No doubt, there is a growing recognition of the untapped capacity and talents of women in leadership roles Nationwide. In the last political dispensation, the rate of women’s representation in national assembly increased from 11.8 percent in 1999, when democracy returned to Nigeria to 23.5 percent in 2019. 

Though the increase is not quite satisfying, political analysts bear in mind that some parts of the country still discriminate against women. This is not different in the South-West, as the number of women in parliaments have not risen satisfactorily too. We may have just seen an increase of 13% total women representation, which is still well below the 30 percent benchmark, often identified as the necessary level of representation to achieve a “critical mass”. This is falling short of women’s representation, comparing it to the country’s population.

In Oyo State, the ruling All Progressives Congress could only mussle out a female representative at the Federal House of Representatives. The winning margin was very thin back then in 2019. In fact, at the State House of Assembly, there is only one female member too.

Accordingly, it is gradually dawning on many that the meaningful participation of women in national politics plays an important role on national development policy. Yet, some question why it matters if women become political leaders or elected policymakers.

Here in Oyo State, a member of the House of Representatives, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has proven the essence of women’s participation in politics. She has helped advance gender equality and affected both the range of policy issues that get considered and the types of solutions that are proposed.

In fact, being a female legislator, has made a distinct impact on some policy priorities at the green chambers of the National Assembly. There are also strong evidences that if this woman, who apparently will re-contest in 2023, is reelected into office, there will be a corollary increase in policy making that emphasizes quality of life and will reflect the priorities of community development in Oluyole Federal Constituency, which she represents.

Her re-election will be another Koseleri in the history of Oyo State. Though an epitome of Koseleri herself, a re-election would further ascertain this celebrated political enigma as a true koseleri. History has it that she is the first female representative from Oluyole; a koseleri achievement, no one will ever beat.

Facts also have it that she is the first Representative in the history of Oluyole Federal Constituency that will enjoy a unanimous endorsement from all stakeholders in the ten wards comprising her constituency.

Some emerging facts revealed that her constituents endorsed her for another term in the National Assembly, because she brought rapid development to Oluyole communities.

The endorsement was given in a letter, signed by Alh. Dauda Adebisi, on behalf of the Community leaders and General Chairman from the ten wards in Oluyole Federal Constituency addressed to the All Progressives Congress National Secretariat, Abuja.

Representative, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe got a unanimous endorsement from her constituents drawn from the ten wards making up her Federal constituency, who vowed to vote for her enmasse as the general elections draw near.

Presenting her scorecard the concerned citizens of the Federal constituency and community leaders applauded some developmental projects the female lawmaker had embarked on in the last three years, which they claimed amused them. The leaders appreciated her contribution to the development of Oluyole, such as provision of 23 transformers, which she financed its installation and light-up; provision of 11 classrooms with furniture; provision of 21 solar bore-hole and provision of 100 solar street lights. Furthermore, the community leaders added that over 5, 000 community members have enjoyed from her empowerment programme.

The most amazing part of the letter, was that they unanimously promised to vote for her, in the 2023 general elections, vowing that 90% of votes from Oluyole Constituency would be cast for APC if she emerges their candidate.

Facts dont lie. The letter was signed by representatives of the ten wards in Oluyole Federal constituency, read “We also want to reiterate that all of us in these 10 wards appreciate this gesture because it has never happened in Oluyole and we want to further appreciate more in 2023”.

Pardon my manners, Koseleri is a yoruba term coined here in the south-western part of Nigeria referring to an uncommon reoccurence of an event.

Let’s take ourselves back to history, a bit. Back then in 2015, a politician here in Oyo State, late Abiola Ajimobi earned the name after he won a second term as the Governor of the pace-setter state. Before then, indigenes of Ibadan, the capital of Southwest politics, and the largest city, probably in Africa would reiterate how Ibadan doesn’t serve a master twice. But the Koseleri governor broke that jinx. Koseleris are conscientious, diligent, dependable and real action takers. Their great love for details usually results in others estimating them very highly.

Her mission in Abuja was simple and she never transgressed in divering this mission; to make a worthy representation of her Federal constituency in Abuja, and Representative Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has not fallen short of this.

Back then in May 2019, after winning at the polls, fear gripped many’s heart, not knowing what a first female representative would look like. Today, virtually all members of her constituency have come out to commend her. She has made reasonable engagement at the floor of the house, working towards key decision making in the house.

Many in her constituency have come to terms with a reality that, Representative Tolulope Akande-Sadipe is a ‘koseleri’ lawmaker who has set a record of undisputable achievements in her constituency.

Beyond satisfying the requirement of the law and enjoying stree credibility, Akande-Sadipe’s love for the youths in her district, knows no bound.

Clearly, women’s representation is a critical factor for the development of inclusive, responsive, and transparent democracy.

The nation needs more women like Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, who is whole-heartedly involved in all aspects of the political process. Her political participation has resulted in tangible gains for Oluyole, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party strata and an assurance of a more sustainable future.

 

Olawale Adeniyi writes from Ward 3, Oluyole Local Government Area. 

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