Buhari legacy

Delivery quality services to Lagos citizens through Ministry of Commerce

Hon. Lola Akande is a product of Queen’s School, Ibadan. She holds a Bsc in Botany from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University; a Master’s degree in Public Administration (M.PA) with a bias for Public Policy from the University of Lagos, Akoka, and also a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PDGE) from the same citadel.
Hon. Lola Akande is the current Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Lagos State.

Greatest Passion
The greatest thing that has brought me this far is my passion to serve humanity; to do my best for the development of Lagos State, both politically and economically.

Women Role in Leadership Positions
Yes, women are really doing a lot and are contributing to the society in no small way by striving to educate and empower other women and youths. For instance, I once served as the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for four years. Using the platform of that office, a lot of women, both young and old, were empowered through training in various vocations and handworks; backing it with tools, machines, and cash. The same has been done by other women in politics.

The inclusion of women in leadership positions in public as well as private sectors has been enormous. We have about 30% of women in governance be it at Local, State, or Federal levels; some as Local Government Chair persons, Vice Chancellors, Deputy Governor in some States, Senators and some are serving as Legislators in both House of Representatives and House of Assemblies in all the States of the Federation. In this light, we cannot underestimate the importance of the sizeable percentage inclusion of women in the Lagos State Government Cabinet under Mr Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, of which I am part of. This demonstrates the administration’s commitment to give women greater platform to contribute to the State’s development. In the private sectors too, we have women as Chairmen of Companies, Managing Directors, Director Generals and Presidents of Associations and others. Yes, in years past, marginalisation was rampant; but as women have continued to raise their voices, we are being heard. Men are now adjusting to giving women more chances.

Implementation of the Affirmative
The implementation of the Affirmative in the country is gradually taking shape and it may take a longer time to be effective. The following are some of the limitations that can be ascribed to the slow progress being recorded in the emergence of a woman as number one citizen in Nigeria: RELIGION- Some religions frown at the idea of allowing a woman lead a congregation or making a woman the Head of a village or town talk less of a country; SOCIETAL BELIEF- General belief across African societies does not permit a woman to be the head. We believe that a man is the ‘head’ of a woman; CULTURE- The African culture also militates against the women taking leadership position. It sees the kitchen as the place for women and so they should take care of the home, their husbands and their children.

Managing Home and Political Career
This is a good question. I will say that it is by determination and encouragement from my husband. It is good that I am determined to serve people and my husband encourages that. There are times that I have to leave home for a while to attend to State matters, in such cases, I am only able to monitor what is going on at home via phone and make sure the home front does not suffer. My family has been very cooperative and highly supportive. Again, there are various strategies that I have put in place to make sure that work, family, and social life are intact and none suffers because of the other. God has been faithful in this regard. He has been giving me the strength, good health, wisdom and knowledge to carry out the responsibilities perfectly.

Award of Excellence
Yes, it is true that the National Association of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (NASME) Lagos Chapter, honored me with an Award of Excellence for my support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the State. There is a special Trade Fair and Exhibition which was put in place. It has been staged for some years now. When I assumed the leadership of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives (MCIC), I introduced another dimension to it. I looked for a bigger space (De Blue-Roof at Lagos Television, Agidingbi, Ikeja) as venue for the Exhibition to accommodate more MSMEs; and introduced raffle draws to pick winners in various categories and prices were won by them. This has been taking place for the past three years now and the eighth edition will be coming up by June-July 2023. Also, promotion of indigenous products in Lagos State is paramount and various programmes and activities are put in place by the Ministry to carry out these mandates. Let me emphasis that this could not have been possible without the support of Mr Governor, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, who supported the idea and gave us the needed resources to do this for our MSMEs.

Programmes of the Ministry
The Ministry has started planning for various programmes and activities for Year 2023 and these include: Organisation of MSMEs Exclusive Trade Fairs and Exhibition in June-July 2023; Participation at Fairs and Exhibitions. Example: Lagos International Trade Fair. November 2023; Organisation of the Corporate Assembly Forum, where Mr Governor interacts with Captains of Industries; African Industrialization Day which is to hold between November-December, 2023 and Celebration of Lagos Cooperative Day, among others.
International Women’s Day Message
My message to Nigerian women is to be focused, strong, and be up and doing as mothers of the Nation. Women are to advise men and they are to be the pillars of support in their families. They should also note that the era of women staying at home simply doing chores and waiting for their husbands to bring money home has gone. Women must have something doing to help and assist their home, husbands and children.