Ekiti First Lady Advocates Equal Political, Economic Opportunities for Men, Women

Pays Tributes to Afe Babalola’s Mother as ABUAD Law Students Celebrate International Women’s Day

Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji , has advocated for equal political and economic opportunities for men and women in Nigeria to foster a just and equitable society.

Dr. Oyebanji made the call on Thursday while delivering a keynote address at this year’s International Women’s Day Lecture held in honour of mother of Aare Afe Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), the late Chief (Mrs) Abigail Ajayi Babalola.

The International Women’s Day at ABUAD was organized by the Law Students’ Society of the University to specially celebrate the virtues, life, and times of the late mother of the founder.

The theme of the celebration was ‘Inspiring Inclusion: Men and Women as Partners in Progress.’

The governor’s wife said the Biodun Oyebanji administration had been in the fore-front of providing more political and economic opportunities to women, which had being widely acknowledged both locally and internationally as unprecedented.

According to her, Ekiti presently had seven female local government chairpersons, 16 female council vice-chairpersons, seven female council secretaries, 33 women councillors, a female deputy governor, a female deputy speaker, and six female House of Assembly members.

Dr. Oyebanji also informed the audience that other key positions presently occupied by women in Ekiti State included Secretary to the State Government, Accountant-General, Auditor-General for Local Governments, President of the Customary Court of Appeal, nine cabinet positions, and 28 non-cabinet positions.

She deplored the low percentage of women occupying positions in governance in Nigeria, which she noted had prevented the voice of women from being heard in national discourse, adding that the example set by Ekiti could be improved upon for men and women to occupy leadership positions without any bias.

Dr. Oyebanji identified strategies for inspiring more women inclusion to include equal access to opportunities and resources, representation and participation in decision-making, leading and mentoring, as well as promoting women’s economic empowerment.

The First Lady suggested that young and elderly women should be actively engaged in the quest for personal development to enable them fulfil their potential for the benefit of the nation and mankind.

Dr. Oyebanji paid glowing tributes to the late mother of ABUAD founder, celebrating her legacies of industry, enterprise, motherhood, discipline, and other virtues she stood for, in her lifetime.

In his remarks, ABUAD founder, Aare Babalola, noted that Nigerians would experience better governance if women were given the opportunity to hold key leadership positions because, according to him, they were loyal, hardworking, and accountable.

The legal icon said the excellence attained by his institution could be traced to the fact that women were occupying key positions of vice-chancellor, registrar, and bursar, which he noted showed that women could hold their own if given the opportunity.

Aare Babalola advocated a constitutional amendment to accommodate women in 40 per cent of elected and appointive positions at all levels in Nigeria, expressing the belief that the country would witness better development and reduction of corruption if the suggestion was implemented.

The ABUAD founder also commended Dr. Oyebanji, whom he described as an “extraordinary First Lady,” noting that her delivery of the keynote speech showed that she was a PhD holder in Education.

He also commended Dr. Oyebanji for volunteering to teach students in the university free of charge.

The ABUAD Law students presented a giant portrait of the mother of Aare Babalola, who, in return, donated N2 million to the Law Students’ Society.