As Nigerians vote today, not less than 70 women are in the governorship race on different political platforms in many states of the federation.
There will be no governorship contest in nine states of the federation due to court judgments that nullified the election of their governors at different times in the past, but State Houses of Assembly elections would be conducted in all the 36 states.
The affected states are Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo and Osun.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would not witness both elections because it is run by a minister, who is appointed by the President, with laws made by the National Assembly, but election of new chairmen and councillors in the six Area Councils of the territory- Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali will hold today.
Out of the 1067 candidates cleared by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to participate in the governorship election, only 80 of them are females, which is about 7.5 per cent. The remaining 987 candidates are males, which is about 92.5 per cent.
A breakdown of the statistics showed that though Imo State has the highest number of candidates with 70, Kano State, nonetheless, has the highest number of females contesting. Nine of the 55 candidates in Kano are women.
Delta State came second with eight women vying for governorship. It is trailed by Lagos State where there are seven ladies competing to govern the state.
Next is Oyo State with six of the 42 candidates as females while Adamawa and Enugu States have five women contesting.
Though Imo State has the highest number of governorship candidates, 70, only four of them are women, just like Rivers State, which has four women contesting for governorship.
Abia, Benue and Ebonyi States have three females each vying to be governor, while in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Kaduna, Kwara, Sokoto, Taraba, Zamfara and Niger states, there are two females each contesting to be governor.
Also, in Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Yobe and Ogun states, there is only one candidate each in the contest.
There are no female candidates in Borno, Plateau and Kastina states vying to be governor.
A look at the statistics from the north versus south showed that while there were more men contesting in the north to the south, but there are more women in the south contesting.
Of the 80 females vying for governorship, 35 of them are from the north while 45 of them are from the southern part of Nigeria. While there are 538 men contesting to be governors from the northern Nigeria, there are 449 men vying to be governors from the southern part of Nigeria.
Over the years, a lot of women organisations in Nigeria have been pushing for a constitutional provision that allows an allocation of 35 per cent affirmative action for women at the federal level and 20 per cent at the state level.
The first attempt to make room for that constitutional provision was rejected in the Senate in July 2017.
The contestants in today’s polls include Bolanle Sarumi Aliyu, Oyo State candidate of National Interest Party (NIP); Nnenna Anozie of Fresh Democratic Party in Enugu State; Adebisi Ogunsanya of Young Peoples Party (YPP) in Lagos State and Mahmood Baheejah Abdullahi of ACD in Bauchi State; Blessing Nwagba of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Abia State and Lami Musa of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) in Adamawa State.
The number was higher before the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections, but some of the candidates have since stepped down for sundry reasons and endorsed some other candidates ahead of today.