ASSESSING THE role of women in Emirate politics
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The issue of women participation in politics has become the focus of attention in recent times.
The general belief is that the women group constitutes the oppressed and the exploited in the spotty.
Women require greater attention, since they constitute a large percentage of the population and also contribute to the development of their various communities through active participation in politics.
Apart from these, all over the world today, there is an increasing assertiveness and awakening in the area of politics.
At the international level, the year 1975, was a period of ideas about the roles of women.
In Nigeria it gathered momentum in the latter half of the 19805, It is an accepted fact that the latter half of the twentieth century brought to women the realization that, current concepts of democracy and human rights had been successful in addressing their real issues which in their basic part were shared worldwide.
That these issues had direct link to global political and economic developments, and that unless women of the world come together and make uncarted efforts towards meaningful debate and change their voices would remain unheard and their concerns sidelined.
A searching interaction between national and regional women movements then contributed towards a dynamic international women movement. For the hrst time, women from this part of the world spoke out issues that were culturally considered a part of the private sphere.
This growing concern developed into a worldwide movement as they attracted ore attention and interests over a series of International conferences held during the latter half of the century.
From the 1985 adoption of the Nairobi fonNard looking strategies for the advancement of women, to the Beijing conference of 1995, there has been that spirit of total commitment to those salient issues that pertain to women’s development and advancement.
The fourth historic world conference on women took place in Beijing China.
Organized under the auspices of the United Nations, the conference which attracted over twenty five thousand men and women was basically to look at the world through “women’s eyes”, and map out realistic plans for equal gender development and peace.
The national policy on women is another effort towards fulfilling the yearning, as well as efforts of federal, state and local government, non-governmental organizations, International development partners, the private sector, concerned corporate bodies and individuals.
The major aim of this policy is to integrate women fully into national developed in order to remove those gender inequalities that have evolved in the some overtime, through structures and processes created by patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism.
It is expected to consolidate the largely Silent revolutionary changes already stimulated by past and current women in development programs.
The policy asserts in the area of politics as follow:
“Women’s numeral strength in the population is not reflected in the political life and deci5ion making process and structures of the nation.
They are inadequately represented at the senate national and state legislatures and House of Representatives.
At the state House of Assembly and the local government councils, Women were either Completely absent or grossly under represented…’1
Despite these numerous effort, the statistics of Women in government, prepared by the divisions for the advancement of women, March 1992, showed that women still play a minor role in high level of political deCision making in most countries.
In llorin Emirate, the role or Involvement of women in politics requires attention.
Politics from time has been an exclusive affair of the men folk.
The male’s domination in the political sphere of llorin Emirate has greatly been encompass mg.
It must be emphasized here that direct participation of women in general is a 20th century phenomenon in llorin Emirate.
Prior to this time, women virtually played supportive roles which benefited the men folk the more.
This is not to say that the womenfolk did not gain out of this especially since they have traditionally been active in encouraging their men folk.
However, a comparison of the benefits to both sides, reveal that the men folk have unparalleled edge.
An aspect of the supportive role of women was the direct participation in campaigns, there was no material reward for such, as this was supposed to be an obligation, under traditions and customs from the wives to their husbands.
The nearest the women came to being involved in active political practices was in providing the necessarily needed funds for the funding of the political parties.
Successful women traders who gave out loans in form of money or material with which political machinery were lubricated, were allowed into decnswn making.
All the same women in llorln Emirate have contributed in no small measure to the political history of the Emirate.
Their sterling roles have created a niche in the sand of time. From time immemorial, they have influenced decisions and policymaking, they have been part of the various political developments of the Emirate.
However, these have not been recorded enough. It is believed therefore, that proper documentation of such contributions would go a long way in the reconstruction of the history of llorin Emirate.
1.1 GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF lLORlN EMIRATE
The city of llorin lies some 300 kilometers north of Lagos on latitude north 8030’ and longitude east 40 35′ near the southern fringe of deeded Savannah and the forest zone2. In the past, the city was surrounded by a wall of about 10 miles in circumference and as much as 20 feet high in some places.
Later development was to transform it into an Emirate, and with the colonial rule into a province.
Ilorin province therefore consisted of an extension of a strip of territory situated on the right bank of the River Niger from Jebba to a point opposite Idah, comprismg about 14,430 square miles3.
Ilorin provvnce thus incorporated people with different origin, tribes, languages, cultures and beliefs.
lit embraced the Ibolos, Ekiti, Igbomina and Kabba speaking people, including the Kaiama, Bussa and Pategi Emirates.
Ilorin Emirate is bounded by the Rlver Niger in the north and by Kaaba provmce in the west and south.
It shares common boundaries wrth southern Nigeria provinces of Oyo and Ondo4.
The mainstays of the people’s economy were weavmg (a staple industry engaged in by both men and women); bead making, dyeing, pottery, moulding and farming. These were to be the aegesis of various industry and trading actives in the 19th and early 20th century.
This earned it the appellate of “one of the most entrecotes of central Africa.5.
Substantially, a large part of the province is located on the grass plains with undulating landscapes well watered and highly agricultural.
By the southern Nigerian provincial borders where the elevation is 1,500 feet, there is a watershed with rivers generally running from west to east and flowing into the River Niger.
The ecology of the region plays an important role in people’s decision on whether or not to settle within a particular area. It has a ‘mean’ annual rainfall of about 1,318mm (51.9m) which allows its inhabitants to practice arable farming.
The mild climate had also attracted the northern pastoralists to the region6.
The topography of the Emirate has also aided historical development, since it is blessed with principal rivers like Awon, Oyun, Imoru, Osin, Oyi, Kampe Osin and Asa which passes through the imperial city7.
Obscurity surrounding its origin not withstanding, by 19th century, llorin had become a major stopping place on the trade routes between the North and South.
This perhaps explains its significant role as a socio, economic cultural religious and political melting pot in Nigeria.
1.2 EMERGENCE AND ESTABLISHMENT OF ILORlN EMIRATE
The emergence of Ilorin Emirate is embrowned in so many factors. Prominent among these was the Afonja-Alimi factor.
The personal ambition of Afonja coupled with the Jihad movement of the 19th century was to provide a landmark in the emergency of an Emirate called llorin.
Afonja, a descendant of Laderin, and the Aare Onakakanfo (Commander in Chief) of Oyo Empire, following a face off with the Alafin of Oyo, diverted his return journey from Oyo to llorin, an outpost of Oyo Empire. This was not unconnected with his dismal performance in paptunng a town called lwere.
At llorin he became established, haven gathered some support he desided to revolt against the authonty of Alafin of Oyo.
The revolt was successful However, events later turned against Afonja who met his waterloo.
The reasons for this might not be unconnected with the increasing zeal and excesses of the Jama’a (The Fulani Muslims) whose aim was the final establishment of an Emirate as part of its revolutionary development of Islamic acculturation.
The increasing arrogance and doubtless alarming ambition of Afonja was also a threat to the rulers of neigbouring towns and even his ally, Solagberu.
Realizing this and isolated from his natural allies, and dependent upon his Hausa troops and Jamaa, he attempted to come to terms, with the Onikoyi and other chiefs of Oyo, this failed.
Finally, he was besieged in his compound by the Jama’a, he fought heroically and died in the process10.
By 1823, llorin Emirate became established.
It is however important to point out the fact that it was under Abd Salam that the proper foundation and take off of the Emirate took place.
The circumstances surrounding its establishment were unique in the sense that the Emirate was surrounded by hostile neighbors.
Ilorin Emirate was therefore concerned with the consolidation of her powers.
This was done through military exports and diplomacy.
The first step taken by Abd Salam was the elimination of his rivals in the Emirate. Solagberu and Bako, the first Sarikin Gambari of Ilorin were all eliminated11. This done, a recognition was sought for from Gwandu Emirate to legitimize his position.
The system of government established was based on the Sariah.
Dan mole however opined that this did not in any way change either the old system of government in Ilorin like what happened in many parts where the Jihad took place12.
Meanwhile, political administration of Ilorin in general, was a greater reflection of its peculiar circumstance, indicating its being surrounded by other powerful and rival empires.
The reign of Abdi Salam and Shitta (1831 – 1860) witnessed a great extension of the Emirate from Ikoyi Ile to lkirun, Osogbo, Igboho, Saki, lseyin and Oyo.
It extended to Kabba, lgbirra, Ifon encompassing Ekiti in the present Ondo State.
All these areas were under the jurisdiction of the Emirate. Residents were stationed in each of these areas, each sending tribute to Ilorin as subjects to the Emirate13.
The Emirate was solidly consolidated during the reign of Emir Shitta (1836-1861) when the combined forces of Oyo and Borgawa were defeated by Ilorin.
This was the last blow to the final collapse of Oyo Empire, encouraging further war into Yoruba land.
This adventurous zeal by Ilorin into the North of Yoruba land was finally stopped in 1840 at the battle of Osogbo14.
The ethnic pluralism of the Emirate was as a result of the role played by North in offering economic and psychological succor to the deprived, and protection for the vanquished in wars.
It therefore became the traditional home of so many tribes such as the Yoruba, Hausa, Nupe, Fulani and Kanuri.
This cultural heterogeneous feature required a common denominator and unifying factor which Islam readily provided.
Thus a unique Islamic culture emerged, greatly influencing the socio, political and cultural lives of the people15.
Colonial involvement no doubt is bound to dictate the direction of politics.
The conquest of Ilorin Emirate by the Royal Niger Company changed the status of the Emirate.
The Emirate system of old was a unit of administration under the caliphate, which later transformed to become Northern Nigeria with the proclamation of British dominance.
This constitution (Emirate system) later formed the basis of native administration, and sewed as a pivot for the indirect rule system adopted by the British colonial masters.
Not only this, the opening by and large made for the participation of both sexes at different level of the political and administrative set up.
1.3 AREAS OF JURISDICTION
The colonial administrators not only made some adjustments in the size of the Emirate. They also reduced the area of jurisdictions of the Emir.
This adjustment continued and at a point in time there were changes in the Nupe and Yoruba sectors. Tsaragi was cut off and joined to the Nupe province, while Oke-Ode was excised from the Nupe province, given its Yoruba affiliation, and merged with Ilorin Emirate.
Towards independence, the boundary was fixed at Erin Ile to the south and Budo Egba to the west.
The period 1967 however, brought about the creation of the erstwhile Kwara State. Analysts consider this exercise a product of the hurried program of state creation, as it grouped into a state, the then two Northern regional provinces of Kabba and Ilorin.
It was a group of ethnic diversities, which earned her the name “Miniature Nigeria”16.
The state then was comprised of two provmces, the first being the then llorin provinces, which consisted of the Yoruba and ethicized Hausa and Fulani of Ilorin; Nupes of Lafiagi, Pategi, Tsaragi, Tsonga and Baruba of the then Borgu division.
Kabba on the other hand, was made up of the lgala, Igbirra, Bassanga, Nupe and Yoruba of Owe, Yagba, Bunu and Ijumu groups.
Ilorin Emirate therefore happened to find itself among groups that had ethnic affinities with kiths and kins beyond the state or National boundary. It was under this situation that another political development emanated. The local government reform of 1976, which reduced or removed totally the jurisdiction of the Emir over the Igbomina, Ekiti, Ibolo and Baruba sectors of the Emirate, although there is still a great cordial rapport between the rulers and the Emirate.
The present jurisdiction now narrows down to five of the sixteen local government areas of Kwara State.
Asa, Ilorin East, Ilorin west, Ilorin south and Moro local governments now constitute the present day llorin Emirate.
Their creations came about at different periods in the history of the state.
Asa local government was created in 1976 comprising Afon, Onire and Owode districts.
The headquarter is located at Afon, 14 kilometers from the Kwara state capital.
It has ten wards and according to the 1991 census figure, a population of 38,788 male and 39,934 females. The major languages spoken are Yoruba and Fulani17.
Ilorin East was created in 1991 with its headquarter at Oke – Oyi.
It has four districts, namely Iponrln, Magaji Are, Balogun Gambari Ibagun and Sango.
It has eleven wards. The major languages spoken are Hausa, Yoruba and Fulani.
Ilorm south local government, was carved out of IlorIn East local government created in 1996.
With headquarter at Fufu. It is made up of Akanbi. Balogun, Fulani and Okaka/Oke Ogun districts, it has ten wards.
The major languages spoken are Yoruba and Fulani.
Ilorin West, was created in 1991 from old Ilorin local government, the headquarters is located at Oja – Oba, the commercial nerve center of the local government.
The host to the Emirate administrative seat. It has four districts namely Ajikobi, Warrah osin, Alanamu and Magaji Ngeri.
lt has ten wards with a population of 205,567 people.
The major languages spoken are Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, and Nupe.
More local government, often called the radical local government in the Emirate system, due to its vocal and radical stance towards politics in the Emirate, was created out of the Ilorin Native authority in 1967. It shares boundaries with Oyo and Niger states respectively.
The headquarter is at Bode Saadu it has five districts and ten wards, with a population of 86,939 people.
The major languages spoken are Yoruba.
Hausa and Fulani.17
One can therefore, safely deduce that the old Ilorin, Asa and Moro local government areas are the mam spring of Ilorin Emirate.
1.4 BRIEF HISTORY OF ORGANIZED WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN WORLD POLITICS
The right of women to vote in political elections represents the first step in the demand for political equality.
It generally came prior to women running and being elected to national political offices and holding major political appointments.
It is on record that as early as the 1600s women have been demanding for their rights to vote, but as an organized movement, it started in the United State in 1848.
However, this was met with hostility and violence.18
In 1893, it was the turn of New Zealand becoming the first country to grant women the right to vote in national elections most women organizations in various countries made the tight for suffrage their most fundamental demand.
And because they saw in it the defining feature of citizenship they agitated for women, the right to govern themselves and elect their own representatives, asserting that women should enjoy, individual rights to self government rather than just being the mothers, sisters, daughters and wives of male voters.19
Enfranchisement of women took many decades to achieve, because women had to persuade a male electorate to grant them vote.
Still, most men felt that women were not then suited by circumstances or temperament for their vote. Western political philosopher insisted that a voter had to be independent, unsaid by appeals from employers, Landlords or husbands.
It is strongly believed that women were dependent on men and subordinate to them, and therefore could not be trusted to exercise the independence of thought, which is a pre-requisite in the choice of political leaders.
It is also believed that women’s place was in the home caring for the husband and the children.
Participating in political activities, it was feared would challenge or jeopardize the assignments of women to the home and might lead to the disruption of the family system.
To the priest and Ministers, women should confine their influence to home and children.
While labor and socialist ponies feared that women might vote for conservative candidates. Specntic interests like Textiles companies, Liquor mining and brewing industries feared women might vote for legislation damaging to their busmess.20
American women, it is believed, were the first in the world to voice organized demands for the vote Abolitionist, actwtsts, Lacertian Moth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton along with several others convened a meeting in Stanton’s hometown of Seneca Falls, New York to discuss the social civil and religious conditions and rights of women.
In the early 20th century, the movement got a boost when educated middle class women queried the reasons for denying them the right to vote when immigrant men, many of whom were illiterate or poorly educated could help choose nation leaders.
By this time, women over twenty-one years were given to vote in the same terms as men.
Suffice is to say that the first half of the last century witnessed a gathered momentum.21
In Britain, it is believed that women’s bills on right to vote passed second readings in the commons, six times between 1886 -1911 but never proceeded beyond that stage.
The organized violence of women in movement was abruptly terminated by the war in 1914. Owing to the work of women during the war, opinion turned in their favor.
While 1916, witnessed a conference, which recommended that some forms of women‘s right to vote should be conferred.
In 1918 a bill granting lilted Franchise was passed in the House of the Lord.22
Women’s right to vote had been granted at different times and in different places.
Norway In 1912. Belgium 1948, and Swnss in 1971.
With these in place a new era was opened with women able to vote and be voted for.
When African nationalist movement began to emerge as alternatives to Indigenous and colonial power, the women’s Brigades played sometimes a violent part.
In Kenya for Instance, women were vigorous in their fight for independence to the point of going into the forests with the Maumau bands23.
In Ivory coast, there was a general mobilization of African women against the French regime.
This kept the nationalist cause active during the imprisonment of its male leaders. According to Modibo Keita:
“in all the French territories women have taken part in militant action with more enthusiasm than men.
While the latter are less liable to discouragement, the women on the other hand were less responsuve to offers of place and office and thus less open to corruption”24
In Nigeria, the period of women panicnpation in politics can be classified into the pre colonial, colonial and postcolonial era.
In the pre colonial Nigeria, women were a great part of the political system of their communities.
Nigeria seems to have been particularly blessed with women who could establish and build societies
. Among the founders of communities that have become large settlements of the present day Nigeria were the legendary Inkpi of lgala land, Moremi of life in Yoruba land and Daura of Hausa land.
Apart from these we had women who took absolute charge of state affairs, Queen Amina of Zazzau, Queen Kambassa of Bonny to mention but a few.
When it came to wielding great influence on their communities, women like Omu Okwei and lyalode Efunsetan were forces to be reckoned with.
In matters of intellectual and literary thoughts women such as Nana Asmau (Daughter of Usman Dan Fodio) held Sway25.
In the colonial era, women individually and collectively were at the vanguard of protest movements.
They frustrated various colonial administrations.
In Aba, women demonstration of 1929 sealed the fate of the warrant Chief system.
The rumor of a proposed tax on women brought about the mobilization of both lgbo and lbibio women who rose enmasse, following the distribution of Omu (palm frond) a distress sign26.
The women demanded that the proposed tax be rescinded and that there should be a reduction of taxes being paid by their men.
The historical implication of this protest was that, for the first time in the history of any Nigerian polity, women would display a high degree of militancy traditionally associated with male.
It was also an eye opener for the men who felt such roles were their exclusive reserves.
The political implication of this was the constitutional reforms, which included a more flexible framework for the functioning of local governments, and a more diversified and decentralized type of native authority27.
In 1948, women also acted as catalyst of historical changes which led to the abdication of the Alake of Abeokuta.
This incidence was to raise the status of women in the historical process of their society.
“Henceforth, the ruler interested in his throne must count on the support of his feminine subjects, and politicians must accept that the old order has changed kitchen is not just the place for the women28.
In Nigeria, post-independence period had seen women being excluded from the seat of power where policy is developed and implemented mainly because of cultural stereotypes.
The believe that the role of wife and mother was more important than a career and that women can not and should not be leaders and managers.
These attitudes later became institutionalized in the military and other top policy making bodies of government.
In Northern Nigeria, government party leaders, have the believe that women for religious or cultural reasons could not take part in decision making.
However visits to most Muslim countries by these groups later sewed as an eye opener to the fact that it was erroneous.
Following this there emerged two women organizations in the North.
One of them the women‘s wing of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) and the other, the women’s wing of the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU).
The latter got its inspirations from Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, who at that time was the president-General of the Nigerian Federation of women’s organization.
A conference held for the first time under the federation’s auspices at Jos was catalytic.
The women leaders from the North expressed what they themselves thought about the Franchise for their members.
Prior to this period this demand had been the reserve of the southern Nigeria women who had often petitioned the authorities on behalf of their Northern sisters29.
1.5 GENDER IN PERSPECTIVE
Gender and sex refers to the biological mode of a person referring to whether the fellow is a man or woman.
Both words are often used interchangeably and this could be said to be correct in literary terms.
However, in terms of usage, it could be said that there is an ocean of difference between the two terms.
Sex is more of a permanent feature and does not change with time or circumstance.
Gender on the other hand may refer to the role being played by men and women in a given society or socio-cultural set up.
Gender varies from one culture or society to the other and will also be influenced by a person’s age, class, religion, ethnicity and other socio-economic factors.
Gender is dynamic and changes over time.
It can be, at the same time slow and resistant to change30.
Grouping or classmcatlon by gender does not often constitute problem in a society.
Resentment arise however when this becomes a basis for stereotyping or use as a limiting phrase.
Olurode opined that this is so when for no cogent reasons women are barred from playing certain roles for reasons of their sex and not due to lack of potentials or skills to execute the roles31.
Three schools of thought have also advanced arguments on gender issues.
There are the biological, cultural determinists and materialist determinists.
The biological school posts that human nature and society are dictated largely by the demands of human physiology and that there is an essential unchanging differences between the male and female species32.
The cultural determinists however asserts that cultural norms and standards of behavior are responsible for the subjugation of women. According to them, socialization inculcates cultural expectations of male and female behavior.
The materialists on the other hand agrees that the human consciousness is determined by social class and level of material wealth, rather than a pre-existing determining factor.
This school is dominated mainly by two groups known as the feminist and the marxist33.
The emerging ideology of feminism is an antitheses of the radical school of thought where women were described as suppliers of labor in colonies and neo-colonies.
They were exalted, and as women, suffered under the weight of male prejudices in both feudalism and imperialism34.
To a large extent colonial oppression and nationalism show traditionalist tendency of denigrating the image of women under the patriarchal male dominance and female slave culture, including religious, philosophical and historical constraints.
Feminism is therefore a movement and set of ideas committed to the achievement for women of full legal, political, social, economic and educational equality with men35.
Women from the feminist perspective were injected with the revolutionary psychology and consciousness zeal.
Their role under capitalism is investigated and criticized, thus emerging more forcefully in relation to Marxist and cultural historiography.
The Marxist-feminist group strongly believes that women’s role should not be stereotyped but can be revolutionary.
The heroism of the Agikuyu women in the nationalist struggle against British imperialism, the TANU women activists as shapers of TANU organization and ideology and the Aba women role is appremated in the reawakening of protest movement against colonial rule.
The socialist to a large extent believed that formalism alone would put an end to the oppression of women36.
All these are painters to Marxist and feminist approach identifying various sources of dysfunction alienating women from her social, political enrolment.
It tries to locate the universal revolutionary strategy towards affecting a dynamic change.
Jennings, M. Kent’s three main classes of explanations can also be advanced for all the various approaches to the study of gender and politics.
These are situational, structural and socialization theories.
The Situational theory examines the sources of women’s political powerlessness in their God’s given role of being mothers and wives.
This he believes greatly influences or infringes on her maximal partmipation.
His structural theory rests the problems on the effect of the economy and the law, that is the equally low female control of the world of business, educational achievements and the various professions.
All these it is believed reduced the input of resources that women can make into political exploit.
The socialization theory is anchored on the basis that pre adult males and females are not only socialized into different participative roles put that both boys and girls learn that adult political expression is more of a male than a female gender role37.
Ada Okwuosa view the gender issue from both an intrinsic and extrinsic perspectives.
In her own view, the intrinsic factors are elements that are peculiar to women personalities and which results in the political powerlessness.
The extrinsic factors on the other hand, are the results of demands of the society’s structure and functions on women. Here she looks at the value-related factors and the social structural factors38.
The works of early 70s (seventies) on sexual politics, which were pioneered by Kate Millet and Germaine Greer’s heralded a more radical women’s liberation movement, analyzing history in terms of the oppression of women by patriarchy, and attacking the pervasive sexism in almost all social institutions and practices.
They also challenged sexual stereotyping in all its forms stressing that sharp divide should not be created in a society based on gender.
This concept culminated in the women’s movement and the Gay Liberation movement, which identifies hierarchies of power in cultural definitions of gender and in relationships between the sexes.
The women’s movement slogan “
The personal is political expresses the need to bring political awareness to sex and gender divisions and recognizes the ways in which the attributes of male gender and the cultural norm of heterosexuamy oppress women and homosexual men who far reaching institutional and social effects39.
Most writers (feminists) emphasize that whereas sex is defined by biology, gender is a systematic social construction.
They opine that the construction of living, let alone scholarly analysis is scarcely natural. Cynthia Enloe asserts that:
“Those like myself who believe that militarism is separable from masculinity are especially interested in conscription.
It all rested in any man‘s proving his manliness, then government’s conscription efforts would be a lot easier”40.
Among political historians and western feminist political theorists there is the general feeling that gender is a primary way of signifying relationships of power or a primary field within which, or by means of which power is articulated. Gender meaning therefore is often mobilized as metaphors of governance domination and subordination in relation to political power.
1.6 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this work is to examine the role of women in the Ilorin Emirate politics.
A survey of Ilorin Emirate’s history shows that the sperm roles and contributions of women in the area of politics have been largely neglected.
The basic reasons for this include, the patrilineal nature of the community which emphases the supremacy of men over women, and the religious institutions which it is believed tends to abrogate her role towards non-political activities.
The relatively scanty information in both oral and written sources on the contributions of women to the emergence and development of the Emirate are glaring.
The work seeks to examine this neglected theme in Ilorin Emirate political system by retracing the noble roles played by women in the political development of Ilorin Emirate thereby stimulating and inspiring in others, the intellectual zeal for the reappraisal of the role of women in the political growth of the Emirate.