The First Lady of Ondo State, Arabinrin Betty-Anyanwu Akeredolu has again called for the right strategy that would make the ‘More Gele’ desire achievable in Nigeria political arena.
Arabinrin Akeredolu who spoke on how to have more GELE (Metaphorically More Women) on the corridor of power in Nigeria, emphasised the need for educated women like her to come to the drawing board and strategise on how Women can secure reasonable seats in the national and state Assemblies, including local government administrators.
She spoke at the ongoing Vanguard International Women’s day Conference with the theme: “#choosetochallenge: Nigerian Women and Post-COVID Resilience”, where she participated virtually.
Ondo First Lady, a gender activist to the core, affirmed that the level of marginalisation and subjugation Nigerian women are experiencing had denied them access to so many socio-economic interventions that are capable of impacting their lives positively.
Arabinrin Akeredolu, who was nick-named DIGITAL MAMA due to her passion for digitalisation, asserted that many women had no clue of the various support programmes by the Central Bank of Nigeria and other national and international Organisations, attributing this setback to lack of technological know-how to access such opportunities.
She hinted that as part of efforts to achieve the ‘More Gele’ desire in Ondo State, she devised a strategy to reach out to the younger girls by encouraging them to key in to digital world through the BEMORE initiative, and by also organising google business training for women.
She said: “With the recognition that our women have been marginalized, for too long subjugated due to no fault of theirs but the society at large; to change the narrative we have to reach out to the younger generations and let them realize that they do matter. And the process begins with information, making them key in to what is happening around them.
We have shown our young girls in JSS 1-3 that they can key into the Digital world”.
The Ondo First Lady, therefore, advocated strong political will to make the desire for more women at the decision table a reality beyond mere slogan of ‘More Gele’, saying “We mean business”.
Commenting on how the state responded to the increased rate of domestic violence during the COVID-19 lockdown which subjected many families to financial constraints, Mrs Akeredolu hinted that she was able to establish Sexual and Gender-Based Violence centre where cases were attended to.
Lamenting the level of domestic violence many women suffered during the COVID-19 lockdown, Mrs Akeredolu said:
“The pandemic has further proved that the Nigeria socio-political system is unfavourable to the welfare and protection of women and girls. We are currently sailing on troubled waters and the captains of the ship seem to have taken their hands off the wheel. It is about time we took decisive actions for a gender-balanced world, a gender-balanced nation. If we don’t, nothing will change. Our women continue to bear the brunt of the covid-19 pandemic and this should steer us up for action.
“We must work to be on the decision making table in order to ensure our women are protected. We must invest to build the capacity of our girls, broaden their intellectualism, give them that inner strength; that self-esteem; that self-worth that gives them the strong conviction that they are in no way the lesser version of men. When our girls are educated, the female folk will be protected and the nation will experience good development”, she said.
Other speakers at the event included the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Dame Tallen, among others.
Special Assistant, Media