Margaret Ekpo

Margaret Ekpo was a Nigerian Women’s Rights activist and social mobilizer. She was born in 1914 and died in 2006 at the age of 92.

Margaret was born in Creek Town, Cross River State to the family of Okoroafor Obiasulor and Inyang Eyo Aniemewue. Her parents are Igbo and Efik.

In 1934 after obtaining the Standard Six School Leaving Certificate, Margaret lost her father and also her dream to further her education.

She started teaching elementary pupils and met her husband John Udo Ekpo in 1938. She moved in with him in Aba after their wedding in 1938.

In 1946 Margaret Ekpo went abroad to study Domestic Science at the Rathmines School of Domestic Economics (Now DIT Aungier Street), Dublin where she earned a diploma in Domestic Science.

She later established a Domestic Science and Sewing Institute in Aba when she returned to Nigeria,

In 1945 she started attending the colonial government meetings on behalf of her husband, a medical doctor, who could not attend such meetings as a civil servant, to discuss the colonial administrators’ treatment of indigenous Nigerian doctors.

Because of this earlier exposure she later attended a political rally, where she was the only woman in attendance. Political leaders present at the rally were Mbonu Ojike, Nnamdi Azikwe, and Herbert Macaulay.

Before 1950 Margaret Ekpo organized Aba Market Women Association to unionize the market women in the city. The association promoted women solidarity to fight for women rights.

In 1950 she teamed up with Funmilayo Ransome- Kuti to protest killings of Nigerian leaders protesting colonial practices at the Enugu Coal Mine.

By 1953 she was nominated as the regional House of Chiefs by the NCNC party and in 1954, she founded the Aba Township Women Association. By 1955, women in Aba had outnumbered men voters in a city wide election as a result of her mobilization.

She won a seat into the Eastern Regional House of Assembly in 1961 after which she left active politics.

Calabar Airport; Margaret Ekpo International Airport was named after her in 2001.

In August 2012, 6 years after her death, the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced a new N5000 note, on the note is faces of three notable Nigerian women; Margaret Ekpo, Olufunmilayo Ransome- Kuti and Gambo Sabawa.

Reference: Wikidepia

Category: Important Nigerians

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