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What is the name of the first female speaker in Nigeria?

by Vicky Oselumese
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What is the name of the first female speaker in Nigeria

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In the realm of Nigerian politics, there have been numerous trailblazers who have shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations. One such remarkable figure is the first female speaker in Nigeria.

In this article, we will delve into the inspiring journey of the woman who made history, highlighting her achievements and the impact she has had on Nigerian politics.

The Rise to Power

The first female speaker in Nigeria is Honorable Patricia Etteh. Born on August 17, 1953, in Osun State, Nigeria, Etteh embarked on a journey that would see her become a prominent political figure.

Her interest in politics was ignited during her early years, and she dedicated herself to making a difference in her community.

Etteh’s political career began when she joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and contested for a seat in the House of Representatives.

Her commitment, charisma, and dedication to public service resonated with the people, leading to her election as a member of the House of Representatives from 6 June 2007 – 30 October 2007.

Making History

Etteh’s tenure as the first female speaker in Nigeria commenced on June 6, 2007, and marked a significant milestone for gender equality in Nigerian politics.

Her appointment was a testament to the progress being made in breaking down barriers and promoting inclusivity.

During her time as speaker, Etteh focused on key issues such as education, healthcare, and youth empowerment.

She championed initiatives aimed at improving the quality of education, ensuring access to affordable healthcare, and creating opportunities for the youth to thrive in a rapidly evolving society.

Challenges and Controversies

In September 2007, Etteh faced a committee of MPs over accusations that she had authorized the spending of 628 million Naira (about US$5 million) on renovations of her official residence and that of her deputy, as well as the purchase of 12 official cars meant for the House of Representatives.

During the committee hearing, accusations of theft were chanted at her as she tried to speak in the House, leading to a commotion. She was eventually escorted out by security personnel to maintain order.

Despite facing these allegations, the ruling party at the time, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), officially continued to support Etteh. However, some party members, such as Isyaku Ibrahim, criticized this stance, while others, including author and academic Wole Soyinka, called for her resignation.

Interestingly, former president and PDP member Olusegun Obasanjo continued to support Etteh throughout the scandal.


Under mounting pressure, on October 30, 2007, Etteh resigned from her position as speaker. Her deputy, Babangida Nguroje, also resigned.

However, during the last seating of the 6th session of the House of Representatives, it was agreed that there was no record or proceedings of the House where Patricia Olubunmi Etteh was ever indicted.

Despite the controversy surrounding her tenure, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh will always be remembered as the first female speaker in Nigeria, paving the way for future women leaders in the country’s political landscape.

Although Etteh’s tenure as the first female speaker in Nigeria was relatively short-lived, her impact on Nigerian politics cannot be understated.


The first female speaker in Nigeria, Honorable Patricia Etteh, broke barriers and shattered gender stereotypes in Nigerian politics.

While her tenure may have been marred by controversy, Etteh’s legacy lies in her unwavering commitment to public service and her role in paving the way for future generations.

The first female speaker in Nigeria will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who dared to challenge the status quo and make a lasting impact on Nigerian politics.


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