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Obasanjo advocates more investment in girls’ education


Country Director, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Mr. Jean Bakale (right); former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Country Representative of United Nations Women, Ms. Comfort Lamptey; and Global Convener of Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals Development Network (WEPDN), Alaba Lawson, at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State…yesterday.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advocated more investment in the education of girls.Speaking yesterday when three women groups visited him at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State, the retired general identified child marriage, poor female education and few female political appointees as hampering the progress of the country.He called for collective efforts to fight them.

The groups include United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Women, and Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals Development Network (WEPDN).

Lawson, who is the immediate past president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), argued that Nigeria would get her bearing right the day a woman emerges as the country’s president, even as she agreed that the task is herculean.

Present at the event facilitated by the convener of WEPDN, Alaba Lawson, were officials of UNIDO, led by the country director, Jean Bakale. Dr. Obasanjo stressed the important role women play in any society, insisting that men were by no means superior to women.

“As men, we like to deceive ourselves as masters. When I was growing up, there was a popular saying that men have nine bones while women have seven. I don’t know where we got that from. It is part of what we say to ourselves to boost our ego,” he said.

According to him, women form more than 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population, hence they must be understood and celebrated.His words, “There are three areas I believe all of us in this country have to work on. The first is is female child education. We are still lagging behind and there is no reason, culturally or religiously and even socially, the girl should not have the same opportunities as the boy.

“The second is child marriage. When you marry off the girl at 13 or 14, of course her education is short-circuited. This affects her for the rest of her life.“The third is making sure that we get enough women in political-elective offices and political appointments, as well as in the private sector.”Obasanjo argued that without women, who form the greater part of the informal sector of the economy, the formal sector would be non-existent.


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