The Edo State First Lady, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, has threatened to drag offenders of gender-based political violence to court and also fight the case to the very end.

Mrs Obaseki made the statement in a keynote address at the 2023 Alaghodaro Edo Women Conference held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

“Gender-based political violence is not permitted in Edo State and domestic violence also. If you are reported, I will take the matter up and we will see in court,” Betsy Obaseki said.

She frowned at the marginalization of women in politics and at home by their male counterparts, noting that women have continually being abused emotionally, physically and financially.

She warned local government chairmen who are men to stop marginalizing their Vice Chairmen who are female, saying, “The vice are not spare tyres and all female office holders must be allowed to carry out their duties fully.

Delivering her goodwill message, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Joan Osa-Oviawe thanked Governor Godwin Obaseki for empowering women in the state’s education ecosystem, and also appreciated the Edo State First Lady on how she had supported the empowerment and the upliftment of women in the state.

“I am the first woman as education commissioner in over 10 years and this was made possible by Governor Godwin Obaseki and the support of the First Lady,” the education commissioner said.

The commissioner also expressed appreciation to the governor for appointing a woman as the SUBEB Board chairman and promoting more women as principals and headmistress of primary and secondary schools in the state.

Similarly, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Communication and Strategy, Sarah Esangbedo, while delivering her goodwill message commended Governor Obaseki for the opportunity given women to contribute to the development of the state.

Esangbedo said more females have been given opportunity to be part of the state executive council as well as in leadership positions as permanent secretaries and directors of agencies.

According to Esangbedo, “Sitting before us we have five Honourable Commissioners in the Edo State cabinet who are women, we have two women as local government chairmen.”

“Governor Obaseki has been deliberate in empowering and appointing women both as political office holders and technocrats,” she said.

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Also delivering her goodwill message, the former Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters (Edo South), Lady Uwa Osunbor, appreciated Mrs Obaseki for always speaking up for women and ensuring that the voices of women are heard.

Osunbor said Mrs Obaseki has fought for women to be giving positions and that despite the effort of the First Lady some men still deny women positions, saying, “We know how Her Excellency love the poor and vulnerable in our society and it was as a result of this that led to the Vivian Centre.”

Speaking on the Obaseki-led administration on behalf of the Edo State Market Women Association, Madam Blackie Ogiamen, leader of the association, said, “Obaseki administration has been very wonderful, he has done marvellously well, we expected that from him and we pray that God will bring someone like him who will do more than him. He has performed greatly in Edo State and has transformed the state from bad to good”.

Commenting on the impact of the administration to the traders, Madam Blackie said, “Obaseki has been trying for us, our children now attend schools, those that have been hawking in various markets he transformed them to go back to school, they are all in school. He has done well for us.” This is the line with the School O’clock initiative set up by the government to eradicate students loitering during school hours.

In an interview at the event, president of the Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWAN) Edo State chapter, Haija Hussana Esohe Audu, commended the governor and his wife for their good works for the women of the state, noting, “If we look at the Obaseki administration, he has really tried, though he is a gentleman, he does not make noise but he is doing his things underground.”

Most people are aware of the great things the governor does, as he is one that takes time to encourage the women, she said, saying, “The First Lady is a great woman that takes care of the young and old women; she does not want to see any woman suffering, unless it is not brought to her notice. If she is aware, she will do something. She is a great woman.”

The 7th edition of Alaghodaro 2023 Summit is held to commemorate the 7th year of the Governor Obaseki-led administration with the themed, “The Edo Story: Creating Shared Opportunities into the Future”.

The event was flagged off with The Edo Women Conference, which was a gathering of women from the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, yesterday at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, the Edo State capital.

The event featured March Past competition from the women across the 18 LGAs and cultural troupe dance competition across the three senatorial district of the state with cash price of N500,000, N350,000, N250,000 for the first, second and third positions, respectively, for the march past and N300,000, N200,000, N100,000 for the first, second and third positions, respectively, for the cultural troupe dance.

Hon. Natasha Osawaru Erobsoa, the member representing Egor LGA, when speaking with the press, said, “Alaghodaro is a title, which means moving forward. This is the 7th edition and if you follow up every year, each edition is almost double or triple of the previous edition. It is a brilliant idea and we thank God for the CEO who collaborated with the state government to bring this kind of summit to Edo State.”

Speaking on the impact the administration has had in her constituency, Hon. Natasha said, “There is no governance which can meet all the needs of their people. Obaseki has done 99.9%, which is rare. Normally, we battle between 40-50%, but he has done 99.9%. Egor is my responsibility; that is why they have a representative like me, all those terrible roads that have been there for years, go to Egor right now to see. It is hard to see a major linked road that is terrible, very difficult.” She gave kudos to Governor Obaseki as she is impressed with the administration and hopes that the Alaghodaro Summit continues even after His Excellency.

Guests present at the event include Secretary to the State Government Barr. Osarodion Ogie, Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, and wife of the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Barbra Agbebaku.