In politics of the Fourth Republic, Anambra is comparatively the most gender-friendly State, given elective posts won by female candidates.

Although in the 2023 elections, Anambra lost its record as the State with highest number of female Senators, it picked up a similar record in the lower chamber.

Thus, the 10th National Assembly features three new Anambra Representatives even as three others – two Senators and a Representative – return, following defeats at the polls.

The new Anambra Representatives include Prof. Lilian Orogbu (Labour), Chinwe Gwacham (APGA) and Chinwe Clara Nnabuife (YPP).

Significantly, different political parties sponsored the three winners in the 2023 National Assembly election.

The trio joins 13 elected female candidates representing their gender as well as their constituencies in the incoming parliament.

Poor showing from Southeast

Southeast voters elected only four women to the National Assembly following INEC’s published list of winners of 25 February vote.

The four include the Anambra trio above and Imo State APC’s Miriam Odinaka Onuoha representing the Isiala Mbano/Okigwe/Onumuo federal Constituency.

Four different political parties – APGA, APC, LP, and YPP – therefore sponsored the four female legislators.

Interestingly, no female candidate of the PDP, hitherto the dominant party in the Southeast, won NASS election in the region.

Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia disappoint

The three remaining Southeast states of Enugu, Ebonyi, and Abia have no female representation in the 10th National Assembly.

Enugu and Ebonyi are particularly notorious for not encouraging female politicians to run for offices in this Republic.

In Enugu, for instance, only one female, Jane Chinwendu Eneh (PDP, Awgu North) survived to return to the State Assembly.

Gender activists say they are watching to see whether Enugu legislators will compensate by electing Mrs Eneh as their Speaker.

Per zoning, the position goes to her Enugu West District which has two ranking members, both from the PDP.

Although PDP won the governorship election, the party however holds a minority position in the incoming Assembly.

At the same time, there appears to be no ranking member from Labour, the dominant party.

Can they fill the shoes of departing NASS Amazons?

Four Southeast women currently serve in the National Assembly – two Senators and two House members. None of them will however return for the 10th Assembly when it is convened next month, June 2023.

The two Anambra lawmakers who will not be returning to the Senate are Uche Ekwunife and Stella Oduah (both PDP).

In the lower House, Reps Nkeiruka Chidubem Onyejeocha (APC, Abia) and Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu (PDP, Anambra) won’t be returning as well.

Onyejeocha represents Isuikwuato/Umunneochi federal constituency (Abia) while Ikpeazu is of the Onitsha North & South Constituency (Anambra).

Onyejeocha: a national treasure

Hon Nkeiruka Chidubem ONYEJEOCHA

Onyejeocha is the longest serving female legislator from the Southeast and a ranked member of the National Assembly.

Her defeat at the polls is a big loss to the nation and to the Southeast region in particular, following a stellar performance.

She is described as a brilliant and productive legislator who sponsored landmark bills that successfully passed into law.

Onyejeocha began from the grassroots as a local government chairman (Umunneochi) and became a State commissioner, from where PDP sponsored her to contest the federal seat. She won the election to represent Isuikwuato and Umunneochi as member of the House of Representatives in 2007.

It said much for her tenacity and sense of service that she was re-elected twice to the position as a member of the PDP.

In 2019, she was forced to defect from PDP to APC where she also won for a fourth tenure that ends next month.

Onyejeocha’s awesome staying power was eroded by the 2023 Labour Party tsunami of 25 February. One Chief Amobi Ogah won 11,822 votes to beat her 8,752 votes, thus ending 16 years of superb representation.

Ikpeazu: Beauty and Brains

Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu (APGA, Onitsha North and South)

Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu (APGA, Anambra, Onitsha North/South) has two bachelor’s degrees (law and communication) and a master’s degree in business administration. She is another Amazon that served the Region and the Nation well.

Before politics, Hon. Lynda, a lawyer, was famous as winner of 1986 Nigerian and African Most Beautiful Girl pageants.

Like Onyejeocha, she is also a stalwart of PDP with staying power. In 2019, her election was a straight battle between PDP and APGA to which Ikpeazu won with almost 80 percent of the votes cast. She was also defeated, this time by a 61-year old Labour Party candidate. Both women acquitted themselves creditably in the 9th Assembly.

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