The founder, Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, has lamented the huge gender gap between men and women in the country, particularly in political representation, economic management and leadership positions.
Ehigiamusoe who noted that women have been relegated in the history of national development and nation building, expressed LAPO’s commitment to challenging discrimination and inequality against women, with a view to championing their cause and forging their advancement.
Speaking at the 5th LAPO outstanding women leadership award ceremony in Benin city, which marks activities by the NGO to celebrate the 2017 International Women’s Day (IWD), with theme,” Be Bold for Change,” he said Nigeria has the lowest number of female parliamentarians in sub-Saharan Africa and ranks 133rd in the world for female political representation.
Represented by Executive Director, LAPO, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo, he expressed worry about the issue of women marginalization and low participation in political leadership and decision making just as he called for urgent national and international attention to address issues of gender discrimination and inequality against women.
“Although women constitute 49 percent of the total population and share common features with men in terms of educational qualifications, socio-economic status and occupation, they are marginalized in virtually all spheres of life. In many African countries including Nigeria, women are victims of obnoxious social norms, political exclusion and economic lopsidedness. This is in spite of the international declarations affirming the rights and equality between men and women, with Nigeria as a signatory,” Ehigiamusoe stated.
Three illustrious Nigerian women including Prof. Obehi Okojie, a former deputy vice-chancellor(Academic)of the University of Benin, and others, who have distinguished themselves and recorded outstanding success in Business, professional and public life were recognized and presented with various categories of award by LAPO.
Ehighismusoe also at the staff award ceremony celebrated with no fewer than129 awardees who have completed between 10 and 20 years of continuous service in the organization, commended them for their dedication and loyalty.
He added: “ It is a known fact that the most fundamental and important resource in any organization is its employees and without such, failure is unavoidable. All the institutions in LAPO have undergone drastic changes within the last 30 years and witnessed exponential growth in spite of the very challenging environment. In 2016 alone, financial institutions in the LAPO system in and outside Nigeria collectively disbursed loans valued at N140.4billion. LAPO currently has a staff strength of 7,233 persons with a customer base standing at 2.9 million in 30 states in addition to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
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