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Ondo First Lady Receives Leadership Excellence Award

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•Says No Nation Develops Without Prioritising Women, Girls

Wife of the Governor of Ondo State , Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has been honoured with the Leadership Excellence Award. She was awarded by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Branch, Abuja, FCT.

Arabinrin was a Distinguished Guest of Honour at the Awards & Dinner Night of the 2021 Engineering Conference & Annual General Meeting.

In her remarks, Arabinrin Betty-Anyanwu Akeredolu emphasised the need for issues of Women and Girls to be prioritised in the crave for sustainable national development.

“No nation can achieve sustainable development when the issues of women and girls are not considered. If indeed the Nigerian Society of Engineers is looking to achieve strategic national development, which is the main purpose of this conference, then they must begin to consider seriously the strategic inclusion of roles for women and girls along the value chain of the maritime industry in Nigeria.”

“We must begin to ask tough questions. For example, how many women do we have in the maritime sector as at today? What percentage of women in the maritime industry do we hope to achieve 2 years from now? What is the plan of the Nigerian Society of Engineers to meet its targets? Do these plans carefully and strategically include women and girls? As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) reported that only 9.3% of Nigerian registered seafarers are women.” She said.

Arabinrin who was honoured in recognition of her excellent leadership roles and services to humanity, especially the BEMORE project, which trains girls in ICT, Solar Energy and other life-enhancing skills, and the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), mentioned the primacy of strategic planning in achieving national development.

In her words: “There must be a strategic plan which must be conscientiously driven and implemented by every field of human endeavour and sector of the economy if we must achieve strategic national development. This is why I am particularly excited that the Maritime Industry is considering a strategic approach to national development.”

Speaking on the topic of the conference, ‘The Role of Nigerian Maritime Sector in Strategic National Development’, the First Lady commended the inclusion of strategic national development in the theme.

According to her, “The decision of the Nigerian Society of Engineers to include strategic national development as the main theme of its discourse with focus on the maritime sector is commendable. I expect the organizers to ensure the outcome and proceedings of this conference are made available to both the academia and development space across the length and breadth of Nigeria.”

Arabinrin, whose many initiatives include programmes in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Solar Renewable Energy, Curbing
Gender-Based Violence, Women Empowerment, Breast and Cervical Cancer Awareness, decried the continued marginalisation of women.

She added, “I continue to see women being marginalized in almost every field of human endeavour. It is sad, but yet true that individual efforts like those displayed by myself and many other well-meaning Nigerians will not be enough to balance the gender inequality scale in Nigeria.

“No doubt, we will continue to do our best as far as women and girls empowerment is concerned.Today, that little step is the reason you have recognized my humanitarian strides in the empowerment of women and girls in Nigeria.”

In his remarks, the Guest Speaker, Professor Pat Utomi, alluded to the biblical role of Nehemiah in building a wall around Jerusalem to protect its citizens, saying, our roles in rebuilding the walls of Nigeria is sacrosanct.

“I have to challenge all of you here that this is not a problem for the politicians. It is a problem of all citizens. And the challenge is especially how the professionals see themselves as citizens and play a role in rebuilding of the walls of our country.

“The mark of any sane society is that, when it sees problems, its professionals provide solutions. God has been so generous in giving us a beautiful country but we have since watched one another pull down the walls of the country. Those who have the most to loose include you but you don’t do enough to prevent it from happening. If the walls of Nigeria falls, all of us will loose big time.” He said.

The event, held at the Main Auditorium, National Engineering Centre, NSE HQ, Central Business District, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, was attended by distinguished Nigerians, including the Co-founder of Lagos Business School, Professor Pat Utomi, National Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE, Queen of Olubaka of Oka-Akoko Kingdom, Olori Adejumoke Adeleye, among notable others.

Other awardees include Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, Engr Babakobi Mohammed, FNSE, of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports. Dr (Mrs) Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo, FNSE, Engr D.U, Udo, FNSE. Comrade Funmi Sessi, Engr Joseph Olatunde Akinteye, FNSE, Comrade (Prince) Adewale Adeyanju, Engr Ibitoye Kilomodemo Adeniyan, FNSE.

Story Credit: Debo Akinbami

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