The Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and his counterparts in Osun and Lagos States, Messrs Rauf Aregbesola and Akinwumi Ambode respectively, have called for empowerment programmes capable of preparing women economically for any emergency situation in the country and on the home front.
The governors made the calls while speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day 5th National Women’s Summit, organized under the auspices of the Oyo State Officials’ Wives Association (OYSOWA), being led by the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, in Ibadan, on Wednesday.
The summit, with the theme, “The ultimate woman at a time like this,” was attended by dignitaries from all walks of life, including the Wife of Zamfara State Governor, Hajia Asmau Abdulaziz Yari, who represented the wife of the President, Mrs. Aishat Buhari.
Also at the event were the Wives of Governors of Lagos, Osun, Imo and Kwara States, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, Mrs. Sherifat Aregbesola, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha and Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed, as well as the wife of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola.
Some of the other dignitaries at the summit were the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Chief Alake Adeyemo; and his wife, Janet; two former Deputy Governors of Lagos State, Mrs. Sarah Sosan and Princess Adejoke Oorelope-Adefulire; All Progressives Congress (APC) Women Leader in the South-West, Chief Kemi Nelson, Mrs. Priscilla Kuye, Justice Jumoke Pedro, Iyalode of Lagos, Chief Binta Tinubu, among others.
The wife of Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, while welcoming participants, expressed happiness that the summit, which began in 2012, had become an internationally-recognized event through the support of all and sundry.
She praised the state House of Assembly for passing the bill criminalizing Violence Against Women, describing it as a landmark achievement for the womenfolk in the state and across the country.
The governor’s wife said that this year’s edition of the summit was aimed at producing women who would set new records in leadership positions without entertaining fear to tread new paths.
Mrs. Ajimobi said,
“Quite a large number of our women need to be given a springboard from which they can launch themselves into limelight. This is what we hope to achieve with OYSOWA summit. We want to create women who will entertain no fear to go where there is no path and leave a trail.
“OYSOWA is determined to, amongst a variety of objectives, effect positive change in the physical, emotional, social and economic well-being of families and communities through the empowerment of women in Oyo state.
“We are also poised to inspire women of Oyo State to reach beyond existing boundaries and attain great achievements by providing them with right knowledge and resources, as well as to restore grace, dignity and hope to our women.
“We are also unrelenting in our quest to promote peace and unity at the local government, state and national levels.”
The governors in their own speeches, submitted that for the country’s growth, stability and development to be sustained, government at all levels should introduce programmes capable of enhancing the economic independence of women.
Ajimobi said, “At this time of uncertainty, we need to pause and look at the interests of our mothers, our wives, sisters and daughters whenever issues of development arise.
“It is not just to ponder on the interest of our women but to also celebrate the heroines of our individual homes and the nation in general. We need to elevate women beyond the present level because of their strategic positions in nation building.
“It is important for us as fathers and leaders to acknowledge the role of our mothers and wives in nurturing and caring for us from our childhood to our old age. For me, whatever little success I have achieved in life in my professional career and politics I owe it to my wife.”
According to him, whatever success any man achieves in his earthly sojourn could be attributable to the positive roles of his mother and wife.
On his part, Aregbesola charged government to do more in propelling the interest of womenfolk towards their dream in making the country great through the home front.
He said, “Government must develop great capacities for the development of women because at times of trials and tribulations, men, oftentimes, get weary. It is women that stand to face the situation and neutralize it. We should learn from the experience of troubled countries of the world.
“I demand of governments at all levels to design programmes that will empower women to be able to face any challenge, particularly those in the lower economic class. During civil strives and wars you only see women sheltering the children.”
Aregbesola said that since no religion was against women’s freedom and economic viability, women must be empowered, adding that women, on their own, should unite against female genital mutilation among other unwholesome practices working against their general well-being.
He added, “The ultimate woman must be a champion against female genital mutilation because it is barbaric, evil, unhealthy and psychologically demeaning. We must all rise against anything that demeans the women.’’
In his remarks, Ambode commended women whom he called magicians for their unflinching support to their respective families, especially at this period when, he said, the country was passing through economic hardship.
He said, “Our women, with their resilience, inner strength and ability to live up to current situations, are like magicians. They make something out of nothing just to keep the home front going.”