The Wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, on Wednesday charged First Ladies in the country to be policy advocates in their respective States.
Fayemi also canvassed the need to have legal policies and institutional frameworks to aid whatever projects they are working on or hope to work on.
She stated these during a session at the Nigeria Governor’s Spouses’ Summit, which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja for the induction of new and returning Governors’ Spouses.
The session was tagged: “The Role of a 21st Century First Lady.”
The lead presenter was Hon. Dorothy McAuliffe, former First Lady of Virginia State, USA.
Other discussants were the wife of the former Vice President, Amina Sambo; and a former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Pauline Tallen.
Explaining reasons why she wanted her colleagues to be policy advocates, Erelu Fayemi said putting the right framework in place helps to provide the road map that would ensure sustainability, advising: “And the power that we have right now as first ladies, the platform that we have, we can use it in very powerful ways to advocate, to ensure that these legal policies and institutional frameworks can continue to safeguard the interest of the people in our States, particularly the most vulnerable: women and children.
“During our first time in office from 2010 to 2014, working behind the scene, I was able to advocate, very vigorously, for the passage of three bills in the State: The Gender Based Violence Prohibition Law of 2011, the Gender and Equal Opportunities Law of 2013 and the HIV anti-stigma law. These laws and the institutions that we created have remained in place to support the vulnerable communities that they were set up for.”
The Ekiti First Lady urged the newly inducted First Ladies into the Forum to identify and focus on what they are passionate about.
She asked them to ponder on the following questions: “Do you have enough passion for the work that you do? Passion for the things that wake you up in the morning? Whether it’s the children that you are taking care of, whether it’s the widowhood programmes you are working on, what are you really passionate about?
“So, what kind of leverage do you have? Do you have the kind of leverage that can enable you do the work that you really want to do? How angry are you as a First Lady? Do you get angry about what is not right that is going on in your states? What can I do to ensure that theis does not continue?”
Fayemi enjoined members of the forum to work together, saying: “Working together in solidarity as sisters across borders, across states, sharing best practices, and documenting our experiences is extremely important because our true power lies in whatever we can achieve together in solidarity as opposed to what we can achieve individually in our own little corners.”