From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State
The Kogi State Government has concluded plans to train and empower 30,000 women across the 239 wards of the State to actively participate in politics and drive gender inclusive governance.
The programme to be executed under the System Resilience Building Approach to Women Leadership of the state Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is expected to increase the number of women in elective and appointive political offices.
Mal. Nasir Ohiani, Special Adviser to Governor Yahaya Bello on SDGs disclosed this on Tuesday in Lokoja at a two-day training workshop for women in elective and appointive positions in the 21 Local Government Councils in the state.
Our Correspondent reports that the training workshop organised by the state SDG in collaboration with Centre for Women Studies and Intervention (CWSI) had 21 Vice Chairpersons and 21 Council Leaders from the 21 Local Government Councils.
Ohiani who was represented by Mr Henry Chinweuba, his Technical Assistant, said the training was part of the SDGs’ office initiative to build women leadership in the state and foster it under the “System Resilience-Building Approach to Women Leadership.
“We have broken down the Kogi State structure into 1,000 communities and we are planning to empower 30 women in each of the communities to give us 30,000 women.
“If we have 30,000 new women active in Kogi State politics, that is a huge number. That is our destination and today is the beginning of that journey”, he said.
Rev. Sister Ngozi Francis Uti, Executive Director, Centre for Women Studies and Intervention (CWSI) in her welcome address, urged the 42 local councils duty bearers to ensure that they use their positions to place women in their rightful places.
“In Nigeria, the people of Kogi State have demonstrated their zeal to promote women participation in political leadership by electing 21 women as vice chairpersons and 21 Council leaders of the local councils in the 21 local government areas of the state.
“The governor, His Excellency, Yahaya Adoza Bello, during the swearing-in ceremony emphasized his desire to uphold the 35 per cent Affirmative Action for women in elective and appointive positions as envisioned by the National Gender Policy”, she said.
Dr Ifeyinwa Okolo of the Dept of English, Federal University, Lokoja with Specialty in Gender and Sexuality in African Literature, called for not just awareness but sensitization on gender equality and uniformity in decision making space.
Okolo who spoke on “Gender Equality in Leadership”, said it was expected that at the end of the capacity training, they would be able to function effectively in their new positions, understand the imbalance better and take steps to bridge the gaps.
Mr Hamza Aliyu, Executive Director, Initiative for Grassroot Advancement (INGRA) in his paper, “Constitutional Functionalities in Local Government Administration” charged the women to function excellently, be efficient and effective.
In her contribution, Ms Eunice Agbogun Executive Director, Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, urged the women to have healthy self-image and use the office to bring positive changes to the state and the country.