Those who were present at the third edition of the MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame has the following to say about the vent that attracted both the high and the mighty in the society especially in the political, business and maritime sectors. This is a true representation of the actual happenings at the venue of the event at its crux. Read on…
Kema Chikwe, Former Minister of Transport and Aviation
It is very easy to start a project but it is not easy to sustain it. They have been resilient and that accounts for this third edition. What goes for Anaroke and his wife is that they target what they want and they will not sleep until they get it. And that is a quality for transformation and also success so, I am very happy to be here after receiving the award in 2012 and being appointed the chairperson of the governing council. If you have been following their events, you will know that they have been very consistent. I receive the paper every Monday on my desk, I am really happy for their resilience and their commitment and their progressive vision for the country.
One of the points I want to make today is they are killing two birds with one stone. They are not only giving the usual award to deserving women, they are remembering Dora. Dora has been institutionalised in this nation. She had a very short time to live in this world and it was as if she had a premonition of what was coming and she packed all her achievements within the years before her death. I believe she had left a legacy that Nigeria will never forget. So, this is very significant for MMS to embark on this project today. Let me also commend MMS for focusing on gender issues in development. Jimi Abaje did talk about the number of women playing active roles in the society and I will like to also add that over 50% of voters according to INEC records are women.
If you have the majority of people who put others in government because really your life, destiny is defined by politics whether you like it or not. A lot of people say they don’t care about politics but I think that they are not thinking in the right direction because if the right people don’t participate in politics, you have your inferiors take your destinies into their custodies.
So, politics is everybody’s business but 50% of those who care, play the game, vote to put people in government are women. So, it presupposes that women understand the significance of politics. Therefore, we must begin to know that the majority of those who understand how to take care of the destiny of others by going to vote must be taken into consideration. What MMS is doing especially is that in 2012, when I was with them, they nominated very distinguished women, I almost did not come because you know it is common in Nigeria for a group of people to come together and give awards for reasons you don’t know but because of the way they got in touch with me, I said I must go and see and when I got there, it was clear that they did not just take people to give awards.
That particular year, most of the women were people who had one thing or the other to do with maritime and they were women who had achieved their heights in the maritime sector. They are not talking about women alone, they are talking about professionalism. Today, they are honouring Okonjo-Iweala, whether she is here or not, that is immaterial but what is important is that they have considered the role she is playing in the Nigerian economy and believed that if you give her an award, she serves as an inspiration and as a role model to other Nigerian women. They are giving an award to Monica Mbanefo, she is a personal friend. When I was appointed Minister of Transport in 1999, I was wondering why, I thought if I had a PHD in Education not transport but I also figured that if you have an intellectual base, you can navigate your way through any development factor. Monica was one of the people in the maritime sector that assisted me through the process.
When I read her profile in this programme, I thought it wasn’t complete because it stopped somewhere; she had done a lot more. Don’t forget that she contested and Nigerians backed her for the DG of IMO which she deserved. MMS is selecting women who had made remarkable achievements for the nation and if we are talking about 35% for women in 2015 and onwards, then we have to talk about quality 35%. Organisations like this are helping to highlight women to occupy that 35% and by the way it is shifting from 35 to 50%. I know the men are becoming jealous but if more than 50% of Nigerians who are voting to put government in place are women, then why do you ask for 35%? We ought to ask for 50% and I am serious about that and that is what we call transformation. Transformation is not what you tell people about, it is about what people see, feel, and hear, so essentially the theme of the event: Building Capacity for Transformative Leadership is geared towards making women ready for leadership roles.
Nigerian economy has been transformed, structured because you have a woman who is the Minister of Finance; because you have a woman who has prudence. In the transport sector so, we are proud to say that women are on the driver’s seat. Okonjo-Iweala is not only a Minister of Finance but she is a Co-ordinating Minister. Essentially, she is co-ordinating both men and women and that is why our economy is in the right direction. When you point at all the transformations in the sectors, you can now see how much Nigeria is earning and spending. There are challenges, yes but Rome was not built in a day. Transformation means succession, succession has a lot to do with capacity building. It has to be built for everybody especially for the coming generation that they will be able to carry out developmental strides effectively.
What I will like to say to the organisers is to for next year, you must make sure that you specifically invite some undergraduate students, give them a section in the hall so that you will be building that continuity, knowledge of experience of Nigerian women and you give them inspiration. I like to attend certain functions that people who come are committed to. So, I believe that those of you who come are true transformers. We need to change our focus in this country from money; it is not what life is all about, it is about dedication to duty, commitment, building a better society for all of us and I am happy that this is why you are here today.
Mrs. Rollens Macfoy, CEO, Ocean Deep Services Ltd.
What is your perception of today’s event where women’s roles in the society are being recognised?
It is a very wonderful occasion and we asked that it shouldn’t stop. If many organisations will imbibe things like this, our women will be encouraged because if you look at the overall ratio of men to women in important positions, you will find out that our women are not encouraged. There are so many women that nature had endowed with a lot of knowledge and this need to be tapped so I congratulate MMS for this kind of event.
What impact do you think this kind of award will have on women?
It can make them work harder, those that have hidden virtues, work and professionalism will be made to come out with it more knowing fully well that they are not relegated to the background and that when they speak, there is somebody that is ready to listen.
What is your message to young generation of women?
They should work hard, they should not depend on godfatherism, your profession and your hard work will be the things that will sell you out. I congratulate and encourage MMS for their wonderful contribution to the transport sector especially the maritime sub-sector. They have been wonderful and if you have been reading the newspaper, you will agree with me. They report accurately, they also put various sectors on their toes.
Musa Umar, Deputy Director, Cabotage and Shipping Development, representing the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar
What is the Minister’s message for the inductees?
When you take the ministry itself for instance and the role women play like Mrs. Kema Chikwe, she was also a minister and has moved the ministry well. She did very well when she was in aviation. You can see how women are performing first of all they are mothers we are what we are because of them. If you look at the totality of your upbringing and assess the role of the mother, then you know women are great individually, if you look at them, the selection is perfect and excellent. If you are a writer, you will know the volume you will write on each of them. The only thing is for our women, daughters, wives to emulate them and support them for the greatness of our nation.
What is your message for the younger generation of women?
They need to set their agenda, have their objectives clear, remain focused, persist with dedication and the sky is the limit, and they will succeed. If we want to move this country, then each and every one of us should remain focused and dedicated.
Princess Ada Okwy Ibe
Today’s event is very wonderful. People honored are well deserving of it. This is an avenue to appreciate women. This kind of event enlightens women and keeps them up to date to recent information. The younger generation should have patience. I advise them to attend forum like this to learn from the older generation. It is an educative event.