By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin.

Scores of Kwara women held a rally on Wednesday on the streets of Ilorin to drum support for the second term ambition of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The women most of who are not politicians, drawn from various groups and even students earlier held a press conference at the NUJ Press Centre before they proceeded to government house, Ilorin in a long motorcade through the popular Ahmadu Bello way.

The Kwara Women assured Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of their support in appreciation of how much his administration has given due recognition to women in the state.

Speaking at a mega rally organised to show their appreciation and support for the Governor, the spokesperson of the group, Mrs Funmi Adefila Osiegbu, said over the last two years in Kwara State, “we have seen a deliberate effort by the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to mainstream gender inclusion in governance. It is on record that no administration in the modern history of Nigeria has done so much for women like this before.

She added,“Gathered before you are women of Kwara State, drawn from different backgrounds. Many of us here are not card-carrying members of any political party.

” However, we make no pretence about our strong interest in governance and all issues that may affect (us as) women and our children. For this reason, we are interested in the policy choice of any government, national or local.

“Over the last two years in Kwara State, we have seen a deliberate effort by the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to mainstream gender inclusion in governance. It is on record that no administration in the modern history of Nigeria has
done so well to bring women to the decision-making table.

“We saw this in cabinet composition where he gave 56.25% cabinet positions to women as well as in headship of government agencies and parastatals.

“This is a fact that has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally. A few weeks ago, the United Nations Development
Agency nominated the Governor for an award to recognise his bold steps in gender inclusion. This has far-reaching consequences on public policies and programmes.”

For instance, she added,” anti-family or anti-women policies can only get government support in Kwara of today if women become complicit in such. This is because we are adequately represented in
virtually all areas involved in policy designs, except in the House of Assembly which is beyond the dictate of the Governor.”

She also said“Similarly, we have seen serious attention being paid to child development and government services that especially benefit women and children. The huge investments of the Abdulrazaq administration in basic education, sanitation, water, safety net programmes, and child and maternal health testify to his love for the welfare of the
disadvantaged groups in society.

“He topped these with the introduction of a law that commits Kwara to gender inclusion through the Gender Composition Law 2021 and fair treatment of women through the recent domestication of the Violence Against Person Law. The administration has also recently committed to the 2nd National Action Plan which seeks to involve women in conflict resolution frameworks and protect them from all kinds of discrimination.

“These pro-women achievements are monumental and should never go unrewarded by women of this state, wherever we may be and whatever ideology we espouse. We, therefore, have a historic duty to speak up for the Governor and his administration.

“We recall that the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs Dame PaullenTallen had recently charged the women of Kwara State not to let the Governor down.

“Against that background, ladies and gentlemen, we the women of Kwara State stand ready to declare our unflinching support for Governor AbdulRahmanAbdulRazaq. If he declares a bid to run again, we have a burden of history to rally around him. This is beyond partisan sentiments. It is about telling the whole world that Kwara women do not take the support of the Governor for granted.

“We owe this duty to ourselves and to our girl child who has had a dignifying space created for her in the room where her destiny and that of her family is being determined”

Also speaking at the event, Senior Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals to the Governor, Dr. Jamila Bio Ibrahim, said “Kwara state women have come together to show unwavering support for the governor because of his support for the women and the encouragement he has given them.

“The rally has been held to appreciate the governor and to let the world know that one good term deserves another the government recently signed into law the gender composition bill to allow women participation in governance and it is what no administration can change and it was as a result of his political will.

” We want a system through which this can continue, that is why you see women from all walks of lives gathering today to support the governor’s reelection bid,” she said.


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