The need to fortify women with knowledge and skills that will make them relevant in modern economy tops the agenda of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 9th National Women Conference at the Eko Convention Centre in Victoria Island, the Convener and First Lady of Lagos, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said the Committee would be investing its energy and resources on implementing projects that specifically aim at strengthening the capacity of women and helping them to build resistance against disabilities that may limit their economic potential.
The event with the theme: “Unlearn, Learn and Re-learn: 21st Century Women’s T.H.E.M.E.S Perspectives/Approach”, hosted more than 3,000 women and was graced by the Wife of the President, Dr. Aishat Buhari, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, ex-Lagos First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, Governors of Kwara sand Ogun states, Mr. Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq and Mr. Dapo Abiodun.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the theme of the conference was aimed at imparting knowledge that would engender value re-orientation and equip women with skills that would make them relevant in the State.
The Governor observed that continuous learning and capacity building remained a potent tool to drive social change, stressing that knowledge or mind-set that stood against the growth of the society must be discarded.
“The goal of this conference is to impart knowledge on all the participants and equip them with relevant skills. The knowledge that will enable them contribute effectively to the collective goal of building and delivering the Lagos we all deserve.
“Imparting knowledge is not only about adding new knowledge, which is the learning. It is also about reminding ourselves of old and unchanging truths, which is the re-learning. It is important that we discard ways of thinking that are no longer compatible with current realities. If impracticable knowledge is left unchallenged, it can stand in the way of our ability to imbibe and practise new knowledge. This is the un-learning,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu affirmed that his administration had redefined gender balance in the State with the appointment of 13 women into key decision-making positions in the cabinet. He emphasised on the need to empower women with right skills; and given opportunity to be part of decision makering noting that it would set the State on the course of irreversible growth, economically and socially.
He added that implementation of his government’s six pillars of development, known as Project T.H.E.M.E.S, would not be effective without the support of women, citing waste management as one of the key areas where women would be playing key roles.
In her opening remarks, Lagos First Lady, Dr. Sanwo-Olu, said the theme of the conference was strategically chosen to empower women and continue to play important part as pillars of growth and development economically, politically, socially and in all other areas that matter.
“As women, we must strategically position ourselves to take full benefit of the programmes of government. To unlearn means to do away with habits that are outdated and as well jettison practices that are against public good and public safety.
“In this 21st Century, women must also embrace new ideas and new innovations to be relevant. Women must learn to think outside the box and even go a step further to think without the box, to fit into the modern society,” she said.
She urged women to key into programmes of the State Government in strategic sectors such as Health, Environment, Agriculture, Education, and investment opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Mrs Aisha Buhari urged wives of political office holders to work towards impacting the lives of the less privileged and vulnerable persons in the society.
Represented by wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, the Nigeria’s First Lady said wives of key government functionaries must create people-centered programmes to catalyze social change.
“One of the key tenets of COWLSO is the issue of restoration of values. I wish to call on more members to use the opportunity of this event to share ideas about ensuring that our children grow up morally upright, patriotic and with a sense of responsibility. We have a duty to raise better Nigerians,” she said.