The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has made a strong case for more roles for women in politics and governance, arguing that a society that doesn’t open up the space for women to contribute to nation building harnesses only half of its potential.
Obaseki made the submission while declaring open the 2018 Annual National Women Conference organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO), with the theme,Strengthening Our Collective Impact, held in Lagos State.
The governor noted that “if only one segment of the society is allowed to actively participate in politics, the society cannot realise its full potential. Our country stands to benefit a lot more when both segments of the society play active role in political development.”
He described the gathering as fantastic and a powerful network with capacity to provide a common ground that connects government and the people.
“The gathering is powerful because it serves as another opportunity for government to reach its people, interact and get a fresh perspective on what is happening around. What you have is a very powerful network and a lot of us from other states are quite envious of what you have done,” he said.
Obaseki maintained that “What is also significant is not just that you get together, and you have conferences but between your conferences, you take time out, gather resources and intervene in society. I have seen your activities particularly in the area of health care and in other areas, affecting the most vulnerable in the society.”
He continued, “You serve as an inspiration to a lot of us. Many states are now copying what you are doing. I recall last year, the governor of Jigawa State did say that as soon as he gets back home, he will ensure that he institutes this sort of initiative. This idea you have incubated in Lagos State has gone places.”
He said he has informed the First Lady of Edo State to begin the process of organising a similar event in Edo State.
Governor Obaseki has at several fora advocated for 40 per cent affirmative action on women participation in politics, putting action to his advocacy by appointing Ms. Efosa Uyigue, as Special Adviser on Gender Issues and 18 other assistants on gender issues, whose roles include coordinating women participation in governance.