The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has donated N200 million to the Foundation for Wives of Ondo State Officials and Female Political Appointees.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that, Wike, who was represented by Rivers Head of Service, Rufus Godwin, made the donation at the fourth summit of FOWOSO in Akure, on Wednesday, themed: “Bridging the Gender Gap in the Political Arena: A Case for Nigerian Women.”
The Rivers state governor commended the initiative of the Ondo state governor’s wife, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, which he described as life-changing.
In her address, the governor’s wife said that if women were given adequate spaces in all sectors of human endeavour to function, there would be a better world.
She explained that she was very proud of the grounds already covered by FOWOSO, saying that there are more grounds to cover through collective efforts in elevating the status of women.
She said, “You will recall that FOWOSO was founded on this day in December 2017, as a potent platform for elevating the socio-economic status of women as opposed to the absurd style of engaging the women in tokenism and hiring them as hailers to launder men’s ego.
“We found the courage of conviction, ab initio, that women deserve better, chose this route against all odds and have since kept faith.
“Five years down the lane, I am proud to announce that we have steadily progressed and there is no looking back.
“We have put our hands on the plough with amazing results.
“They are no less evident in the number of women whose lives have been transformed through this noble initiative.
“The last one year has in every way been eventful and laudable.
“The association played strategic roles in growing the status of women in the state. It participated in organising the 2022 Bemore Summer Boot Camp and left alluring imprint.
“Its members are now zestful advocates against breast and cervical cancer as visibly demonstrated in partnership with the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), particularly during the pink October.
“This is one project that is demonstrating to the country and the world at large that women are capable of rare accomplishments.
“It is to the credit of this robust organisation that it championed the premier edition of Ondo State Skill Acquisition and Empowerment Programme (OSSA-EP) and, at once, brought forth both sterling results and consummate template for a programme that was supposedly a guinea pig.
“The graduation ceremony of the first set of beneficiaries of this incredible initiative was an emphatic seal of competence on FOWOSO.
“Even now, members of this association have been on to the 16 days of activism against sexual and Gender-based Violence, while exerting raw energies through rigorous and vociferous campaign.
“It is interesting to note that this year’s summit falls within the spectacular season of activism, hence we advocate even as we celebrate, and take honest stock of our strides.
“We 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 46 years of statehood.
“All these are a quick run of the achievements Ondo State women have wrought through this ingenious platform, and they, altogether justify the theme of the summit, ‘Bridging the Gender Gap in Political Arena: A case of Nigerian Women.’
“The astounding scorecard of FOWOSO speaks loudly and convincingly to the urgent need to bridge the gender gap in Nigeria’s political space.
“To resist women’s equitable participation in politics and leadership even in the face of these successes is to encourage the proverbial ill wind that blows nobody any good.”
Anyanwu-Akeredolu also stated that FOWOSO had laid the foundation of a multi-million naira centre as a stupendous legacy project that would, upon completion, provide shelter for vulnerable women and girls, including victims of Sexual and Gender-Based violence in the state.
According to her, the movement has succeeded in getting the government sign into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition and fought gender violations in the state to the extent that the offence is now dreaded as against offenders being a threat to women and girls.
Also present at the event was the Ondo state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who appreciated the FOWOSO’s founder for her passion for womanhood, describing it as second to none.
Represented by his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, Akeredolu said that Anyanwu-Akeredolu’s contributions would be indelible in the hearts of people of the state.
According to him, the various programmes and initiatives of his wife have unlocked great potentials of women and girls in the state and beyond.
The governor promised to continue to advance the course of women and the girl-child in the state, asking women electorate to cast their votes massively for the All Progressives Congress in 2023 general elections.