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President Muhammadu Buhari

.As Akeredolu say women participation In politics must go beyond singing at rallies

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin, Rotimi Akeredolu, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Aisha Buhari, wife of Mr. President have said women must not be confined to the back seat if Nigeria must prosper the more, describing them as having the ability to rescue Nigeria from its quagmire if allowed to lead the country.

Akeredolu, Sanwo-Olu and Aisha Buhari made the remarks, yesterday, at the opening ceremony of the 21st National Women Conference, NWC, organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials COWLSO, held at Eko Hotels and  Suites. The three-day conference theme is ‘Awake’.

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Arakunrin, who was the Special Guest of Honour, said the men have failed the system and it was high time women took over the lead.

According to Akeredolu: “There is a need for women to start taking the issue of participating in politics seriously. Your role cannot be just jamboree – singing at political rallies. We must train the girl child in a way that she has a role to play in the future.

“Women cannot be confined to the back seat if Nigeria must prosper the more. They should either be by our side or even take the lead.

“Men have never led this country well, men have failed this country. Things would have been better if women have been involved. Enough of jamborees, singing and dancing at political gatherings, women must do something.”

He stressed that focus must also shift to the proper training of the girl-child so she understands “she has a role to play in the future.”

Akeredolu added: “The history of Nigeria is replete with heroic deeds of women and we must continue to appreciate them. There is no reasonable society that can push women to the back seat and expect to make progress. If the country must move forward, women must take the lead. Women are good leaders.

“I am ready to follow women; we must all be ready. Women who are politically-conscious should not leave politics for men alone because men have never led this country properly. Women must embrace politics; you must go beyond the jamboree of being best singers at political rallies, you must do something more.”

The governor also urged men to work towards ensuring women are truly free.

“We must stop obnoxious pactices which diminish the potentials of the girl-child. We must resist attempts by those who crave perpetual domination. We must improve on our education curriculum so that our women can enjoy true freedom in all ramifications; their freedom should not be limited,” he added.

Akeredolu, however, urged women to be a shinning light to other women and show the way, urging wives of political office holders to positively influence their spouses to do right always.

Wife of the President Mrs. Aishat Buhari, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Women Affairs and Administration to the President, Dr. Rukayyat Gurin, urged women to use their roles for the greater benefit of the society while men should support their wives.

According to Mrs Buhari: “Lagos has set the pace for women. This conference demonstrates how powerful Lagos women have been in supporting their husbands. This conference would positively impact women in Lagos and Nigeria in general. I would encourage our husbands to support their wives to collectively achieve greater greater heights. It’s important not to forget our past. I strongly believe we have our husbands support but we need more assistance to move together positively.”

Sanwo-Olu stressed the importance of women in the society, especially in the home urging women to be alert to their responsibilities, and not allow themselves be relegated to the background.

Lagos hovernorSanwo-Olu charged women to cast aside lethargy and embrace the countless opportunities that lie in nation by participating actively in politics.

He said: “Awake’ is a clarion call to the 21st century woman to become fully alert to her responsibilities as a pillar, enabler, and catalyst within the family, in the workplace, the civic space, and the larger society. It is a rallying cry to women, young and old, to be bold, assertive and fearless in the quest for a truly just, equitable and inclusive society.

“In a world where the needs and perspectives of women are often pushed to the back, and where violence of all kinds is routinely deployed against them, the need for such a forceful wake-up call can never be over-emphasised.

“That is why our THEMES agenda would ensure we can put our women in the driver’s seat to take the rightful position in achieving the greater Lagos agenda.”

Sanwo-Olu, also urged men to be mindful of their treatment of women, warning that their words and actions might unconsciously hold women back ‘or make their journeys through life more difficult than it should be.’

Earlier, COWLSO Chairman and wife of Lagos State governor, Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, urged women to stand and contribute positively to the society.

“It’s time to assert ourselves and contribute positively to our society. Don’t be laid back. No matter where you find yourselves, always remember that you have something to bring to the table. We all have a role to play whether you are a grandma, a career woman, house wife, entrepreneur, student or farmer,”  she said.

Highlight of the opening ceremony was the presentation of 2021 Inspirational Woman Award to some members – Mrs. Muheeba Folami, Mrs Foluke Abdul-Rasaq, and Mrs. Bintu-Fatima Tinubu (Iyalode of Lagos). International female footballer Asisat Oshoala  also got the 2021 Inspirational Youth Award.

The conference was attended by first ladies of Osun, Ondo, Kwara, Ogun and Ekiti states, wife of the House of Representatives Speaker Mrs. Salamatu Gbajabiamila, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (represented by Mrs. Kafayat Bashua), wife of the service chiefs, 

COWLSO was founded in 1974 by the late Dame Obafunmilayo Johnson, wife of the late Brig.Gen. Mobolaji Johnson, the first Military Governor of Lagos State. It was revived by Senator Oluremi Tinubu in 1999 when she was First Lady.

The conference ends on Thursday.


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