GOVERNOR Abdulraham Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has received a United Nations (UN) backed HeforShe award for his cabinet appointments that have been adjudged to have mainstreamed gender inclusion in the state’s political structure.
Elected in 2019, Governor Abdlrazaq made history when he appointed the most women-friendly cabinet on the African continent. Recently, he cemented this with the appointment of at least 50% female permanent secretaries in Kwara, making it the only state in Nigeria to do this.
Yesterday, the award was conferred on the governor in Ilorin, the state capital by Pauline Tallen, the minister of women affairs. Ms Pauline said the governor has earned himself a golden place in the world’s hall of fame for gender inclusion and called on him to do more to fight maternal death and other issues affecting women.
She added: “The award is in recognition of your outstanding contributions to the promotion of women’s rights, visibility and empowerment. We are here today to celebrate a champion who has proven his words.”
Ms Pauline commended the governor for his exemplary style of governance and his pursuit of gender inclusion which has attracted both local and international recognition. She said the HeforShe campaign was a brainchild of the United Nations to recognise any public office holder with exceptional passions to drive gender equality.
“We want to put it on record that our dear governor of Kwara State deserves to be recognised not just in Nigeria but by the United Nations. We are here to launch the HE for SHE Gender Equality campaign, which he deserves more than any other governor.
“We wanted this visit long ago to encourage and strengthen him and to tell the World that we have the champion who has set the pace and who needs to be encouraged and acknowledged,” Ms Tallen added. She urged the governor to use his office to get more women in leadership positions at the grassroots, including elective positions.
Governor Abdulrazaq said the choice to work with women was borne out of his belief in women’s ability to multitask, their reliability and their commitment to excellence. He added: “We have noticed in many things that women are very talented, they are good managers and they often think out of the box.
“They keep the home and working executive jobs, combining everything together. We thank our mothers, wives and daughters for their contributions to humanity. We truly appreciate your visit and your recognition of what we are doing and for the honour you bestowed on us, which will be an encouragement to my peers.”
In addition, the governor commended the minister making Kwara State a reference point for gender inclusion, hoping to consolidate on such records in other key sectors of the economy. Governor Abdulrazaq and the visitors, also used the event to pray for the safe return of children and other people being held by Boko Haram and other armed groups.