Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and his counterpart in Edo State, Mr. Goodwin Obaseki on Tuesday lauded women for the roles they have been playing in societal development, saying they must continue to embrace unity of purpose and action to further add value to humanity.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the opening ceremony of 18th National Women Conference of Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, said though women have been working to complement their spouses, but nonetheless such cooperation and collaboration needed to be scaled up in the spirit of unity and oneness.
According to Governor Ambode, “COWLSO has worked ceaselessly to complement the efforts of their spouses on government. We are proud of your achievements particularly in the area of giving hope and succor to the less privileged through donations both in cash and in kind.
“The knowledge and good-spiritedness exhibited in the last three editions of the conference are values that I cherish always.
“The theme for this year’s conference: ‘Strengthening Our Collective Impact,’ is very apt and a call for unity of purpose and action,” he said.
While expressing optimism that the three-day conference would be impactful as usual, the Governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, said from the array of distinguished speakers listed, it was evident that the programme had been designed to add value to women and the society.
Besides, Governor Ambode congratulated his wife, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode and indeed the entire COWLSO members for another successful outing, saying their roles were deeply appreciated.
“To her Excellency, Bola Ambode, you have continued to be a virtuous women, a wonderful sister and a wife any husband will be proud of. Thank you for being there at all times,” the Governor said.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Ambode who is the Chairman of COWLSO, said without being immodest, women all over the world were pillars of growth and development of their countries, as women had in many ways continued to play roles that demonstrated how important they were to the progress of their countries economically, politically, socially and in all other areas that mattered.
She said women in Nigeria were no different, and that COWLSO was happy that women in Lagos State were setting the pace, stressing that “our quest to continually improve the welfare of women and sustain the vintage position of Lagos State in the federation, are key objectives behind our coming together annually, to discuss the way forward.”
While emphasizing the need for women to collaborate, the wife of the Governor said such was critical to engendering significant and lasting social change that would beneficial to all.
She said: “When we come together and collaborate, either in government establishments, privately owned businesses, N.G.Os or wherever, we tend to achieve significant and lasting social change that would be beneficial to all.
“We have the unique ability of looking at problems and coming up with solutions, that would transform lives and make the world a better place.”
She also urged women to learn to come together, support each other and discard unproductive habits, as there was advantage in numerical strength.
On activities of COWLSO in the last three years, Mrs Ambode said the association had executed many health-related projects, which had recorded impressive impact on the health of babies, children, youths, women and the aged ones, including the upgrade of the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department of the Lagos Island General Hospital, Odan while also sponsoring goiter operation for some women two years ago and donating Portable Otoread OAEs equipment to four general hospitals – Badagry, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikorodu and Gbagada General Hospital last year.
Mrs Ambode further said last year, the committee donated an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to the Lagos Island Maternity, while this year, COWLSO donated portable Otoread OAEs equipment to Shomolu and Alimosho General Hospitals, as well as two Transport Incubator Ambulance, to Gbagada General Hospital and Lagos Island Maternity Hospital.
“These facilities aptly described as ‘womb on wheels’, are to be deployed to convey preterm babies, also known as ‘premature babies’, to government facilities equipped with neo-natal ICU, to save their lives. The ‘Transport Incubator’ is fully equipped with life-support gadgets and other conveniences, making it a womb-like environment for the baby, to enhance its chances of survival while being evacuated to the ICU.
“Those special ambulance buses can also be used to convey infants with severe post birth complications, and others in serious emergency situations. The women of COWLSO reckon that with this intervention, many more newborns, infants and children in Lagos State, will be saved from avoidable deaths with attendant happiness to their parents,” she said.
While declaring the conference open, Governor Obaseki said the programme had helped in connecting the family with government, as wives of government officials had always ensured that they supported their husbands in the smooth running of government.
“This is a powerful network, it is powerful because it serves as an opportunity for government to reach its people in another perspective of what is going on across the state,” he said, adding that it was only the family of government officials who would be able to point them in the right direction when they appeared to derail from the track.
Obaseki commended COWLSO for its intervention in the health sector through donations of health equipment to hospitals as well as making significant contributions for the health being of the less privileged in the society, adding that the committee served as inspiration to many states, as such ideas had been replicated in many states, while assuring that Edo State would soon replicate same for women in the State.
The highlight of the day was the presentation of the Inspirational Woman Award to Mrs. Toyin Sokefun-Bello, popularly known as ‘T.Y. Bello’ for her outstanding work in photography and creative art.