Regarded by some as Nigeria’s pioneer female activist, Margareth Ekpo stood tall amongst her contemporaries.
Fearless, outspoken, bold and intelligent, she consistently fought against all forms of injustice.
Margaret Ekpo’s awareness of growing movements for civil rights for women around the world prodded her into demanding the same for the women in her country and to fight the discriminatory and oppressive political and civil role colonialism played in the subjugation of women.
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She felt that women abroad including those in Britain, were already fighting for civil rights and had more voice in political and civil matters than their counterparts in Nigeria.
In the 1950s, she teamed up with Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti to protest killings at anEnugu coal mine; the victims were leaders protesting colonial practices at the mine.
Here are 10 things you never knew about this great Amazon:
- Margaret Ekpo was born in Creek Town, Cross Rivers State, to the family of Okoroafor Obiasulor and Inyang Eyo Aniemewue on July 27, 1914
- She lost her Father at age 20, and this led to her dropping out of School in 1934.
- She started work at an elementary school as a teacher after dropping out of School. It was while there that she met and married her Husband, Dr. John Udo Ekpo.
- She later moved with her husband to Aba and in 1946, she had an opportunity to go study Domestic Science at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin Ireland where she earned a diploma in domestic science.
- She established a Domestic Science and Sewing Institute in Aba on her return to Nigeria.
- Her first direct participation in politics came in 1945 when with her husband’s consent she started attending meetings to discuss the discriminatory practices of the colonial administrations in the city.
- In 1953, Ekpo was nominated by the NCNC to the regional House of Chiefs.
- In 1954 she established the Aba Township Women’s Association. As leader of the new market group, she was able to garner the trust of a large number of women in the township and turn it into a political pressure group.
- In 1961, she won a seat to the Eastern Regional House of Assembly in 1961, a position that allowed her to fight for issues affecting women at the time.
- However, her political career ended in the late sixties with the commencement of the Nigerian civil war.