop a political voice. Women, Nenadi believes, are more honest, sincere, transparent, and open. But mainly, they genuinely want to help the country as a whole. It has been women like Esther Usman who have wanted to build up the Nigerian economy.
Nenadi Esther has withdrawn from public politics, but she is keeping a close eye on what is happening. The next democratic election will take place in 2019, and there is a good chance that a female president will be elected. And if she is, she may be able to bring about true democracy as well, fixing the economy and getting rid of the corruption.
Esther played a pivotal role in a recent retreat in Lagos state, which is in the southwest of Nigeria. This retreat was for young women who wanted to develop their political voice. Around 50% of Nigeria’s population is made up of women, yet they take up less than 10% of all government positions. Various nongovernmental organizations, with support of Nenadi Usman, are aiming to change this. Even if, therefore, a female president is not elected in 2019, there is a big chance one will be elected at the next one. Nigeria is ready for a female president, and they should have one if they want to truly progress.