The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration plans to launch a N1 billion Fund for widows, whose livelihoods were adversely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.
He disclosed this while addressing a cross-section of women at an event in Government House, Benin City, to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day with the theme, “Addressing the Vulnerabilities of Women in the COVID-19 Era: Towards Achieving a More Gender Equal and Inclusive Society.”
The governor noted that the COVID-19 pandemic affected women especially widows, adding that his administration has captured data of over 3,000 widows in the ongoing ‘Data to Make Edo Great Again’ enumeration.
Obaseki said: “As a response and gift to women, Edo State Government will be launching a N1 billion Fund for widows whose livelihoods were impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.
“The state will give a seed capital of N250 million. We will work with financial partners to raise the balance as the fund will be managed professionally, not politically, mostly by women, to address vulnerable women in the state.”
He added that his administration will champion significant changes in Edo women participation in politics as women have contributed largely to the success of his administration.
“My administration sees women as equals in Edo State. It is on record that the key areas that we have made most achievements as a government have been handled and led by women. Is it in education, healthcare, job creation or the Judiciary? Women have provided leadership and made significant difference in our state,” he said.
Obaseki continued: “Much has been said on the success of women in society and more needs to be done in the area of representation, particularly in the legislature. I am giving you a commitment today, that as governor of Edo State, I will do all I can with the powers given to me by God and the constitution to make sure that before I leave office, we would record significant changes in the level of women representation in our politics.”
The governor commended Edo women on the role played and the tenancy displayed during the Edo 2020 governorship election, which led to his victory.
According to him, “After the result of the election was announced, Edo women across the three senatorial districts stood out in unison, chanting songs to thank God for the victory. As an administration, we will maintain our promise to Make Edo Great Again.”
Speaking on the 2021 global theme for the International Women Day, “Women in Leadership Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 world,” Obaseki said, “the theme is very apt and we appreciate our women because they played a very significant and outstanding role in response to COVID-19 pandemic.”
On her part, Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki said: “I am calling on our husbands, both at the State and Federal levels, to wake up to this call and be sensitive to the plight of women across Nigeria. Henceforth, any policy that comes up should have the interest of women in mind because they have suffered in the past one year.”
She urged governments to enact new laws and strengthen existing ones to address issues women face with a view to bridging the gender gap, adding, “They must seek to engender the inclusion of women in decision making at different levels of government. An enabling environment must be created for women to be involved in policies of government in this country.”