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OAFLAD: Tinubu lauds African First Ladies for commitment to gender equity, equal learning opportunities

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (2nd left) ), Nigerian First Lady Senator Oluremi Tinubu (middle), and Some Visiting African First Ladies at the Launch of #WeAreEqual Campaign, in Abuja, FCT Photo: State House

*President Bola Ahmed Tinubu urges the African First Ladies and all other stakeholders to engender a society where all children can access quality education without leaving anyone behind, particularly the girl child, towards building ‘a stronger and more peaceful society for all’

Isola Moses |ConsumerConnect

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has commended the African First Ladies for the dedication to advancing gender equality and narrowing the gender gap in opportunities and appointments across the African continent.

Tinubu stated this in his remarks presented Monday, May 13, 2024, at the launch of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development #WeAreEqual Campaign, in Abuja, FCT.

ConsumerConnect reports the forum attracted the First Ladies from across Africa, development partners, representatives from the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and members of the diplomatic community, and the focus of the launch of the campaign in Nigeria is, “Education as a Powerful Tool for Change”.

Welcoming the guests to the occasion, the Nigerian leader stated: “I salute the commitment and dedication of the African First Ladies, as members of OAFLAD, to advance gender equality and narrow the gender gap in opportunities and appointments across the African continent.”

Emphasising the significance of the campaign to the African continent, President Tinubu noted the #WeAreEqual campaign has also successfully launched in 15 other African countries.

The OAFLAD continent-wide campaign focuses on health, education, economic empowerment and gender based violence, said the President.

Equal access to quality education without leaving anyone behind, by President Tinubu

Tinubu equally lauded the African First Ladies, noting that he is delighted to know about the various initiatives that they have activated in their respective countries in the continent.

The Nigerian President as well stated the focus of the launch of the campaign in Nigeria “is critical for Africa’s development, if we are to attain gender equity and ensure equal opportunities for all.”

He, therefore, urged the stakeholders to continue to create opportunities for all our children to access quality education without leaving anyone behind, particularly the girl child.

“We must engender a society where everyone has the same opportunities, regardless of who they are, because doing that leads to a stronger and more peaceful society for all,” said he.

On Alternative High School for Girls project in Nigeria

President Tinubu, in his address, also touched on the initiative that offers a second chance to girls who have dropped out of school.

Tinubu stated: “It is noteworthy that the launch of this laudable campaign in Nigeria came with the reintroduction of the Alternative High School for Girls by the First Lady.

“This initiative offers a second chance to young girls who have dropped out of school to further their education and fulfil their dreams and aspirations.”

The President further noted that Nigerian First Lady Oluremi Tinubu, CON, recently laid the foundation stone of one of the schools, in Osun State, South-West Nigeria.

The Nigerian leader disclosed more schools are underway across the country, being supported by state governments, the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and other development partners.

On the strategic importance of such socio-educational programmes to rehabilitate young people, especially girls, he recalled his experience as a former Governor of Lagos State.

The President said: “I witnessed firsthand, how societal challenges, such as unwanted teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, human trafficking and drug addiction could obstruct the promising future of young girls.”

“Indeed, the reintroduction of Alternative High School for girls by the First Lady of Nigeria must have received inspiration from the successful implementation of a similar initiative in Lagos State during my tenure as governor.”

According to him, when girls are empowered to pursue their dreams, communities thrive, economies prosper, and nations succeed.

Tinubu urged all stakeholders to continue to “take bold and decisive actions” to eliminate the structural inequalities that hold women back on the African continent.

The President stated: “We must work together to promote laws and policies that protect and promote women’s rights, invest in girls’ education and skills development, and create economic opportunities that are accessible to all.”

In the education sector in Nigeria, the President explained the full operationalisation of the Student’s Loan (Access to Higher Education) Act is key to achieving these goals as it will ensure that all young people have unhindered access to education.

The Nigerian Government, he noted, through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, is also implementing a N50,000 non-repayable grant programme for one million Nigerians in Nano businesses and skilled trades, including women and youth.

He appealed to all to continue to work to end gender-based violence and increase learning opportunities for girls, in safe and conducive environments.

These measures will enable  more women succeed in different vocations and properly shape their future endeavours, from politics to engineering, science, technology, sports and the creative economy, the President averred.

Tinubu said: “As Africans, we believe in wholesome society. We are family-oriented, and we value the collective well-being of all.

“It is our duty as parents and guardians to teach our girls our cherished cultural values and traditions.

“Africans are known for warm hospitality and generosity. Our can-do-spirit also imbues us with the ability to thrive in challenging environments and circumstances. We are who we are.  We are Africans.”

He added: “I reaffirm my commitment to ensuring that no Nigerian child is excluded from quality education that prepares women and girls to lead and bring positive changes to our communities.”

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