By Debbie Funmilayo, Akure.
There is a large chance to change the narrative of women and the girl-child alike from being voiceless, deprived and disenfranchised to being heard, valuable and serve as formidable agents for development in the nation while leveraging on Information Communication Technologies.
This assertion was made by the Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu at the National Executive Council Meeting of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, Ondo State branch held at the Dome in Akure.
Themed Digital Environment: Understanding Digital Skills For The Overall Development of Women and children in Nigeria, the event attracted stakeholders from far and near.
The Governor who was also the Chief host of the occasion and Patron of FIDA in the State who was ably represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Catherine Oladunni Odu described the theme as apt and timely, considering the State’s effort at optimizing digitisation in the delivery of services and operations as it also aligns with the REDEEMED Agenda of his administration.
Arakunrin, while speaking on the importance of Information Communication Technology to the female gender said women and girls must be properly equipped with digital skills that would enable them confront emerging issues in society. He added that the program was not only significant to women and girls but also to Ondo State as a whole.
“In today’s world, digitisation is of utmost importance and highly needed in our day-to-day activities”
The State helmsman pointed out the experience of early women naturalists like Funmilayo Ransome-kuti, Margaret Ekpo and others who through their long struggles paved way for women to occupy front seat and subsequently the decision-making process in government.
The Governor said he believed that there is a potential to develop strong partnership with women for self development and the State government has continued to give women a loud voice in every aspect.
“It is imperative to note that the world bestows a lot of responsibility in women’s hands, and they must look inward and develop strategic framework that could be adopted to drive increased participation in technology”, he emphasized.
While acknowledging FIDA’s numerous activities towards resolving critical issues for the female gender in the State, Akeredolu noted that his administration was very pleased with the organization, thus the support given them.
Earlier in her opening remarks, Princess Odu who also doubled as the Chairman of the occasion said FIDA serves as a watchdog and fighter for the protection, preservation and promotion of the rights of women and children.
Speaking on rapid advancement in technology she said “it is imperative to recognize the immense potentials that lie within our women and girls when it comes to harnessing the power of the digital environment”
“Despite the technological progress, there is still significant gender disparity when it comes to accessing, knowing and the utilization of digital tools and platforms; it hampers their overall development and empowerment, limits their opportunities for growth, including their freedom”, she stated.
Princess Odu encouraged FIDA members to look into more ways of building the capacity of women and girls with necessary digital skills to enable them develop wholesomely, adding that it was crucial that the fight for women rights has begun to require digital forms.
The Secretary to State Government stressed that it was also pertinent to address cultural and societal barriers that may hinder the participation of women and girls in the digital sphere, urging all stockholders and civil society organizations to collaborate in the endeavour to design a robust framework that captures comprehensive strategies to empower women and children.
In her speech, the National President FIDA and Country Vice-President, Amina Suzanah Agbaje, appreciated the Governor, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, CON and his wife Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu for their psssion, proactiveness and commitment to the issues concerning women, children and the vulnerable in the State.
Agbaje affirmed that FIDA was greatly indebted to Ondo State Government because of the support received.
Commending the Governor, she said “this is not surprising, considering your track record of human rights advocacy, even as an astute legal luminary and a one-time president of the Nigerian Bar Association”.
Presenting her keynote address on the topic “Technological Innovations: A key to Breaking the Culture of Silence and Promoting Women Participation in Development”, Hon. Justice Funmi Asaolu discussed on salient issues that centred on the need for women and the girl-child to be informed on how to obtain evidence for prosecution in cases of eventualities, technology innovations should be used to educate the girl-child, women should learn how to report all forms of misbehaviours and above all women should be encouraged to pursue careers in Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Earlier, Chairperson, FIDA Ondo State, Catherine Olajumoke Ogunjebi while appreciating all distinguished personalities for gracing the occasion, re-emphasized that the State FIDA had enjoyed very smooth relationship with relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies.
Ogunjebi thanked the Governor through his representative, Princess Catherine Oladunni Odu, partners, collaborators and sponsors who willingly worked with them on all projects being embarked upon.
Debbie Funmilayo is a press officer in the Office of the Ondo SSG.