By Jethro Ibileke
Wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, has urged State Governors across the country to support women in their various states to run for elective positions.
She stated this on Thursday in Benin, when the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, played host to members of the Southern Governors Wife Forum (SGWF).
The Edo First Lady who noted that “the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum (NGWF), has shown capacity to promote unity in the country, added that women in elective positions will add bite to good governance.
She therefore urged Governors across the country to “support women in their states to run for elective positions.”
Earlier while addressing members of the Southern Governors Wife Forum (SGWF), Governor Obaseki charged them on the need to support efforts at checking food insecurity.
Members of the SGWF include the First Ladies of Edo, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Abia, Ogun, Ekiti, Delta, Lagos and Oyo States.
The Governor who received the guests led by the Chairman of the Forum and the wife of Osun State Governor, Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola, at the Government House, Benin City, said his government will sustain reforms and programmes to end all forms of gender violence against women and girls in the State.
He added that his government “will continue to demonstrate the political will to support and protect young boys and girls against sexual based violence.
He said: “Be rest assured that, as a government, we will continue to support your efforts along this line.
“Protection of rights is key to our administration as we have committed lots of resources to this. We already have a budget planning for gender-based violence (GBV) in our budget this year. We will continue to pull in resources to support the GVB centers across the 18 local government areas in Edo State.”
Obaseki who noted that his administration is gender-sensitive, disclosed that he appointed eight female commissioners as a part of his cabinet.
“We don’t play with gender issues in Edo State. We are in line with what the SGWF represents as the group. They represent unity in Nigeria.
“Despite the divide in our political outlook, you continue to work very closely as if there is no divide. It’s significant for the unity of this country. If there is anything we need the most today, it is the unity of the country. You represent unity; you epitomize unity of Nigeria,” he told his guests.
Narrating some of the government’s efforts in tackling gender-based violence in the state, Obaseki added, “We were worst hit several years ago when a young lady, Vivian Ogu, was murdered in the state on the account of sexual violence. We were also united to condemn the act on the murder of Omozuwa Uwaila, who was also sexually abused and murdered.
“The State understands the pain the victims and their families go through. As a state, we have zero tolerance for sexual based violence in the state.”
He further noted, “Our EdoBEST programme is to make sure our pupils learn and get knowledge while going to school. We will continue to emphasize girl-child education.
“Also, we are focusing on drug abuse. As a state, we are collaborating with relevant agencies to stem the rising tide of drug abuse.”
On checking food insecurity, the governor stated, “Our country is going through a trying and difficult time following the amount of increase in food prices in Nigeria in the last two months.
“This has thrown millions of Nigerians into hunger as people are being pushed into hunger. You must raise your voices to enable us to address this issue like we have done with gender-based violence and drug abuse in states.
“We should put pressure on federal authorities that rather than subsidising petrol, we should move the subsidy to food so that people can eat well. We call on our mothers to join us so that we can prioritize the issue of food in Nigeria.”
In her remark, Mrs. Oyetola commended the Governor of Edo State for his developmental strides in the state, especially in education and human capacity development.
“Your Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) Agenda is quite inspiring and it’s transforming lives already in the State,” she said.
On her part, Chairman of Nigeria Governors Wife Forum (NGWF), Orelu Bisi Adeleye Fayemi, noted that the fight against gender-based violence has achieved remarkable progress.
She said, “The group thanked our husbands under the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for their support and encouragement given to the NGWF on tackling gender- based violence in Nigeria.”