LOCATION OF lLORlN EMIRATE
AND ESTABLISHMENT OF ILORlN EMIRATE
1.3 AREAS OF
1.4 BRIEF HISTORY
OF ORGANIZED WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN WORLD POLITICS
1.5 GENDER IN
1.6 PURPOSE OF
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
1.8 METHODOLOGY AND
EMIRATE AND THE POSITION OF WOMEN, 1823-1900
2.1 THE EMIRATE AND
THE POSITION OF WOMEN 1832-1897
COLONIAL CONQUEST AND ITS EFFECT ON WOMEN 1897-1900
AND POLITICS IN THE EMIRATE 1955-1960
3.1 THE PALACE
INDEPENDENCE MODERN POLITICS: WATER RATE AND TAXATION
PARTIES AND WOMEN ASSOCIATIONS
WOMEN AND POST – INDEPENDENCE POLITICS 1967 – 1983.
4.1 WOMEN LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE
4.2 WOMEN IN ACTIVE POLITICS
THE CHANGING TREND 1985 – 1999
5.1 WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES
5.2 WOMEN AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
5.3 THE BALANCE SHEET
The issue of women
participation in politics has become the focus of attention in recent times.
The general belief is that the women group constitutes the oppressed and the
exploited in the society. Women require greater attention, since they
constitute a large percentage of the population and also contribute to the
development of their various communities through active participation in
Apart from these, all over the
world today, there is an increasing assertiveness and awakening in the area of
politics. At the international level, the year 1975, was a period of ideas
about the roles of women. In Nigeria it gathered momentum in the latter half of
the 19805, lt is an accepted fact that the latter half of the twentieth century
brought to women the realization that, current concepts of democracy and human
rights had been successful in addressing their real issues which in their basic
part were shared worldwide. That these issues had direct link to global
political and economic developments, and that unless women of the world come together
and make concerted efforts towards meaningful debate and change their voices
would remain unheard and their concerns sidelined.
A searching interaction
between national and regional women movements then contributed towards a
dynamic international women movement. For the first time, women from this part
of the world spoke out issues that were culturally considered a part of the
private sphere. This growring concern developed into a worldwide movement as
they attracted ore attention and interests over a series of International
conferences held during the latter half of the century. From the 1985 adoption
of the Nairobi forward looking strategies for the advancement of women, to the
Beijing conference of 1995, there has been that spirit of total commitment to
those salient issues that pertain to women's development and advancement.
The fourth historic world
conference on women took place in Beijing China. Organised under the auspices
of the United Nations, the conference which attracted over twenty five thousand
men and women was basically to look at the world through "women's
eyes", and map out realistic plans for equal gender development and peace.
The national policy on women
is another effort towards fulfilling the yearning, as well as efforts of
federal, state and local government, non-governmental organizations,
International development partners, the private sector, concerned corporate
bodies and individuals. The major aim of this policy is to integrate women fully
into national developmem in order to remove those gender inequalities that have
evolved in the some overtime, through structures and processes created by
patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism.
It is expected to consolidate
the largely Silent revolutionary changes already stimulated by past and current
women in development programmes.
policy asserts in the area of politics as follow:
numeral strength in the population is not reflected in the political life and
deci5ion making process and structures of the nation. They are inadequately
represented at the senate national and state legislatures and House of
Representatives. At the state House of Assembly and the local government
councils, Women were either Completely absent or grossly under represented...’1
Despite these numerous effort,
the statistics of Women in government, prepared by the divisions for the
advancement of women, March 1992, showed that women still play a minor role in
high level of political decision making in most countries.
In llorin Emirate, the role or
Involvement of women in politics requires attention. Politics from time has
been an exclusive affair of the men folk. The male's domination in the
political sphere of llorin Emirate has greatly been encompassing. It must be
emphasized here that direct participation of women in general is a 20th
century phenomenon in llorin Emirate. Prior to this time, women virtually played
supportive roles which benefited the men folk the more. This is not to say that
the womenfolk did not gain out of this especially since they have traditionally
been active in encouraging their men folk.
However, a comparison of the
benefits to both sides, reveal that the men folk have unparalleled edge. An
aspect of the supportive role of women was the direct participation in
campaigns, there was no material reward for such, as this was supposed to be an
obligation, under traditions and customs from the wives to their husbands. The
nearest the women came to being involved in active political practices was in
providing the necessarily needed funds for the funding of the political
parties. Successful women traders who gave out loans in form of money or material
with which political machinery were lubricated, were allowed into decision
All the same women in llorln
Emirate have contributed in no small measure to the political history of the
Emirate. Their sterling roles have created a niche in the sand of time. From
time immemorial, they have influenced decisions and policy makrng, they have
been part of the various political developments of the Emirate. However, these
have not been recorded enough. It is believed therefore, that proper
documentation of such contributions would go a long way in the reconstruction
of the history of llorin Emirate.
LOCATION OF lLORlN EMIRATE
The city of llorin lies some
300 kilometers north of Lagos on latitude north 8030’ and longitude
east 40 35' near the southern fringe of deered Savannah and the
forest zone2. In the past, the city was surrounded by a wall of
about 10 miles in circumference and as much as 20 feet high in some places.
Later development was to
transform it into an Emirate, and with the colonial rule into a province. Ilorin
province therefore consisted of an extension of a strip of territory situated
on the right bank of the River Niger from Jebba to a point opposite Idah,
comprising about 14,430 square miles3. Ilorin province thus incorporated
people with different origin, tribes, languages, cultures and beliefs. lt
embraced the Ibolos, Ekiti, Igbomina and Kabba speaking people, including the
Kaiama, Bussa and Pategi Emirates.
Ilorin Emirate is bounded by
the Rlver Niger in the north and by Kabba province in the west and south. It
shares common boundaries wrth southern Nigeria provinces of Oyo and Ondo4.
The mainstays of the people’s
economy were weavmg (a staple industry engaged in by both men and women); bead
making, dyeing, pottery, moulding and farming. These were to be the genesis of
various industry and trading activities in the 19th and early 20th
century. This earned it the appellate of “one of the most entrepots of central
Substantially, a large part of
the province is located on the grass plains with undulating landscapes well
watered and highly agricultural. By the southern Nigerian provincial borders
where the elevation is 1,500 feet, there is a watershed with rivers generally
running from west to east and flowing into the River Niger. The ecology of the
region plays an important role in people's decision on whether or not to settle
within a particular area. It has a ‘mean' annual rainfall of about 1,318mm (51.9m)
which allows its inhabitants to practice arable farming. The mild climate had
also attracted the northern pastoralists to the region6.
The topography of the Emirate
has also aided historical development, since it is blessed with principal
rivers like Awon, Oyun, Imoru, Osin, Oyi, Kampe Osin and Asa which passes
through the imperial city7.
Obscurity surrounding its
origin not withstanding, by 19th century, llorin had become a major
stopping place on the trade routes between the North and South. This perhaps
explains its significant role as a socio, economic cultural religious and
political melting pot in Nigeria.
AND ESTABLISHMENT OF ILORlN EMIRATE
The emergence of Ilorin Emirate
is embraced in so many factors. Prominent among these was the Afonja-Alimi
factor. The personal ambition of Afonja coupled with the Jihad movement of the
19th century was to provide a landmark in the emergency of an
Emirate called llorin.
Afonja, a descendant of
Laderin, and the Aare Onakakanfo (Commander in Chief) of Oyo Empire, following
a face off with the Alafin of Oyo, diverted his return journey from Oyo to
llorin, an outpost of Oyo Empire. This was not unconnected with his dismal
performance in paptunng a town called lwere. At llorin he became established,
haven gathered some support he decided to revolt against the authority of Alafin
of Oyo. The revolt was successful However, events later turned against Afonja who
met his waterloo.
The reasons for this might not
be unconnected with the increasing zeal and excesses of the Jama'a (The Fulani
Muslims) whose aim was the final establishment of an Emirate as part of its
revolutionary development of lslamic acculturationa. The increasing arrogance
and doubtless alarming ambition of Afonja was also a threat to the rulers of
neigbouring towns and even his ally, Solagberu. Realizing this and isolated
from his natural allies, and dependent upon his Hausa troops and Jamaa, he
attempted to come to terms, with the Onikoyi and other chiefs of Oyo, this
failed. Finally, he was besieged in his compound by the Jama’a, he fought heroically
and died in the process10.
By 1823, llorin Emirate became
established. It is however important to point out the fact that it was under
Abd Salam that the proper foundation and take off of the Emirate took place.
The circumstances surrounding its establishment were unique in the sense that
the Emirate was surrounded by hostile neighbours. Ilorin Emirate was therefore
concerned with the consolidation of her powers. This was done through military
exploits and diplomacy. The first step taken by Abd Salam was the elimination
of his rivals in the Emirate. Solagberu and Bako, the first Sarikin Gambari of
Ilorin were all eliminated11. This done, a recognition was sought
for from Gwandu Emirate to legitimise his position.
The system of government established
was based on the Shariah. Danmole however opined that this did not in any way
change either the old system of government in Ilorin like what happened in many
parts where the Jihad took place12. Meanwhile, political
administration of Ilorin in general, was a greater reflection of its peculiar
circumstance, indicating its being surrounded by other powerful and rival
The reign of Abd Salam and
Shitta (1831 – 1860) witnessed a great extension of the Emirate from Ikoyi Ile
to lkirun, Osogbo, Igboho, Saki, lseyin and Oyo. It extended to Kabba, lgbirra,
Ifon encompassing Ekiti in the present Ondo State. All these areas were under the
jurisdiction of the Emirate. Residents were stationed in each of these areas,
each sending tribute to Ilorin as subjects to the Emirate13.
The Emirate was solidly
consolidated during the reign of Emir Shitta (1836-1861) when the combined
forces of Oyo and Borgawa were defeated by Ilorin. This was the last blow to
the final collapse of Oyo Empire, encouraging further war into Yorubaland. This
adventurous zeal by Ilorin into the North of Yoruba land was finally stopped in
1840 at the battle of Osogbo14.
The ethnic pluralism of the
Emirate was as a result of the role played by North in offering economic and
psychological succour to the deprived, and protection for the vanqurshed in
wars. It therefore became the traditional home of so many tribes such as the
Yoruba, Hausa, Nupe, Fulani and Kanuri. This cultural heterogeneous feature
required a common denominator and unifying factor which lslam readily provided.
Thus a unique lslamic culture emerged, greatly influencing the socio, political
and cultural lives of the people15.
Colonial involvement no doubt
is bound to dictate the direction of politics. The conquest of Ilorin Emirate
by the Royal Niger Company changed the status of the Emirate. The Emirate
system of old was a unit of administration under the caliphate, which later
transformed to become Northern Nigeria with the proclamation of British
dominance. This constitution (Emirate system) later formed the basis of native
administration, and sewed as a pivot for the indirect rule system adopted by
the British colonial masters.
Not only this, the opening by
and large made for the participation of both sexes at different level of the
political and administrative set up.
1.3 AREAS OF JURISDICTION
The colonial administrators
not only made some adjustments in the size of the Emirate. They also reduced
the area of jurisdictions of the Emir. This adjustment continued and at a point
in time there were changes in the Nupe and Yoruba sectors. Tsaragi was cut off
and joined to the Nupe province, while Oke-Ode was excised from the Nupe
province, given its Yoruba affiliation, and merged with Ilorin Emirate.
Towards independence, the
boundary was fixed at Erin Ile to the south and Budo Egba to the west. The period
1967 however, brought about the creation of the erstwhile Kwara State. Analysts
consider this exercise a product of the hurried programme of state creation, as
it grouped into a state, the then two Northern regional provinces of Kabba and Ilorin.
It was a group of ethnic diversities, which earned her the name “Miniature
The state then was comprised
of two provinces, the first being the then llorin provinces, which consisted of
the Yoruba and ethnicised Hausa and Fulani of Ilorin; Nupes of Lafiagi, Pategi,
Tsaragi, Tsonga and Baruba of the then Borgu division.
Kabba on the other hand, was
made up of the lgala, Igbirra, Bassanga, Nupe and Yoruba of Owe, Yagba, Bunu
and Ijumu groups.
Ilorin Emirate therefore
happened to find itself among groups that had ethnic affinities with kiths and
kins beyond the state or National boundary. It was under this situation that another
political development emanated. The local government reform of 1976, which reduced
or removed totally the jurisdiction of the Emir over the Igbomina, Ekiti, Ibolo
and Baruba sectors of the Emirate, although there is still a great cordial
rapport between the rulers and the Emirate. The present jurisdiction now
narrows down to five of the sixteen local government areas of Kwara State.
Asa, Ilorin East, Ilorin west,
Ilorin south and Moro local governments now constitute the present day llorin
Emirate. Their creations came about at different periods in the history of the
Asa local government was
created in 1976 comprising Afon, Onire and Owode districts. The headquarter is
located at Afon, 14 kilometers from the Kwara state capital. It has ten wards
and according to the 1991 census figure, a population of 38,788 male and 39,934
females. The major languages spoken are Yoruba and Fulani17.
Ilorin East was created in 1991
with its headquarter at Oke – Oyi. It has four districts, namely Iponrln, Magaji
Are, Balogun Gambari Ibagun and Sango. It has eleven wards. The major languages
spoken are Hausa, Yoruba and Fulani.
Ilorm south local government,
was carved out of IlorIn East local government created in 1996. With
headquarter at Fufu. It is made up of Akanbi. Balogun, Fulani and Okaka/Oke
Ogun districts, it has ten wards. The major languages spoken are Yoruba and
Ilorin West, was created in
1991 from old Ilorin local government, the headquarters is located at Oja – Oba,
the commercial nerve centre of the local government. The host to the Emirate
administrative seat. It has four districts namely Ajikobi, Warrah osin, Alanamu
and Magaji Ngeri. lt has ten wards with a population of 205,567 people. The major
languages spoken are Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, and Nupe.
More local government, often
called the radical local government in the Emirate system, due to its vocal and
radical stance towards politics in the Emirate, was created out of the Ilorin Native
authority in 1967. It shares boundaries with Oyo and Niger states respectively.
The headquarter is at Bode Saadu it has five districts and ten wards, with a
population of 86,939 people. The major languages spoken are Yoruba. Hausa and
One can therefore, safely
deduce that the old Ilorin, Asa and Moro local government areas are the mam
spring of Ilorin Emirate.
HISTORY OF ORGANIZED WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN WORLD POLITICS
The right of women to vote in
political elections represents the first step in the demand for political
equality. It generally came prior to women running and being elected to
national political offices and holding major political appointments.
It is on record that as early
as the 1600s women have been demanding for their rights to vote, but as an
organised movement, it started in the United State in 1848. However, this was
met with hostility and violence.18
In 1893, it was the turn of
New Zealand becoming the first country to grant women the right to vote in
national elections most women organizations in various countries made the tight
for suffrage their most fundamental demand. and because they saw in it the
defining feature of citizenship they agitated for women, the right to govern
themselves and elect their own representatives, asserting that women should
enjoy, individual rights to self government rather than just being the mothers,
sisters, daughters and wives of male voters.19
Enfranchisement of women took
many decades to achieve, because women had to persuade a male electorate to
grant them vote. Still, most men felt that women were not then suited by
circumstances or temperament for their vote. Western political philosopher
insisted that a voter had to be independent, unswayed by appeals from
employers, Landlords or husbands. It is strongly believed that women were
dependent on men and subordinate to them, and therefore could not be trusted to
exercise the independence of thought, which is a pre-requisite in the choice of
political leaders. It is also believed that women's place was in the home
caring for the husband and the children. Participating in political activities,
it was feared would challenge or jeopardize the assignments of women to the
home and might lead to the disruption of the family system. To the priest and
Ministers, women should confine their influence to home and children. While
labour and socialist panies feared that women might vote for conservative
candidates. Specntic interests like Textiles companies, Liquor mining and
brewing industries feared women might vote for legislation damaging to their
American women, it is
believed, were the first in the world to voice organized demands for the vote
Abolitionist, activists, Lucretia Moth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton along with several
others convened a meeting in Stanton's hometown of Senecca Falls, New York to
discuss the social civil and religious conditions and rights of women. In the
early 20th century, the movement got a boost when educated middle
class women queried the reasons for denying them the right to vote when
immigrant men, many of whom were illiterate or poorly educated could help
choose nation leaders. By this time, women over twenty-one years were given to
vote in the same terms as men. Suffice is to say that the first half of the
last century witnessed a gathered momentum.21
In Britain, it is believed
that women’s bills on right to vote passed second readings in the commons, six
times between 1886 -1911 but never proceeded beyond that stage. The organized
violence of women in movement was abruptly terminated by the war in 1914. Owing
to the work of women during the war, opinion turned in their favour. While
1916, witnessed a conference, which recommended that some forms of women‘s
right to vote should be conferred. In 1918 a bill granting lelted Franchise was
passed in the House of the Lord.22
Women's right to vote had been
granted at different times and in different places. Norway In 1912. Belgium
1948, and Swiss in 1971. With these in place a new era was opened with women
able to vote and be voted for.
When African nationalist
movement began to emerge as alternatives to Indigenous and colonial power, the
women's Brigades played sometimes a violent part. In Kenya for Instance, women
were vigorous in their fight for independence to the point of going into the
forests with the Maumau bands23.
In Ivory coast, there was a
general mobilization of African women against the French regime. This kept the
nationalist cause active during the imprisonment of its male leaders. According
to Modibo Keita:
“in all the French
territories women have taken part in militant action with more enthusiasm than men.
While the latter are less liable to discouragement, the women on the other hand
were less responsive to offers of place and office and thus less open to
In Nigeria, the period of
women paticipation in politics can be classified into the pre colonial,
colonial and postcolonial era.
In the pre colonial Nigeria,
women were a great part of the political system of their communities. Nigeria
seems to have been particularly blessed with women who could establish and build
societies. Among the founders of communities that have become large settlements
of the present day Nigeria were the legendary Inkpi of lgala land, Moremi of
lfe in Yorubaland and Daura of Hausaland. Apart from these we had women who
took absolute charge of state affairs, Queen Amina of Zazzau, Queen Kambassa of
Bonny to mention but a few. When it came to wielding great influence on their
communities, women like Omu Okwei and lyalode Efunsetan were forces to be
reckoned with. In matters of intellectual and literary thoughts women such as
Nana Asmau (Daughter of Usman Dan Fodio) held Sway25.
In the colonial era, women
individually and collectively were at the vanguard of protest movements. They
frustrated various colonial administrations.
In Aba, women demonstration of
1929 sealed the fate of the warrant Chief system. The rumour of a proposed tax
on women brought about the mobilization of both lgbo and lbibio women who rose
enmasse, following the distribution of Omu (palm frond) a distress sign26.
The women demanded that the proposed tax be rescinded and that there should be
a reduction of taxes being paid by their men. The historical implication of
this protest was that, for the first time in the history of any Nigerian
polity, women would display a high degree of militancy traditionally associated
with male. It was also an eye opener for the men who felt such roles were their
exclusive reserves. The political implication of this was the constitutional
reforms, which included a more flexible framework for the functioning of local
governments, and a more diversified and decentralized type of native authority27.
In 1948, women also acted as
catalyst of historical changes which led to the abdication of the Alake of
Abeokuta. This incidence was to raise the status of women in the historical
process of their society.
ruler interested in his throne must count on the support of his feminine
subjects, and politicians must accept that the old order has changed kitchen is
not just the place for the women28.
In Nigeria, post-independence
period had seen women being excluded from the seat of power where policy is
developed and implemented mainly because of cultural stereotypes. The believe
that the role of wife and mother was more important than a career and that
women can not and should not be leaders and managers. These attitudes later
became institutionalized in the military and other top policy making bodies of
In Northern Nigeria,
government party leaders, have the believe that women for religious or cultural
reasons could not take part in decision making. However visits to most Muslim
countries by these groups later sewed as an eye opener to the fact that it was
erroneous. Following this there emerged two women organizations in the North.
One of them the women‘s wing of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) and the
other, the women’s wing of the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU). The
latter got its inspirations from Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, who at that time was
the president-General of the Nigerian Federation of women’s organisation. A
conference held for the first time under the federation’s auspices at Jos was
catalystic. The women leaders from the North expressed what they themselves
thought about the Franchise for their members. Prior to this period this demand
had been the reserve of the southern Nigeria women who had often petitioned the
authorities on behalf of their Northern sisters29.
1.5 GENDER IN PERSPECTIVE
Gender and sex refers to the
biological mode of a person referring to whether the fellow is a man or woman.
Both words are often used interchangeably and this could be said to be correct
in literary terms.
However, in terms of usage, it
could be said that there is an ocean of difference between the two terms.
Sex is more of a permanent
feature and does not change with time or circumstance. Gender on the other hand
may refer to the role being played by men and women in a given society or
socio-cultural set up. Gender varies from one culture or society to the other
and will also be influenced by a person's age, class, religion, ethnicity and
other socio-economic factors. Gender is dynamic and changes over time. It can
be, at the same time slow and resistant to change30.
Grouping or classificatlon by
gender does not often constitute problem in a society. Resentment arise however
when this becomes a basis for stereotyping or use as a limiting phrase. Olurode
opined that this is so when for no cogent reasons women are barred from
playing certain roles for reasons of their sex and not due to lack of
potentials or skills to execute the roles31.
Three schools of thought have
also advanced arguments on gender issues. There are the biological, cultural
determinists and materialist determinists.
The biological school posits
that human nature and society are dictated largely by the demands of human
physiology and that there is an essential unchanging differences between the
male and female species32.
The cultural determinists
however asserts that cultural norms and standards of behaviour are responsible
for the subjugation of women. According to them, socialization inculcates
cultural expectations of male and female behaviour.
The materialists on the other
hand agrees that the human consciousness is determined by social class and
level of material wealth, rather than a pre-existing determining factor. This
school is dominated mainly by two groups known as the feminist and the marxist33.
The emerging ideology of feminism is an antrthesrs of the radical school of
thought where women were described as suppliers of labour in colonies and neo-colonies.
They were explmted, and as women, suffered under the weight of male prejudices in
both feudalism and imperialism34. To a large extent colonial
oppression and nationalism show traditionalist tendency of denigrating the
image of women under the patriarchal male dominance and female slave culture,
including religious, philosophical and historical constraints.
Feminism is therefore a
movement and set of ideas committed to the achievement for women of full legal,
political, social, economic and educational equality with men35.
Women from the feminist perspective were injected with the revolutionary
psychology and consciousness zeal. Their role under capitalism is investigated
and criticized, thus emerging more forcefully in relation to Marxist and
The Marxist-feminist group
strongly believes that women’s role should not be stereotyped but can be
revolutionary. The heroism of the Agikuyu women in the nationalist struggle
against British imperialism, the TANU women activists as shapers of TANU
organisation and ideology and the Aba women role is appreciated in the
reawakening of protest movement against colonial rule. The socialist to a large
extent believed that somalism alone would put an end to the oppression of women36.
All these are painters to Marxist and feminist approach identifying various sources
of dysfunction alienating women from her socral, political environment. It tries
to locate the universal revolutionary strategy towards affecting a dynamic
Jennings, M. Kent's three main
classes of explanations can also be advanced for all the various approaches to
the study of gender and politics. These are situational, structural and
The Situational theory
examines the sources of women's political powerlessness in their God’s given
role of being mothers and wives. This he believes greatly influences or
infringes on her maximal participation. His structural theory rests the problems
on the effect of the economy and the law, that is the equally low female
control of the world of business, educational achievements and the various
professions. All these it is believed reduced the input of resources that women
can make into political exploit. The socialization theory is anchored on the
basis that pre adult males and females are not only socialized into different
participative roles put that both boys and girls learn that adult political
expression is more of a male than a female gender role37.
Ada Okwuosa view the gender
issue from both an intrinsic and extrinsic perspectives. In her own view, the
intrinsic factors are elements that are peculiar to women personalities and
which results in the political powerlessness. The extrinsic factors on the
other hand, are the results of demands of the society‘s structure and functions
on women. Here she looks at the value-related factors and the social structural
The works of early 70s
(seventies) on sexual politics, which were pioneered by Kate Millet and Ghermaine
Greers heralded a more radical women’s liberation movement, analysing history
in terms of the oppressions of women by patriarchy, and attacking the pervasive
sexism in almost all social institutions and practices. They also challenged
sexual stereotyping in all its forms stressing that sharp divide should not be
created in a society based on gender. This concept culminated in the women’s
movement and the Gay Liberation movement, which identifies hierarchies of power
in cultural definitions of gender and in relationships between the sexes.
The women’s movement slogan
"The personal is political expresses the need to bring political awareness
to sex and gender divisions and recognises the ways in which the attributes of
male gender and the cultural norm of heterosexuamy oppress women and homosexual
men with far reaching institutional and social effects39.
Most writers (feminists)
emphasize that whereas sex is defined by biology, gender is a systematic social
construction. They opine that the construction of living, let alone scholarly
analysis is scarcely natural. Cynthia Enloe asserts that:
“Those like myself who
believe that militarism is separable from masculinity are especially interested
in conscription. It all rested in any man‘s proving his manliness, then
government's conscription efforts would be a lot easier”40.
Among political historians and
western feminist political theorists there is the general feeling that gender
is a primary way of signifying relationships of power or a primary field within
which, or by means of which power is articulated. Gender meaning therefore is
often mobilized as metaphors of governance domination and subordination in
relation to political power.
The purpose of this work is to
examine the role of women in the Ilorin Emirate politics.
A survey of Ilorin Emirate's
history shows that the specific roles and contributions of women in the area of
politics have been largely neglected. The basic reasons for this include, the
patrilineal nature of the community which emphases the supremacy of men over
women, and the religious institutions which it is believed tends to abrogate
her role towards non-political activities.
The relatively scanty
information in both oral and written sources on the contributions of women to
the emergence and development of the Emirate are glaring. The work seeks to examine
this neglected theme in Ilorin Emirate political system by retracing the noble
roles played by women in the political development of Ilorin Emirate thereby
stimulating and inspiring in others, the intellectual zeal for the reappraisal
of the role of women in the political growth of the Emirate.
This work covers the period
between 1955-1999. The significance of this period is in its connection with
the era of colonialism, when a lot of colonials policies had effects on women
marginalization and even domestic deprivations. The period signaled women
reaction to colonial victimizatlon and discrimination. This led to a growing awareness,
changing the nature of women political activities.
Five local government areas
form the focus of the study: Ilorin West, Ilorin East, llorln South, Asa and
Moro local government.
1.8 METHODOLOGY AND RESEARCH PROBLEMS
Methodology is central to the
study of women‘s history. This work relies majorly on primary, secondary and
archival historical sources of information. These were thoroughly analysed and
examined for consistency and reliability.
The primary source was
maximized to advantage. The Emirate’s repository of oral tradition was handy
and adequately utilized. This is more so, when it is noted that the act of
writing does not succeed in capturing all the vital information even in
literate society. Informants range from local historians, elderly men and
women, to women political activists and those in governance, as well as youths
with knowledge of the political scenario of the Emirate. The age of the
informants ranges from thirty to ninety years.
Secondary sources were
utilized. Published and unpublished works were adopted various articles in
journals, and seminar presentations gave sight and were of value to the
Archival materials though
scanty, were relevant and served as background to the work. These are
adequately reflected in the biography
The work is divided into five
chapters. Chapter one is the introductory chapter. It focuses on geographical
location and jurisdiction of Ilorin Emirate. The history of organized women participation
in politics. It also contains a review of the issue of gender.
Chapter two takes a cursory
look at the position of women in the Emirate, including British colonial
conquest and its effects on women in politics.
In chapter three, attention is
given to women and politics in the Emirate between 1955 – 1960, particular
attention is given to palace politics, water rate and taxation protests and
formation of political parties and associations, with its effect on women
within the Emirate.
Chapter four discusses women
and posts independence politics with emphasis on women in active politics and
women leadership and governance.
Chapter five shows the
changing trend between 1985 – 1999, with the roles played by Non-governmental
organizations and the women empowerment programmes.
The research work was not without
its problems; the oral sources were not without their own share of it. These were
however addressed. Some informants were anxious about the identity of the
researcher given the political tension in the Emirate at the time of the
research. It was therefore with fear and anxiety that informant gave out
information. This is due to fear that probably one belongs to the opposing camp.
This fear was allayed by creating an informal meeting and letting them know
that it was an academic exercise for the records. Adopting a ‘we’ stand also
helped too, creating a sense of belonging.
Challenging questions also
open an hitherto “no comment response”. Questions like “It is believed that
women have not done anything positive politically in the Emirate” raised
spontaneous reactions. To those who believe women have done nothing, the
Researcher's first hand information sourced from the secondary sources elucidated
more information. The palace was another brick wall, but this was surmounted through
getting an insider who introduced the researcher. Being a “son of the soil”
also created an enabling environment. However some informants will not “spill
the beans” a reaction to the growing imbroglio in the Emirate political
hierarchy involving the Emir and the Baloguns
The oral interview addressed
the issue of bias by interviewing as many people as possible thus affording one
the opportunity to compare various views.
Archival materials were
obsolete and dealt more with colonial activities. There were also difficulties
in locating material related to women studies.
unavailability of published
works on women‘s contributions to llorin Emirate politics was also a challenge
to this work. This was addressed through relying more on primary and unpublished
works which serves as basis for some of the thematic issues raised in this
1.9 LITERATURE REVIEW
African historiography shows
that specific duties and contributions of women are neglected themes. This is
more glaring when one takes a cursory look at African historiography vis-à-vis
women. Her roles and activities have been characterized by three main
approaches; one she is either omitted or considered inferior or subordinate to
men; two her roles are seen as separate to those of men or seen as active agent
in the historical process; and lastly a person‘s gender is seen as a
determining factor in the society.
By 1970, there had been growing
corpus of literature on African women in history, economy and society. However,
in their reports they merely mentioned women in the passing without making an
in-depth and analytical review of their roles in the course of African
development. They also failed to consider women as a distinct biological specte
worthy of being recognized and apprecrated41.
Susan Geizer‘s TANU WOMEN:
Gender and culture in the making of Tanganyika Nationalism, is another work on
gender and politics. According to her, there is the omission of the role played
by Tanzania women as the broad base of TANU support and of TANU women activists,
as shapers of TANU organisation and ideology42. She highlighted the
role of the TANU women to articulate their involvement in aspirations for and expectations
of the political growth of their society.
Geizer paints the picture of
women acuities in the 50s as self Employed Muslim urban dwellers often
divorced with few children and no particular ethnic consciousness, whereas most
urban men were afraid of identifying openly with TANU because of their role in
colonial system. The women on the other hand had no vested interest in colonial
system, thus making them a force for popularizing the nationalist cause.
Schlegel Alice‘s mate and
female in Hopi thought and action, examines some of the features of social and
political organisations and ideological system that are related to the high
evolution of women among the Hopi, and the equality they enjoyed With men.
Jennings M. Kent gives three
main classes of explanations advanced in various studies on gender and politics
as situational structural and socialization theories44.
On the Nigerian scene, the
period 1960-1975 witnessed a number of studies about women carved out by
academics irrespective of creed and nationality. These works serve as basis for
further works on the history, ethnography, demography and economic activities,
and status of women as a separate category. These research works were either
fragmented, uncoordinated or generally focused on localised case histories and a
empirical studies. A lot of these materials were unpublished, since they were in
the form of Seminar Papers or dissertations.
Among the Pioneering historical
works were those of Awe and Mba which paved the way for more indepth research
works Anadiume, however came to conceptualize gender but it is regarded as
narrow in terms of empirical data45.
With the declaration of the
United Nations decade for women (1975-1955), interest in women's studies
heightened. The first national conference held in 1971 at the University of
lbadan, brought together scholars from different disciplines, working in the
area of women studies. In 1977, notable African women scholars also formed the
association of African women for research and development (AWARD).
The aim was to promote and
project the autonomy and integrity of research on, and by African women. In
1979, the teaching of women studies in Nigeria Universites was initiated at
Ahmadu Bello University Zaria with a course on women in society.
By 1982, a women movement was
formed with the name Women in Nigeria. It has been able to articulate a
powerful feminist socialist posture on issues, representing itself as the voice
of the oppressed masses of women. Various publications and seminars were
sponsored with the focus on the study of gender relations. It recognizes that
gender relations take place within different productive clauses and rejects the
notion of the commonality of women within Nigeria46.
Mba detailed historical account,
touches on women's participation in politics throughout southern Nigeria. This
work focuses on the political organisations and activities of African women in
southern Nigeria. She observes that twentieth century Nigeria government
whether colonial or independence has exercised control over important national
resources, because women have been only marginally involved in government.
Awe also examined the parallel
line or dual gender based political institutions of the Yorubas and opines that
the lyalode society was concerned with the running of the affairs of women.
Mba and Awe contend that role
differentiation based on sex existed to varying degrees in the pre-colonial,
colonial and post-colonial societies of southern Nigeria, and that the self
images and actions of the women were frequently sex based, hence the need for a
separate study of women47.
Works of Lai Olurode and Yorm Oruwari
were attempts at analyzing Nigerian women traditional roles, changing roles and
contributions to societal developments.
Olojede lyabo enumerates the
appreciable profile of women polmCrans. She believes that the level already
attained is still a long way from what ls due to them based on the numerical
strength of women. She identifles three forces in this regard. The cultural
perception of the people, which portrays women political activities as undesuable,
the obvrous disunity among women politicians: and the monetizatlon and violent nature
of the political process48.
While works on llorin Emirate
political history abound, studies dealing with women particrpation are
relatively few. The tendency had been to ignore or give less attention to the political
participation of women, as compared to those of men in general.
C. S. Whitaker’s work focuses
on revolution and counter-revolution in the Emirate system. The implementation
of these reforms, it noted, reached its peak in May 1957 with the constitution
of the central council. It examines the pre-British llorin and the early
British and Southern Yoruba influences on the Emirate. It dwelt at length on
the llorin Talaka Parapo-Action Group grand alliance, and the effects of these
on political developments in the Emrate49.
S. J. Hogben et. al is a survey
of the political history of the Emirate, tracing its origins present boundaries and concluding with its transformations
into the British colonial territory. It gave a general overview of the history
of the Emirate, particularly the various changes in the Emir's council coupled with
the considerable political tension in Ilorin between 1956 to 195850.
Smith concentrated more on the
political and military relationship of Emirate and her Yoruba neighbours,
culminating in the signing of treaty with the British ascendancy51.
Temple’s on the other hand is
a study of the political, judicial and geographical set up of llorin provinces
shedding light on the historical antecedents to British ascendancy. Like
Whitaker, Dudley dwelt extensively on the Talaka Parapo in Ilorin Emirate
politics, its formation aims and importance to the Emirate politics52.
L.A.K. Jimoh gave an in-depth
account on the history of the Emirate, though little attention was made of
women, where it was, it was to show the economic and social roles of women53.
Various unpublished works on
the Emirate also focused on Ilorin Emirate politics Danmole’s “Fromm.Emirate”
gives considerable attention to the establishment of the Emirate with
emphasizes on its administtatlon and Islamization of the region54. R.
A. Olaoye focused on the involvement of women in the distribution of the
finished work of the weaving industry. His other work opened healthy discusswns
on the pattern of British administration in Ilorin Emirate during the period
covered by his studies.
These literatures examine the
polities of the Emirate, which was a salient factor in the political
consciousness of the Emirate. However, these works have not focused on women
roles in the politics of the Emirate.