From AISHA RABO, Abuja
Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday, honored as Woman of the Year 2019 at the 4th Edition of Voice of Women (VOW) Conference. The event, which took place at NAF Conference Center, Abuja, was organized by Women Radio in conjunction with the Voice of Women Foundation.
In her acceptance speech, Mrs. Buhari said the award will spur her to do more to protect, advocate for and defend Nigerian women and girls at all levels. Declaring the conference open, Mrs. Buhari noted that Nigerian women were still far from where they should be, but are also not where they used to be.
She informed the conference that, Nigerian women and girls have more access to educational opportunities as shown by the increase in enrolments of young girls in schools across the country.
Mrs. Buhari drew attention to the rampant cases of abuse especially in institutions of learning as exposed by a recent BBC documentary, and called for a thorough investigation of all reported cases and overhauling of codes of conduct in Nigerian Institutions to accommodate stiffer consequences on offenders.
She noted the importance of advocacy and commended the founder of Women Radio, Lagos, for giving women a voice, promising to support the advocacy by announcing the establishment of a new women-focused radio station in Abuja that will focus on developmental issues as a whole, the new radio is expected to commence test transmission in a few weeks.
Convener of VOW 2019 and founder of Women Radio, Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, in her welcome address, said the conference has become an annual cornerstone event where key stakeholders congregate to reflect, deliberate and re-strategize a comprehensive action plan to advance the women agenda in Nigeria.
She noted that 2019 will be remembered “as the year Nigeria women and girls collectively started speaking above whispers challenging the culture of silence and the institutionalized commodification of our body as a means to an end throughout our lives” and hoped that conversations from the event will set the collective agenda for socio-economic and political advancement of Nigerian women moving forward.
Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo in her remarks called on women to elevate their thoughts, words, ideas, and actions in order to elevate Nigeria. An award was also presented to the Governor of Kwara state Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for his support in elevating women in his State.
The event was attended by the wife of the Vice President, wife of the Senate President and wife of the Speaker, House of Representatives. Also at the event were wives of present and former governors.