..Say menfolk have failed the nation
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Prominent women from the South West geo political zone of Nigeria have called on womenfolk to lead the campaign for adequate security, peace, unity and good governance across the country, as well as aspire to occupy political offices in 2023 general elections.
The women spoke on Friday, at the maiden Conference of the South West Women Arise For One Nigeria, SWWAFON,” held in Ikeja, Lagos.
President, Women in Africa, Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, in her speech, expressed the need for women to arise and take the bull by the horn as menfolk have failed the nation.
Abiola- Costello, daughter of late business mogul, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale, MKO, Abiola, who spoke through virtual platform as a guest speaker, told the womenfolk to shun and vehemently oppose to every manipulation of the unity of the country, to prevent an outbreak of war, which will only be beneficial to selfish politicians and local and foreign arms dealers.
She noted that war only destroy and does not build, saying that “women and children are talways record highest number of casualties in time of war.”
Abiola- Costello, therefore, encouraged women and participants at the event to take up the mantle to revive the impacts of legendary women like Madam Tinubu, Mrs Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, her mother, late Kudirat Abiola, among other women.
“It’s time for Nigeria women to take a stand in the interest of our children, youths and the overall interest of the country. We can’t afford to sit on the fence and continue bro watch things disintegrate.
“We all have a role to play to make this country work again. We have the bigger responsibility. Let us come together and reach out to Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba women in moving forward. We must take the driver’s seat to make Nigeria a better place to live in.”
The Co-convener, Mrs Bolanle Idowu, said the group is apolitical but out to mobilize the womenfolk to rise and influence good governance, especially in view of the prevailing security challenges across the country and for improved participation of women in politics in 2023 general elections.
Idowu, stressed the need for women to retake their roles as nation builders from the home, adding that only people with fresh ideas must be supported to win elective positions in future elections.
According to her: “The economy in the country is facing huge crisis, bleeding seriously. It’s time for the women to take greater responsibility for the future of Nigeria. We have left so much in the hands of our menfolk who have failed us. We (women) have to rise up and say enough is enough and make the needed charge possible.”
Other speakers who spoke in like manner, include: Famous actresses, Bimbo Akintola, Jaiyeola Kuti, and Mrs Idowu Phillips, otherwise known as “Iya Rainbow,” a politician, Mrs. Elizabeth Adegoke, General Manager of Bronze FM, Mrs Bimbo Oyetunde and her Bond FM counterpart, Mrs. Nike Adegoke. Also in attendance was, famous Nollywood actress, Fatia Balogun, popular music star, Teni Apata, simply known as Teni, among others.
Meanwhile, the communique which was delivered by Managing Director, Point Newspapers, Mrs. Yemi Kokapo, read in part: “We are totally convinced that Nigeria is in dire need of these kinds of interventions at this time. It takes wisdom and courage to dare to be different at a time when emotions and harsh realities have beclouded the better part of human reasoning, making most people rather resort to brutish grandstanding and shortsightedness in the clamour for and movement for often ill-defined actions.
“Only peace can guarantee progress. Once peace is gone, everything else hangs in the balance until peace is restored.
“From the drums of war sounding across the land, it is clear that a lot of people are aggrieved, owing to the myriads of challenges, especially insecurity-related, bedeviling the nation. Truly, what we face today can be described as a war situation already.
“Thousands of lives have been lost to needless and inhuman acts of bandits who get emboldened by the day. Kidnapping now seems to be a most lucrative job, aside from oil and gas.
“Criminal minded individuals even connive with others to kidnap themselves just to squeeze money out of their relatives.
“But in all of this, we must remember that beyond politics, no government would watch its administration crumble or deliberately sponsor or encourage bandits and terrorists to shed so much blood as to warrant a state of emergency that could lead to any counter-action.
“We also resolved to single out Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State as a role model governor that has recognised the importance of women in nation building. This is the reason education has not been interrupted in the state since he assumed power and the state is adjudged the safest in the North.
He is the first Governor ever to appoint a female ADC in the history of Nigeria. His Secretary to the State Goverment, SSG is also a woman. More important to add that all the Vice Chairmen of the local governments in the state are women. Youths are doing wonders in the state.
“This is why we are saying that the problem of Nigeria is not about political parties but about the person who can do the job and take us out of the quagmire.
“The women must come in and prevail on our husbands, on our children, to toe the path of peace and not allow agents of destruction use them to cause greater destruction.
“For communities and countries, peace supercedes everything else. Some tend to have taken the peace that we have been enjoying, at least before the current crisis started, for granted.
“And by this, we are speaking to the consciences of those bent on splitting this nation by all means, through ceaseless blood letting from across Nigeria. Two wrongs would not make a right, they would only end in disaster.
“All the dreams of Eldorado would quickly evaporate the moment we fold our hands and allow the fabric of peace to be pierced by the sword of the champions of ethnicity.
“We must be the voices of reason across our families, offices, communities and wherever we find ourselves to drum it into the ears of the people that war is an ill wind that blows no one any good.
“The drums of war are beating everywhere, fueled by ethnic sentiments. But you have to ask, ‘do these ethnic lines still exist?’ Whatever response you give may end up being a case of perception being stronger than reality.
“We should live up to our responsibilities and rise to our roles as mothers, wives and sisters, by speaking sense into our sons, husbands and brothers to refrain from plunging the country into needless bloodshed.
“Experience has shown and it has been said again and again that women and children bear the brunt of war, the most. We need to remind ourselves of this sad reality and do everything humanly possible to preserve the peace of the land and save ourselves, our families and loved ones, communities and country from tragedy.
“War is an ill wind that blows no one any good. Nothing will change this reality, among others.