MMS Hall Of Fame: Women Advocate More Representation In Buhari’s Government

  • MMS Hall Of Fame: Women Advocate More Representation In Buhari’s Government
    From Right: Lady Onyeka Onwenu, DG, National Centre for Women Development; Dr. Ibilola Amao, the Principal Consultant of Lonadek Oil and Gas Consulting; Ms. Anne Etoke, CEO and Co-founder of The African Gas Association and Dr. Chinwe Abama, General Manager, Medical Department of the Nigerian Ports Authority at the 2015 MMS Hall of Fame induction ceremony

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Women have called on the Federal Government to focus its Corporate Civic Responsibility (CRS) initiative towards more representation of the gender in the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari and his fight against Corruption.

This disclosure was made by a 5-member panel of discussants at the 4th edition of the MMS Plus’ Woman Of Fortune Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony, with the Theme: Capacity Development Evolving A Viable CSR initiative, in Lagos.

The discussants who were; the President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Jean Chiazor Anishere, National President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Eugene Nweke, the Secretary General of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control for West and Central African Region, Mrs Mfon Usoro, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Morbod Group, Barr. Margaret Orakwusi and the Deputy Director,  Public Relations of the Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Hajia Lami Tumaka.

Eugene reiterated that as an administrator, it is his opinion that in every organization and at every level there should be a woman occupying a position, stressing that there should be a percentage of seats that should be devoted to women, especially in government to bring about change in the fight against corruption.”

Similarly, Orakwusi posited, “More women should sit on corporate boards and management team of government agencies to be part of the decision making system of the industry if we truly want to see growth and development in our county. It is unacceptable to deny a woman a job just because she is a woman. Banks should create accounts specially dedicated to women, where they can have easy access to loans to own businesses without having to be subjected to the rigors of conditions that currently exists in loan facilities in Nigerian banks.”

According to Jean “There are ways through which social responsibilities can be achieved, these are through active participation in resolving some of the social problems. By making donations or providing periodic up keep through social and cultural interest engagements toward the good of the community, it is the social responsibility of finance companies to be more socially responsible. Social responsibility could also mean eliminating corrupt, irresponsible or unethical behavior in the community, among a people or even in an environment.

“It is the responsibility of leaders to say what they will do for the people and make sure they do it, positive development according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is a program through which individuals and organizations try to obtain and sustain Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and objectives. Positive development can be achieved by developing individual skills or investment capacity development.” She added.

She further stated, “Community building programs and education should, as a matter of urgency be made available to all as information is key. Capacity and community building should be pursued through networking, visits to relevant institutions within the country etc. In viewing the relevant steps to take, attention should be given to the role of technology. Corporate organizations should develop Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) trainings, to empower women in skill acquisition programs as the slogans says, train a woman you train you train a nation.

Usoro said, “Focusing on women development, I have observed that corporate organizations are targeting women empowerment programs, gender issues should be at the forefront of the policy of any organization both in the public and private sector. It is important to find out whether corporate organizations promote career paths for women the same way they promote for their male counterparts; they should see this as a burden to provide equal training opportunities for men and women, so that we can have capable and adequate number of women in the pool of women who are qualified for promotion.

“Women on their part should not always wait to be given the opportunity, there is always room to create the opportunity they want. Now that MDGs have been geared to women development,  it must be sustained through the right mechanisms and policies, it is wise to look at organizations to see whether they promote the growth of women through their training programs or whether it chooses men more than women. Some must take it as a policy to ensure 50/50 training opportunities for both genders so that in the pool for promotion women have the same chance as men. Also women should create opportunities for active mentoring among themselves, let the younger women reach out also and not always wait to be reached by the mentor. Women should make themselves more visible and available.” She further said.

Tumaka opined, “CRS was automatic because of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country and we at NIMASA have been quite passionate about the plight of women in the society, we have made it a priority to resettle them back into the society, we also working out modalities on how to assist the families of soldiers who have lost their lives to Boko Haram especially for their children and those in the camps.”

Meanwhile, the lady of songs and the Director General of National Centre for Women Development, Lady Onyeka Onwenu who made the list of the2015 Class of MMS plus Women Of Fortune Hall Fame, in her address called on all corporate organizations Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and wealthy Nigerians to identify with the current challenges of IDPs and to contribute meaningfully in helping government to resettle IDPs especially women and children.

“There are children and women caught in this terrible situation, of course, all persons caught in the web are all very important and the government is making efforts to resettle them in their homes and places of abode before they were pushed out. This is the time to identify with them. They are a part of us. We must not be far from them, we must show that we care and love them. We must contribute and help with the long lists of resettlements programme.” Onwenu said.

While speaking to the press, the Convener of the event and the CEO, Kings Communications Limited, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke stated that the theme of the event was influenced by the need to get corporate institutions especially agencies of government to dedicate some of their corporate social responsibilities to empowering women and get them into skill acquisition before retirement.

According to him, “We are here today to celebrate women who have actually made it to the top through hard work, not those who rose to the top through stealing but women who have gone through thick and thin to get to where they are today. So, this is the fourth in the series of our annual MMS Plus Woman Of Fortune Hall Of Fame. We are celebrating women who have made it to the top, so that they will also inspire the younger ones. The criteria for the choice of women who are being celebrated today are based on the level of impact that they have made in their areas of endeavor regardless of the sector where they are and the level of empowerment that they have made in their environment.

“It is those who have impacted their environment through creation of employment leadership and other means where they found themselves, so it is a nomination open to the world. People nominate we look at them, screen them and select people to be inducted, so it is not limited to the any industry per se, that is why we have senators, house of rep members, governors and a host of others. Today, we are celebrating four women and they are all here.”He added.

Regarding the theme of the event, Anaroke emphasized, “I have always talked about CSR and I see it as a key transformation point especially in this government of President Mohammadu Buhari that centers its administration on eliminating corruption.  I say this because when people are empowered corruption becomes less attractive. Take for instance, the civil service, the civil service sub sector is where you have people steal with the pen, pen robbery, when people are empowered in that area, and they are very sure that after 35years of service they will have something to fell back on they will be less inclined to rob the government.

“But when after 35 years of service which means, they have spent their entire life in service, only to be paid between N3 million to N5 million and they will have to beg for another 5-10years before they get paid, to secure their future they would want to steal. So we are now associating this with women in our vision for MMS Plus, in the area of role modeling among women matching mentors to the mentees, together we now say NIMASA for instance Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and other government agencies in the oil and gas sector, maritime, aviation and finance, should focus on dedicating certain percentage of their corporate social responsibilities votes to empowering women.

“Re-tool them, re-kit them, tell them how to prepare themselves for the raining day, when a woman is well empowered at the end of the day , there will be less attraction for corruption we can now see women who can take care of themselves ten years after retirement. Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa, for example, after her retirement she has empowered herself in bags making and she is exporting them and also empowering others. Now people are looking up to her because her ‘Le Look brand’ is going to United Kingdom, United States of America and all over Asia. This is something she started while in service.” He affirmed.

He urged Buhari to give women a chance to prove themselves because Nigeria need women to fight corruption, noting that the quality of ministers we have are rogues repackaged to become ministers, when there are the women like Kemi Adeosun and a few of others who can deliver. He maintained that the percentage of representation is very poor and called on Mr. President to do more.

Four women of substance were inducted into the2015 Class of MMS plus Women Of Fortune Hall Fame,  and they were; the lady of songs and the DG, National Centre for Women Development,  Lady Onyeka Onwenu; the CEO and Co-founder of The African Gas Association (TAGA), Ms. Anne Etoke; the General Manager, Medical Department of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Dr. Chinwe Abama and Dr. Ibilola Amao, the Principal Consultant of Lonadek Oil and Gas Consulting.

The lady of songs who was not satisfied with just doing a speech as her passion for the re-settlement of the IDPs flared, peremptorily requested to mount the podium for a swinging performance of her song titled “You Are Not Alone”.

Accompanied by her signature Adama dance steps, Onwenu entertained the audience with her sonorous voice, professionally drowning down the song to its peak delivery with a graceful and effortless maneuver, as the audience rose up in standing ovation.

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