Sirleaf, Abdulrazaq seek legal inclusion of women in governance

From Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin


Inclusion of gender in governance requires institutional and legal  reforms,  argued  panelists at the first Kwara  State conference on gender  issues.

The virtual conference was attended by former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Amina  Mohammed; Minister of Women  Affairs Pauline Tallen; World Bank representatives; ECOWAS Parliament; and Chair of the Forum of Nigerian  First Ladies, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; First Lady of Kwara and Secretary of the First Ladies Forum,  Olufolake AbdulRazaq; the First Lady of Sokoto State,  Mairo Tambuwal; Dangote Foundation  among others.

The event was organised by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Dr. Jamila Bio-Ibrahim.

In his remarks at the conference, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq  noted that gender inclusion is key to faster growth that leaves no one behind.

“We set out to offer a strong platform to state and non-state actors alike to discuss domestic,  bilateral and multilateral strategies to increase women’s participation in our societies. True to that, we are joined at this conference by some of the strongest voices in the clamour for better opportunities for women in Africa.

“Kwara State is actively taking the lead in the campaign for gender inclusion because we are convinced that a society works better and grows faster when no one is denied equal opportunities to succeed. And we have no regret pursuing this noble cause,” he said.

He said the state has also invested a lot in the economic empowerment of women especially through its social investment programmes which  prioritise  indigent women, and commended the Dangote Foundation and the Central Bank of Nigeria for the recent support that targeted women.

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Former Liberian leader,  Sirleaf,  said advocacy for women  empowerment should include reforms at various levels, a view shared by World Bank Country Representative for Liberia Khwima Nthara,  who said institutions need to undergo reforms to promote gender inclusion and women  empowerment.

Sirleaf called AbdulRazaq a regional leader in promotion of gender inclusion and said other leaders should emulate him.

Tallen, for her part, said the federal government is also putting in place various mechanisms, including striking partnerships with key institutions like the National Assembly to boost women empowerment.

“I just returned from tour of some states and in my conversations, I made reference to what the Governor of Kwara State has done by having more gender based cabinet and that has yielded better results,” she said.

Nthara said the world bank is supporting countries and subnational entities with agenda for girls to have access to good education and reproductive health services.

“The world bank rather is supporting legislative and institutional frameworks that are promoting gender equality and women in empowerment,” he said.

Fayemi, however, called for the strengthening of the political and legal frameworks for protecting women, hailing the unprecedented political will  displayed by AbdulRazaq.


She noted that only legal and political frameworks would herald sustainable gender inclusion, urging sub-national governments to also domesticate the national gender policy.

Meanwhile, Governor AbdulRazaq has said that his  administration will soon launch the state agriculture transformation  master plan.

The aim, he said, is to encourage the young and old to embrace the practice of agriculture in the state.

He said this in Ilorin, the state capital, at a-two day fishery and poultry empowerment scheme organised by the Ilorin Anchor Men and Women Initiative for Ilorin youths.

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Represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural  Development,  Muritala Olarewaju,  the governor said that his  administration “ holds agriculture in high esteem especially poultry and fishery.

“For the first time in the history of the state, the state government  will soon unveil its agriculture t ransformation master plan. After that the agricultural  sector will be revolutionized in the state.”

President of the initiative,  Olufadi Bayo, an engineer, said that the programme was conceived to support the various initiatives of the state government towards the socio-economic development of the state as well as the well-being of indigenes of the Ilorin emirate.

Bayo added, that, ”It is hoped that at the end of the two phase-programme that the graduands would be in a position to complement the state government’s efforts in the area of job creation, poverty  alleviation and constructive engagement of greater number of youths in the emirate and the state.

“The programme is designed to commence with five days extensive theoretical training with complimentary case-study to be followed up with a four-month practical training and orientation on the field.”

Also, Chairman of the empowerment training programme, Babatunde Salami,  said the empowerment is to make the youths self-reliant.

“We noticed that some of our youths are interested in working and In most cases, there is nothing for them to do. This is what spurred us to provide them with some basic training on fishing and poultry farming.

“With a start-up capital of N50,000, some of them can become major suppliers of fish and poultry products. We don’t need more than N30,000 to start selling fish in certain area of Ilorin metropolis,” Salami added.

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