Election 2023: Aspiring women are ready

2023 elections will commence soon, and we are sharing the narratives of 6 women belonging to various political parties who have presented themselves to the electorate and are actively lobbying for their votes. They include: ADEOLA AZEEZ, TARI TAYLAUR, JOYCE DANIELS, MOJISOLA AFOLAYAN, SIMI OLUSOLA and RUKAYAT MOTUNRAYO SHITTU. Associate Editor, KEMI AJUMOBI writes.


Social, Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for the Federal House of Representatives, Ijebu Central Federal Constituency

Adeola Azeez is a deeply experienced financial services executive with knowledge in the financial services sector. She was the immediate past Deputy Country Director of Deutshe Bank (A German in Nigeria, currently serving as a Partner/West Africa Representative of Sigma Risk, an international financial crime risk consultancy, headquartered in the United Kingdom). She sits on the Board of a commercial and non-commercial organisations such as: Sycamore Integrated Solutions Limited (Non-Executive Director), Global InfoSwift Consulting (Independent Non-Executive Director), Tosin Anibaba Memorial Fund – TAMFUND (Advisory Board Member), and Women in Management, Business & Public Service – WIMBIZ (Co-Founder since 2002, Chairperson from 2011-2013 and Founding trustee on the Board of Trustees). Her two-year tenure as the Chairperson of WIMBIZ (a leading gender-focused non-profit organisation in Nigeria), recorded notable achievements including the first ever WIMBIZ/Federal Ministry of Finance partnership for the YOUWIN Programme in 2012/2013, as well as securing funding partnerships with Vital Voices – a US-based NGO established by Hilary Clinton and the well talked about significant raise in WIMBIZ membership registration among young ladies and underrepresented women from the northern states of Nigeria. Adeola has received several awards in recognition of her support towards the advancement of humanity, gender equity and financial inclusion, from reputable organisations.

Why the choice to run for office, what office are you running for and under what party?

I am the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for the Federal House of Representatives, Ijebu Central Federal Constituency, Ogun state. I retired as the Deputy Country Representative for Deutsche Bank in 2020. After my retirement in the private sector where I served for over three decades, I decided to segue into politics because I wanted to be a part of a greater transformative change. I wanted to go beyond the boardroom and provide value at the grassroots level where this was non-existent.

I am running for this seat because I intend to collaborate with all necessary stakeholders to achieve one thing; transform my constituency into a model for development through accountable leadership, provision of well-functioning social amenities, economic enhancement, and citizen empowerment leveraging on technology. I intend to initiate good laws that will help lift the people’s lives and livelihood of my constituency out of poverty, improve the economic status of our communities, and lobby for infrastructural projects which will make a positive impact in key areas of the economy.

How has the process been so far? Share your campaign experience and findings

The process is actually a vigorous one and my campaign experience has been very interesting, fulfilling, and challenging all together. I joined the race as a first-time runner and the only woman vying for the seat, even though I had my vision and strategy in place, I knew I needed to build visibility, and likability, and also show capacity at the grass-root level. It is not an easy task but I am determined to make it a reality.

I started my work at the grassroot by conducting empirical research on my constituency, I discovered that the predominant needs across the three local governments areas are: impoverished educational facilities, bad road networks, lack of electricity supply, lack of potable water solutions, poor health care facilities, high rate of unemployment and lack of empowerment programs to support small businesses and access to micro and small loans.

Having seen the magnitude of challenges at the grass-root level, I started intervening through the execution of several innovative community projects such as infrastructural projects that includes, installing road signages in various communities to enable navigation and visibility on digital maps, initiated the installation of a 5G telecommunication mast in an under-served community called Eyin-Osun located at Ijebu north east and provided water tank solution for the people of Erinlu community in Odogbolu Local Government, that of Itantebo in Ijebu-ode and Ipari-Oke are ongoing.

On health care projects, it includes renovation and refurbishing of Ogbo Health Centre located in Odogbolu local government. Furthermore, I donated an ultra-modern scanning machine for pregnant women in Isiwo community, worth over 15 million Naira.

Regarding education, I empowered over 3000 school kids back to school in September 2022, donated towards the installation of an e-classroom at Ogbo Community Comprehensive School and I am sponsoring orphans in the constituency to obtain quality education.

Regarding empowerment projects, I partnered with Sycamore to empower women in piggery farming with a loan facility to enable them to scale their businesses, I also organised workshops training for over 1000 artisans and craftsmen with loan facilities to scale their businesses. In addition, I have also provided financial and moral support to differently-abled persons, widows and the aged in the constituency to increase their livelihood.

I have also engaged in technology projects. In order to reduce the rate of unemployment among the youths in my constituency, I initiated a tech workshop called ‘skill-up and Upgrade’ set to empower over 1000 youths to address crime, poverty, and unemployment through positive tech engagements.

I am concluding plans to introduce registered artisans in my constituency to digital solutions that will enable them to become visible in the service market.

All these mentioned projects are in my short, medium, and long-term plans, I have not waited to get into the office to execute but as a woman with a track record from the corporate sector, I have already begun. This is the type of leadership the people deserve.

Addressing social issues from the root cause has been my focus and I am glad to have shown the people the blueprint of evidence-based, and value-driven leadership.

What are you looking forward to?

I look forward to being elected. The people deserve better than they are experiencing now. I have spoken about my plan to transform the Ijebu Central Federal Constituency into a model of development. I am in this race to win, and that is all I see.

What do you want to say to the electorate?

Over the years, there have been serious voter apathy with the claim that the electorates are not enjoying the dividend of democracy meanwhile every election is determined by people who show up, those who have the PVC and are actively involved in the process are great determinants to winning any election. Desire is not enough to stop hunger, insecurity, banditry, nepotism, and marginalisation that people are currently suffering right now, electorates should endeavor to be part of the process.

To enable a free and fair election process, electorates should desist from being part of political thuggery and banditry. I want a democratic process that provides for social and economic change without violence. The electorates need to be smart voters as there are crucial things to look out for in a candidate that will represent them. They need to be able to decide what they are looking for in a candidate instead of just doing emotional voting, being indecisive, or voting based on monetary gain or other benefits. I would recommend that we begin to do the right thing.

Is it more challenging because you are a female?

Yes, let me begin by addressing under-representation in politics. Nigeria has very few women participating in politics. Only 7 out of 109 senators and 18 of the 360 House of Representatives members are women. And only four out of 36 deputy governors are women. No woman governor or president has emerged which is why it is difficult for a woman to convince the people that you have the capacity and character that the job demands.

What would you say is the reason many women aren’t involved in politics? How can it change?

I acknowledge that there are several factors discouraging women from participating in politics and governance but to mention a few, I would say, first the cost of campaigning, and secondly, the lack of support to run and interference of cultural norms. I strongly believe women can make a remarkable impact in the political space if given the opportunity and adequate support.

What has changed since you declared to run for office?

I would say that the narrative is changing. I wanted to be a catalyst that would change the narrative and I feel fulfilled to see the impact. I am beginning to see more women in the corporate sector opening up to the political space. Before now, we just desired to retire and serve on the boards of various top companies but all that is changing, women are now engaging to go beyond the boardroom to address issues at the grass-root. That alone is a remarkable development.

What advice do you have for women who desire to run for office?

My first advice to women who are nursing the idea to run for any political office, be it at the local government, state, and national level is that they should cancel the mirage of fear they have. They should dare, dream and know that confidence is key, once they have a tank filled with confidence then they have it all. There are definite times they will experience roadblocks in the political terrain but each time they should redirect the substantial energy of the seeming frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.

Women have to be a lot like a phoenix, life is filled with many defeats. It takes time to learn expertise, to learn one’s weaknesses and strengths, and to be able to work with both. Women who are venturing into politics should be willing to take risks. You have to be willing to go out to canvas people to support you to win.

Any woman with a strong determination to run for political office should have good and sound health because a woman’s health is her capital. We should also help to eradicate factors militating against women’s participation in politics.

Concluding words

Let me conclude on the note that the only office in our democracy that is superior to that of the president is the office of the citizen. Let’s exercise that power to create the change we deserve through our votes. Thank you.



Candidate of the Youth Party to represent Eti-Osa 1 at the State House of Assembly in the 2023 elections

Tari Taylaur is a media professional and TV producer with vast experience serving clients in both the public and private sector.

She is passionate about improving the welfare of young people and has served as a volunteer in projects across education, food security, voter enlightenment and environmental advocacy.

Tari is the Vice Chairman, environment of a Lekki zone and is the Environment Secretary for Lekki Estate Residents Association (LERA).

In 2021, Taylaur, a candidate of the Youth Party, ran for the office of Councillor, Eti-osa LGA Ward A (Lekki 1 – Femi Okunnu).

Tari Taylaur is the duly nominated candidate of the Youth Party to represent Eti-Osa 1 at the State House of Assembly in the 2023 elections.

She is campaigning on a clear strategy to transform the environment and create jobs for the many unemployed youths in the constituency.

Why the choice to run again?

I decided to run again because the issues in my constituency remain the same since I contested for LG Councillor in 2021. I am unable to sit back and do nothing when I see my community deteriorate. The people still lack accessible representation that caters to their needs as opposed to other unconnected interests.

What is different for you this time?

The polity has shifted. There is much more active participation with the electorate. More young Nigerians are registered to vote in this election cycle, and there is a greater demand for good governance. I’m also more aware of how the political system works and so I’m more confident in honing my strengths and walking my unique path to victory.

How has the process been so far? Share your campaign experience and findings

Politics is always tough and plagued with uncertainty. That has been the experience for me yet again, but I’ve learned to take things in my stride. At the same time, I have experienced several milestones that have affirmed my journey and deepened my conviction. Optimism is the fuel of every politician, and I’ve made sure I always run at a full tank.

My constituents also give me a lot of hope. They are very receptive towards my party and I, they have come to recognise the value of effective representation and see a viable alternative in me.

What do you look forward to?

I look forward to being sworn in as the member, Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Eti-Osa 1 constituency. There is a lot of work to be done, and I am fully prepared to take on the challenges and aspirations of my constituents. My entire focus is about improving the quality of life in my constituency. Clean environment, youth employment, social housing, and a general sense of well-being. My approach to serving will be innovative and personal, with accountability systems integrated into the running of my office so the community can be well informed.

Concluding words

There are better times ahead! Please vote; and then hold leaders accountable. Your voice and vote matters and is the defining factor in shaping the nation we all desire. Let’s have faith in Nigeria and take little steps each day to affirm our faith. Do your part; respect the land by keeping it clean. Help one another and keep the flag flying. God bless Nigeria.



Esan Central Chairmanship aspirant, Edo-State, PDP

Joyce Daniels, is an Esan Central Chairmanship aspirant and social engineering practitioner. Joyce is a seasoned mindset coach, public speaker of over 15 years, one of the most sought event host MCs in Nigeria, and an advocate for social justice, political and economic reforms. She is the Founder of The Joyce Daniels Organisation, which has provided entrepreneurs with seed funding, executed an electrification project, empowered widows, and security strengthening projects in her community. Recently recognised as Best Graduating Student (Female) at the School of Politics, Policy & Governance (SPPG) and was Class Governor, inaugural cohort – ElectHER Future Lawmakers Programme (EFLP). Joyce is an associate Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) and a mentor at Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR). Joyce obtained a degree in Anatomy from the University of Port Harcourt in 2004, has certifications from Carnegie University, New York. She is running for the seat of Chairman, Esan Central LGA in Edo State

Why the choice to run?

There are some levels of development that can only be executed from a place of the kind of power that comes with being in an executive position. No matter how well intentioned we are, we need power to execute. Thus, I am running because politics is the only route to the kind of power that is required for the kind of development that I believe is possible and is deserved by the people of my local government, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State.

What difference do you hope to make?

I hope to show ‘possibilities’. I hope to show the possibility of how those of us from the local government regardless of where we reside in the world, and those of us resident in the local government, can solve some of our own challenges, in partnership with government. Thus, where the funds and resources from the federation account are insufficient to fix our problems, there is the possibility that, with our united front, pulling our resources together, led by someone like me who has the voice to articulate the challenges and proffer possible solutions, we can rally round ourselves to fix many of our problems ourselves. I hope to show possibilities.

What position are you going for and why should you be voted for?

I am running for the office of Chairman (Chairwoman), Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo state. I should be voted because I have the character, competence and capacity for the work. I am able to listen, sift through conversations and information, rally round a great team using available resources and create solutions. I am a tested and trusted solution provider – I have always been one. I am always willing to ask questions and find ways to solve problems, taking swift action. I do not believe anything is impossible.

I have a network. This is one of my greatest assets, having people who are willing, able and ready to support the execution of what we might call grassroot projects. The truth is, when we have leaders like me, with my quality of network, we will not need to be one hundred percent dependent on the allocation from the federal accounts to improve our living standards, quality of enterprise development, quality of agriculture, quality of infrastructure development, because my local government and Nigeria as a country, needs solution providers, who are innovative and can work with/partner with others to make things work.

We must remember that the local government is the first handshake with the people. The direct quality of living in any community is dependent on the strength of the local government leadership. Thus, in my opinion, this is where we need some of the most competent sets of people who understand policy, governance and can execute, with the input of all stakeholders. I am someone who is in touch with the people, who listens to the people and who is willing, ready and eager to work with the people to create our solutions.

My governor and the entire Edo state government need competent individuals like myself to join the on-going development efforts of our beloved state. They’re already doing so much, and a robust team of local government council leaders will go a long way to deepen opportunities for enterprise development, employment and internally generated revenue.

How has the process been so far? Share your campaign experience and findings

So far, it’s been a learning experience, especially for someone like me who didn’t grow up at home. Getting to know my people more and to realize that whether or not I am in government, I am needed at home was a great discovery for me.

The experience has shown I am needed in my community and that I am part of those who will bring renewal and the kind of development that we all seek.

I have learnt and continue to learn some of the rudiments of politics, I have made mistakes and will most likely make more. In all, it has been an exciting, fulfilling and amazing experience. Getting to seek the consent of people, guidance, and teachings of others. I am happy.

What do you look forward to?

I so look forward to the end of a 3-year tenure as chairwoman, where we would have achieved portable drinking water within 500 meters of every home in Esan Central.

I look forward to when we would have achieved improved quality of enterprise development and entrepreneurship within the local government.

I look forward to measurable improvement in agriculture and agribusiness.

I look forward to facilitating the setup of 3 privately owned cottage industries to optimise dried fruit and dried vegetables local to Esan Central, for export to other parts of the country and even out of the country.

I look forward to better financial inclusion with access to funding for entrepreneurs within the local government.

Within 3-years, I look forward to every home and business premise experiencing minimum 12 hours of power daily whether connected to the national grid or mini solar power grids.

I also look forward to having a coordinated establishment of community development associations across the local government, that would include sons and daughters of Esan central origin from across the world, where everyone who is within reach physically and virtually would be a part of one community development association joining hands to develop the community in consonance with the government and the people of the land.

I look forward to quarterly stakeholder engagement with the Onojies, our Kings of the land and other community leaders, to synchronise government intervention with exactly what the people want and need. I look forward to working with a team of like minds within the council.

What do you want to say to the electorate?

No more ‘leave politics to politicians’. We are the politicians now! Over the past 15 years, I have been fortunate enough to witness a bit of success as a prolific master of ceremonies, a trainer in public speaking and presentation skills, philanthropy and service. I have tried to use my voice to advocate for good governance and for women and young people to participate in entrepreneurship and politics. I have been a part of several conversations across the nation, and I understand that change comes from action, not only talk. We must move from talking to power!

It’s almost impossible to bake/cook if you’re not in the kitchen. We need more people with the mindset to ‘Bake the National Cake’, not only to partake of the national cake.

It is time to increase the number of right-thinking people into various levels of government and work together with them to put our nation on the path of innovative development.

We must build a consensus of likeminds and get them into the system to fix it from within, one community at a time, and I’d like to start with mine. A vote for me as Chairman is a vote for better life for Esan central.

My name is Joyce Ehinogie Daniels Oamen. I am a social engineering practitioner, a master of ceremonies, a philanthropist, a public speaker, an author, a nation builder, a wife, a mother, a servant and daughter of Esan Central LGA and an aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; running for the seat of the Chairman, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State. Please give me a chance.

Being a female in the political terrain, what are your challenges and what advice do you have for fellow women on joining politics?

Personally, I have not had any gender-based challenges per se. All the challenges I have had, have been common to everyone, both men and women alike.

The challenges of not knowing what to do, needing someone to guide, convincing people to speak on my behalf and believe in my candidacy, rallying support by way of funds and other forms of interventions, and so on. These have been normal challenges to everyone including me.

In my case, I would even say that being a woman favours me, because my people of Esan central local government area now, are willing and open to trying someone new, especially a woman, who knows what she’s doing and is committed to the cause of development. Being a woman hasn’t in any way been a challenge.

My advice to other women intending to join politics would be;

1. Make up your mind on time. If you are going to run for elections is 2027 or 2031 for example, decide now.

2. Be clear about what political party you are running with, begin to make yourself seen and heard in any capacity whatsoever.

3. Know what possible costs you would incur for whatever position you will be running for, and ensure you begin to save up to 30 percent of that sum.

4. Identity people within your network and beyond your network who you can reach out to, to raise the other 70 percent.

5. Understand the place of guidance, what we may term ‘political parenting’. It has been shed in bad light to have a political godfather or godmother, but it is actually akin to having a mentor and sponsor in business. You will need a guide, a mentor, a sponsor, a voice – someone who can speak on your behalf. Find him, her or them. Begin to identify these people, warm up to them.

6. Be determined to see your venture to the end come what may.

Know that politics is a competition, there would be other people who want the seat you want, thus, begin to develop yourself in mental toughness.

Attend mindset trainings if need be, attend the school of politics, policy and governance, attend other leadership and capacity development trainings.


Lagos Accord Party deputy governorship candidate for 2023 elections

Mojisola Afolayan is Lagos Accord Party deputy governorship candidate for the 2023 Elections.

She is a second class upper, Bachelor of Science graduate of Estate Management from the prestigious Covenant University, Otta. A distinction grade holder in professional Master’s Degree, Transportation Planning and Management (MTP&M) from the University of Lagos.

Mojisola is a highly accomplished and seasoned professional with over a decade year of experience in the banking industry and real estate sector. She is a driver of growth and profitability within organisations she finds herself. Afolayan is the principal partner of Mojisola Afolayan Estates, a real estate consulting and advisory firm, and director at CDRE Developments Limited, a property development company based in Lagos Nigeria.

She began her Post NYSC Career in 2009 at United Bank for Africa Head Office Marina, Lagos as a team member at the international trade finance department where she was the bank’s liaison officer to scanning companies in Nigeria.

Before setting up her own firm, she was the Lagos branch and western regional manager of Ayeye & co, a firm into estate surveying and valuation.

Mojisola is the founder of the ‘Chics Doing Real Estate’, a real estate investment club focused on teaching and empowering women on how to confidently invest in real estate.

She is also an advocate for wealth empowerment in Africa through property investment education.

She is the convener of the Real Estate Blueprint Conference which she began in 2017, with a focus on sensitising the environment and encouraging first time home buyers and investors.

Mojisola has authored two real estate books: ‘The Property Investment Guide’ and ‘Over 100 Answers to Nagging Questions About Real Estate Investment in Nigeria’.

She is currently on a project; ‘The Relive Housing’, a social housing project championed by CDRE Developments Limited and focused on helping starter investors own decent and good quality homes at fantastic prices with a goal of empowering 10,000 starter families within the next 5 years through unique property co-ownership schemes.

In 2021, through her co-investment scheme, Mojisola was able to raise and acquire landed property with her co-investors for her pioneer real estate development project called Cornerstone Heights.

Why the choice to run for office and what office are you running for and under what party?

I am Mojisola Afolayan, Lagos Accord party deputy governorship candidate. Accord is the first party on the Ballot Box.

My decision to accept the nomination is simply to accept the clarion call. Everything is all about perspective, there’s always your own narrative. I saw it as my nation in need of me and I said “Yes, bring it on, Let’s do this”.

These were my exact words when I was asked if I was afraid during my interview. I further stated “If not now, then when? If not me then who?”

How has the process been so far? Share your campaign experience and findings

My journey into politics is an interesting one. Even though I have always been a leader, I have always impacted lives, shared my knowledge and experiences, make people and situations better. I believe in Nigeria, I didn’t know my involvement with core politics will start so soon and start at the level of being a deputy governorship candidate for Lagos state is a huge one, honestly, I didn’t see that coming.

I strongly believe Nigeria will be transformed to a first world country in my lifetime and I believe I am made for a time like this. I believe it is important we understand that we all have a role to play, we must all get involved, we will vote, and our votes will count.

2023 elections clearly shows that Nigerians have woken up, my choice of stepping out boldly has also given a lot of young people, especially women, my friends colleagues and associates the audacity to do more and be more.

I was actually nominated for the position and interviews were carried out by the party, and I remember I received a call to say I was the best and I will be representing the people. I believe politics is about governance, leadership and accountability, no doubt, this is a role that has come with a lot of boldness, courage, responsibilities, sacrifices and audacity.

My experience has been very pleasant, I believe it’s a win already. I say win or win it’s still a win. I strongly believe this and see this as a proof of what God can do and has done. It’s a proof that a city set upon the hill cannot be hidden. It’s a proof of seeth a man who is diligent in his ways, he shall stand before kings and not mean men.

It’s been a learning process for me, I am documenting my journey and I am paying attention to what’s important, how can we do it better, how can our processes be better, how can we achieve better implementation? How can we fund campaigns, why should we be involved, how can people volunteer to be a part of the movement, what’s going to happen in 2027 and years after? How do we create and get the attention of more youths now, creative intelligent minds to be involved in politics? Most importantly, how do we intend to break limiting beliefs? For example, saying politics is a dirty game. How do we educate people and change their mindset, making them understand that politics involves lives, making life better, making people better. Politics is about lives, transforming lives. Our life and our businesses matter, our assets and wealth must be preserved. Truly, politics should and must be taken seriously.

What do you look forward to?
When we talk about leadership for Africa as a continent which includes the city of Lagos, we don’t have the luxury of time.

We do not have the luxury to wait for 10 or 20years. We are a people whose story reflects resilience and hope. The future is now and our journey to a better tomorrow starts now. Now is the time, now is what matters, can we just focus on now?

In 2023, I look forward to an election where we will have about 80% of collected PVCs coming out to vote on both days, February 25th and March 11th.

I’m looking forward to a truly free and fair election, and eventually having the city of Lagos that’s livable, functional, safe and sustainable for all.

What I really want the electorate to know is that the future opportunities we are waiting for would not fall on our laps, what we desire is possible and achievable if we are all ready to work hand in hand, work our unique journeys to achieve the mandate and vision we have for Lagos. The time is now where we Lagosians will fix Lagos from Lagos.

Unfortunately, prayer alone will not deliver us, politicking alone would not, being afraid and keeping quiet would not, hiding behind the scenes trying to play safe will equally not do any good for us as a people. We must all actively get involved; we all have a role to play. The question is ‘Would you play your part?’

What do you want to say to the electorate?

2023 has been declared as the year of the bold. Lagosians and everyone living in Lagos must be bold. I believe Lagosians need a bit of hope and a bit of faith. Faith is the ability to see the invisible, faith is in the ability to trust in the unknown.

We have a big job ahead of us. As a generation, we have a big job ahead of us, a big job of electrifying our continent, our country, our cities including the city of Lagos and thus bring power to the households, bring power to the people. The big job of creating industries, providing jobs that brings dignity and honour to the people. A big job of liberating our policies where each life that’s being born deserves a future, a life of significance. We have a big job at hand and if we are going to take up this job full of responsibilities, sacrifices and audacity, we have to be ready to face friction with the society. I say this to you because I know this will happen because I have experienced it. You need to say, “I’m ready to take a bet on my nation, if this is what it takes, I will stand to bring hope and faith to our people”.

In summary, at the minimum, the electorate need to be courageous and show some faith in the electoral process, by first stepping out to vote and ensure their votes count.

They can also be an agent of change by physically monitoring the process and encouraging the electoral officers to do the right things while exhibiting non-partisan behaviour.

Read also: Juliet Okene – Founder/Senior Coach, The Growth Club

Is it more challenging because you are a female?

Definitely more challenging considering the landscape is chiefly filled with men plus contending with family duties while still persevering to be as responsible and diligent as possible to one’s duty and career, but all these do not stop a woman from contesting. We have a sound mind and we have been strengthened by God to be able to do all things.

With a well thought plan and mitigative measures to address the gaps while engaging politically, any female can overcome the challenges.

What would you say is the reason many women aren’t involved in politics? How can it change?

Some of the reasons why most women don’t participate in politics includes: Ideology, predetermined gender roles in the society, lack of funds, religious beliefs, inferiority complex, stereotyping/gender discrimination, corruption and bad governance.

Yeah! These are some of the causes of the non-participation of women in politics, but it is important we know and understand who truly women are.

Women are created naturally to be creators and not destroyers. Women are created to birth nations and have dominion. In Nigeria today, women make up 50% of our nation’s population, we are the primary caretakers of children and elders in every country of the world.

The role of women is significant globally and we must ensure that we do not stop until every area that involves humanity have adequate representation of women. It has been proven that women are also more effective at building coalitions and reaching consensus. Women not involved in politics is a disservice to the nation and to the world at large.

Limiting beliefs such as, it’s a man’s world and women have nothing to say or contribute when it comes to matters such as politics is a myth that we must demystify globally.

Women are life givers therefore no gender should be highly involved in matters that involve lives of people, businesses, assets and nations more than women. Women are builders and very objective in their thinking. More often than not, we don’t entertain sentiments and our instincts are always right. Women have and nurture their spirit of discernment. It’s natural to us as women.

Women know when to stop and bow out, women know when it is enough and when enough is truly and honestly enough. Women are naturally selfless, that’s who we are, we give life.

Research shows that the increase in diverse women’s roles and access to leadership can improve social, economic and political outcomes for all genders.

Changing the narrative is changing the mindset that exists. Currently, globally, women must understand who they are and whose they are. I mean, women must understand that they are children of God, whoever is born of God overcomes the world, enough of the wrong ideology, stereotypes and limiting beliefs, enough of the negative talks and negative mindset. It’s high time we roll up our sleeves and get to work. We are enough and we are made for more.

What has changed since you declared to run for office?

The people who you lead with and how much fun you have along the way matters. The spirit of discernment, surrounding yourself with people who elevate your cause, and your journey are very important. I am grateful and thankful for my family, my husband, my friends, my mentors, colleagues and mentees. They have been a huge support system.

This is a moment that has brought so much Joy, peace and fulfillment, a moment to birth and beginning of the journey that God has called me to embark on, and most definitely have fun along the way. No pressure!

I still look and feel like the same Mojisola even though, whether we like to admit it or not, things are not the same as before. There’s an acceleration, a quantum leap both in spirit and in life physically.

I strongly believe life is a journey and everyone’s journey is unique to them. So far, so good, I’m learning, I’m growing, building my knowledge base, feeding and expanding my mind to believe, to dare to dream and to dwell on possibilities.

When there’s no vision, the people perish, therefore, having an audacious and inspiring vision is essential on this journey. I mean the things we go through are meant to develop our resistance, our perseverance, our doggedness, the undying spirit of a Lion. There must be stability at all times as an adaptive leader.

I have also learnt to be more patient, there’s nothing worse than a frightened leader. The worse thing we can have now is a frightened leader, a leader that cannot make concise decisions, a leader who is not objective and doesn’t carry out their duties promptly. We need leaders who have clear messages, and who can be trusted to lead and can be held accountable.

What advice do you have for women who desire to run for office?

I believe the time is now for more women to be actively involved in politics. I believe representation matters a lot. Representation is the core basis of democracy. Having more women involvement in leadership, governance roles impact decision-making in a positive way. Naturally, women are nurturers, women are multipliers, women are carriers of destiny.

This is a call for women to understand who they are: as powerful, as conquerors, as trailblazers, as warriors. Our nation needs us women, we are empowered, we have what it takes to move Lagos forward, and we must come out gallantly to fix our nation and continent. It is important that women get involved, sit at tables and have conversations that matters, sit at tables where policies are made, where destinies are determined. No one is going to represent women better than women so we should and must get involved now.

Concluding Words

The time is now. I strongly believe when Lagos works, Nigeria works and when Nigeria works, Africa works. There is a sense of urgency to make the world a better place, the world is waiting for you to step up and take charge. There’s no better time to start than now. Getting involved is not just about me or about you, it’s not for family and friends, it is not for selfish interests, it is for generations unborn, the generation coming next after the next. Consequently, we need to cease the opportunity today presents pronto. Thank you!



2023 PDP candidate, Ekiti State House of Assembly

Simi Olusola is a t-shaped professional passionate about Africa and committed to doing the hard things to build a great continent. You’ll find her working in the intersections of young people, technology, entrepreneurship, governance and politics. She is the Head of Innovation at the Centre for Journalism, Innovation & Development where she leads product management and supports with strategic innovation. Prior to her work with CJID, she co-founded and served as the executive director of The Nigerian Alliance, a political action committee whose mission is to elect servant politicians to political offices across Nigeria; a new kind of leadership that puts people before party interests – with a keen focus on improving governance and transforming politics. She founded and up till 2021 served as the executive director of Aspilos Foundation, a youth led non-profit using technology and digital inclusion to drive economic growth and good governance in Nigeria where she expanded the organisation’s projects from 1 to 23 states in the country. She was also the Programme Manager, Software Engineering at the African Leadership Group managing the implementation and growth of their online software engineer training program from 100 person cohorts every 6 months to 1,000 person cohorts every 2 months, generating +$2.5mn in revenue.

Why the choice to run for Ekiti state house of assembly and why your choice of party?

I believe the legislature is the true custodian of democracy and we have so far had a weak legislature across the country, hence my choice of a legislative role, state because it’s a starting point.

How has the process been so far? Share your campaign experience and findings

The process has been difficult, frustrating and expensive but it is doable. My campaign experience has been about me showing up every day no matter the challenges or inconveniences.

What do you look forward to in Ekiti state and by extension Nigeria?

I’m looking forward to citizens finally getting the dividends of democracy and I’m hopeful for a critical mass of people in government who are able and determined to do right by the people.

What do you want to say to the electorate? Why should they vote for you?

The electorate should look at my history and track record. I have a track record of integrity, inclusion and of facilitating development. These are things (and more) I will bring to the table as an elected officer.

Are you experiencing peculiar challenges because you are female? How are you surmounting them?

The usual challenges of not being taken seriously and being sexually propositioned/harassed. I surmount them by not backing down but showing up every day nevertheless. I surmount them by not compromising my values and letting my stand and boundaries be known.

What do you have to say to women who would love to go in but are scared because as they say, it is a “dirty” game?

Come in offering value and it will always put you in a good position to say no to any dirty offers. Never take no for an answer, don’t back down, have a community to support you and keep you grounded and show up every day.

Concluding words

To young people out there, voting is the least you should be doing. Get into the parties and be a part of those who decide who gets to be voted for or not. Let’s work to have better choices on the ballot across all levels.



Candidate of APC for Owode/Onire constituency in Asa LGA for Kwara House of Assembly

Rukayat Shittu was born on the 6th of June 1996 in Manyan village, Onire district in Asa local government area of Kwara State.

The 26-year-old APC Kwara State House of Assembly candidate is a successful media practitioner with ‘Just Event Online Media’.

Rukayat attended Baptist LGEA School, Surulere in Ilorin between 1999 – 2005 and later continued her education at Government Day Secondary School, Otte in Asa local government between 2005 to 2008.

During one of her weekend travels to Ilorin from her school in Otte, she was involved in a fatal accident, which claimed several lives.

She was one of the few survivors, though not without life-threatening injury, the scar on her lips is a part of her survival story.

Rukayat completed her Senior Secondary School Education at the Government Girls Day Secondary School, Oko Erin, Ilorin in 2011.

In 2012, she got admission to the Kwara State College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies affiliated with Bayero University, Kano where she obtained her diploma certificate in Mass Communication and Islamic Studies in 2015.

In furtherance of her youthful engagements, she decided to learn fashion designing. In 2017, she got an admission to the National Open University Of Nigeria (NOUN) and graduated from the department of Mass Communication in 2022.

During her undergraduate study at the National Open University of Nigeria, she combined studying with volunteering and entrepreneurship.

She also served in many capacities during her undergraduate days.

She functioned as the first female senate president for Congress of National Open University of Nigeria Students (CONS) which covers about 85 study centers across the federation and also represented her study centre (Kulende, Ilorin Study Centre) at the national level.

Rukayat is a member of the leading pro-democracy group, fashion enthusiast, entrepreneur, and advocate for the rights of women and the girl child in the society.

Presently, she is the youngest candidate for All Progressives Congress contesting for Owode/Onire constituency’s seat at Kwara House of Assembly in the 2023 election.

Why the choice to run for office?

As a card-carrying member of a party and according to the ‘Nottooyoungtorun’ bill, I am eligible to contest, I am contesting under the All Progressives Congress party. APC is a progressive party especially in Kwara state. We are experiencing light out of darkness (Jahiliyyah) thanks to the governor, His Excellency, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. I am glad to be a member.

How has the process been so far? Share your campaign experience and findings

It has been so challenging but very interesting. The real definition of life is inside politics. I am learning every day, but I am enjoying the journey and taking notes. My campaign experience so far has been good, even though there are challenges, but it is all worth it.

What do you look forward to?

I look forward to having more young people occupying elective positions. One thing I believe is that, once I can have the privilege, many young people will also benefit while using me as a positive reference point.

What do you want to say to the electorate?

As the election is fast approaching, the electorate are the main factor in the election. They should vote for vibrant, capacitated, committed, and well-focused representatives.

Is it more challenging because you are a female?

Politics is challenging for everybody depending on how you manage it however, you are correct in asking if it more challenging because I am a female and the answer is yes, because it is challenging for women. One major reason for the challenge is that women are underrepresented and marginalised in politics, and this is so because many of us also fail to stand up. Kwara state government is doing their best to encourage women and youths’ participation in politics. For instance, the expression of interest form was free for women and youths that are willing to contest under the ruling All Progressives Congress, we only paid for nomination form. The opportunity is there, we must be willing to take it, run with it and produce results as we have promised to as candidates.

Being the youngest, is the pressure different? Any particular observation linked to you being the youngest running?

The governor of Kwara state has a good track record on the involvement of youths in governance which in the past wasn’t the case. It is why I became encouraged to get my form to run for office. I saw that the opportunity was available, and I believed him because I have seen him include youth in governance, so it encouraged me to give it a try and I am glad I did because I have no regrets.

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