Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, and Aisha Buhari, wife of the president, on Tuesday, canvassed for greater participation of women in politics and national development.
The trio spoke at the opening of the 21st annual national women’s conference of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) with the theme “Awake,” held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Specifically, they said the role of women must go beyond singing and dancing at political rallies to making enduring contributions to national development.
Sanwo-Olu at the event said men could do virtually nothing without women, adding that it was important for women to be awake and alive to their responsibilities, especially the emerging realities of the 21st century.
According to him, there is nothing men can do without women beside them. “And so the charge before us today is to look at the changes and the emerging realities of our time. I believe the word awake is appropriate and it is meant for our women to be a lot more resilient; to be aware of the environment; to have a new approach to doing things; to ensure that you have a sustainable mindset at everything you find yourselves doing as individuals, as organisations, as corporate entities, and so on.
“I think it is important for us to know that all of you, working collaboratively as partners with the government, we can achieve a lot together working in unity,” Sanwo-Olu said.
On his part, Akeredolu, who was the special guest of honour, said history was replete with heroic acts of women, and that no reasonable society would confine women to the background, just as he said it was no longer acceptable for women’s participation in politics to be limited to singing at rallies.
“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,” Akeredolu said.
Aisha Buhari, who was represented by the senior special assistant to the president on women affairs and administration, Rukayyatu Gurin, commended the initiative of COWLSO, and called on first ladies in Nigeria’s 36 states to embrace it, with the view to empowering women and girls.
Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, chairman of COWLSO and first lady of Lagos, said: “This conference will not just be a talk shop. At the end of the conference, we shall issue a communiqué that will articulate the deliberations at this conference, and proffer insightful recommendations that will result in actionable initiatives.”