Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has harped on the need for governments at all levels to give women a sense of belonging by allowing them to actively participate in governance, boasting that Kogi State under his leadership was a practical example of this drive.
The Governor made this known on Wednesday while speaking at the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Against Gender-Based Violence (NGWA-GBV) interactive forum themed “Political Will and GBV Responses” held in Abuja.
Governor Bello noted that in Kogi State, gender equality remains “very practical”, adding that being the youngest governor in the country who represents the next generation, he consciously ensures to practice what he preaches by giving more women opportunity in his cabinet.
He noted that he set record by being the first governor to choose a female ADC to a serving Governor in Nigeria today as part of his practical approach to gender equality.
He said notwithstanding the existing laws, legislations and policies to protect the rights of women, their self dignity and respect must also be duely accorded to them.
The governor noted that the support for gender equality and women inclusiveness as being discussed on the platform of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) have been practically implemented in Kogi State, pointing out that that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and the Head of Service (HOS) in his first and second terms were women occupied by women.
He opined that these women have collaborated with his wives in ensuring that women were given their rightful places in the society, as they also have the confidence that other women could achieve similar feat when given equal opportunity.
Governor Bello added that his administration has gone ahead to actively involve women in grassroots political terrain being aware of the importance of governance at that level where policies and programmes initiated are mostly implemented.
He noted that for the December 12 Local Government polls in the state, his party, the All Progressive Congress in the state resolved to implement the 35% affirmative action for women to engender inclusiveness.
In achieving that, the Governor informed that in every local Government Area of about 10 –15 wards, between 3 – 4 women councillorship aspirants would be contesting on the party’s platform to encourage greater women participation.
The Governor stated that aside from the Vice Chairmanship ticket being allotted to women, it was expected as the party’s stand that when it emerge as winners council leadership was reserved also for women.
He concluded that haven given women such sense of belonging; they would be able and better positioned to guard against women abuse at these levels.