The number of women driving cars on Nigerian roads today is uncountable. Not only do women drive cars, some of them drive the best cars.
But it was not always so.
1. Who was the first woman to drive car in Nigeria?
Many years ago, Nigerian men were the ones who drove cars. A number of men had cars to their name long before women started owning and driving cars. It all started with one woman. She was the first to drive a car in Nigeria, opening the door for other women to come into the then coveted title of car drivers.
The first woman to drive a car in Nigeria was Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. She was a teacher, women’s rights activist, political campaigner and traditional aristocrat.
Mrs. Funmilayo and her family
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2. Facts about the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria
Below are interesting facts around Mrs. Funmilayo - the very first woman to drive car in Nigeria!
- She was well traveled, and visited many countries in the world before her demise.
- Before Nigeria gained independence, she had traveled to the former USSR, China and Hungari. There, she met the communist revolutionary Mao Zedong.
- Her visit to Eastern bloc countries was frowned upon by the Nigerian colonialist government and also the American and British governments.
- The government declined to renew her passport in 1956 due to their belief that she was bent on influencing Nigerians, especially Nigerian women with policies and ideas that were communist.
- The American government denied her visa because she was alleged to be a communist.
- She was among the delegates who took part in negotiations with the British government for Nigeria’s independence.
Mrs. Fumilayo Rasome-Kuti was one of the most educated Nigerians of her time
- She was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize which was awarded by the Soviet Government to deserving individuals and non-Soviet citizens who were in support of the Soviet Union.
- She was thrown down from a three-storey building known as Kalakuta Republic which belonged to her deceased famous son Fela in 1978, when a group of military personnel stormed the place. She went into a coma from the fall, and was confirmed dead on April 13, 1978.
- In a bid to immortalize her, in 2012, the federal government considered having her picture on the N5000 note which was proposed, but the government did not go through with the N5000 note.