- PIA may falter without women inclusion – Igbokwe
- Over 3000 women empowered, Hall of Famers hit 60 – Initiative
Despite wide publicity for gender balance and women inclusiveness in the Nigerian political terrain, the nation’s women participation in governance is estimated to be at 6.7% for elective and appointed positions.
This was revealed at the 2022 Hall of Fame Induction ceremony organized by MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (MMS WOFHOF) in Lagos yesterday, as participants expressed dissatisfaction with the poor participation of women.
While delivering a paper on the event’s theme, “Women Arise in Leadership, SMEs Development and Port Efficiency in a Multi-Port”, the Chairperson, Zoe Maritime Resources Limited, Mrs. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore pointed out the statistics.
Noting that the global average of women participation in governance is 22.5% and the African continent rated 23.5%, Edodo-Emore stated that the Nigeria’s 6.7% participation is worrisome when compared to the West African sub-regional average of 15%.
The Guest Speaker, who culled these statistics from a report by Gender Strategy Advancement Initiative, observed that there are only 7 women out of the 109 Nigerian senators and 22 of the nation’s 360 House of Representatives members are women.
She identified some of the factors limiting the advancement of Nigerian women in politics to include; stigmatization, poor girl-child education, ungodly meeting hours, religion, son of the soil syndrome, among others.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of MMS WOFHOF Board of Trustees, Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi observed that Nigerian women far outweigh men in the ratio of electorates, hence, she encouraged women to use their numbers to support women candidates.
Orakwusi, who also chaired the event, expressed delight at the advancement of women in the maritime sector, businesses and corporate governance. However, she maintained that Nigerian women participation in governance must be improved.
She equally commended MMS WOFHOF Initiative for its commitment to women recognition and empowerment via the annual Hall of Fame ceremony and she extolled the 2022 class of women.
One of the inductees, Barr. (Mrs.) Augustina Igbokwe, who is also the Managing Director of Tyse Oil and Gas, asserted that countries governed by women performed exceptionally in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, attributing this to women’s proactiveness and empathy.
Speaking on port efficiency, Igbokwe admonished Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to take a cue from the transformation at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz Port, also known as Dammam Port, which is rated as the world’s most efficiently operated port.
While commending the Lagos Port Manager, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu for the significant improvements at the Apapa Port, Igbokwe admonished her to learn more from the high-level efficiency in Saudia Arabia.
“The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is now in place, but what’s the role of women in this transformational oil sector legislation? If PIA would be a success and deliver the numerous potentials, there has to be a place for women,” Igbokwe stated.
Also speaking, the Apapa Port Manager, NPA, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu admonished women not to use gender as an excuse to perform below optimum standards in their respective professions.
She, however, harped on the need for mentorship and exemplary leadership as she described former NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman, former NPA General Managers like Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke; Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim; Mrs. Carol Ufere; and Late Mrs. Ngozi Obikili as exceptionally inspiring leadership examples for her at the Authority.
On her part, the President of Women in Mining, Nigeria (WIMIN), Engr. Janet Adeyemi described the induction/ symposium as an ideal place to do an audit of women in managerial space across various sectors of the nation’s economy.
“We have to strengthen this assembly to have a viable group even as we recall that top women today aren’t at the zenith because they are more educated or more beautiful; but because someone paid the price. Some women who treaded these parts in the past and paid the price for more women to have the platform we have today.”
“We should be able to give back by creating a more enabling environment for younger women to thrive. We should be able to ascertain how many women are in management positions across critical sectors, study and analyze the skill gaps and other limiting factors,” Adeyemi said.
In his welcome address, the Founder, MMS WOFHOF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke noted that the six women inducted this year takes the total number of Hall of Famers to 60, even as he revealed that over 3000 women have been empowered by the Initiative since inception.
His words: “Women are change agents and they play a crucial role in shaping morals and etiquettes. Nigeria’s problems in governance can be traced to eroded values and women can change this narrative. We must ask – what is the place of mentorship? How many women spend time to mentor others in achieving the desired change?”
Anaroke informed that this year’s event was planned in honour of the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, whose rise in politics has been very inspiring.
The 2022 inductees were: Women Affairs Minister, Dame Pauline Tallen; Executive Vice-Chairman, ENL Consortium Ltd, Princess (Dr.) Vicky Haastrup; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. (Mrs.) Magdalene Ajani; Director, Human Resources Management, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mrs. Ada Okam; Managing Director, Tyse Oil & Gas Limited, Barr. Augustina Igbokwe and the Commissioner for Transport and former Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Princess Chinwe Nwaebili.
Some of eminent Nigerian women participated online, including; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani; the President of Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria, Barr. (Mrs.) Mfon Usoro; the Chairperson, Sealink Implementation Committee, Mrs. Dabney Shall-Holma; among others.
The occasion was also graced by former Hall of Famers, such as; the Founder of Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT), Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim; President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke; President of Women in Maritime (WIMA) Nigeria, Mrs. Rollens Macfoy; former General Manager, SERVICOM, NPA, Mrs. Carol Ufere.