By Onyeukwu-Rowland Iheloghara

Wife of Ondo State Governor, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, wants Nigerians to make conscious efforts in ensuring that the female folks are not left behind when it comes to educational development.

Mrs Akeredolu made this plea at the first edition of the Women’s Dignity Initiative Inc. (WDII)’s Scholarship award ceremony for Girls in STEM, which took place at the T.I Francis Auditorium, Federal University of Technology Akure, Ondo State. WDII is a non-profit organization devoted to engaging and supporting middle and high school girls in educationally disadvantaged villages in Nigeria to enrol in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and complete their tertiary education.

The Sunshine State First Lady, who spoke through the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Women Affairs, Mrs Titi Adeyemi, observed that there exists a wide gap in the educational development of the Girl child in relation to her male counterpart, and stressed that Government alone cannot close the gap. She called for more Nigerians to join forces together for more results.

Mrs Akeredolu recounted one of the efforts of her NGO towards promoting female participation in STEM to include but not limited to the 2017 and 2018 editions of the BEMORE Summer Bootcamp for Girls Naija, where about one thousand girls were empowered on ICT, Solar renewable energy and other life-changing skills, which according to her are yielding across Nigeria.

In her lecture titled, “Success: Breaking through Barriers,” the award lecturer, Dr (Mrs) Abimbola Oluwatosin, encouraged female students to surmount barriers with every sense of determination.

Dr Oluwatosin enumerated some of the principles of success to include: determination, goal definition, planning and strategizing, evaluation, among other things, and encouraged the girls not to allow some of the factors militating against girl child education, such as cultures and tradition, poverty and ignorance, to stop them from achieving their dreams and goals in life.

In her remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion, Prof (Mrs) Tinuola Adebolu, commended Women’s Dignity Initiative Inc. for providing scholarships to financially challenged but gifted and promising girls in STEM from remote villages in Nigeria, and empowering them through mentorship, training and participation in scientific conferences. She also encouraged the recipients of the award to make good use of the privilege extended to them.

The Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Akure, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, congratulated the president and founder of WDII, Dr (Mrs) Folashade Olajuyigbe, on the occasion of the first Scholarship award ceremony for Girls in STEM, which he said is laudable.

Professor Fuwape represented by the deputy Vice Chancellor administration, noted that the Girl child’s education has become an issue of particular concern in most developing countries of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where a large number of young girls do not attend schools. He also submitted that there is need to constantly put STEM in the spotlight, particularly for the girl child, which cannot be left for the government alone, and commended WDII for their efforts.