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Examining COWLSO’s Unlearn, Learn And Re-Learn Strategy For Women Empowerment



By Bukola Nwonah

It’s about that time of the year again when women in Lagos State converge under the auspices of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) for annual National Women’s Conference.

For the past 19 years, COWLSO which is a community-based gender organisation established principally to complement the effort of the Lagos State Government in bringing about exponential development and growth at the grassroots, has been consistent in hosting the conference each year.

This year edition has its unique features. One, it is the first outing of the new Chairman of COWLSO, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who assumed the leadership of the Committee, following the swearing-in of her husband, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as the 15th Governor of Lagos State. It is a common knowledge that Lagos is a major commercial hub not just in Nigeria, but in Africa.

The theme of the conference: “Unlearn, Learn And Relearn: 21st Century Women’s T.H.E.M.E.S Perspectives/Approach”, was said to have been chosen after several brainstorming sessions on how to ensure that women in Lagos and indeed in the country key into the emerging opportunities being provided by the present administration in the State.

According to plans, the conference is projected to feature 3,000 participants, and as such one can come to terms with the fact that any programme designed to impact such huge number of participants, will eventually make positive impacts across the nooks and crannies of the State.

Speaking at the pre-conference press briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Dr. Sanwo-Olu said outstanding professionals had been specifically lined up to discuss the main topic and sub-themes of the conference, which is scheduled to hold between October 22 and 24, 2019 at the Eko Hotels Convention Centre, Victoria Island.

She said: “As it is the tradition of the Conference to strategically empower women to contribute positively to the development of the State and Nigeria at large, this year’s theme was carefully selected in line with the vision and aspiration of the present administration in Lagos State to bring about greater Lagos of our dreams.

“We have lined up very eminent Nigerians and outstanding professionals to help our women come to terms with how best they can key into the emerging opportunities being provided by the government of the day in Lagos State.”

Justifying the theme, the First Lady said several brainstorming sessions came to play before the members eventually settled for the theme.

She added: “A lot of brainstorming had gone among the COWLSO, especially NWC members and some of the things we did considered when we were trying to agree on the topics was to have a feeler and do a survey of what is happening in our system. We sent out questionnaires and asked questions orally and we found out that there was a knowledge gap; there’s the need for massive reorientation in our State, and in the nation as a whole.

“The theme of the event is to trying to re-orientate our people that we have learnt some things before that we need to unlearn those things and learn the right way of doing things. A simple example is, a patient goes to a hospital and while she’s waiting at the reception watching television and eating a snack, she litters the floor with paper of the snack. Someone comes and ask Madam why are you throwing this on the floor, and she responded I thought there is a cleaner being paid to clean the floor and so if I don’t throw it on the floor, how would she get paid? You can see that she has learnt something before she needs to unlearn.

“The same thing applies to traffic. A lot of people are impatient and once there is traffic, they start driving on lanes dedicated to BRT buses and then if every road user decides to pass the BRT corridor, there will be congestion and nobody will go anywhere. That is what some people have learnt and so there is a need to unlearn those things and everyone of us has to be the ambassadors so that we can learn good things, and it is a total overhauling of our values.

“So, I think that topic is apt when COWLSO decided to take that topic to unlearn some things that have been learnt; learn new things and keep on relearning,” she said.

While emphasising that learning is a continuous process, the First Lady said: “You see, a lot of people have entered the plane and no matter the class you are – first class, middle class, economy class, each time you enter the plane, they will tell you to please put on your seat belt; they will tell you the emergency exit, among other things. They will not say because you have entered the plane five times you don’t need the information and so it shows that learning is continuous even if you know it.”

Giving further details, Dr. Sanwo-Olu said the First Lady of Nigeria, Dr. Aisha Buhari would declare the Conference Open, alongside Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, while his counterpart from Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule would serve as Special Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony.

She said aside the main theme, other sub-themes include: “The 21st Century Woman – Build Not Born To Influence The Society; Entertainment And Tourism: Prism Of Possibilities – Tourism and Entertainment; The Total Woman; Entrepreneurship: Making Money And More Money – Agric Entrepreneurship, Financing and General Trading; Mould A Child And Build A Greater Generation; Healthy Woman – A Healthier Nation: Maternal & Child Mortality; Development And A Healthy City – Creating A Balance – Waste To Wealth, and Obey Traffic Laws,” among others.

With the array of interesting topics lined up for the 2019 conference, one can only commend COWLSO and look forward to interesting times ahead as participants positively put the experience to practice to engender a better society for all, particularly in Lagos State and in the nation at large.


Nwonah is the Head of Public Affairs, Office of the First Lady of Lagos State

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Ecowas backs sacked G.Bissau PM




West African leaders on Sunday reiterated their backing for Guinea-Bissaus Aristide Gomes, sacked as prime minister by the countrys interim president three weeks ahead of a presidential election.

A delegation of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) denounced as illegal President Jose Mario Vazs sacking last week of Gomes and his internationally backed government.

Vaz had no authority to dismiss the administration or appoint a replacement government because his five-year mandate as president had expired in June, said the Ecowas statement.

At a June 29 meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, Ecowas had agreed that Vaz could stay on until the presidential election due November 24, but leave the government to run the country.


Jean-Claude Brou, president of the Ecowas Commission, warned that anyone who tried to prevent the holding of the election this month faced the possibility of sanctions.

Gomes has already described Vazs sacking of him and his cabinet as a coup paving the way for him to stop preparations for the presidential poll.

“My government is the only legitimate one recognised by the international community,” said Gomes after meeting the Ecowas delegation in Bissau.


“I am continuing my work, which is to organise the elections at the scheduled date,” he continued, adding: “If the president sets fire to the house, he risks being left without a roof.”

The Ecowas delegation that visited Guinea-Bissau Sunday also met with Vaz, foreign diplomats in the capital, lawmakers and members of the electoral commission, an AFP journalist reported.

But they did not meet the prime minister Vaz appointed to replace Gomes, Faustino Imbali.


The UN Security Council on Friday called for the authorities to respect the date set for the holding of the presidential election and rejected Vazs appointment of the new government.

Vaz has already said the election will go ahead, with a second round if necessary being held on December 29.

Vaz, 62, is one of the 12 candidates running for the presidency.

Another former prime minister, Domingos Simoes Pereira, who heads the African Party of the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), is running against him.

PAIGC won a parliamentary majority in the March 10 legislative election.

Vaz has governed since 2014 in Guinea Bissau, which is stricken by poverty, corruption and drug trafficking.

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Following the screening of the four nominees whose names were forwarded to the Ogun State House of Assembly by Governor Dapo Abiodun to fill the vacancies in the State Judicial Service Commission last week, the Assembly today confirmed their nomination, describing them as eligible and suitable to assume office as members of the Commission.

The nominees were confirmed at a plenary presided over by Speaker Olakunle Oluomo, at the Assembly Complex, Oke- Mosan, Abeokuta, following the presentation of the  report of the Committee on the Selection of the nominees by the Chairman, House Committee on Justice, Ethics and Public Petition, Hon. Solomon Osho, who thereafter moved the motion for the adoption of the report, seconded by his counterpart from Odeda State Constituency, Oludaisi Elemide and supported by the Whole House through a voice vote.

Consequently, the Majority Leader, Yusuf Sherif moved the motion for the passage of House resolution titled: ” H. R. No 044/OG/2019- Confirmation of the Nomination of Barr. Joel Soyinka, Barr.  Akinpelu Aina as well as Mrs. Yetunde Adesanya and Mrs. Sola Elegbeji as members of the Ogun State Judicial Service Commission”, seconded Hon. Kemi Oduwole and support by the Whole House through a voice vote.

The report partly reads: “the Honourable members examined the Curriculum Vitae and the credentials of the nominees and interviewed them. The nominees were found to be eligible and suitable to assume the exalted office of members of the Judicial Service Commission of Ogun State. The Committee therefore recommended them for confirmation as members of the Judicial Service Commission of Ogun State”.

Meanwhile, it will be recalled that the list of the nominees had earlier been forwarded to the Assembly last week and the nominees screened few days ago by the lawmakers, who charged them to bring their expertise in their different fields of endeavours to bear in reshaping the justice sector in the State for better service delivery.

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Buhari extends closure of Nigeria’s borders till January 30 – Official



President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the ongoing closure of Nigeria’s borders till January 31, 2020. .

The directive was announced in a memo signed and dated November 1, 2019, by Victor Dimka, the Comptroller of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspectorate, and addressed to Sector Coordinators of the Joint Border Operation Drill – Sectors 1, 2, 3, and 4.

The content of the memo was published by Channels television.
The extension is said to have been necessitated by the need to meet up with other strategic objectives of the federal government
Nigeria closed its land borders in August, three months after signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA). .

Some Nigerians have criticised the border closure, saying it affects the government’s trade commitment with West African countries as well as the ACFTA, and has also led to an increase in prices of otherwise imported products. .

The government has however defended the closure, saying the measure is to curb the influx of smuggled goods from neighbouring countries such as Benin, Niger and Cameroon. The goods mostly involved are used cars, food products like rice and poultry, and also illegal arms. .

Since the closure, the Nigerian customs has announced an increase in revenue, while the state oil company, NNPC, has also reported a decrease in the volume of petrol smuggled outside Nigeria.
Mr Dimka, in the memo, said the operation (Exercise Swift Response) has recorded “overwhelming success,” considering its benefits to the nation’s economy and security.” .

The memo read:
“I am directed to inform you that it is observed that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved. .
. “Against this background, Mr President has approved the extension of the exercise to January 31, 2020. “Consequently, you are requested to convey the development to all personnel for their awareness and guidance.

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