It’s still early days in his tenure, but the new governor of Oyo state, Seyi Makinde, is showing promising signs of women and youth inclusion in governance of the pacesetter state.
- First, Makinde threw his weight behind the election of 32-year old, Adebo Ogundoyin, as the assembly speaker – the youngest in the country.
- He retained the appointment of Mrs. Amidat Ololade Agboola, as the Head of Service (HOS). Agboola was appointed by the former governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi, barely one week to the end of his tenure in May. However, her retention may also have to do with the fact that she is married to a PDP chieftain in the state.
- Makinde has now appointed the first female Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun.
On appointing Adeosun: Makinde said during the swearing-in event that the newly appointed SSG, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, was chosen because of her wealth of experience and not out of sentiment.
Background: Women participation in governance and politics is abysmally low in Nigeria. There was an uptick under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, but under President Muhammadu Buhari, the situation has regressed.
- During Jonathan’s administration, there was an increase in women’s representation in Government from 10% in 2011 to over 33% by 2013; with the appointment of 13 female Ministers out of 42, representing 31% and four Special Advisers out of 18, representing 23%, the record is yet to be broken.
- President Muhammadu Buhari first term, according to some estimates, had less than 5% women participation.
Bottomline: Even though Oyo is a subnational government, many states followed President Buhari’s first term lead by limiting opportunities for women and young people. So Makinde’s early moves show promise. However, it is too early to know for sure if it would be sustained.