By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
Kwara residents seem to be ready to savour the axiom “Women are the salt of the earth” with the recent decision of the state governor, Mallam Abdurahaman Abdulrazaq to appoint nine women commissioners out of 16 from across the local government areas of the state with whom he would pilot the affairs of the state.
The governor’s act generated accolades from home and abroad and some Kwara professional bodies expressing satisfaction on the development, praising the Governor’s appointment of credible women.
The women commissioners designate are Harriet Adenike Afolabi-Oshatimejin( Ifelodun), Sa’adatu Modibo Kawu (Ilorin South), Aremu Abosede Deborah (Irepodun) and Aisha Ahman Patigi.
Others are Oyeyemi Olasunbo Florence (Oke-Ero), Ahmed Fatima Bisola (Ilorin West), Oyedun Juliana Funke (Isin), Joanna Nnazua Kolo (Edu) and Arinola Fatima Lawal (Ilorin East).
Speaking with WESTERN POST, the chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists,(NAWOJ) Kwara state, Mrs. Ayobola Olupinla said the governor has taken the right step in a right direction and urged the commissioners designate to hit the ground running once assigned portfolios.
According to her, “I want to urge them to be up and doing when they get various positions. They should make sure they serve very well and serve diligently, be on top of their jobs.
“They should make room for various women programmes, especially women and children. The vulnerable women, they should be there to stand for women.”
Olupinala urged them to ensure women are taken to the next level especially those in the grass root and ensure they work with various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to empower women.
“Once again, I want to wish them well and urge them to ensure they represent us well,” she said.
Reacting also, Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kwara state, Hajia Salmat Muhammad commended the governor’s decision and enjoined the commissioners designate to prove the governor right in their discharge of duties.
According to her, “All I have to say is to thank our energetic, hardworking and intelligent Governor for deeming it necessary to have in his cabinet for the first time in the state larger number of women and of middle ages.
“We appreciate & thank him. To the commissioner designate, they should strive hard by proving the Governor right that he has not appointed wrong people.
“At the same time use their intelligence, experience and other lawful means to move the state forward.”
She urged them not to be enemies of one another. Work as a team, be accessible, simple, honest, tolerant and ready to sacrifice their time and energy.
Muhammad advised the commissioners designate to support the state government in fighting corruption
From her own perspective, President, Medical Women Association of Nigeria,(MWAN) Kwara State Branch, Dr. Idayat Durotoye expressed satisfaction on the development.
She said since the inception of Kwara State, a corporate state in 1967, women, particularly in Kwara State, have never seemed to enjoy such political privileges and rights.
She urged other State governors counterpart and leaders to emulate Gov. AbdulRazaq style of leadership and demonstrate their commitment to fast track the development of their states by mainstreaming gender in their administration.
She admonished the commissioners designates to see their appointment as an opportunity to serve the people of Kwara State, not personal interest, deliver good governance and come up with policies and innovative ideas that will fast track development in the state.
According to her, “We are satisfied with the recent appointment of nine women commissioners designate by Kwara state Governor, AbdulRazaq, whom have not only demonstrated that political will to protect women’s rights but also to advance gender equality in political leadership in the State.
“Since the inception of Kwara State a corporate state in 1967, women, particularly in Kwara State, have never seemed to enjoy such political privileges and rights.
“The law/legislation disfavor the women from participating in the political affairs of the State, which made me conclude that the political landscape particularly Kwara State is quite unfair to women.
“In return, Almighty God had to bless the people of Kwara State with an amazing and visionary Leader who did not only saw the importance of women in nation-building but also saw the need to strike gender balance.
“This has really proved the fact that women’s expertise and experiences are prerequisites for any State who want to achieve the required and desired development.
“While commending the efforts of the executive governor of Kwara, I also urge other State governor’s counterpart and leaders to emulate Governor AbdulRazaq style of leadership and demonstrate their commitment to fast track the development of their states by mainstreaming gender in their administration.
“This is no doubt an historical moment for me, women and people of Kwara State. I congratulate the female commissioners designate and urge them to continue in striving for excellence in all endeavors particular in the delivery of their assignment if finally when given portfolios.
“They should see this as an opportunity to serve the people of Kwara-State, not personal interest, deliver good governance and come up with policies and innovative ideas that will fast track development in the state.
“I want to encourage our visionary governor for what he has started. He should be rest assured that the Nigerian women in their entirety are with him and we will render the support he needs to achieve his aim,” she said.
In the same vein, the Chairperson,
Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria,(APWEN),Ilorin chapter Engr.Abiodun Ibrahim said her heart was filled with a great joy laced with positive aspirations to the women in Kwara state and Nigeria at large on the recent gesture of the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrazaq to increase women participation in governance.
She said having created a history of 56.25per cent women in a State Executive Council veraciously; he is the all-time record-breaker in this State since creation.
She said she believe this is a way to encourage the training of a girl child and an assurance of a fulfilled life.
“It is an opportunity for women to serve, be a part of decision making in the State and contribute to the national development”.
“They say ” to whom much is given, much is expected” I’d like to say this to the Commissioners designate that they should be focused and put all resources into governance in order to leave a good legacy that would allow for consolidation of this rear privilege in the future.
“On behalf of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), I sincerely appreciate the government of Alhaji Abdulraman Abdulrazaq for the in-depth demonstration of gender parity and we assure him that the women folks will not stop on a dime to building the Kwara above the comfort for all,” she pledged.
Also, the Chairperson, Women and Child Watch initiatives Dr. Biola Adimula said the appointment of nine women out of 16 as Hon. Commissioners is first of its kind in the Executive Council of Kwara State, stressinf that, it’s in huge compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 of the year 2000 on the involvement of women in political participation.
She, however, said the act was possibly compensation for the absence of women in the elective positions in Kwara state- House of Assembly, House of Representatives and the Senate.
The said Kwara State in the past administrations has built up a good standard of highly intellectual women in leadership positions.
“I hope and pray that my sisters who God has elevated to this high position, will be blessed with wisdom and divine direction for impactful achievements, that will make the womenfolk proud and serve as a credit to the good disposition of the Executive Governor of Kwara State for this largesse, extended to women in Kwara state, to take the State to greater heights toward national development,” she explained.