By JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA
As the National Governing Body of Inner Wheel Clubs in Nigeria looks forward to hosting the first edition of ‘Women for Africa- the role of Inner Wheel’ in Nigeria, Mrs.Grace Abosede Adekoya(JP), National Representative/President of the Inner Wheel, speaks on the relevance of the conference in this interview.
She reveals that the conference had been organised in three European countries- Finland, Turkey and Italy, under the aegis of ‘Women for Europe’. The 3-day conference is billed to commence in Lagos this Friday, with women from across the world and different walks of life in attendance. Enjoy!
What’s the focus of this conference?
The conference would be looking at issues like peace, education and mother’s word; networking for renewable energy for Africa; creating awareness on common women medical diseases; micro credit empowerment; and flood prevention and control; women in the green economy. It is the first of its kind, and it’s going to be a seminar with a difference because every participant owes it as a duty to put into practice the knowledge that would be gained.
But why the choice of these topics and how relevant are they to contemporary Africa?
These highlighted issues are apt, and I must say we’re very privileged to be hosting the conference in Nigeria. According to the testimony of the Immediate Past International President for Inner Wheel, the editions hosted in Europe have been quite beneficial, and we also believe that a conference of this nature could help move Africa forward. Apart from the seminar being beneficial to Africa in general, it is specifically going to be empowering for women.
We all know what’s presently happening in some parts of Africa, especially in Nigeria. Peace and security are almost eluding us! As women and mothers, we’re praying that peace revisits this nation. You see, this is why it is important to enlighten as many women as possible through this 3-day conference.
The young men and women who constitute violence in this country are from homes, and this is why it is necessary for mothers to teach peace and love to their children right from the home. We really need to have more women of virtues; women that would stand for peace and fairness at every point in time. This way, we can go a long way to impact our society. It is however sad to find that in some homes, women are still being battered by their husbands! What are fathers teaching children? What virtues do we want them to take outside? Is it violence?
Another salient issue we’re looking at is renewable energy. In Nigeria, we have enough sunlight that can always give us electricity, but we are not utilizing that advantage. So many businesses have died just because power holding is holding unto power! At least, with solar energy, people would always have lights to go about their businesses. We’re partnering with BIDA Polytechnic on this.
Flood is another major problem. A lot of communities are being destroyed by flood, and the root cause of this is from the environment! People build houses on water-ways, mismanage drainages, etc., and do not realize that they are gradually endangering their lives. In Lagos for example, government has been trying to warn people against building or living in flood-prone areas, but they wouldn’t listen! When anything happens now, they begin to call on government!
But how would people yield when there is no affordable housing by government?
I understand your point. I know that desisting from living in flood-prone areas might be difficult because there is scarce affordable housing, and that’s one area we would really want government to improve on. Even the so-called low income housing being put up by government is too exorbitant! I would also suggest that government starts helping low-income earners own houses through mortgage.
You earlier mentioned micro credit; is this the first time you’re engaging in this?
This is not the first time we’re giving out micro credit facilities, but the point is that we’ve only been doing it at the district and club level, and not in the council.
We have three districts in Nigeria and these are 911, 913 and 914, so, during our last council meeting, the three Chairmen of these districts underwent a ballot session and fortunately for District 911, they got the first number. For that, the first micro-credit loan gathered by the council would first be given to District 911 for disbursement to selected indigent people in its jurisdiction- Lagos and Ogun State.
How has it been since you assumed office as National Representative/President for 2012/2013?
It has been interesting and challenging. Apart from carrying out administrative charges, we’ve been engaged it a number of projects. The funds are not there, but with the grace of God, we are able to do our best. We get support from like-minded individuals and a few companies, and we try as much as we can to utilize these funds accountably.
For example, two weeks ago for example, I was in Lagos to give out some school aids to children. We presented 50 school bags and exercise books to indigent pupils of Tokunbo Alli Primary and Nursery School, Ikeja. This was to give them a sense of belonging and hope for the future. We would also be at orphanage homes to do the same.
Also, we’ve put together some money that we’re going to present to flood victims in Anambra State. Again, recently, we got an eight year old boy with hole in the heart, and we’re supporting him with fund for surgery. However, I want to use this opportunity to call on organisations and like-minded individuals to support our cause so we could do more.