..as Dabiri-Erewa recognises Mrs Akeredolu’s digitalisation initiatives
By Mary Agidi
The need for First Ladies in Nigeria to rise up to the responsibility of transforming and building peace in their various states by engaging youths via social media platforms for conflict resolution, championing advocacy for women inclusion in governance, and lending their voices to the wrongs in the society have been emphasised.
They must position themselves as transformational leaders and peace builders, serve as mentors, mobilise women and Youths in their states on Community conflict resolution, and also continue to sustain the momentum around the issues of women and girls after the 16 days Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
These were the submissions of Speakers at a leadership development seminar for all First Ladies in Nigeria, organised by the African First Ladies Peace Mission in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady of Nigeria and CTP International UK-Nigeria held at the Conference hall of AFLPM Secretariat, Abuja, today.
In her opening remarks, the First Lady of Nigeria, Dr. Mrs Aisha Buhari who commended them for their participatory efforts on the 16 days Activism against Gender-Based Violence, expressed optimism that the seminar would further enrich them with additional skills for conflict prevention and also increase their versatility in Community engagement.
Represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration and Women Affairs, Dr. Hajo Sani (OON), the First Lady of Nigeria said the participants were positioned to engage and mobilise women and Youths in Peacebuilding, Community conflict resolution and management in their respective states.
She therefore enjoined them to contribute more effectively on the successful Social impact of COVID-19 pandemic in their states, while acknowledging that the pandemic had left many young people behind in terms of educational, economic and healthcare opportunities.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Rt. Hon. Pauline Tallen charged the First Ladies to continue to sustain momentum around the issues of women and girls after the 16 days Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and always seek justice and development.
Also speaking, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa encouraged the First Ladies to cultivate the habit of creating bond with the Youths through digital platforms as mothers of the nation, while commending the wife of Ondo State Governor Arabinrin Betty-Anyanwu Akeredolu for her efforts at promoting digitalisation through her various initiatives in the state.
Speaking on “Engaging Diaspora Youth: Lessons of Recent Events and Role of First Ladies”, Dabiri-Erewa said the Youths were restless due to unemployment and other social vices, but could be tamed if constantly engaged on their well-utilised platforms for discussion by the First Ladies for peace building purpose.
She added that as mother figures, they should reach out to the Youths in Diaspora whenever they travel out of Nigeria, and should not be deterred by the insult they would receive as feedback while engaging them.
In her comment, Mrs Akeredolu appreciated Dabiri-Erewa for encouraging Social media engagement, and assured of her relentless efforts to maintain her activeness on the Social media platforms.
On her part, the Chairman of the African Foundation for Development, AFFORD, United Kingdom, Ms. Ndidi Njoku said women are economic changers who should be empowered if a society must achieve sustainable peace.
The Special Assistant to the President on African First Ladies Peace Mission, Dr. Mairo Almakura noted that the Mission was established as an outcome of the 1995 Beijing women conference where some African First Ladies, including Nigeria, initiated the idea to undertake a mission of peace to the rest of Africa.
She added that AFLPM was initiated in order to advocate the inclusion of women in negotiation team, to serve as mechanism of conflict prevention, management and resolution throughout Africa.
The Chairperson of Nigerian Governors’ Wives forum, Erelu Bisi Fayemi lamented that despite the huge gap the First Ladies brigded between governors and the electorate, and the number of problems they proffered solutions to, they were still being treated as black market that didn’t have legal and constitutional right to function.
Fayemi who affirmed that they were aware of their responsibilities as First Ladies, assured that they would continue to do their best in terms of advocacy, enlightenment, and empowerment in order to promote a peaceful society devoid of Gender-Based Violence.
Other speakers at the event included, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, who doubles as the UK’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Helen Grant, the Chair, Sports Industry Thematic Working Group of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Dr. Nkechi Obi, the Vice President (International Relations), Institute of Leadership Development, UK, Dr. Anna Vanderpuye.
Dr. Vanderpuye spoke on “The First Lady as a Transformational Leader and Peacebuilder in the Post COVID-19 era”, while Dr. Nkechi addressed the need to use sports as instrument for Community Peacebuilding and conflict resolution, as witnessed in the UN Sports for Peace and Development model.
The theme of the seminar was: ” The First Lady as Leader and Mobilisers of Women and Youth for Peace Building, Community Conflict Resolution and Resilience in the Post-Covid 19 Era”.