By John Dads
Newly-appointed Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has thrown a challenge to Nigerian governors to give more leadership positions to women in the country.
The former Minister of Finance stated this an interview session anchored by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during the 8th Lagos Economic Summit, otherwise known as Ehingbeti, in Lagos on Tuesday.
While commending Lagos state for its leading role in women empowerment, she said women cannot be empowered unless the men agreed to do so.
“Your Excellency, I will start with you and ask you, how many leadership jobs are you going to open up for women?”
“I know Lagos State has done very well, you have had female deputy governors, you have many female commissioners, you have excellent captains of industries who are women like my sister, Ibukun Awosika, the WIMBIZ women and many other women”.
“I am very proud of them but I want you to talk to the other governors on how you are going to open up leadership positions for women because we cannot be empowered unless the men agree to empower us. Similarly for our youths, we can’t make road unless we all together create the opportunities for them to lead”.
In his response, Sanwo-Olu who highlighted what his government has done so far in terms of offering leadership positions to women said the state will continue to play a leading role in that aspect.
“Thank You Madam. I will just tell you that this is very critical for us in Lagos and I dare say that we are humbled that in our cabinet, we have 35 per cent women; we have about 65 per cent women among our Permanent Secretaries; our judges, we have about 60 to 65 per cent that are women”.
“In all of the critical arms in Lagos State, there are more women but we still want to do more. Women head the three critical ministries or agencies in Lagos today. A woman is the head of Works and Infrastructure, a woman is the head of LAMATA and the head of the renewal and rebuild agency”.
“We are doing great but we also want to do more. We know that there are a lot of other opportunities that we can bring forward for our youths and women”.
“I want to assure you that Lagos will continue to take a lead on this and we are truly excited that you have actually written a book and I want say to you that you got a great fan here that are not only women but men as well. I want to use this opportunity to say to you that we wish you all the very best on this new global stage that you are” Sanwo-Olu said