Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said, on Thursday, that it was time Nigeria had the first elected female governor to pilot the affairs of a state in the country.
According to Obasanjo, the world was currently witnessing a time where women were taken over the mantle of leadership in several parts of the world, saying Nigeria should not be an exception.
The former president made this remark at the launch of a book, entitled: “Nigerian Women Pioneers and Icons,” written by Professor Bolanle Awe, the first female lecturer in Nigeria, held at the MUSON Centre on Lagos Island, Lagos.
Obasanjo, who was represented by Dr Femi Majekodunmi, cited the example of Britain, where a woman had just assumed the mantle of leadership at the topmost hierarchy, expressing optimism that the United States was about to witness the emergence of a female president for the first time in the person of Hilary Clinton.
Obasanjo said apart from physical strength by which men excelled the women, the female folks were seriously competing with men in other areas and that he believed that it was time the nation produced elected governors.
The former president, who noted that Nigerian women now engaged in ventures exclusively reserved for men, including driving passenger buses and cabs, said, “women are patient, women persevered; they are now in many areas. Soon, we will be having elected women governors in Nigeria and soon, women will take over.”
“Today, things have changed, women are seen in position of authorities. This is the time for women to reap the labour of these great women of the past. Women in Nigeria are doing extremely well and should be allowed greater involvement in the affairs of the nation,” he added.
Obasanjo stated that the book, which chronicled the life and achievements of 33 women in their various professions in the country, would definitely inspire the female folk to do exploit in a male-dominated nation like Nigeria.
Deputy governor of Osun State, Mrs Grace Laoye-Tomori, said many of the women chronicled in the book had done exploit in their chosen fields and could be likened to what Clinton was doing in the United States.
“This book should serve as reference point to our young girls. They have no reason not to do better than these women. This book must be in the school libraries and all state governments should have it,” she said.
In his remark, publisher of the book, Mr Tokunbo Ajasin, said about 60 women were enlisted which were later pruned to 30, following very rigorous research, adding that the book would be published in phases, but said other women not captured in the first volume would be captured in the second volume.
The Author, Professor Awe, said women deserved to be treated with respect and be recognised by their male counterpart in Nigeria.
According to her, the word ‘gender’ connoteed neutrality, meaning that both men and women were equal, contending that the time had come for women to be at the forefront of governance in the nation.
She recommended the book to schools for the girl-child and others to read and be inspired about the exploits done by women in the past and be encouraged to do more.