Since 1999, Edo State has consistently seen male dominance in the positions of governor and deputy governor, sidelining women from the opportunity to hold these key political roles.
Despite the 35 percent affirmative action aimed at appointing women to 35 percent of political offices, the political landscape in the state remains predominantly male.
A retrospective examination of Edo State’s political history reveals the uninterrupted trend of male figures in leadership roles.
From 1999 to 2007, Lucky Igbinedion served as the governor, with Mike Ogiadomhe as deputy governor. Subsequently, during Osariemen Osunbor’s short tenure from 2007 to 2008, his deputy was a man, Lucky Imasuen.
The period from 2008 to 2016 witnessed Adams Oshiomhole as governor, accompanied by Pius Odubu as deputy governor. Since 2016, Governor Godwin Obaseki has been in office, partnering with Philip Shaibu as deputy governor, with no signs of a shift in this pattern until the administration concludes on November 11, 2024.
However, five women are ready to break this jinx and have vowed to match their male counterparts in the 2024 Edo gubernatorial election, which will be held in September.
Loretta Oduware Ogboro-Oko
Ogboro-Okor, a Nigerian UK-trained consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, known for her work in medical simulation and serving as the president of the University of Benin Alumni Association, UK, has announced her aspiration for the top position in Edo State under the Labour Party.
In her declaration at the Labour Party secretariat in Benin city in December, Dr Ogboro-Okor emphasised the need for women to actively participate in politics, stating, “A lot of women are always at the back door, it is time we took our place in the political space; we have to be at the table so that we can shake it.
“We thank all our fathers who are standing with us to bring light to the state, we are happy that our fathers are ready to support us.”
Igbinedion, a former lawmaker, secured the position of the youngest female member of the House of Representatives in 8th Assembly in 2015, representing the Ovia Federal Constituency comprising Ovia North-East and Ovia South-West Local Government Areas of Edo State.
She served as the deputy chairman, house services, and held memberships in various committees, including local content, aviation, downstream petroleum, FCT, judiciary, rural development, and women in parliament.
Igbinedion has declared her intention to fly the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming Edo gubernatorial election.
Victoria Amua Amu
Amu, an occupational therapist trained in the United States and a philanthropist from Sabongida Ora in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State, stands as the sole female aspirant within the All Progressives Congress (APC).
She relies on her demonstrated track record in governance, dedicated leadership, and philanthropy to pave the way for her candidacy.
Asha Emily Okojie
Okojie, a dedicated humanitarian and philanthropist, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA).
Her commitment to humanitarian efforts remains steadfast, and she continues to extend support to the less privileged in society alongside her political aspirations. She is presently an aspirant in the Labour Party.
Aburime-Asom, a medical doctor from Edo Central Senatorial District. The district is widely favoured by various stakeholders as the potential source of the next governor.
There is a collective call among stakeholders for political parties in the state to allocate their tickets to Edo Central, emphasising the principles of equity and fairness.
Aburime-Asom’s aspiration under the Labour Party has garnered support, both internally and externally.
The female candidates will compete against their male counterparts in the upcoming political party primaries. The primaries are expected to conclude before the end of February as mandated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The success of these women in breaking the existing pattern will be contingent on the outcomes of these party primaries.