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Obaseki  Lauded for Opening Up the Political Space for Women in Edo State, Nigeria  

The immediate past Vice Chairman of Oredo Local Government,  Council, Edo State Nigeria,  Hon Lady Belinda Uwa  Ogiefa Orobor has  commended the gender sensitive Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki for opening up the space for women to participate actively in the politics of the state with the slots allocated for women.

Speaking with news men in Benin City, Hon Belinda noted that the women have a great role to play in nation building and therefore they should rally round the governor to ensure that his policies are successfully implemented across the state.

According to her, “it is noteworthy that in the last dispensation, Edo State had five women as local  government chairmen and all the women did excellently well in their various assignments. I am scoring them one hundred percent because they worked and did not steal money.”

In her words, “The Governor has said it time without number that he is going to empower women and looking at the women in his administration, they are all doing well. The Edojobs is there, the EdoBest is there, the Emotan Garden and Mrs. Ifueko,  incharge of SDG, the focal Person, Edo State Social Investment Programme, Ms Osayuwamen Oladeselu  are all doing well excellently.

“You cannot see them embezzling money, what they are after is just work and they do not have time for themselves, but putting in their best.

On the role of women in politics, she said, “Women are so special to God. After the first man was created God saw that he cannot stand alone and He created a woman, Eve to be a help mate and He gave authority to women because they are close to the heart of God and that is why He made Eve with the rib of Adam.

“Women are strong people and if a woman stands by you, you will never fail in every aspect of your life as a man because we are prayerful, we are strong both biologically and physically. It is not that they are interested in the money they are sharing in Politics just like some men do, it is just what they believe on that they stand for.

“I believe that women should be more involved in politics because on election day you see that the woman will stand and make sure that they defend their votes, until the votes are counted they will not leave  and I use myself as an example because there is no election that I go back home until the results are declared.

“I make sure I monitor from the voting center down to the collation center, to the INEC. It is until the votes are declared that I finally relax since 1999.  The reason I always do that is because anything can change and I make sure that all the figures that I have written down, when it is announced, the winner and the loser results will be noted down.

” I know most women are like that. If you witness the last election, an old woman came to vote on the back of her son because she could not walk. That is the way women are, that is the love women have. When they believe in you even if it is their last breath, they will go all out to support you and vote for you, and to defend the votes and do all sorts of things.

“Before I became Vice Chairman, there has been no time that I do not cook to my unit during election. I do not take money from anybody to do it, I have my ward and unit and since I know people are coming out to vote, I just decide to make sure they drink water and eat so that they can stand to defend their votes.

” That is what I have been doing and when I do not have money I buy biscuits and gala. When I have money I cook paper rice and stew, sometime even Eba and Starch. I take it to my unit to make sure that as they are voting they do not need to start looking for food because  before they come the whole exercise would have been over. Up to the security, I make sure I take care of them at my own expense, it is not that I am using it to win votes, it is just my belief,” she added.

She disclosed that as a nurse by profession, a midwife, a public nursing Health officer, a health educator she would be doing herself harm if she sit in her comfort zone as Chief nursing officer or Assistant Director of nursing services  and not  join the train of politics to make sure that the right people are put in the right place.

“That is my belief; politics is a passion just as health care to me is a passion. I believe that people that are sick should have comfort and when they are dying, they should die smiling and not in pains and agony. The same in politics. I have passion for my people; I have passion for my unit, my community, my youths, my elders, and women especially because they are vulnerable to so many things in the society.

She declares that,  “one has to be at the helm of affairs to be able to touch the lives of these women because if the women open their mouth to tell you what they go through, what they cannot voice out. But when they see some of us, they talk to us and we are able to counsel them, we are able to talk to them that there is hope .

“If you are a woman and you are given a soft loan to improve your trade, your children and husband will eat, you will build the nation, that is why we have this slogan, “you train a woman you train a nation, no woman no nation, woman talk to women , women understand.

“If I am well trained, well informed,  and I am involved in politics, I take it back home, talk to my children while we are eating, I am building them, giving them hope, telling them what is happening in the society. I am training them on how to be contented with what they have, they should shun immoral values, they should be drug free, they should not be lured to taking drugs, they should not yield to peer group pressure. They should speak out when they are been molested.

“You talk to them and when they go back to school, they tell their peer groups what the mother told them. If your husband is there you talk to him what they told you going on in the society, the men will know and they listen. When they go back to wherever they are gathering they talk among themselves and eventually it goes to their homes and before you know it is spreading and the nation is well informed.

In her opinion therefore, “The women have a very strong role to play in the society. That is why the men should not look down on the women because they have a lot they can do, just give them the opportunity. After all, how many women will go and buy a bottle of Hennessey to drink in the afternoon. That money will be used to train a child. How many women will hold N100, 000 and be drinking with it. The best a woman will take is either a bottle of stout or bear, malt.

“That is why the woman can save. If they are given the opportunity to be at the helm, they will make sure they use the money given  to them to work  and this will have effect on the society, they will build up health centers , make the environment clean and healthy. When you have a healthy society, a healthy nation, people will not fall sick, people will be productive in their places of work.

“See what Governor Obaseki has done to the work force. Go to the ministries in the civil service, when you enter there, you are very comfortable. Because they have a conducive environment to work everybody are putting in their best and people are not dying of stroke anymore because they have a conducive place,  the air-condition is blowing them and the Governor has not stopped at that, he is making sure all the ministries and parastatals  are having 24 hours power supply.

“That is a Governor that has the interest of the people at heart. Me as a woman I will join the Governor to make sure we take the state to the next level if I am given the chance to occupy a seat of authority. That is my passion and the passion of most women. The women should be given the chance to occupy the legislative arm of government so that they can speak for their fellow women and children.

“Any society where you do not have a woman, that society is a dead society. God our creator knows the need of the woman in a man’s life. We should not be relegated to the background and we should be given the opportunity to serve and to also excel financially, spiritually and physically.

“We have a lot that we can do, we dream and God reveals to us what we should do, but we are not opportune because there is nobody backing us. We do not have financial empowerment. Come to think of it how many women are millionaires? That is why in some political party, it is in their constitution that women should not be allowed to buy forms because they know that women do not have money.

“In the past, nobody was sponsoring the women except now that the situation has changed and some men are ready to sponsor a woman. If a woman is empowered she will obviously empower other women. When the women get sponsors they will excel politically. In fact not just politically but in every area. Why can’t a woman become a governor, deputy governor and chairman of local government,” she asked..