Lagos State First Lady and Chairman, Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO), Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola, on Tuesday, 16th September, 2014 listed the achievements of the Committee in the last seven years even as she briefed the media on this year’s Annual National Women Conference holding in Lagos from Monday, September 22 to Wednesday, September 24, 2014.
The three-day conference, with the theme “Embracing and Managing Change”, will feature such important topics as, “Women and Inheritance Law”, “Character: Key to Rebuilding Our Future and Child Abuse”, “Preparing for Succession”, “Effective Use of Social Media”, “Energy Conservation”, “Want Fulfillment? Find a Mentor” and a whole range of “Total Balance Strategies” through “Diet, Yoga and Exercises”.
Announcing the programme for the conference at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, the First Lady also disclosed that the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun would declare the conference open while his Oyo State counterpart, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, would perform the closing ceremony.
She listed projects completed during the period to include construction and commissioning of COWLSO Retirement Villa at Lekki Phase 11; construction of Oworonsoki and Oba Lateef Adams Recreation Centres at Oworonsoki and Orile Agege respectively; and the Epe Recreation and ICT Centre at Popo Oba Square which is almost completed and which brings to a total of 10 the number of recreation centres either constructed or renovated by the committee.
Projects completed in the health sector, she said, include the renovation and furnishing of the Oncology Department of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, financial assistance to 87 cancer patients for treatment and surgical operations within and outside Nigeria and adoption of A Ward at the Island Maternity, Lagos.
In the area of education, COWLSO also constructed six classroom blocks at Abule Egba Primary School; seven classroom blocks and two classroom blocks were constructed and renovated respectively at Hope Primary School, Ikoyi; six classroom blocks were contructed at Muslim Primary School, Ikorodu; while COWLSO renovated, furnished and supplied/installed computer systems at the Computer block of Owode Primary School, Ibelefun, Ikorodu.
The committee also renovated/upgraded toilet facilities in 22 public primary schools, the First Lady said.
According to the COWLSO Chairman, the Committee also financially assisted and gave material support to 27 orphanages, homes and non-governmental organizations “that are facing the challenge of securing sponsorship for their activities such as Nigerwives (Braile) and Downs Syndrome Foundation, among others”.
She said the committee would, within the 2014-2015 period, continue its humanitarian efforts and support government programmes, adding that the Committee would ensure that projects taken up already would be completed while new ones to be taken up must conform to the objectives of impacting on the lives of the people, especially the less privileged.
She said this year’s conference would also feature the presentation of Certificates of Appreciation to six “worthy Nigerian women leaders / great mothers and grandmothers who are also supporters of COWLSO’s ideals” adding that the “modest achievements recorded by the Committee in the implementation of its projects and programmes over the last seven years was made possible through the support of individuals and corporate organizations” .
According to her, while the presentation of Certificates of Appreciation would be performed at the opening ceremony of the Conference, the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award will be presented during the closing ceremony.
Fielding questions from newsmen later, the First Lady disclosed that proceeds from last year’s Conference amounted to over N100 million and out of which the Committee renovated schools in Epe at the cost of over N35 million while it commenced the building of six classroom blocks each in more than three schools at the cost of over N50 million each adding that it also renovated toilets in all the schools at the cost of N2 million each and assisted 87 cancer patients with a minimum of N500, 000 each.
On what she plans to do after the second term of the Governor, the First Lady said she would involve herself in empowering other women and enlightening them on how to train their children and make their environment clean at all time adding, “I will continue to have compassion for people in need and render assistance, as much as possible, to anyone who needs assistance from me. This has been my life.
“Sometimes, it is not all about money. Some people just need someone to listen to them and I am ready to offer that service; just listening and offering my candid advice. I will always take that listening forward and I will take that which is me and what is me is always being supportive and being always ready to render assistance for those who are in need”, she said.
First Lady said the major challenge facing women included the fact that some women stay at home because their husbands said so adding that she is not in support of any woman staying idle because, according to her, “Idleness is the devil’s workshop and a woman who stays at home is regarded by her neighbours as a kept woman”.
”I am not in support of a woman staying at home. Every woman must keep herself busy. Every woman must earn a living on a daily basis”, the First Lady said adding, however, that some women who are already doing something but are hindered by lack of finance should embrace the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and cooperative societies.
Prominent among those who accompanied the First Lady to the press briefing were the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba; Chairperson of the 2014 Annual National Women Conference, Mrs. Rhoda Ayinde and other top members of COWLSO.