The decision made by the Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to have nine women as members of the state cabinet, has continued to generate lots of positive reactions and commendations.
Yesterday, Tuesday, November 19, Nigerian women gave a standing ovation to the governor, as his administration was announced winner of the 2019 Voice of Women (VOW) Award in the capital city, Abuja.
The award, according to the organisers, was in recognition of AbdulRazaq’s recent nomination of nine women as members of his cabinet and another woman, Mrs. Folashade Omoniyi, as chairperson of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service.
The Kwara State Government won the ‘Government Agency Supporting Women and their Families’ category of the prestigious award at the 4th VOW Conference held at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre Abuja.
AbdulRazaq, who received the award on behalf of the state government, pledged to do more to support the women and girl child and charged women to deliver.
The award organisers cited AbdulRazaq as a “living example of every woman’s aspiration who has done what no other public servant has done for women in Nigeria”.
“We urge development agencies and the international community to support the Governor to further empower women, the girl child and develop Kwara,” said Toun Okewale Sonaiya, Managing Director of Women Radio 91.7, organisers of the 4th VOW conference and awards.
Nigerian First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi got the audience to give the governor a standing ovation for his courage and support to the women and child.
The event, which was attended by various international organisations, First Ladies from across the states and prominent Nigerians, had the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, received the Woman of the Year award in honour of her Future Assured innovative which speaks ups for and empowers women and girl child.
The late Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, who saved many lives during the Nigerian Ebola outbreak, bagged a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award while Allen Onyema, chairman of the Air Peace, got a Lifetime Achievement for evacuating hundreds of Nigerians from South Africa during the recent xenophobic attacks in Pretoria.
The award is the latest in the series of countrywide acknowledgment of AbdulRazaq as a great supporter of women empowerment and gender parity — a key focus of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It would be recalled that the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), recently referred to Kwara State under AbdulRazaq as “role model for other states in Nigeria”.
Ms Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, in a letter to the governor, said the bold and significant decision to appoint nine women into his cabinet, “sets Kwara State apart, as a role model for other states in Nigeria, in upholding regional and globally agreed standards to promote the full and equal participation of women in all political and decision making processes.
“Given the existing global body of evidence demonstrating a correlation between increased participation of women in governance and improved development dividends, I am confident that the strong representation for women in the governance of Kwara will accelerate realisation of the development targets for the state.”
Lamptey said AbdulRazaq’s gesture has won him steady support of the UN Women as he executes developmental projects in Kwara.
Also, Women Affairs and Social Development Minister, Pauline Tallen on Tuesday, Oct. 29, the Kwara State’s gender-friendly cabinet as “a dream come true in fulfilment of the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerian women overtime.”
In a letter to the governor, Pauline said Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has proven to be the most gender-friendly leader so far, calling on other Governors to emulate him.
“I write to congratulate Your Excellency on this outstanding gesture extended to Nigerian women to address the low participation of women in the political landscape in Nigeria through Your Excellency’s appointment of nine women out of the 16 commissioner-nominees in Kwara State. This is by far the highest amongst states that have put in place their cabinet,” Tallen letter read.
Tallen saluted AbdulRazaq’s visionary leadership in giving women the space to contribute their quota to national development, saying the ministry would partner with Kwara to address topical issues affecting women and children in the state.
“Consequently, I write to inform Your Excellency that Nigerian women through my Ministry will confer on you the ‘He-for- She’ Award of Excellence. This award is in recognition of your vision of changing the political landscape for the participation of women in Kwara State and by extension Nigeria,” she added.
Also, an amalgamation of 169 women groups commended Kwara State Governor for nominating nine women as commissioners. This came barely 72 hours after dozens of women associations held a news briefing in the Nigerian capital Abuja to congratulate the Governor for the gesture.
The More Women Group, comprising of at least 169 women bodies across Nigeria, issued a statement at the weekend praising AbdulRazaq for breaking the yoke of poor representation of women and youths in governance in Nigeria.
A statement signed by Dr. Abiola Akiyode Afolabi and Ms Felicia Onibon on behalf of the amalgam said, “This gesture will be recorded in history as the first of its kind in Nigeria. The appointment demonstrates his support for women voices and serves as a recognition of their relevance in the society.”
The More Women Group has long established itself as the voice of women, including female professionals and experts representing different regions, ethnicities, economic, social and political allegiances as well as organisations for youths and persons with disabilities.
The group pointed out that, “Modeling a best practice of this nature is important for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). We therefore applaud the first SHERO Governor for breaking the cycle of women’s exclusion in Nigeria. We applaud the All Progressives Congress (APC) for supporting this development in the state and call on all other state governors to imbibe the culture of equitable representation for better and prosperous governance.”
Also, in a personal letter addressed to the governor, a London-based development advocate and First Class Graduate of Economics, Taibat Hussain Aduragba hailed AbdulRazaq for making Kwara the first in practical commitment to inclusion of women in decision-making process in the country.
Aduragba said AbdulRazaq’s action was a jinx-breaker in the history of the North Central State. She also lauded the governor for earlier nominating Nigeria’s youngest commissioner and for tapping another renowned woman-banker to head the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS).
“I have been in Kwara all my life, and this is the first time, I can recall, where due respect, fairness and relevance is giving to the womenfolk in the administration of our great state of harmony,” according to Aduragba who is currently running her Master’s degree in Development Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.
“This chapter has gone a long way to rectify the imbalance generated during the general elections where men occupied all elective positions in the state, and not just that; it also fulfilled the demand of advocacy groups that 50 per cent of every state’s political appointments be reserved for women.”
She said the nomination gives fillip to Goal 5 (empowering women and girls) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Kwara State, hoping that the step will hasten the realisation of more SDG goals.
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