For centuries, women have been told what to do and how to act throughout the course of their lives and even in death, their stories are written by Misogynistic men to downplay their achievements. However, every once in a while, women refuse to be suppressed and bent into "shape".
Here are four Nigerian women who threw caution to the wind and stood toe to toe with men in society. They demanded their place in politics and received due recognition.
Madam Efunporoye Osuntinubu Olumosa
Efunporoye Osuntinubu Olumosa was an intelligent 19th-century, fierce war leader, a politician, fearless businesswoman, arms supplier, and a staunch nationalist.
Although she participated in the slave trade during the colonial era, Efunporoye eventually came to reduce the influence of the British by nipping their oppression over Nigerians. She owned and managed several properties in Lagos and Abeokuta and greatly influenced politics by instilling her brother on the throne.
History books say she died of natural causes and after the death of her husband, he children took her name.
History books have not been kind to Efunsetan Aniwura as she is often painted as the cruel leader who chose to kill any of her workers who dared to conceive after passing through the grief of losing her baby at birth. However, that is not all Efunsetan's life was about.
Efunsetan ranked among the social, economic and political elites in Ibadan after she was crowned the Iyalode of Ibadan. She was heavily involved in trading with the Europeans as she oversaw the import of goods into the country. History books say she had as many as 2000 slaves on her farm and wielded a great amount of power in the arms and ammunition market.
Some historians say Efunsetan was murdered while others believe she took her own life. The details might not be clear on the circumstances surrounding her death but one thing is clear; Efunsetan was an economic beast.
Many history books have written about the Aba riots of 1929 and there is an upcoming movie called 129 about the incident.
At the center of the events that led up to the riots was a woman – Nwanyeruwa. In 1925, the British administration placed a tax on them and although only the men were taxed, the women were affected as they had to contribute to help their husbands because the taxes were high. Shortly after in 1929, women began to be taxed and this caused an uproar. Nwanyeruwa participated in protesting the cruel administration and also played a major role in keeping the protests non-violent by using songs and dances.
Quite rare for women back in the day, Magaret Ekpo was a fierce activist, a feminist, and a politician. Margaret Ekpo encouraged women to protect their interests by taking part in the political advancement of the nation and when many husbands kick against it, Magaret used her business acumen in getting the men to do her bidding.
In her 40s, Margaret had already organized a Market Women Association in Aba. The association promoted female solidarity as a way to fight for the economic rights of women and expand their rights to politics. Magaret died at the age of 92 but not before etching her achievements in Nigerian history books.