Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola and his counterpart in Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, have stressed the need for government at all levels to fashion out pragmatic programmes aimed at empowering women in the country. The duo spoke at the National Women Conference organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, COWLSO, held at the Eko Hotels and Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Friday.
Declaring the conference closed, Aregbesola made case for women to be empowered, stressing that, “women must be empowered; there is no society that shackles more than half of its population that can develop or progress. This must begin with compulsory education of the girl child. I have searched the two religions of Islam and Christianity and I am yet to see anything that stands in the way of women education and empowerment. As this conference comes to a close, one of the messages we will all take away from here is the renewed effort at educating the girl child in the north and women empowerment all over the country,” he said.
He appealed to government at all levels to invigorate efforts in educating the girl child in the North and women empowerment all over the country. The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs Titi Laoye Tomori, said recent studies had shown that women, through their various businesses, had contributed immensely to the employment rate in the nation.
“In recent years, we have had a reversal of roles on the family front in some cases such that a significant number of women are now the breadwinners. Through empowerment, they have been able to sustain businesses and thereby providing for their families, educating their children and building sustainable homes and businesses,” he said.
Speaking, Ambode said his administration would adopt some of the recommendations of the conference which sought to empower women in all ramifications and see how they could be implemented to improve the lives of Lagosians. I am sure the communiqué that has emerged at this conference will encapsulate a blueprint for the economic engagement of our womenfolk, not just in Lagos State but across Nigeria,” Governor Ambode said.
“This conference marks a new beginning for COWLSO. We will remain partners in progress and also welcome your constructive criticisms to help us improve in our duty to deliver good governance to the people of Lagos State. This administration counts on your usual support and co-operation,” he said.
However, Ambode said the state government would consider the possibilities of collaborating with Kebbi State to explore the economic opportunities in the production and distribution of high yield quality rice and other ventures. He recalled that his Kebbi state counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, had during the opening ceremony of the conference on Wednesday, sought the cooperation between women in Kebbi and Lagos States in the production of high quality yield rice, saying that it is one area the state will seek to explore.
Chairman of COWLSO, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, said the three-day conference discussed series of issues among which was the devastating consequences of divorce on the health and wellbeing of women and children, adding that 80-90 per cent of primary care visits to doctors were due to preventable illnesses, while approximately 95 per cent of them were caused by stress. She urged all participants to keep the knowledge gained close to their hearts and deploy it appropriately in future, for maximum advantage.
The 10-point Communiqué of the Conference read by the wife of the Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Professor Ibiyemi Bello, among other things, tasked government at all levels to pay more attention to women empowerment, especially the girl-child.
The highpoint of the ceremony was the presentation of Certificate of Appreciation to four individuals and corporate organisations, including former House Committee Chairman on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Mrs. Anutal Savara and Honeywell Group Nigeria Limited.