Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has advised women in Nigeria to take advantage of their numerical strength and vie for elective positions.
Noting that election is a game of numbers, Prince Abiodun gave the advice when he received members of the Ajose Foundation, led by the First Lady, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, who were in his office to mark the final day of the 16-day Activitism Against Gender Based Violence.
He urged them not to allow themselves to be relegated to the background as they could easily win elections in the country with their numbers.
“I want to urge you to begin to be part of the process, however, what I will also encourage you to do is to ensure that our women do not allow themselves to be pushed back.
“Express your desire to contest these positions and knowing fully well that you have the numbers, if you contest those positions and you campaign to your constituency, you definitely win.
“And you know our men just don’t think that way, it doesn’t occur to them unless you ensure that you push them, cajole them and you persuade them, then they will remember that indeed women can occupy those positions and women are not just to be used when we are looking for them to line to vote.
“Let us ensure that we participate as much as the men and do not wait for the positions be handed over to us, we also have, I think for the first time in the history of the state, a woman party Chairman, it was a very tough local government, which is Abeokuta North, so we are ensuring that women occupy their pride of place in governance and party politics and we will continue to support them”, the governor said.
The governor pointed out that Ogun is the only South West state with a female Deputy Governor and one of the few in southern Nigeria, adding that in its inclusive policy, women have been appointed into the State Cabinet, while two women and more were elected as Chairmen and Vice Chairmen in the last local government elections in the State.
“You will observe that as a state, we have been proactive, responsive to issues that affect women and to ensuring that we place women in different parts of our administration”, he noted.
While condemning violence in its entirety, Governor Abiodun noted that the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act has been domesticated in the State, Child’s Right Protection Law has also been passed by the State Assembly as well as the commissioning of the Sexual Assault Referral Center (Ike-Oba) in Sagamu, as part of the administration’s support for worldwide campaign against gendered based violence.
Also speaking, wife of the governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, said women are against violence in any form, while noting that just as the girl child and women should be protected, the boy child and men should also be protected as members of the society as they also suffer one violence or the other.
Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Funmi Efuape, in her remarks, appreciated the State Government for its continued support to issues that relate to women development, however called for increase in women appointment into political positions, saying this would allow their voices to be heard.
A woman activist, Dr. Mojisola Akinsanya, stressed the need to address poverty among the downtrodden as a way of reducing violence in the society, while also soliciting for more female participation in governance through election into the House of Assembly and appointments into the State Executive Council.