Address of the Wife of Ondo State Governor, Her Excellency, Chief Betty AnyanwuAkeredolu, at the Opening Ceremony of the Fifth Summit of the Foundation for Wives of Ondo State Officials and Female political appointees, FOWOSO, at the International Cultural And Event Centre (The Dome), Igbatoro Road, Akure, Ondo State, on 6th December, 2023
I have, in my heart, unbridled joy as I watch women gather, for the fifth time, to celebrate themselves, their strength and wins. I feel very proud of the mileage already covered by this invaluable foundation and the resultant heights attained by our women; the feats speak frontally to the fact that what was seeded, six years ago, has started to yield
Celebrating the fifth summit signifies that we have truly come of age. And quite evidently,
FOWOSO has done well for women in Ondo State; it has elevated hitherto lower statuses, added inches to women’s economic heights and strengthened homes through various empowerment initiatives. It has liberated minds and continues to broaden mental horizons so that women can make more informed decisions.
Through our variously effectual interventions, we have been able to elevate the socioeconomic status of women as opposed to the dark years of tokenism and the absurd hiring of women as men hailers. Six years down the lane, women have steadily progressed; our performances are both concrete and evident in the number of women whose lives have been transformed through this great initiative.
The last one year has been eventful and productive. The association has continued to play strategic roles in elevating the status of women and creating more opportunities. FOWOSO members participated in the 2023 Bemore Summer Boot Camp and made impactful contributions. They attended the 2023 Summit of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) where one of our own, Mrs Toyin Adu, won the star prize, 3- bedroom flat at Lekki, Lagos state. They also partnered with the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) during the pink October as breast and cervical cancer advocates.
Our legacy project, the Multi-million naira FOWOSO Centre and the Event Hall meant to generate fund for the sustainability of the centre have taken already taken a good shape.
Between November 2022, when we laid the foundation, and now, so much has been done; and we are optimistic that, with your support, the project will be commissioned before the end of this administration and we will achieve our plan to provide shelter for vulnerable women and girls, and the victims of Sexual and Gender-Based violence in the state.
To FOWOSO’s credit, the second edition of Ondo State Acquisition and Empowerment Programme (OSSA-EP) was held for the Southern Senatorial District at Ile-Oluji in IleOluji/Okeigbo Local Government Area, between October and November, 2023, and produced about a hundred brand entrepreneurs who are fully trained and equipped to translate their skills to wealth.
As part of the 5th Summit, we have for your reading pleasure the ‘History of Bemore’ a book that showcases our girls who are increasingly becoming self-aware and responsible young women poised to positively change the narrative of the Nigerian women, and the FOWOSO calendar, a permanent feature of FOWOSO Summit as souvenirs for fundraising.
Besides these laudable accomplishments, we have continued to complement government’s efforts in ensuring that gender-based violence remains a punishable offense in Ondo State with the aid of Violence Against Persons Prohibition’s law (VAPP). We have also continued to improve the number of women in appointive and elective positions with more women emerging as Chairpersons, Vice Chairpersons, Secretaries and Councillors in local government administration.
To this extent, “Living A Life of Purpose”, being the theme of the fifth FOWOSO Summit, is a purposive strategy for inspiring the womenfolk to be deliberate about growth and impact on all fronts; to always strive to bridge the gender gap in Nigeria’s political space; and to continue to work in alliance with other women toward liberating womanhood at all levels from age-long subjugation.
I welcome you all to another epochal summit that promises to be so engaging and eventful. I wish you all a good time of camaraderie as women with a burning desire for change.