Lagos empowers 2,613 women entrepreneurs with N2.1b
GOVERNORS Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Seriaki Dickson (Bayelsa) and Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) have hailed the contributions of women to the society and nation-building.
They spoke at the opening of the 17th National Women Conference organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) in Lagos with the theme: “She creates, she transforms”.
The governors took turns to celebrate the doggedness, dexterity and creativity of women and their notable contributions towards building a better society.
He said: “Our women are constantly creative; making something out of nothing. Creativity has become very essential to succeed in today’s world because we face new challenges everyday – at home and at work. As the woman creates and transforms, she positively impacts the family, the workplace and the nation.
“With the female population in our country today, it is clear that our women have the capacity to positively affect the Nigerian economy and are already doing so.”
He was optimistic that the conference, aside celebrating the resilient and dynamic nature of women under diverse situations, would go a long way to unleash the creative and transformative energies of more women.
Ambode, who restated his administration’s commitment to supporting female entrepreneurs, added that as at September 2017, no fewer than 2,613 female entrepreneurs, who run Medium and Small Scale businesses have been funded through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to the tune of N2.1 billion, assuring that more would be given before the end of the year.
The governor congratulated the first female mechanic, Sandra Aguebor, who was presented with the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award, saying she had dared to succeed in a career many see as a sole reserve for men.
Emmanuel, who was guest of honour, lauded COWLSO Chairman and Lagos State Governor’s wife Mrs. Bolanle Ambode for sustaining and improving the COWLSO conference, which started 17 years ago.
The governor said there was need for women as liberator of the world to be appreciated by every man for their contributions to growth at all times.
On the theme of this year’s conference, Emmanuel urged women to live their lives by creating and transforming people and things around them without minding the shortcomings, adding that it was important for them to keep hope alive.
Also, Dickson said the role of women in transforming life could not be under-estimated, saying that it was imperative for women to always be appreciated and celebrated.
Dickson and Obaseki hailed Lagos State for the initiative, saying that they would replicate same in their states for the benefit of women.
On his part, Fayose said life without women would be full of crises, saying that it was important for women to be given opportunity to be in the drivers’ seat in the country.
In her welcome address, Mrs. Ambode urged women to speak up against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation, saying that the campaign must start from the home-front, churches, mosques, offices and the communities.
Mrs. Ambode said: “Female genital mutilation is evil, it is wicked, it is anti-social and unjustifiable. In fact, it is a crime against women. We must devote time for enlightenment and awareness, especially among uneducated mothers. We must stand together against it, until the practice is totally eradicated in our country and the world.”
She urged woman to resist the temptation of pursuing economic empowerment at the expense of taking good care and paying attention to their children, stressing that children who do not enjoy parental care, easily grow to become potentially dangerous youths and threatening the peace of the society.
“The rising trend of leaving the girl-child entirely in the care of housemaids, neighbours or strangers in pursuit of income or for flimsy reasons, should be discouraged.
“We must desist from and discourage child-labour, child-abuse and fight child trafficking with all our strength. We owe it a duty to give good parenting to our children and indeed all other children put in our care. We must give them hope and allow them see the positive side of life, as a way of bringing back good morals and societal stability,” Mrs. Ambode said.
In her keynote address, the Vice President’s wife Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo urged women to work hard to transform their children and wards into greatness and create a safe and secured society by inculcating the right virtues in their children.
She particularly urged the womenfolk to draw inspiration from women who had performed creditably well in their chosen profession, and endeavour to leave their footprints on the sands of time.
Mrs. Osinbajo said women must speak up against rape and all forms of abuse against women and children, and also speak in defence of the downtrodden and less-privileged in the society.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of the Inspirational Woman Award Mrs. Aguebor by Mrs. Osinbajo and the unveiling and beautiful rendition of the COWLSO anthem.