…Why my husband and I adopted 100 widows
SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
Failure of past PDP govts pushed Edo girls into prostitution in Italy. It has been quite a busy period for Mrs Betsy Obaseki, wife of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Godwin Obaseki. The aspiration of her husband has temporarily kept the soft spoken financial guru who doubles as the Managing Director BOI Investment and Trust Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the Bank of Industry so busy.
Saturday Vanguard cornered her shortly after her husband got the endorsement of over 40 men of God across the state and women groups across the 18 Local Government of the state Thursday. She spoke passionately about the plight of women and how she and her husband adopted 100 widows.
Adoption of widows
According to her, “The adoption of the widows was during a programme which the church did for the widows. We did not know about the programme before but just met it when we got to church. My husband believes a lot on women empowerment, because he comes from a home dominated by women. His mother had six children, five of them were women and his grandmother was instrumental in raising those women to school in England.
So my husband has that family tradition of ensuring that the girl child enjoys quality education. Naturally he feels that is the best way to go in life, he hates to see women in position of lack and poverty because he was surrounded by very strong and successful women in his family.
I have also been able to rise in my career because I have a husband who have supported me in all I do, he pushes me to achieve some goals. So when he saw what they were doing in the church, he said immediately that we were going to adopt 100 of the widows. I heard that the church had a larger female population and the Pastor is a woman. Our plan is that we will begin to support the indigent widows with N10,000 per month and I believe that by God’s grace when we are elected in November, we are going to enlarge it and ensure that we monitor them to do something and empower them so they can be more financially independent.
“The 100 widows we adopted is our personal project, it has nothing to do with the state. But if God empowers my husband as the next governor, he has plans of engaging in massive projects and schemes across the state to empower women, across different vocations and enterprises. We are going to have all kinds of schemes and that excite me because that is my turf.
I work in the Bank of Industry which is a Federal Government owned development institution set up to drive industrial development in Nigeria. I have a lot of experience in that area in advising and providing financial professional and entrepreneurial advise and support, and ultimately financing entrepreneurs across the country. I have also had the privilege of heading the gender desk in the Bank of Industry and that was one of the first endeavours in the financial sector to create a window for empowering women entrepreneur.
The Bank of Industry was one of the first banks to create that window of support for women and I managed that desk successfully and developing the women empowerment fund for the bank. This is something that I am going to do very easily in supporting my husband, as it is actually my passion. I see myself doing that in Edo state, brining my experience and expertise that I have gathered from the bank to bear here.
My vision is that by the time we would have been done with our work here, we can tell the exact number of women that would have grown their businesses from micro to medium, medium to large. Apart from that we will also deal with women who have no knowledge in business, people who don’t have the capacity to set up businesses. We will ensure that by the time we finish here we will have a pool of strong business women who have viable, growing and successful businesses across the sectors. That is my main goal and I must achieve that as first lady of Edo state by the grace of God.
“Before we castigate our daughters who are engaging in trafficking or travelling to Italy, I think we should first sit down and ask why the situation is like that, it cannot just happen like that. The obvious reason to me is that previous governments have failed in Edo state. It is the failure of government that caused it. People leave the country to go to another country in search of greener pastures. A child who is comfortable in his father’s house will not leave for another man’s house.
Children go out when they are badly treated at home, when they are not happy. So rather than government castigating these our women they should look inwards and accept that they have a responsibility to these girls. If you fix this state and make it attractive our girls will not leave. You can see that the trend started abating when Governor Oshiomhole came to power, they started seeing hope in Edo state and they are living here today doing one thing or the other.
So past governments in this state failed our people and that is why they were all going to Italy. If you make this state attractive like the APC government is doing today, every body will want to come here and stay. So I will not join any one to castigate these girls at all, it is never their fault but the failure of the past governments. And I thank God for the Comrade Governor who has laid the foundation for progress in this state. My husband, Godwin Obaseki will build upon what the Comrade Governor has done and you will see that Edo will become greater.
“The problem of unemployment is a serious one and it can only be solved by ensuring that there is a viable private sector. Government alone cannot provide jobs and that is why you hear people talking about entrepreneurship even in America. Government need to provide the enabling environment that will attract investors so that people can get jobs and there is so much that people can do but they don’t know.
As I am talking to you here, I can tell you ten different businesses that I see around here that we can set up. So that is what government needs to push and my husband is knowledge in that area and he will do a lot of work in that regards. And that is why I keep telling people that it is only when those who have the knowledge, exposure, and experience take over government that we can come out of this economic crisis. This is not the time to play politics and give positions to people who know nothing about governance. When we talk about governance you need people who have the managerial, entrepreneurial and investment knowledge and skills, to be able to bring our country out of this recession.
And that is why I believe it was God who brought him here and God loves this country, He wants it to be great. Governance is not all about formulating policies but also managing resources. This country needs people who can get money from the rock at this time. Most of the people who play politics these days have no knowledge whatsoever about even setting up a business not to talk of managing a state or a country. I believe that Godwin is the answer for Edo state at this point in time.