As the second summit of the Foundation for Wives of Ondo State Officials, FOWOSO, commences today, the wife of the state governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has expressed the commitment of the foundation not to relent until women were accorded much respect as their male counterparts.
Mrs. Akeredolu who launched the Foundation on 7th December, 2017, noted that FOWOSO’s aim was to seek a society where continuous development is achieved and sustained.
She affirmed that they were proud of the successses recorded by the foundation in terms of socio-economic empowerment of Ondo women across the 18 local government areas of the state.
“We have been able to train at least 1800 women (an average of 100 per LGA) on ready-to-use skills with high economic value such as shoe making, fashion design, make up, soap making, bags and bead making, catering and confectioneries and many more.
” We did not stop there, all graduates from the FOWOSO skill acquisition class received start-up kits which enabled them to immediately begin to earn money from their newly acquired skills”, she said.
The FOWOSO founder emphasised the need for high level of women literacy, noting that the identified successful nations invested significantly in human resources without gender disparity.
She attributed the reason for low income status of Nigeria to low ration of female education, saying that ‘one more educated woman leads to much more national income’.
“Let me make it emphatically clear today, it is of no one’s benefit to suppress the abilities of women by denying them quality education, marrying them off against their will and silencing their mouth when they want to speak.
“FOWOSO has the ideology that everyone must be allowed to express theirselves without preference to any particular gender. As I have said before and continue to say, we should not expect any form of development if women, who make up more than half of the entire population are restricted to kitchen duties and child rearing only and are then expected to, like serfs, totally depend on their husbands for every need.
“It is simple, a high dependency ratio automatically results to stalled development”, Mrs. Akeredolu said.
The wife of the governor who has initiated more than five life-changing programmes for the development and empowerment of women and children, however commended FOWOSO members for being part of the success stories.
In her opening remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, also stressed the need for every woman to be accorded the greatest respect.
Commenting on the theme of the summit ‘Prioritising Women’s Health & Wellbeing in Nigeria’, Adelabu, a former deputy governor of Ekiti State condemned the high rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria, stating that women must have access to good health care in order to have a healthy family and by extension, good society.
Earlier, the Chairman of the 2019 FOWOSO Summit, Mrs. Mercy Femi-Idris had noted that the foundation was aimed at empowering and grooming female folks so that they can actively participate in decision making, both at home and in the public.
She noted that since FOWOSO took its empowerment train to all the local government areas of the state, much positive changes have taken place in the overall well-being of women.
The opening ceremony of the summit features symposium and presentation of cash gifts to the winners of the Crawlers race competition.
No fewer than five lectures were delivered during the symposium which was facilitated by Prof. Helen Ogunsuyi on breast cancer, women’s hygiene, good food for good health, healthy living through exercise, and female genital mutilation.
Dignitaries at the event included the state governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, the deputy governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, wives of the Ekiti State governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Osun State Governor, Alhaja Kafayat Oyetola, State Commissioners, wives of government officials from other states, among others.