It has been established that Ikorodu Division area of Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria, has empowered more women with political positions than any other part of the state and possibly the nation at large.
This was the assertion when chieftains and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Amazons paid their first – ever official visitation to their Patron, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun who is a chieftain of the party and member of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) in the state.
The group, which was created as a pressure group for women who are interested in political office and also to train them, was led on the visit by the Convener of the group and the Director – General, iCare Foundation, Mayor Muyideen Sanwoola on the visit.
Aswaju Basorun, while welcoming members of the group, assured them of his support.
“I thank you for considering me as someone that you can be with despite my age. It gladdens my heart to associate with you”, he said.
“I will be available to serve and support you within my capacity. I am available to serve and guide, but you all have to be aware of your reasons for being in politics.
“I started mine as a community service when I was secretary to many community groups in the 60s. It was Pa Fasanmi (pointing to his photoigraph hung on his wall) that encouraged me to be in politics and I was able to have focus because of him and Pa Awolowo (pointing to his giant portrait behind his seat) who we were following then”.
He also charged the group’s members to be focused, seek for knowledge and be determined if they want to go far in politics.
While stating that women have been relegated in politics, Asiwaju Basorun also added that Ikorodu has given them more opportunity than other divisions in Lagos.
“The relegation is too pronounced against women within the system. You must work hard to change that.
“Women are not considered for the position of a Speaker in Lagos State, the closest was the one who was a Deputy Speaker.
“You were stating the fact when you said that Ikorodu has given women more opportunity regarding political positions. It is only Ikorodu that had sent a woman to the House of Representatives, Hon. Abike Dabiru – Erewa and she served for three times. We are the only one in the whole of the Senatorial District to do that.
“She performed very well and could have governed the state well if given the chance. We are proud of her. She is currently doing very fine in her present position.
“Also, we are also the only council that has sent another woman to the House of Assembly, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola in the District.
“Also look at the Commissioner for Agriculture, Bisola Olusanya who has been performing and making us proud in the state cabinet. She is our pride.
‘Ikorodu has excelled in empowering women politically”.
He assured that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress would continue to empower more women politically.
“We will continue to ensure that you (women) are not relegated but if you are given the opportunity, ensure that you use it well”, he advised.
“My relationship with you will yield good results.
“I congratulate those of you that contested and won election into offices and I want those of you who did not, not to lose focus or relent”, he charged.
Mayor Sanwoola, speaking earlier, thanked the elder statesman for his support for the group while also seeking further assistance for members’ appointment into political positions in the councils’ cabinets.
According to him, members were brought onboard based on the criteria that they are running for political offices with the goal to assist and prepare women in APC Ikorodu on how to win elections and also train them on how to make good use of the positions.
“If you will recall sir, I contacted you a couple of months back, that we have identified some women who wanted to vie for political offices in the division and we wanted to prepare them and support them to win so as to give more women the opportunity to occupy political positions”, he recalled.
“The group is only for women running for political offices and the entire process is to mentor and support them in achieving the purpose.
“We are here today to thank for the support and for also accepting to be the patron of the group, a news which was well accepted by the members when I announced it to them because they all agreed on your nomination.
He said that Ikorodu has done more than other parts of the country in supporting women for political positions, adding that before now, women constituted enemies to their own political relevance.
“A lot of people out there are aware that Ikorodu is doing well in term of empowering women in politics, but they did not know how well Ikorodu and that is what we shall be telling them when we started rolling out the statistics” he said.
“From statistics, we discovered that women don’t vote for themselves. They prefer to vote for men but we have been able to change that and let them know that they have to support one other.
“We have equally made them understood that they also have to work for positions in partnership with other stakeholders and not through feminism campaigns.
“What you have helped us in achieving has set us apart from other councils in the country. No other division has the set of women within the age bracket and other factors like we have in political offices as we have in Ikorodu”, the APC Amazon Convener said.
“Today, we have many of them as council chairman, vice chairman and councilors. We thank you for the support.
“22 members started the group with the single interest in running for political offices. 10 people got elected. Today, they have one Council Chairman, one Vice Chairman, two Leaders of the House, three Deputy leaders, one Majority Leader and one Chief Whip among them”, Sanwoola stated.
“Going forward, we are also counting on you to help influence the appointment of members of this group who are unable to secure elective positions into cabinets when the party constitutes them”, she said while making a request on behalf of the APC Amazons.
He also requested for quarterly training and mentoring by Asiwaju Basorun for the ladies.
“We have also agreed that you will help in mentoring and training members of this group on quarterly basis. It would be great if they can benefit from your political experience and lessons.
Sanwoola also announced that the Chairman, Nigeria in Diasporas Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri – Erewa, former acting Commissioner and former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, and the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Bisola Olusanya among other influential women in the division, have been penciled down to assist in training and empowering members of the group.
He thanked Rep. Babajimi Benson, the representative of the Ikorodu Federal Constituency and other leaders for their supports for the group.
Princess Folashade Olabanji – Oba, the Vice Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government, also speaking, thanked Asiwaju Basorun for all that he has been able to do and still doing.
“We all agreed to have you as our patron and it speaks volumes when you accepted our request. We admire all that you have been able to put into developing the community and our great party”, she said.
“We pray that we too will be able to add values to what you and others have been able to achieve.
“Today, we are making history here and history will be kind to us in future”, she added.
Hon. Motunrayo Gbadebo – Alogba, the Chairman, Ijede Local Council Development Aread (LCDA), assured the GAC Chieftain that members of the group who are opportuned to be in position will not disappoint him and other leaders of the party that placed their trust in them.
She also solicited for the consideration of other members of the group for political appointments.
Other key figures of the group are Hon. Okeowo Adewunmi Shukuda, former Sole Administrator, Ikorodu North LCDA, Hon. Adekoya Ayo Abiodun, Council Leader of the House, Ikorodu North LCDA, Hon. Enitan Jessica Oba, Council Leader, Ikorodu West LCDA and Hon. Balikis Aderoju Ibrahim, Majority Leader, Ikorodu North LCDA among others.