Recent statistics have shown that of the 416 persons contesting to be state governors across the 28 states hosting gubernatorial elections in 2023, only 24 of these candidates are females. 

These figures represent a drop from the 85 female gubernatorial candidates that contested in the 2019 governorship election. This as well follows the drop in the number of political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from 92 in 2019 to 18. 

State of play 
The 24 women in the gubernatorial race are vying to be Governors in 2023 and across 17 states while the other 11 states hosting state elections next year do not have female gubernatorial candidates. 

  • Benue, a state in the Northcentral region of Nigeria, has the most female candidates in three persons.
  • Abia, Delta, Kano, and Lagos each have two female governorship candidates. 
  • While the People’s Democratic Party doesn’t have a female gubernatorial candidate, Nigeria’s ruling party, the All-Progressive Congress (APC) has one in Adamawa state. 

Why it matters 
Many have called for inclusion of women in governance, seeing that in Nigeria’s 23 years of uninterrupted democracy, the country has never elected a female as a President, Vice President, or Governor. The highest political position of a woman so far in the country is as a deputy governor. 

Although the state government, including the Kwara state governor, has encouraged women to get into politics by signing a bill to allow women to get 35 percent of positions in the state, this is not the case for most of the states in the country. 

What to watch 
With the little representation of women in the 2023 gubernatorial elections, would there be a groundbreaking achievement in the election of a woman as a governor?

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