Governors, international women leaders and stakeholders have called for more support for women and the women folks for the betterment of the country and its future.
The call was made at the opening ceremony of the 2017 National Women Summit organized by the Oyo State Officials’ Wives Association (OYSOWA) with the theme: “The Resilient Woman: making a difference”.
The 3-days event which held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan had in attendance four governors and more than 21 governor’s wives from different parts of the country.
The dignitaries in their various remarks maintained that women across the country have what it takes to contribute more to national development and progress of the country beyond what they are currently contributing, if allowed to do more.
The governors who were in attendance to support their colleague, the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi include, Akinwumi Ambode (Lagos), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (Osun)
Also at the summit opening included a former Vice President of Zimbabwe, who was the special guest of honour, Dr. Joice Mujuru; a former Liberian First Lady, Senator (Dr) Jewel Howard-Taylor, who was the guest of honour, Oyo State Deputy Governor, Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo and other top government functionaries.
Wives of governors of Lagos, Abia, Imo, Ogun, Osun, Enugu, Delta, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Kebbi and Edo States among others were also in attendance in solidarity with the Governor Ajimobi’s wife, Dr. Florence Ajimobi who was the convener and initiator.
Other dignitaries at the event include, Minister of Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Alhassan, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, wife of the Minister of Solid minerals, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Members of the Oyo State House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Mr. Micheal Adeyemo.
Leading the call for the support of women in decision making efforts, Ajimobi, in his address, said women have pivotal roles to play in the development of Nigeria and that they should be given opportunity to contribute to national development. He charged women to “make the needed difference in the world”, going by their ability to recover faster and better from whatever disappointment of fall they might have suffered.
In his remarks, Governor Dickson of Bayelsa, in his goodwill message, noted that without the support for women, many of the governors and political office holders would not have achieved as much as they had, warning that “we are almost at a new dawn where the women of this country will offer leadership and direction to this nation. We are almost turning the corner, we are at a very critical junction, and I want to use the opportunity to encourage all the women not to lose hope, to keep pushing up and keep fighting and standing up in support of worthy courses and standing up for yourselves and in support of you husbands and such worthy courses. All of us in leadership must learn to put women in our government. We should be able to appreciate and support our women of the betterment of our country. I encourage women to stand up for a cause and support their husbands in achieving a better society.”
Aregbesola also noted that men alone cannot evolve a better society without the support of women, saying “but with good, caring, accommodating, and tolerant women, a man will be well-groomed to be a good leader.”
In his own remarks, Governor Ambode who explained that from cradle to grave, resilience was all what the women folks are all about, challenged the women across the country to be conscious of the enormity of potentials, strength and capabilities that are inborn in them which has made them survived all forms of challenges. He added that the least anyone could do for the women was to support and reciprocate their commitment and passion in building the homes and the country.
Wife of Oyo State governor and convener of the OYSOWA conference, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, earlier in her welcome address, tasked millions of women in Nigeria to cultivate resilience spirit in order to make positive difference in every sphere of endeavour.
She stated that the theme for this year’s summit that would last for three days was coined out of “our appraisal of the life of the average woman and how she is able to survive and succeed against all odds. In the course of this appraisal, we discovered that the greatest strength of a successful woman is her resilience.”
A former Vice President of Zimbabwe, Mrs. Mujuru, also stated that some women across the globe had contributed immensely to a better society, saying: “we must be inspired to do more even when the challenge appears to be insurmountable. Addressing barrier issues relating to women in the society must be driven by a transformational agenda that is tinker on a strategy of a measured culture of being patient, a listener, an observer and a monitor to all and must be done at a well calculated time to act.
“The unique desire in women to transform not only saves women but shapes everyone’s future. We must have the desire to make a positive transformation difference and not be satisfied by being helpers of men. We must run business and be leaders of nation not rulers. Our desire must not only be about making monies but the difference we make in peoples life. The major driver behind our positive transformation must be anchored on our ability to implement a unique vision which must arouse the consciousness of the African society supported by the ability to participate in the economic dynamics that faces us everyday as women. We cannot continue to play a second fiddle purely because of gender. We must rise to the occasion. We should aim high for us to hit the target. Women must take up leadership roles not because they are being favoured by their male counterparts but because they are capable.”
The Former Liberian First Lady, Howard-Taylor, who is also the Vice Presidential running mate in the ongoing presidential election said: “The theme of today is important for women setting, quite so because women are currently in difficult circumstances across our world and especially in Africa. As we struggle to deal with issues of violence against women, as we deal with issue of unequal opportunity, lack of economic opportunites to make us the viable women that we want to be.
“Resilience is a life journey, I dare not say that it is something you wake up in the morning and you have but you have to go through the fire and come out better and more resilient person. There is something you can do now in your spare of life. Every woman has stories that can inspire someone for the next journey. For indeed all it takes is the first step. Today, let me remind you two critical things. The first thing is that there is an ever changing cycle of life. No one ever stays in the same place throughout their entire life. You must move, change and grown and give back to the society and that is the only way you can be a person of impact in your generation and live your footprint for the next generation to come. You must know that there are some changes in your life and you must be ready for those changes and you must be prepared.”