By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has affirmed of running a gender-friendly administration, in which qualified women have been appointed into key positions in the State.
Abiodun stated this at a meeting with the representatives of More Women Coalition Group, led by , Dr Abiola Afolabi, who protested the Governor’s list of Commissioner nominees, saying his administration would not ignore the immense contributions of women to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and the State in particular.
Justifying the composition of his government to the group, Abiodun said, a number of women had been appointed as Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Consultants, just as his deputy and the State Head of Service are women.
He stressed the need to be guided by facts when making demands, saying, “I think in doing advocacy and offering representation to womenfolk, we should try and get the facts and be guided by facts. I believe that if we look at the totality of women we have and the number we will still have, I am sure we have not less than 40 percent representation.
“They were not appointed because people forced them on us, but because they know their onions and we are giving them that respect as well. I have an array of proven women, who are cabinet ranking appointees, eminently qualified and can stand shoulder to shoulder with any man because they know what they are doing”, the Governor noted.
Speaking on the appointment of the incumbent Head of Service, Abiodun said, “We decided that Mrs. Amope Chokor, a Town Planner, with her antecedents should step into the shoes. I can assure you that she did not have a clue that she was going to be appointed, she did not lobby and nobody lobbied for her. ’’
Abiodun said he was the only one with a woman as his deputy in the whole Southern Nigeria, adding that his insistence for a woman started during his nomination as the party flag bearer, an indication that he was gender-sensitive.
While reiterating the inclusive and participatory policy of his administration, he acknowledged citizens’ right to protest after obtaining the necessary permit from the relevant authority, appealing to individuals and groups to follow the normal channel of communication and dialogue with government, rather than engaging in protest.
Speaking earlier, leader of the group, Dr. Abiola Afolabi, pointed out that the group was apolitical and the protest was not meant to embarrass the Governor, as it had empowered women through various programmes and advocated inclusion of more women in governance to contribute to the development of the State and country at large.
Afolabi, however, pleaded that 35 per cent or more political offices be reserved for women in conformity with the House Resolution, passed by the State House of Assembly.