The recent appointment of Her Highness Olori Atuwatse III, the wife of the Olu of Warri, by the Delta State Governor-elect, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, as a member of the Delta State transition committee has stirred up mixed reactions among stakeholders in the state.
While this move by the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly has been praised by some as a remarkable development that will increase female representation in governance and empower them to participate in the decision-making process, pundits have observed that appointing only about 14.8% of women (13 out of 88 members) to the committee is a far cry from what true gender inclusion should be.
On the other hand, some have expressed concerns that Olori Atuwatse III’s inclusion on the committee could be seen as a form of political patronage or reward from the Delta State PDP governorship candidate to the revered throne of the Olu of Warri for the support he received from the Warri kingdom. Mr. Oborevwori’s thank-you visit to the Olu of Warri immediately after being declared the winner of the 2023 gubernatorial election further fuels these concerns.
Despite these criticisms, supporters argue that Olori Atuwatse III is a competent Queen who has demonstrated her commitment to community development through various philanthropic initiatives.
The Delta State transition committee, comprising individuals from different sectors, including business, academia, and civil society, was established to oversee a seamless transition of power from the outgoing administration of Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa to the new one. As the state prepares for a new administration, Olori Atuwatse III’s appointment is seen as a positive step towards gender inclusivity in governance, with women occupying more significant positions in decision-making.
Overall, while Olori Atuwatse III’s appointment has sparked controversy, it highlights ongoing efforts to increase female participation in politics and governance in Nigeria. This appointment signifies that women are stepping up and taking their place in leadership roles, and hopefully, it will inspire more gender-inclusive appointments in the future.