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Senate now has eight female members, as Biodun Olujimi is sworn in

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THE number of female senators in the National Assembly on Thursday rose to eight, following the swearing-in of Biodun Olujimi as a senator to represent Ekiti South Senatorial District.

The information was disclosed in a statement signed by the spokesperson to the Senate President, Ezrel Tabiowo.

Olujimi, a senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had lost to her opponent, Dayo Adeyeye, a candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) during the February 23 election.

Olujimi had petitioned the tribunal hitherto sitting in Ado Ekiti, to nullify the declaration of Adeyeye as the winner because she had the highest number of votes in the election. The tribunal eventually relocated to Kaduna for safety and interference reasons.

On November 6, the Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal declared Olujimi winner of the 2019 National Assembly election representing Ekiti South Senatorial district, thus, nullifying the election of Adeyeye, the spokesman of the statement.

The Appeal Court has also upheld the ruling of the tribunal, declaring Olujini as the winner of the Senatorial seat, reasons being that she had the highest valid votes in the election.

The court in a unanimous decision pronounced by the lead judge, Uzor Anayawu, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Olujimi.

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On his part, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after the lawmaker was sworn-in, congratulated Olujimi, stating that her victory adds up to the number of female Senators in the upper chambers.

“We pray that this addition will bring additional productivity and stability to the Senate.

“I call for unity and of course, we should remain focused and do those things that will make our country great,” Lawan said.

Olujini, born in the 1950s has risen through the ladder of her political career since 2002 when she joined PDP. In 2005, she became the deputy governor of Ekiti State with Governor Ayo Fayose.

In 2015, she contested for a Senatorial seat and won, and became a senator representing the Ekiti South constituency in the National Assembly under the Peoples Democratic Party, where she also served as the minority leader at the 8th Assembly.

However, a report by The ICIR stated that since the return to democracy in 1999, females are yet to occupy 10 per cent of the seat in the upper legislative arm of the government, the maximum is 6.4 per cent.

In 1999, out of the 106 senators, only three were females (2.8 per cent women). There were four, nine and seven females senators in the fifth, sixth, and seventh National assembly respectively.

Similarly, in 2015 (the eighth national assembly), only seven women out of 102 were elected into the red chamber, representing  6.4 per cent, compared to men who constituted the 93.6 per cent of the total number of the senators.

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