First Women

FIRST WOMEN: First Nigerian Woman Political Activist

   

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Margaret Ekpo is referred to as the first female political activist and a pioneer female politician in Nigeria. She was born in Creek Town, Cross River State in 1914. She was in standard six in school when her father died outing her education on hold. She then started work as a pupil teacher in elementary schools.

She got married to John Udo Ekpo who was a medical doctor and moved to Aba with her husband. She continued her education at the Dublin Institute of Technology and earned a diploma in domestic science. Upon her return back to Nigeria, she established a Domestic Science Sewing Institute in Aba.

Margaret Expo became started participating in publics when she attended meetings in place of her busy husband to discuss the discriminatory practices of the colonial administration. She attended a political rally and was the only woman there. She later unionized the market women in Aba and organised a Market Women Association. She was able to use the association to promote women solidarity as a platform to fight for the political and economic rights of women.

She fought against the oppressive role colonialism played in the subjugation of women. She joined the decolonization leading National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons as a platform to represent a marginalised group. She also protested alongside Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, the killings at an Enugu coal mine. The victims were leaders protesting colonial practices at the mine.

In 1964, she established the Aba Township Women’s Association and also won a seat to the Eastern Regional House of Assembly in 1961. The position gave her the platform to fight for issues affecting women.

At the end of the military coup which ended the First Republic, she took a less prominent approach to politics and passed away in 2006.

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