Emulate Awolowo Dosumu’s spirit of service, Nigerian women urged

Politics and governance will improve greatly in Nigeria if women make conscious efforts to develop themselves intellectually and participate fully in politics.
This was one of the highpoints of opinions canvassed at a lecture organised by the Osogbo based Awolowo Centre for Philosophy and Ideology to celebrate Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu’s 73rd birthday held on Saturday at the Osun State capital.
A former speaker of the Osun State House Of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam who was the guest lecturer spoke on the roles of women in the growth of democracy.
While describing Dr Awolowo Dosumu as a role model in all aspects of human life including public policy formulation and analysis, he stressed that any society that would develop must empower its women by not discriminating on the basis of gender.
Hon. Salaam pointed at the celebrant as an example of the excellence inherent in women even as he said her serious-mindedness and integrity attracted her respect in all political circles.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Comrade Goke Butika, the former speaker who spoke on the symposium titled: “The roles of women in building an enduring social Democracy in Nigeria”, noted that, women are indispensable and a necessity in any given society adding, effective and remarkable achievements could only be felt with their full participation in any programme.
“Women have still not attained the recommended 30 per cent seats in government as prescribed by the Beijing Platform of Action to which Nigeria subscribes. It was not until 1979 that women in Northern Nigeria had the franchise to exercise their voting rights. This implies that they could not contest for political positions nor participate in choosing their political leaders until 1979,” he said.
The notable politician, however, charged them to participate fully in politics and politicking of the country so as to claim their rightful positions in government and public administration.
“If statistics favours our women, that shows they have the power to determine who can be in any political office through the power of their vote and if women have awesome electoral power, it shows that they could elevate more women to political positions, which could be used to generate more opportunities for women.
“Through their electoral power, they could influence policies and governmental decisions that could protect and empower more women. They could push their challenges on education, healthcare, infrastructure and other demands to the front burner as they affect their children, through their popular participation, etc.
These and many other opportunities abound if women could live up to their billing in democracy.”
“The role of women in an enduring democracy speaks to the fact that women had been repressed, denied their rights in history and relegated to the background, and had also fought back with their resilience, multitasking and strength to manage delicate balance. Besides, their population has become an asset over time, and with that, they could play a defining role in politics and other endeavours. These roles are acknowledged and the power is there for them to take,” he concluded.
In his remark, the chairman of the occasion and a former Osun State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Kolapo Alimi, described the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as a welfarist and a progressive who gave free education to all and sundry in the Southwest to become what they are today in their different fields of specializations.
He said he was a passionate leader who brought education to the doorsteps of every individual in the zone, especially the less privileged ones.
Alimi stressed that “If not for free education, most of those being referred to as leaders today, would not be as they are now. Awolowo symbolised welfare. His name can never be  forgotten in the history of mankind.”
The former commissioner, however, stated that the celebrant of the day, Mrs Awolowo Dosumu inherited a legacy of service from her parents and described her as a woman who had also written her name in the books of achievers nationally and globally.
Dr Lasisi Olagunju, the Saturday Tribune Editor who was one of those that represented the celebrant at the occasion noted that Chief Awolowo described his home as “a place of happiness and seclusion from the buffettings of life” and as a certification of the inestimable role Yeye Oodua, Chief Mrs HID Awolowo played in his political and private life.
He expressed the appreciation of the celebrant to the centre and its trustees for the honour done Ambassador Awolowo Dosumu saying she deeply valued the recognition and the very kind words from the organisers.
In his own contribution, a professor of Political Science from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Sat Obayan who also represented the celebrant said that there was no basis for discrimination against the girl-child by parents pointing out that there was nothing a son could do that the Ambassador had not done as an Awolowo.
Professor Obayan, therefore, canvassed for equal opportunity for both men and women in the society maintaining that training boys alone is a fundamental error that must be quickly corrected by parents who still do it.
In his own speech, the Executive Secretary of Awolowo Centre for Philosophy and Ideology, Mr Tope Mustapha described Mrs Awolowo Dosumu as a good ambassador of the Awolowo dynasty saying the centre was proud to celebrate her and fully identify with what she stood for.
He stated that the centre organised the programme to appreciate the quality of Mrs Awolowo Dosumu and to also remember his father, Chief Obafemi Awolowo for his second to none achievements as a democrat and a public administrator.
The event was attended by women from across the local governments in the state.

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