African Women in Leadership Organisation (AWLO) marked year 2018 end with a series of events from 15th to 17th November 2018 beginning with its first ever women’s political awareness walk. In the cause of the days, there was a Leadership retreat for AWLO Members, thanksgiving service and the annual AWLO Induction, Awards & Fundraising Dinner
In partnership with the Young African Leaders Initiative Lagos, the awareness walk was aimed at sensitizing the public, most especially women on the need for women to participate in politics as voters or leaders and how it is crucial that women are part of the electoral decision-making process.
The walk tagged #WomenDecide had about 100 participants and started at the Ikeja City Mall. It ended at an information session, at the Johnson Jakande Tinubu Park, on civic duties and addressing/creating strategies for women involvement in politics.
The Founder of AWLO; Dr. Elisha Attai who is always enthusiastic and passionate about tackling issues of the African Woman, dedicated his birthday (15th December) to creating an awareness on women’s political awareness and involvement in electoral decision-making. He said “I strongly believe African women’s involvement in politics and leadership does not just benefit women but the African continent as a whole. It is correct that women are the majority in population, and since that is the case, they should be the majority in political participation. This unfortunately is not playing out”.
Other stakeholders at the walk were Dr. Violet Arene; AWLO President, Mrs. Maureen Omeibe – AWLO Lagos State Coordinator, Mr. Owolabi Ibrahim – Former Member of the Lagos State Parliament & Founder of Involve Africa, Olamipeju AdAdekun – YALI Regional Fellow & Social Entrepreneur, Leadership Consultant; Mr. Oliver Moses, and Ms. Ugochi Obidiegwu – A member of the YALI West African Regional Advisory board to IREX and USAID, YALI Lagos Coordinator & Mandela Washington Fellow
The stakeholders had different contributions to urge the African Woman to participate in Political Leadership starting with Ms. Ugochi Obidiegwu – A member of the YALI West African Regional Advisory board to IREX and USAID, YALI Lagos Coordinator & Mandela Washington Fellow, who presented a YALI Course on Understanding Elections and civic responsibility. She emphasized on the need to go out and vote. She was also very particular about voting without sentiments and scrutinizing information reiterating YALI’s responsible sharing mantra of ‘Stop, Reflect and Verify’ during this elections period.
Dr. Elisha Attai threw questions to the stakeholders on why there is low representation of women in politics seeing that A report given by the Independent National Electoral Commission states “Nigerian Women have the lowest representation of 5.9% in the National Assembly when compared to most other African Countries like Uganda with 34.6%, South Africa with 43.2%, Ethiopia 27.7% and Cameroon 20.1%”
Some of the enlightening takeaways from the session were, “Women should build capacity to be Leaders. They should Join AWLO” – Dr. Violet Arene; “The strive for more women representation in (political) leadership is not just mere agitation. Women are part of the human race and should have a say in decisions that affect her” – Maureen Omeibe; “People do not vote for you because you are a man or woman but because of your competence. Power is not served, it is not a buffet.” – Owolabi Ibrahim; “it is not about being male or female but rather being a good human and a good leader.” – Mr Oliver James; “Women in Politics should mentor upcoming leaders” – Olamipeju Adekunle,
After a successful awareness walk, the end of year events closed with other events, the highlight of it being the rousing Induction, Awards & Fundraising Dinner.
It had an opening cocktail sponsored by Edmark and supported by Bournvita. The awards was to recognize women and men who have done outstandingly well in leadership and community development efforts. Year 2018 awardees were Mr. Kufre Ekanem, Hon Safiya Stephanie, Ms. Agev Msendoo, Pastor (Mrs) Patience Umo Eno, Munira Suleiman Tanimu, Prof. Grace Oluyemisi Akinola, and Ho. Kentus Okechukwu Eze.
This Dinner was opened by the Founder of AWLO Dr. Elisha Attai who was excited to welcome new members to the organisation, and close the year with such remarkable events. He expressed his pleasure to recognize and contribute year-in-year out to the success of African Women through African Women in Leadership Organisation.
Dr. Violet Arene was also pleasured to receive new members being her first induction event. In her address, she spoke about her fledging plans for AWLO. The first capacity building partnership with the American Institute of who will be partnering with AWLO to develop leaders and give accredited globally recognized certification. She also presented the ‘Emerging Leader’ Award along with cheques to two Next Generation Female Leaders Ms. Lisa Omoragbon and Ms. Joy for Aifuobhokhan for exhibiting Leadership Content.
AWLO introduced its year 2019 projects with a focus on the next generation. Namely; Leadership Internship, iLEAD in secondary and Primary Schools, and Next Generation Female Leaders Fellowship.
In the past year they had recorded milestones of 12 graduate interns, 60 fellows in the NGFL Fellowship who have benefitted from AWLO’s opportunities, and the iLEAD which was just approved as one of the Cocurricular activities in Schools in Education District VI of Lagos State. Ms. Ekemini Akpakpan; General Manager of AWLO, and Mr. Benson Imoh; AWLO Chief Technology officer and Internship Director provided compelling proof of the project, and left the audience in awe of the impact so far in the face of limited resources. They urged supporters to partner with AWLO to bridge the gap to the next generation. “We are the Parents of your Children, and where we are is as a result of the mistakes of our predecessors” Mr. Benson crowned it up.
This year AWLO inducted 17 members. It was carried out by the AWLO Secretary General; Mrs. Emem Ette. The Chapters of AWLO were ably represented by their Coordinators, Mrs. Maureen Omeibe, Lagos Chapter Coordinator & Dean of Coordinators, Mrs. Ajoke Enebeli, Rivers Coordinator, Mrs. Edith Emembolu, Enugu Coordinator, Magistrate Helen Umana, Akwa Ibom Coordinator, Mrs. Tina Opara, AWLO Patron , Pastor Grace Aiyedogbon, AWLO Patron and AWLO representatives from Houston and Atlanta. The colorful event was graced by our grand patrons Pastor Sam Aiyedegbon and Bishop Francis Anunobi .