Monday, 6 April 2009
BY CHIJIOKE IREMEKA
AS a step towards emancipation of the womenfolk and young people in society, the Cosmopolitan Women’s Club, Lagos, recently embarked on fund raising campaign to finance its N150 million Vocational Training Centre — a skill acquisition centre that will impact positively on women and youths in the country.
The club has as members, women achievers, who are interested in physical, environmental, educational and social development in the community so as to enhance, empower women and alleviate poverty, among others, through skill acquisition training.
According to the President of the Club, Mrs. Onikepo Oshodi, the best way to help these people to become productive in the society is to teach them how to fish, not to give them fish, adding that this will provide hope to the hopeless, opportunity to the disillusioned and thus, start a chain of mutual development that will liberate many from the shackles of poverty down to coming generations.
Speaking during the official launching of the club at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos, recently, she said, “this is part of our contribution towards the government’s efforts to move the state forward through good governance and people friendly policies. Coming together is the beginning and working together is progress. Keeping together is success that cannot be wished away.”
The Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who was represented by his wife, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, expressed the readiness of government to receive with open hands every initiative directed at alleviating poverty, changing lives and improving the socio-economic profile of the poor in the state.
The increasing awareness of the woman as a vital link in the development chain and the campaign to empower her, he said, has continued to receive the attention and support of every well-meaning people and organisations in recent time, adding that in an emerging economy such as Nigeria, women are wrongly perceived as home-makers inspite of their obvious material contributions to the survival of the many homes.
It is a common knowledge, he said, that all over the world, that government alone cannot solve the myriads of challenges facing a given society. Most advanced countries have succeeded because of the commitment and sacrifice to the cause of national development by stakeholders, partners, corporate organisations, NGOs and people of goodwill. The initiative of Cosmopolitan Women’s Club, therefore, is well appreciated.
He said, “poverty alleviation and sustainable economic growth are our overriding policy thrust, and various programmes have been directed at achieving this. The beautification effort has employed thousands of people with skilled acquisition centres in the local government areas.”
The governor added, “the idea of social clubs has become part of our culture as they have continued to serve as stabilising factor in balancing our lives in a busy city like Lagos. Besides, they have become a rallying point and melting pots of useful ideas and initiatives that have continued to impact positively on the development of the society.”
“By virtue of her nurturing role and the natural attention to motherland, there is a nexus between the status of women and poverty in the society. Therefore empowering women is the equivalence of empowering the society and this must include a conscious programme of actions to empower the woman, the youths and our young graduates,” he noted.
The immediate past governor of the state, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was the guest speaker, said the club was born to contribute to solving problems confronting the state such as lack of care for miscreants and lack of electricity, among others.
He said, “when we ignore the poor, we do so at our own peril because selfish investors simply because they have the wherewithal can be attacked any time by these miscreants if left without assistance. Education is a weapon against poverty, which the state and well meaning Nigerians should be committed to.”
Our society, he said, is faced with phenomenal challenges, economic depression confronting the whole world also and we cannot afford to sit back and feel unconcerned because we feel comfortable whereas many people including our own relations too are wallowing in poverty.
At the occasion, the Vice-President of the club, who was also the Chairman, Planning Committee, Mrs. Bintu Tinubu, said the club was raised up to comform with the change in the world of clubs assisting the government, as it cannot alone bear the burden of the society.