Federal Government has mourned the passing on of late Senator Franca Hadiza Afegbua.
Franca was the first female democratically elected Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing the then Bendel North Senatorial District, in 1983, the Nigerian Observer reports.
FG extolled her role in championing women participation in the country’s political development.
In a condolence letter addressed to the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, by the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline K. Tallen, the Federal Government said the Late Senator Franca Afegbua “represented the aspirations and triumph of Nigerian women recognition in National Development”.
“I present to you warm compliments and also on behalf of Nigerian Women commiserate with Your Excellency and the good people of Edo State on the demise of an illustrious daughter of Edo State and the first female democratically elected Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – Late Senator Franca Hadiza Afegbua,” the minister said.
“Her death at this time is an irreparable and irreplaceable loss not only to the good people of Edo State, but to the greater Nigeria society; especially Nigerian women.
“We, however take solace in the fact that she was a courageous woman, devoid of ethnic sentiments who took pride in projecting the rich cultural diversity of Nigeria to the world.
“Her death at this time has left a big vacuum in Nigerian women participation in politics, at a time, we are canvassing for more representation of women and seeking mentors of the next generation of female politicians,” she said.
Tallen noted that Late Afegbua’s emergence as Senator in 1983 through a keenly contested election to represent the defunct Bendel State North Senatorial District “shattered the glass ceiling and paved the way for more women to attain the highest pinnacle in their political career, while demystifying the stereotypes around women’s equal participation in politics in Nigeria”.
“On behalf of Nigerian Women, I want to commiserate with the Government and good people of Edo State, the Afegbua Royal Family of Okpella Kingdom and of course, Nigeria women to mourn this iconic Amazon, model and great Ambassador of Nigeria Women participation in politics,” Tallen said.
“It will be appreciated if Your Excellency could graciously accept to keep me posted on the funeral arrangement to enable me mobilize Nigeria Women to pay their last tribute to one of their own.
“In the meantime, we have made arrangements for Nigerian Women and other Well Wishers to sign a condolence Register in her honour at the Headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Abuja.
“May the soul of Senator Franca Hadiza Afegbua rest in peace. Indeed, she will be truly missed,” she said.