169 additional women groups have commended Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for nominating nine women, or 56.25% of his cabinet picks, as commissioner-designates.
This came barely 72 hours after dozens of women associations held a news briefing in the Nigerian capital Abuja to congratulate the Governor for the gesture.
Also, in a personal letter addressed to the Governor at the weekend, a London-based development advocate and First Class Graduate of Economics Taibat Hussain Aduragba hailed AbdulRazaq for making Kwara the first in practical commitment to inclusion of women in decision making process in the country.
The More Women Group, an amalgam of at least 169 women bodies across Nigeria, issued a statement at the weekend praising AbdulRazaq for breaking the yoke of poor representation of women and youths in governance in Nigeria.
A statement signed by Dr Abiola Akiyode Afolabi and Ms Felicia Onibon on behalf of the amalgam said “this gesture will be recorded in history as the first of its kind in Nigeria….The appointment demonstrates his support for women voices and serves as a recognition of their relevance in the society.”
The More Women Group has long established itself as the voice of women, including female professionals and experts representing different regions, ethnicities, economic, social and political allegiances as well as organisations for youths and persons with disabilities.
The group said “modelling a best practice of this nature is important for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). We therefore applaud the first SHERO Governor for breaking the cycle of women’s exclusion in Nigeria. We applaud the All Progressives Congress (APC) for supporting this development in the state and call on all other state Governors to imbibe the culture of equitable representation for better and prosperous governance.”
Aduragba, for her part, said AbdulRazaq’s action was a jinx-breaker in the history of the North Central State. She also lauded the Governor for earlier nominating Nigeria’s youngest commissioner and for tapping another renowned woman-banker to head the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS).
“I have been in Kwara all my life, and this is the first time, I can recall, where due respect, fairness and relevance is giving to the womenfolk in the administration of our great state of harmony,” according to Aduragba who is currently running her Master’s degree in Development Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.
“This chapter has gone a long way to rectify the imbalance generated during the general elections where men occupied all elective positions in the state, and not just that; it also fulfilled the demand of advocacy groups that 50% of every state’s political appointments be reserved for women.”
She said the nomination gives fillip to Goal 5 (empowering women and girls) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Kwara State, hoping that the step will hasten the realisation of more SDG goals.