4TH FOWOSO SUMMIT 2022.
By Olusegun Adeyemi HOSEA.
The 4th Foundation for wives of Ondo State officers (FOWOSO) summit for 2022 came up at the International Cultural and event Centre ,-(The Dome). The programme was part of the activities of the office of the first lady, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu -Akeredolu, wife of the Governor ,Ondo State. The Chairman organising Committee, Princess Dora Kayode Arowoloye welcomed the guests from far and near ro this year fouth edition of the FOWOSO summit. She said the programme was organised in order to eradicate the factors that is limiting the women in forging ahead in the realm of the political arena. Her words” The theme of this summit was carefully selected to discuss the limiting factors, the monumental challenges and the preponderance of failed attempts by Nigerian women who vie for elective positions at nearly all levels of contest . She said women are not competing with the menfolks .t She said what they are asking for was a level of play ground that would let them showcase their complementary ability in politics. Her words” Let me categorically and clearly say that we Women are not seeking to compete with the menfolks, all we ask for is a level playing ground that is tilted slightly to give us the opportunity to showcase our complementary abilities in politics and other fields of endeavour, because let’s face it, we have the numbers but you have the money and politics require money”.
In the word of her Excellency, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, said FOWOSO was founded in December, 2017 as a potent platform for elevating the socioeconomic status of women as opposed to the absurd style of engaging the women in tokenism and hiring them as hailer to Lauder men’s ego .We found the courage of conviction, abinitio, that women deserve better ,chose this route against all odds and have since kept faith”.
In another, development, the Governor’s wife also used the forum to highlight some of the achievement recorded by the foundation ever since inception which includes advocacy against sexual and Gender- based violence in the society, growing of the status of women in the state., organising the 2022 Bemore Summer Boot Camp and left alluring imprint. Other activities of the members of the association are advocates against breast and cervical cancer as visibly demonstrated in partnership with the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN).
Other achievement as recorded by the foundation was her effort in ensuring that the government signed into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill, of which they have frontly fought gender violations in the state to the extent that the offence is now dreaded as against offenders being a threat to our women and girls. She also said they have improved the number of women in appointive and elective positions and made history to have gotten the first female Secretary to the State Government in the 46th years of statehood.
In another development, the keynote Speaker, Chief Mrs Bamidele Ademola -Olateju ,( the Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation )spoke on the Theme: Bridging the Gender Gap in the Political Arena: A case of Nigeria. Said it’s better to look into our Political economy if we want to understand our predicament. Her words,” To understand our predicament, we have to look into our political economy. Politics in Nigeria is non-ideological , and monetized through the weaponisation of poverty, epitomized by vote buying and acts that disenfranchises women. These are facts that puts women at a disadvantage. Economically, we are already disadvantaged. We do not have access to large caches of cash ,like men.” Mrs Bamidele who believes that the two problems that are preventing women from becoming force in politics must be removed. She said women must examine their contributions to failure in the Political Arena. She said they failed because they do not build power from the bottom up . She said women build power from top to bottom. According to her, power must be organic to be sustained. No solid structural, foundation are ever built from the top. Politics is about numbers and having a base . Mathematically, numbers have base, and base are building blocks . Men build their base through out their life.”.
Bamidele, who advised women on how to build political power for themselves, said old friends from the primary, secondary and tertiary Institutions needs to be remembered if they women want to build their political power in order for them to progress, growth and developed . She also called for Gender Parity Law which is to emulate the all -female reservation of seats as it’s been practiced in the United Kingdom,, Senegal and Rwanda . She said affirmative action must start from the Ward Level up. She believes that posts sharing must produce more female Secretaries, legal advisers and many more, from the Ward level to the National level.
Other speaker include His Excellency, Barr . Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, CON, Governor of River State , who was represented by the Head of the Service of his state, Mr Rufus Godwin. He said he was delighted to be part of this year FOWOSO summit. He said only 7% of women in Nigeria were given opportunities in the governance of which he believed that the statistics was so poor in deed. He said women constituted less than 10% in the National Assembly and said the Gender balance in Nigeria was still a long way to bridge . He called upon the women to mobilised their votes for their candidates in the general election and by so doing , according to him the women would bridge the gap in the political arenal in the country. Mr Godwin said his Governor asked him to donate the sum of 200 Million naira to support the programme..
The state governor , Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo AKEREDOLU SAN, ably represented by his Deputy Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa thanked the participants for finding time out of their tight schedule for gracing the occasion. He said the Government appreciated the effort of her Excellency Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu for her visionary leadership steps in ensuring that the women in the state are given recognisation in the society through her foundation . He louded the activities of the FOWOSO in the area of the economic development for the women and the girl child . He however, encouraged the women to always participated in the politics in order to developed themselves and at the same time contribute their own quota to the development of the society at large.