LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ The strong cheekbones and broad smile are reminiscent of her late father, one of Nigeria's most famous sons. But the feminist fervor is distinctly her own.

``I give God the credit for my success,'' Lola Abiola-Edowar told a crowd of supporters outside her two-story British colonial-style house after winning a seat Saturday in the House of Representatives.

In a country where women have long been relegated to the political fringe, the daughter of Moshood Abiola, the billionaire politician who died in military detention last year, is breaking new ground.

The victory in her home constituency in the Lagos neighborhood of Apapa ushered her into a tiny club _ in recent years, women have held less than 1 percent of Nigeria's legislative seats.

The elections, in which Nigeria's largest Peoples Democratic Party won a majority of the 109 Senate and 360 House of Representatives seats, were a preview to this weekend's presidential vote. That ballot completes the democratic transition from military to civilian rule for Africa's most populous nation.

The PDP's retired Gen. Olsegun Obasanjo is expected to defeat coalition candidate Olu Falae, a former finance minister.

Unlike her father, who campaigned against the military and was jailed after the army aborted the 1993 presidential election he appeared poised to win, Abiola-Edowar is fighting a different struggle _ to be taken seriously by the male political establishment.

``If parties want votes, they need to realize that women make up a majority in Nigeria,'' Abiola-Edowar said.

Still, she's pragmatic enough to know that basing a campaign on women's rights would not get her very far in today's Nigeria.

``When the time comes, I will push for more women's rights,'' she said with a smile. ``We have to be realistic. But we're going to get there.''

Instead, she is concentrating on issues such as equal treatment for members of Nigeria's 250 ethnic groups.

Abiola-Edowar would like to follow her father into presidential politics, but concedes that ``women in Nigeria face serious handicaps'' that could keep her from that goal.

While she insists her Alliance for Democracy party has not discriminated against her, examples abound of the unequal treatment of women in politics.

The women's wing of Obasanjo's PDP _ the Alliance's main rival _ threatened to defect after the party barred women delegates from nominating a candidate earlier this month. Instead, they were asked to serve food.

In her late 30s, Abiola-Edowar has the same charismatic charm and engaging smile as her father, who amassed a business empire of publishing houses and contract companies for successive Nigerian governments.

But there are differences: He was a Muslim, she is a Christian. He spoke haltingly, in proverbs that often perplexed his listeners. She speaks easily, like a seasoned politician.

Abiola-Edowar readily admits she benefits from her famous name and the privileges that go with it.

Unlike her father, who had a modest upbringing, she grew up in wealth, the eldest daughter among dozens of children by his many wives and mistresses.

She was partly educated in Britain and married a Lagos millionaire.

``My father's shoes are very big to fill. And I will probably always be following them,'' she says.