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Profile: Franca Afegbua, Nigeria’s first female senator



Who is Franca Afegbua? Biography, Wikipedia

Franca Afegbua was the first Nigerian female senator since the nation’s independence. She was elected as a National Party of Nigeria (NPN) senator.

Senator Afegbua is also reputed as the first elected black female senator in the world.

The senator was born on October 20, 1943, and died at the age of 79 on March 12, 2023.

Afegbua, a beautician, represented Bendel North in the Nigerian Senate in 1983.

Senator Franca Afegbua served only three months in the senate (Oct 1983-December 1983) before the republic was sacked in a military coup d’etat.

She was a high-end, Bulgaria-trained, Lagos-based Hairdresser. She first came to prominence in 1977 when she won an international hairstyling competition.

Afegbua had a close relationship with Joseph Sarwuan Tarka, a Nigerian politician from Benue State and a former minister for Transport and then Communications under General Yakubu Gowon.

Tarka introduced her to his party, NPN. In 1983, when she announced her intention to make a challenge for a senatorial seat in Bendel, few felt that she could win.

Her party was in opposition, and the incumbent governor and senator were respected men in the community.

But Afegbua, who had won an international hairstyling competition in 1977, strategized that wooing more women to vote could give her a victory.

Her victory in the hairstyling competition had made her name popular within her Etsako community; she targeted women voters, and as her campaign gained steam, it was too late to curb. She earned a slim victory in the August election, defeating John Umolu.

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