Margaret Ekpo (July 27, 1914 – September 21, 200) was born in Creek Town, Cross River State, to the family of Okoroafor Obiasulor who was originally from Aguluzigbo, a rural town in Anaocha Local Government Area in present day Anambra State. And Inyang Eyo Aniemewue.
She got to standard six of the School Leaving Certificate in 1934. Adversity is always the partner of progress. Anytime we want to move forward, obstacles, difficulties, problems and predicament are going to get in the way”- John C. Maxwell. In that year, tragedy struck at home with the death of her father. To this end, her goal of furthering her education in teachers training college was put on hold. But against all these odds and challenge, Margaret did not give up.
Resolve in advance that you will never quit once you have started forward your goal. No matter how many setbacks or obstacles you experience, make the decision that you will keep on picking yourself up and persisting until you eventually succeed.”-Brian Tracy. This was exactly what Magaret did. She then started working as a pupil teacher in elementary schools.
In 1946, she travelled abroad to study at what is now known as Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin Ireland. She earned herself a diploma in domestic science and on her return to Nigeria; she established a Domestic Science and Sewing Institute in Aba. This equipped her to marry a doctor, John Udo Ekpo, in 1938 from the Ibibio ethnic group while she was of Igbo and Efik heritage. She later moved with her husband to Aba. When you organize your life around the twin qualities of integrity and courage, every door will open for you, and you will be a genuinely happy person”-Brian Tracy.
Margaret Ekpo’s first direct participation in political ideas and association was in 1945. Her husband was not happy with the colonial administrators’ treatment of indigenous Nigerian doctors but as a civil servant, he could not attend meetings to discuss the matter. Margaret Ekpo then attended meetings in place of her husband; the meetings were organized to discuss the discriminatory practices of the colonial administration in the city and to fight cultural and racial inequality in administrative promotions.
You can learn anything you need to learn, to accomplish any goal you can set for yourself”-Brian Tracy. Through this experience, She began to attend political rallies and was the only woman at the rally, which saw fiery speeches from Mbonu Ojike, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Herbert Macaulay.
By the end of the decade she had organized a Market Women Association in Aba to unionize market women in the city. She used the association to promote women solidarity as a platform to fight for the economic rights of women, economic protections and expansionary political rights of women. Ekpo’s political career ended with the commencement of the Nigerian civil war. At that time, she was detained by Biafran authorities for three years in prison with adequate feeding. In all of these odds and challenge, she did not give up on her political struggle. “When you resolve in advance that you will never give up, your success is virtually guaranteed. In the final analysis, nothing can really stop you but yourself. In life, it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. All that matters is how many times you get back up. If you continue to get back up and press on-ward, you must eventually reach your goal.”-Brian Tracy.
She later joined the decolonization-leading National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NGNC), as a platform to represent a marginalized group. In the 1950s, she teamed up with Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti to protest killings at an Enugu coal mine; the victims were leaders protesting colonial practices at the mine. In 1953, Ekpo was nominated by the NGNC to the regional House of Chiefs, and 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.
By 1955, women in Aba had outnumbered men voters in a citywide election Margaret Ekpo 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. In particular, there were issues on the progress of women in economic and political matters, especially in the areas of transportation around major roads leading to markets and rural transportation in general. ”There is a law in Psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture, there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking”-William James.
After the military coups ended in the country, she played a less prominent role in politics in Nigeria. In 2001, the Calabar Airport was renamed Margaret Ekpo International Airport. She died on September 21, 2006. For her significant contributions to Politics in Nigeria and eradication of inequality among women late Margaret Ekpo is our Something2know Amazon of the week. We appreciate her contributions- Rest in peace!
Are you a woman who has left her footprints in the sands of time in any area of life against all odds & challenge? You could be our next Somthing2Know Amazon of the Week. Share your story of achievements with us. We’ll help tell your story to inspire other women for greatness.