Nigerian women have been charged not to get intimidated and discouraged but tenaciously participate in political activities and nation-building.
The charge was given by participants at the second Education First Series (EFS) workshop organized by the Women in Nation Building, WINB Africa, held at the Alliance Francaise, Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The WINB AFRICA EFS, which was well attended by women from different backgrounds, focused on three different pulse points namely; Financial and Digital Inclusion as Key Drivers for Expanding Female Entrepreneurial Growth and Independence; Engaging Communities, Feminine and Advocacy Groups, Financial and Political Organizations for Feminine Entrepreneurial Success as well as Activism in Feminine Gender Coalitions: The Place of Financial Power and Education.
Speaking on the topic titled ‘Celebrating A Nation Builder’s Legacies’, Dr Jamila Bio Ibrahim, Special Adviser to the Executive Governor of Kwara State on Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) who was the Special Guest of Honour, said active participation of women in politics and governance would help secure visibilities for female politicians and decision-makers as they would not only be able to draw attention to issues affecting them but put in place policies that will favour the women folks.
She expressed optimism that women’s active engagement in political activities would help them develop and express their opinion in society as well as be able to take part in making decisions that affect their lives.
“Women’s active participation in politics, especially at the local level will promote inclusive representatives of leadership, promote women in leadership and decision-making at all levels,” Dr Ibrahim submitted.
Speaking on the challenges faced by women who are already in politics, Dr Ibrahim encouraged them always to be strong-minded and developed well-formed minds to avoid being discouraged due to intimidation by men in society.
“The place of financial power and education cannot be overemphasized. While knowledge is the primary ingredient, economic power is the catalyst for women’s development and empowerment, women must constantly seek more knowledge and know whom we are.
“We must seek the knowledge of self, which is a holistic knowledge by not just pursuing academic and technical knowledge, but we must also seek spiritual and religious knowledge, because as women if we are well-rounded as individuals, we hardly get pushed around. We might get called names in an attempt to break our spirit, because we refuse to be pushovers, this is where a thick skin comes in here handy. Do not allow your spirit to be broken. Go ahead, push on and you would achieve it,” she submitted.
Also speaking, the Chairman and keynote speaker at the event, Barrister Mike Dada, urged women to always encourage one another not to give up regardless of the challenges they face, as he noted that problems are part of everyday life, and individuals only need to fathom out how to confront and defeat them.
Dada, who is also the Managing Director, PRM Africa Marketing and Communications, added that “We can’t talk about nation-building without talking about women. Women are very powerful but many of them don’t realise the power they have; however, we must continue to fight for more spaces and opportunities for women, we must not keep quiet.”
Speaking earlier, Dr Bukola Bello Jaiyesimi, the founder of African Women in Nation Building, in her welcome address, noted that WINB Africa was founded in 2014 as a pan-African women’s organization with the sole aim of bringing consciousness to women’s role in nation building in Africa.
Dr Jaiyesimi said the WINB Africa was deliberately created by her and four other women from four other African countries as a result of a noticeable gap in nation-building. According to her, “While women are seen as foremost nation builders worldwide, surprisingly, many women are being seen taking the back seat in nation building, apparently as a result. I saw the gap and was very determined to bridge the gap.”
She said while women are the foremost nation builders in the world as they start from family units with different daily tasks, that position must not be relegated by anyone, community, institution or government.
A strong advocate for women’s role in development and nation-building, Dr Jaiyesimi expressed her belief in the fact that there is a need for more women to be involved in business, trade, governance and other sectors of the African economy.
“Good governance has been on the rise in the nations of Africa, as the continent now witnesses women taking on roles as president of nations, corporate and business leaders, where jobs and opportunities are created. There are a lot of untapped opportunities for the reinvention of social emancipation in Africa as decision-makers could work closely with non-governmental organisations in the nation-building process. There is a need for more women to be involved in business, trade, governance and other sectors of the African economy. In addition, women organisations can also be catalysts for development in Africa.”
“With this deliberate creation of the NGO, we started launching different projects such as Education First Series, because women need to be educated. We engage in topics that are brought on the front burner. Another project we hold dearly in our heart is the orphanage project where we teach the orphans what education means,” she added.
“We provide food, clothing and comfort for them, so we can bridge the gap that is created by that sector that could be a threat to you and me in the future. Another project is the WIMB Africa Business Roundtable, a monthly programme where we focus on different sectors. WIMB Africa Project Sapphire, where we help young women to get into male-dominated sectors in partnership with universities and colleges all over the world. WIMB Africa Project Back To School where we ensure that we reduce drastically the number of out-of-school children. Also, we have Project WIMB Africa Food Bank where we ensure that vulnerable people are fed.
“I want to see women scale new heights. Women are dynamic, able to multi-task and innovative. With the energy and dynamism that women have been endowed with, their role in nation-building cannot be undermined but amplified and supported by all,” she said.