The Founder of Akasooba Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, ACPCR, and the Akasoba of Kalabari Kingdom, Rivers State, Queen Zainab Abiola has hailed Nigerian women for actively participating in the struggle for Nigerian independence.

Mrs Abiola who made the remarks at an international luncheon for women groups in Abuja as part of the activities organized by the Centre to mark Nigeria’s 61st Anniversary, said the likes of Late Hajia Gambo Sawaba, Queen Sambassa of Bonny, Margaret Ekpo, Queen Ida and the Duke-Africa Royal Women of Niger Delta had proved their mettle as foremost nationalists, who struggled for the emancipation of Nigeria.

“We are gathered here today to acknowledge the role some of our women played in the frontline of the struggle for Nigeria’s Independence. Even pre- Independence Queens like Queens Sambassa of Bonny, Amina of Zazzau, Daurama of Daura should not be forgotten or air brushed out of history as they battled creditably as foremost nationalists who forfeited the comfort of their homes and Palaces to champion the cause of Nigeria’s liberation from colonial rule,” she said.

She recalled that as a delegate in Pre-independence Constitutional Conference, great women including villagers championed the social, economic and political emancipation of women.

while Mrs. Ekpo as a women rights activist and social mobilizer, organized women beyond ethic boundaries to push for the rights of women during the colonial era.

Queen Zainab Abiola, widow of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1992 Presidential Election, Chief MKO Abiola, said Queen Sambasa of Bonny, Hajia Gambo Sawaba, nationalist Madam Tinubu all fought against child labour and pushed for the political emancipation of women.

“So many great Nigerian women were Trail Blazers who were very active and supportive in pre and post independence struggle of Nigeria.
It may interest you to know that the first 3 authentic women who came out boldly and fully participated in the option A4 democratic elections under Babangida’s regime were Tokunbo Awolowo representing the West, Hannatu Chollom representing the Northern and Queen Zainab Abiola representing the entire South-South and Eastern Nigeria. These 3 women won the elections and Babangida annulled it in 1991. Why is history lesson not being taught in Nigerian schools anymore Her Majesty wondered.

“The Aba Women riots in 1929 opposing unfair treatment of women was a landmark in Nigeria’s political history,” she said.

She said as a mark of honour for the Amazons, who fought for independence, there should be a legislation on Affirmative Action to ensure that a reasonable percentage of all political offices is reserved for women.

“In order to honour the Amazons of our pre and post independence struggle, I call on President Buhari to push for a legislation on affirmative action to ensure a more inclusive, more tangible participation of women in our nascent democracy. This should also be extended to cabinet positions in any government that will be elected henceforth in Nigeria,” Queen Akasoba advised.

Isah Bature