It’s Time For Women To Rise Above ‘Weaker Sex’ Tag

It’s Time For Women To Rise Above ‘Weaker Sex’ Tag

...Says Women Key To Nigeria’s Transformation

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday urged women to rise above all forms of discriminations and ‘weaker sex’ tag and truly play their role as change agents, saying such was necessary to transform Nigeria starting from the family unit. 

 

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2018 National Women’s Summit of Oyo State Officials’ Wives Association (OYSOWA) held at University of Ibadan Conference Centre, Governor Ambode said it was important for the Nigerian women to recognize the fact that the world was changing, and that they must use their influence to bring about positive change that would in turn cascade into every strata of the society.  

 

According to the Governor, “The world is changing everyday and women are now in the forefront of things. Women are now agents of change and are no longer referred to as the “weaker sex”.

 

“So, they must never see themselves as oppressed or discriminated against. Every woman can be an agent of change. The society is built on a small unit called the family where the woman has great influence.

 

“From the family unit, every woman can initiate or spark change which can cascade upwards to every level and every sector of the nation. With focus, determination and perseverance, you can transform yourselves, your families, your communities and our country, against all odds,” he said.

 

Governor Ambode, who described the theme of the summit – ‘Against All Odds’, as apt, said it was important for women to appreciate the fact that it is possible for one to attain any goal despite challenges.

 

“There will always be odds facing us; odds against our aspirations, our dreams, our objectives. But we cannot use these as excuses. The world we live in today does not take excuses. The world does not recognize efforts but results. So, against all odds, we must push forward, with a strong desire, and determination to succeed.

 

“I know our women face a lot of odds. Different, difficult challenges come your way every day. But my message to you today; and I am sure that is the message of this Summit, is that you can overcome all the challenges and triumph in all your endeavours,” Governor Ambode said.

 

He particularly urged participants at the summit to take practical steps to apply the lessons learnt from the very enlightening, engaging and inspiring sessions, saying the success of the conference largely depended on their individual abilities to translate the values gained positively, starting from their respective homes and families, to the larger society.

 

“At this critical period of our nationhood, your ability to adapt yourself to the current challenges will inevitably transform our society,” he added.

 

Besides, Governor Ambode commended the convener of the summit and wife of Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, saying it was on record that many lives have been positively transformed in all communities in the State through the OYSOWA initiative.

In his remarks earlier, Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi commended Governor Ambode for bringing pivotal professional into governance, saying being a professional all his life, the Governor of Lagos had exemplified such in his dealings.

He also commended women in the State for standing by their husbands against all odds.

Empowerment Of All Groups, Key To Ending Extreme Poverty

Empowerment Of All Groups, Key To Ending Extreme Poverty

…Says Lagos Already Implementing Key Policies To Ensure Inclusion, Prosperity

…Delivers 75th Anniversary Lecture At Island Club

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday said if Nigeria must get out of the woods, it must begin now to take concrete steps towards empowering every group in the society and give ears to their views and aspirations, saying it is only in such situation that the country can truly end extreme poverty.

Governor Ambode, who said this while delivering a paper to commemorate the 75th Anniversary Business Lecture of the Island Club, said Nigeria must aggressively pursue strong social inclusion policies in order to build a virile nation where every member of the society, regardless of their status or creed is catered for.

Speaking on the topic ‘Nation Building: Communities, Inclusion and Prosperity’, the Governor said presently there were various indices that present a worrying picture, stressing that the country must address it by taking actions that would change the narrative and engender prosperity.

“A sustainable path towards ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity also involves creating an inclusive society, not only in terms of economic welfare but also in terms of the voice and empowerment of all groups.

“We must begin to realise that every strata of the society counts, we must listen and accommodate all views, whether they are poor, whether they are Igbos, Hausas, whether they are Muslims or Christians. An inclusive society must have the institutions, structures and processes that empower local communities, professional associations, artisans, CDAs so they can hold government accountable.

“It also requires the participation of all groups in society, including traditionally marginalised groups such as ethnic minorities and indigenous populations in decision making processes,” he said.

Highlighting the Lagos example of inclusion and prosperity, Governor Ambode said his administration in the last three years, despite the population and migration challenges vis-a-vis pressure on physical and social infrastructure, has continued to carry out massive upgrade of its infrastructure, which according to him would have improve the lives of all residents and ultimately the economy.

“We believe that every Lagosian must have the opportunity to grow, develop their own skills and contribute to their families and communities in a meaningful way.

“If they are healthy, well educated and trained to enter the workforce and are able to make a decent wage, they are better equipped to meet their basic needs and be successful. Their families will also do well and the whole society will benefit. The aggregate sum of family well-being is the meat for nation building,” he said.

The Governor said that his administration has concentrated on creating an environment for investments to thrive, saying that deliberate steps were also taken to encourage the private sector to take the front seat and grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.

He listed development of Tourism, Hospitality, Arts, Sports and Entertainment sectors, development of an integrated and modern inter-modal transportation system, Employment Trust Fund, CodeLagos and Ready-Set-Work as some of the strategies evolved over the last three years that has recorded huge impact in the State’s economy.

“Our Employment Trust Fund has disbursed N5.84billion to 7, 880 Lagosians out of which 1,123 have fully repaid their loans. This is a revolving fund that targets inclusion and prosperity.

“Over 25,000 jobs were created through the loans and employability programmes and to ensure inclusion, 3,613 women recievedN2.29billion while N1.44billion was disbursed to individuals less than 35 years and at least N100million in each local government of the State,” Governor Ambode said.

“In terms of inclusion and prosperity, our vision to make Lagos safer and more prosperous is driven by the need to foster and build an inclusive society, a Lagos that works for all of us. This has been our primary focus in the last three and half years.

“This vision of making Lagos Africa’s model mega city and global economic and financial hub is reflected in everything that we have been doing, bringing our communities together to ensure the future prosperity of Lagos State is non negotiable. I am convinced that we are on the right trajectory and that’s the way to go if Lagos is going to show a very good example to the rest of the country,” he said.

Recommending the way forward, Governor Ambode said to ensure inclusion and evolve prosperous communities; social policy needs to move beyond conventional social service approaches towards development’s goals of equitable opportunity and social justice.

Expressing optimism that the Nigeria economy was showing positive indices of recovery and encouraging outlook for the future, the Governor, however, said economists had posited that for Nigeria to attain its potential, the economy needs to move at a growth rate of six to seven per cent per year as the population growth was above three per cent.

“To meet our growth ambition, we need jobs and we need to increase productivity too. Nigeria has the advantage of a large population, but the majority are under-skilled. It is imperative to equip workers with the skills needed to keep pace with an economy in transition like Nigeria,” he said.

“We need to close that in economic and political gap between women and men in this country. Providing both girls and boys with education is going to be our first step. Quality education is the basis for job and income, a modern competitive economy needs the best heads and hands regardless of gender. This is just sound economics and simple common sense.

“Government needs to implement structural reforms to enhance efficiency, making valued long term investment in technology and science to support research and development. In addition, government also needs to support the economy to provide jobs for their fast growing job population,” Governor Ambode said.

Earlier, Chairman of Island Club in his welcome address thanked Governor Ambode for his support to the Club since he assumed office, saying that he had not only followed the footsteps of his predecessors as Patron of the Club, but had on some occasions, moved a notch further than they did.

Also speaking, a former chairman of the Club, Chief Olumuyiwa Falomo lauded the Governor for his developmental strides in the last three and half years, assuring him that history would be kind to him.

“Only God knows the future, just carry on regardless, the reward of being very conscientious with what you do will come sooner than later and my prayer for you is that God will guide you and the sky will be your limit,” Falomo said.

Highlight of the lecture was the launch of the anniversary brochure and the commissioning of the car park project initiated by the club.

Governor Ambode Tasks Women On Action And Unity of Purpose

Governor Ambode Tasks Women On Action And Unity of Purpose

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has charged women in the country to engage action and embrace unity of purpose, to achieve significant and lasting social change beneficial to all.

The governor who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, spoke at the opening ceremony of the 18th edition of the National Women’s Conference, held at the Convention Centre, Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

According to him, the theme of this year’s conference, “Strengthening Our Collective Impact,” was a call for unity of purpose and coordinated action among women, to achieve their goals.

The governor said COWLSO had worked ceaselessly to complement the efforts of their spouses in government, stressing that “we are proud of your achievements, particularly in the area of giving hope and succour to the less privileged, through donations both in cash and kind. The theme of this conference is very apt and a call for unity of purpose and action.”

He said he had no doubt that the conference would impact participants, urging to attend the various segments of the conference as they had been packaged to add value to their lives.

Speaking at the event, Chairman of COWLSO, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, said without being immodest, women all over the world were pillars of growth and development of their countries, as they had played roles that demonstrated how important they were to the progress of their countries economically, politically, socially and in all other areas that mattered.

She noted that women in Nigeria were no different, and that COWLSO was happy that women in Lagos State were setting the pace, adding that “our quest to continually improve the welfare of women and sustain the vintage position of Lagos state in the federation, are key objectives behind our coming together annually, to discuss the way forward. This year, we will be examining topics around the central theme: ‘Strengthening Our Collective Impact.’

“When we come together and collaborate, either in government establishments, privately owned businesses, N.G.Os or wherever, we tend to achieve significant and lasting social change that would be beneficial to all. We have the unique ability of looking at problems and coming up with solutions, that would transform lives and make the world a better place.”

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Mrs Ambode urged women to learn to come together, support each other and discard unproductive habits, as there was advantage in numerical strength, hinting that tested facilitators and speakers had been invited to do justice to the various topics, such as ‘Vulnerable but not Defenceless,’ ‘The Hazards of Teenage Pregnancy,’ ‘Life of Purpose – Navigating aspects of life successfully’ and ‘What marriage means to us.’

She recalled that in the last three years, COWLSO had executed many health-related projects, which had recorded impressive impact on the health of babies, children, youths, women and the aged ones.

She listed them to include the upgrade of the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department of the Lagos Island General Hospital, Odan while also sponsoring goiter operation for some women two years ago and donating Portable Otoread OAEs equipment to four general hospitals-Badagry, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikorodu and Gbagada General Hospital last year.

Mrs. Ambode further said last year, the committee donated an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to the Lagos Island Maternity, while this year, COWLSO donated portable Otoread OAEs equipment to Shomolu and Alimosho General Hospitals, as well as two Transport Incubator Ambulance, to Gbagada General Hospital and Lagos Island Maternity Hospital.

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“These facilities aptly described as ‘womb on wheels’, are to be deployed to convey preterm babies, also known as ‘premature babies’, to government facilities equipped with neo-natal ICU, to save their lives. The ‘Transport Incubator’ is fully equipped with life-support gadgets and other conveniences, making it a womb-like environment for the baby, to enhance its chances of survival while being evacuated to the ICU.

“Those special ambulance buses can also be used to convey infants with severe post birth complications, and others in serious emergency situations. The women of COWLSO reckon that with this intervention, many more newborns, infants and children in Lagos State, will be saved from avoidable deaths with attendant happiness to their parents,” she stated.

Declaring the conference open, Governor of Edo State, Dr. Godwin Obaseki said the programme had helped in connecting the family with government, as wives of government officials had always ensured that they supported their husbands in the smooth running of government.

“This is a powerful network, it is powerful because it serves as opportunity for government to reach its people in another perspective of what is going on across the state,” he said, adding that it was only the family of government officials who would be able to point them in the right direction when they appeared to derail from the track.

Obaseki commended COWLSO for its intervention in the health sector through donations of health equipment to hospitals as well as making significant contributions for the wellbeing of the less privileged in the society, adding that the committee served as inspiration to many states, as such ideas had been replicated in many states, while assuring that Edo State would soon replicate same for women in the state.

The highlight of the day was the presentation of the Inspirational Woman Award to Mrs Toyin Sokefun-Bello, popularly known as ‘TY Bello’, for her outstanding work in photography and creative art.

 

Lagos Goes Tough On Drug Abuse, Plans 1000-Man Walk Against Scourge

Lagos Goes Tough On Drug Abuse, Plans 1000-Man Walk Against Scourge

…Women Strategically Positioned To Stop Teenage Rape, Pregnancy

In a bid to step up its campaign against all forms of drug abuse, the Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it has concluded plans to stage a 1000-man walk against the scourge and raise awareness on its inherent danger especially among youths.

Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri who disclosed this while addressing journalists at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Ikeja, ahead of the launch of a rigorous and renewed campaign under the acronym, Lagos State Kicks against Drug Abuse (LASKADA), said the Government was leaving no stone unturned in its effort to dissuade youths who are prime victims of the practice.

According to the Commissioner, the campaign will adopt a tripod approach including events, engagements with stakeholders and awareness campaign, adding that it would be flagged off by a 1000 man symbolic walk against drug abuse in the State.

He said the walk, which will hold on Thursday, June 21, would commence from Ikeja Bus Stop- under the bridge and would terminate at the Blue Roof, LTV, Agidingbi, where the official launch of LASKADA would take place.

He said participants at the walk will include students, members of voluntary organizations, sports men and women, members of Nongovernmental organisations, local government and youth representatives, local youth council representatives, faith based organisations, government functionaries, among others.

“What we want to do on Thursday is to launch this campaign and show that we are ready for war against all forms of drug abuse. Once we launch out, we are going to have series of activities on various platforms and we will employ every avenue to ensure that the campaign gets to the nook and cranny in the State,” he said.

Dabiri added that the campaign will also involve a stakeholders’ sensitization session to deliberate on the menace and proffer likely intervention to tackle the issue holistically.

“The stakeholders will include parents, youths, professional bodies include Pharmacists, NDLEA, psychiatrists, traditional medicine board, patent medicine sellers, NURTW, Tricycle and okada riders unions and a communiqué will be issued at the end of the session.

He said the campaign train will also move to primary, secondary and higher institutions as well as to the communities adding that it would be implemented in collaboration with the Lagos State Youth Ambassadors, Lagos State Youth Parliament and NGOs in their immediate community.

Besides, the Commissioner said that mosque, churches and faith based organization will be implored to dedicate a day to enlighten worshippers on drug abuse and canvass support for the fight against the menace.

“The youth group is the largest population in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State and this segment is considered the most vulnerable group as far as drug and alcohol issues are concerned. Thus, their health and optimal development is critical to national development agenda and deserves significant attention. Drug abuse is real and we should not fold our arms and watch the scourge continue, partner with us and lets all say “No to Drug Abuse”, Dabiri said.

In a related development, Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode said women must use their strategic position as builders of the home-front to adequately fortify their children and wards with right virtuous to stem the tide of rape and teenage pregnancy in the society.

Speaking at a special Lagos Women Forum put together by her office held at Police College in Ikeja, the wife of the Governor said as coordinators of the family unit, women have the responsibility to bring up their children in most decent ways and be good examples to them.

According to her, “We as women have a great role to play in combating the social evils of rape and teenage pregnancy. Our natural role as mothers and coordinators of the family unit, imposes responsibilities on us, to bring up the boy and the girl child in the most decent way, to stem the tide of rape and teenage pregnancy in our society.”

She said young girls who suffer abuse and become pregnant stand the risk of medical complications, stressing however that conscious effort must be made in their upbringing to achieve the desired results including early enrolment in school, sound moral lessons and exposure to the ways and things of God.

Besides, Mrs Ambode expressed concern over the disturbing trend of domestic violence against women which sometimes result in deaths, saying it was time for women to come together and jointly speak out against the menace.

“By publicly speaking out against domestic violence, together we can challenge attitudes that breed violence in the homes and everywhere. We must insist that domestic violence is a social crimes and not acceptable in our society. That is why we have brought seasoned speakers, to talk to us on issues of social menace, and our expected roles as mothers and home builders.

In her keynote address, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Idiat Adebule commended the wife of the Governor for the initiative to gather women together for the purpose of enhancing their welfare and health, saying the strategic importance of women in the society could not be overemphasized.

She said women should no longer be stereotyped into silence but rather become vocal advocates for improved health delivery system and social justice, adding that the womenfolk also have the responsibility of investing and increasing access of more girls and women to good health, quality education, and as well ensuring that laws respect and ensure the rights of women are enforced.

The Deputy Governor, who is also overseeing the Ministry of Education, said as part of efforts to protect the future of girls who are abused, the State Government recently established a special school for people in such category to have another opportunity to be educated.

“We have equally established the alternative school for the girls who, in the course of their lifetime, get pregnant and could not continue their education. Our government has provided that particular school for them to have a second chance in life,” Adebule said.

ETF: Lagos Disburses N5.22billion To 6,462 Beneficiaries

ETF: Lagos Disburses N5.22billion To 6,462 Beneficiaries

…To Train 10,000 Skilled Persons Through Employability Support Scheme

The Lagos State Government on Thursday said a total of 6,462 residents with proven business ideas have so far benefitted about N5.22billion from the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) designed to grow the economy and create jobs through provision of credit facilities with minimal interest.

Speaking at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf said the amount so far disbursed constituted a huge part of the total N5.98billion approved for 8,229 beneficiaries since it began disbursement in 2017.

The ETF is an initiative of the present administration in the State through which N25billion is earmarked to be disbursed over a period of four years to provide entrepreneurs, artisans, traders and others with capital to boost their businesses thereby reducing unemployment and increasing wealth among the people.

While reeling out loan disbursement activities of the fund, Akinbile-Yussuf said: “In fulfillment of the Lagos State Government’s mandate, the Fund has now disbursed N5.22billion to 6,462 beneficiaries, out of the approved loans totaling N5.98billion for 8,229 beneficiaries received.

She said in the period under review, the board of ETF approved loans totaling N627,053,826.15 for 643 beneficiaries under the batch four of the scheme, while in batches five, six, seven and eight, N924,696,671.00, N979,704,570.31, N443,859,457.60 and N1,013,485,058.69 were respectively disbursed to 5, 813 beneficiaries.

“For batch one of 2018, the Board approved loans totaling N492,798,560.90 for 1,753 beneficiaries (44 Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), 1,306 Medium Enterprise (ME) and 403 MES). The successful applicants have been contacted to meet the conditions that precede the disbursement of their loans,” she said.

Akinbile-Yussuf said as part of efforts designed to encourage startups in innovation and technology, the State Government launched innovation-driven enterprise program tagged “Lagos Innovates” where access to high quality infrastructure, learning and networks were provided, adding that the projection was to cement the place of Lagos as the leading destination for startups in Africa.

She said the government, through the Lagos State Employability Support Project, has also firmed up plans to produce 10,000 skilled persons within three years to cater for demand in key sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, construction, entertainment, garment making and tourism and hospitality.

“In addition, the project will place at least 6,000 trained persons in jobs and upgrade the equipment and improve the curriculum at two of Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB’s) Colleges,” she said.

On other achievements of the Ministry in the last one year, the Commissioner said government developed virtual market which is an online portal created to connect artisans and tradesmen with customers in need of goods and services in a secure environment, revealing that the Ministry had commenced partnership with different stakeholders to actualize the initiative.

She said under the tradesmen and artisans capacity building scheme, a total of 1,000 were retrained in 2017 to enhance their efficiency, competitiveness and productivity, while 40 members of Lagos State House Painter Association were trained and engaged by Kansai Plascon Nigeria, as well as 50 others were trained in partnership with Ruff n Tumble under the sustainable development programme.

Besides, she said in recognition of the opportunities in emergence of new technologies especially in addressing the needs of the society to attain sustainable growth and development, the government came up with the concept of developing an ICT hub in Yaba, saying the project would be delivered in partnership with other critical stakeholders.

Also, the Commissioner said the government would soon launch health SMEs to facilitate quality improvement in both public and private sector health facilities through provision of financial support with the support of private sector organizations with the aim of creating wealth and employment.

The State Government, the Commissioner said, also introduced graduate internship programme through the Ministry where a total of 1800 candidates were screened in 2017 out of which 910 were deployed to various private organizations with the view to creating a network contact between the off-takers and the interns.