COVID-19: THE WORLD NEEDS EMPOWERED WOMEN TO SURMOUNT NEW CHALLENGES – SANWO-OLU, OYETOLA

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Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his counterpart in Osun State, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola on Wednesday extoled the virtues of women, saying the world is in need of empowered women who are not afraid to pursue their passion in these interesting times of the global health crisis thrown up by Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 20th Edition of the Annual National Women Conference of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) held virtually, Sanwo-Olu said the pandemic had brought to the fore the need to critically look into empowering women to make impactful contributions to global development.

Attesting to the strength, zeal, and importance of women in the society, Sanwo-Olu said the theme of the conference – “Exploring Possibilities In a New World,” was a strong pointer on the need to play up women empowerment more than ever before.

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“As the world contends with a global health crisis, the time has come for us to critically look into ways in which our women can make more impactful contributions to global development. The world is in need of empowered women who are not afraid to pursue their passion, and fulfill their potential,” the Governor said.

Sanwo-Olu, who specifically made reference to bravery of Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr. (Mrs). Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, urged participants to take advantage of the conference to become better equipped to take their place in the world.

“I want you to be inspired by the life of another Nigerian, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is one of the last two contenders for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization. Her nomination and eventual advancement to the final round of the selection process should tell you that the global stage is ready for Nigerian women, the question is: are you ready to make history by exploring the possibilities in a New World?

“You have a stake in the prosperity of our society. I hope this conference galvanizes you to take action where necessary in order to fulfill your God-given potential. I am convinced that you will courageously continue to play your part in the development of our society while doing all you can to improve your lives and families,” the Governor said.

He added that things would never be the same again with the reality of Covid-19 pandemic, saying that people especially women must come together to rebuild what had been lost to the pandemic, especially in terms of rebuilding the economy.

“We are aware of your innate ability to proactively respond to change. It has become pertinent for you to explore new possibilities, develop new ideas, and accrue skills needed to make meaningful contributions to your society.

“Let me assure you, that we will not relent in respectfully protecting the dignity of our women. We know that our state and country flourish when our women and children flourish. You matter to our continued growth and progress. I encourage you to continue to work with us to build a more prosperous and stable society,” he said.

While commending COWLSO leadership under the Chairmanship of his wife and First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs.) Claudiana Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the Governor said from the agenda listed, it clearly shows that the two-day conference would be an outstanding one.

Also speaking, Oyetola said the theme of the conference was an apt strategy to encourage women to live up to their expectations as the bearers and managers to swiftly mobilise and prepare humanity to find solutions to the challenges that Covid-19 had thrown at mankind and explore opportunities inherent in the new normal.

“As mothers and society builders, women constitute the best vanguard for propagating the strategy and the content of the New Normal to the rest of the society, especially our youths who constitute about 60 percent of our population.

“The best way to help them to perform their roles properly is to equip them with the requisite skills and knowledge in conferences like this,” he said.

On her part, Nigeria’s First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Aisha Buhari represented by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire congratulated COWLSO for hosting another successful conference, just as she urged women to take advantage of the opportunities being provided by the Federal Government through the Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigeria, among others to cushion the effect of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

In her opening remarks, COWLSO Chairman, Dr. (Mrs.) Claudiana Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu said the theme this year was carefully selected in line with the new realities necessitated by the COVID-19 global pandemic, adding: “Our goal is to equip women with the skills and information needed to stay above board in this very interesting times.”

At the event, the “Kaleidoscope of Feminine Ideas and Ideals,” a compilation of papers presented at previous COWLSO conferences from 2013 to 2020, as well as a history book on COWLSO, named “The Rebirth” were presented to the public.

Also, posthumous award of outstanding achievement was given to the late founder of COWLSO, Mrs. Obafunmilayo Johnson, while outstanding achievements awards were equally presented to former COWLSO Chairmen – Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Dame Abimbola Fashola and Mrs Bolanle Ambode.

Also, special recognition awards were presented to COWLSO founding members – Mrs. Yewande Bada and Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin.

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