Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has stressed the need for men to support women in their quest to participate in active politics and occupy leadership positions.
Speaking while playing host to the spouses of members of the Edo State House of Assembly who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Monday, Governor Oshiomhole said, “Part of the problem of women in our country is that too many men, based on wrong assumptions, don’t encourage their wives to be active in politics. Yet women account for at least a simple or slight majority of our population, and there is no field in which a man can excel that a woman cannot excel even better.
“The largest democracy on this planet which is India has been led and governed by a woman for many years, but it wasn’t possible without a supporting husband and family members. We have had a powerful woman in the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher. She won’t be forgotten in a hurry. But for the fact that she carried her handbag which women are associated with, everything about her attitude, character, courage showed that she had much more than the average man in the British parliament.”
He continued, “we had a woman in Israel who fought wars and strengthened the Israeli military to defend itself, and hopefully, in the very near future, the world’s most powerful office which is the office of the President of the United States of America may well be occupied by a woman. So when I see how former President Clinton encourages and stands by his wife, the contest for the Office of the President of the United States, I said to myself, I hope that many of us who are men only by reason of the fact that we wear trousers, learn something from this and encourage our women to show interest in political leadership.”
According to Oshiomhole, “Nigeria has a lot of challenges right now, and we need all the wisdom we can get to fix the economy, to deal with security issues, to create wealth that will translate to prosperity in the faces of our people, and as they say, you need the milk of human kindness not to forget that power comes from God using human beings of which women are in majority to occupy government offices. So, I think in your own way, your husbands couldn’t have been what they are if you hadn’t supported them.”
The Governor paid glowing tributes to members of the Edo State House of Assembly. He said, “Let me through you convey my appreciation to members of the House of Assembly for their support and unqualified loyalty to the people of Edo State. I have seen some people who expect that there will be fight between the executive and the legislature; when they don’t see the smoke coming out, they label your spouses as rubber stamp. I have watched some of your members responding to such unfounded criticisms saying something like, we will be quite happy to rubber stamp the new central hospital; we are happy to rubber stamp the Airport Road; we are of course very happy to rubber stamp all the red roofs across the 192 wards in the State; we are happy to rubber stamp the street lights, the walk ways and all of the things that God has used us to do. Because the truth is, in this democratic system, the executive cannot function without the support and collaboration of the House of Assembly. We cannot appropriate funds for anything unless the House is convinced about the benefits of such a project, and it is to the credit of your husbands and your wife that we have seamlessly presented budgets over the years, and they have in line with constitutional requirements carried out very effective oversight functions, they have had cause to draw my attention to a couple of issues for which they are concerned. They have passed resolutions asking the executive to do a couple of things differently, and often times, I have found a lot of wisdom in such resolutions, and we have had no reluctance in obeying them.”
Speaking earlier, the spokesperson of the Spouses of Members of Edo State House of Assembly and wife of the Deputy Speaker, Mrs. Betty Okonobo said they were very delighted to pay a visit to the Governor, saying they came together as a body “to give background support to our husbands to carry out their legislative duties.”
She continued, “We are here to really appreciate you. We know you are already finishing strong and well. it is our utmost prayer that in all that you do, that we are solidly behind you. We appreciate the fact that we pride ourselves as Edo citizens, and we are always elated and excited that our constituency believes so much in us for all the laudable programmes that you have done. We all know the revolution in terms of the red roof. I am always so proud to say I am from Edo State, a state that is synonymous with progress, a state that is synonymous with progressive programmes, a state that is synonymous with awesome wonderful developmental strides just because we have you as Governor.
“Our prayer for you today is that the Lord will guide you, and he will keep you for us. The Lord God will make you finish awesome and strong also.”
She added, “We want you to know as wives of House of Assembly members, we not just solidly behind you, we are your own comrades. We want to appreciate you for the peace that you brought to reign in the House of Assembly. We thank you for all that you are doing for all our different constituencies.”
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