APC Professional Women Council UK Zone Advocates for Increased Women’s Participation and Representation in Nigerian Politics

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The APC Professional Women Council UK Zone has called for more participation and representation of women in politics, in a bid to promote inclusivity and empowerment in the Nigerian political landscape. The group which hosted a vibrant event to commemorate International Women’s Day on Monday and inaugurate the newly updated executive members reiterated its readiness to create a conducive environment for women to thrive in politics and other fields of professional and entrepreneurial endeavour.

The event, themed, “Inspire Inclusion” featured a lineup of distinguished speakers and panelists who addressed various topics, including the role of professional women in politics, financial wisdom for women, encouraging entrepreneurship, discussing the glass ceiling, and raising emotionally resilient children. Through engaging talks and insightful discussions, the event highlighted the importance of fostering gender equality, empowerment, and inclusivity within the APC diaspora community. Bolstered by inspiring rhetoric and substantive discourse, the event reaffirms a collective commitment to nurturing a landscape where women ascend to leadership roles across diverse spheres.

Mrs. Ronke Soyombo, the Founder of the APC Professional Women Council, shared the council’s journey and mission, and highlighted the efforts in providing palliatives for women in need, amplifying women’s voices. She stated in her keynote address, “Our aim is to create a future where women are not just at the table. We will create a network of support where women can learn from one another.”

“We have offered support and palliatives for over 30, 000 women that were seriously in need. Also, we don’t just share our expertise, we amplify women’s voices. We mentor, collaborate, and create a space where women can rise together. We are the embodiment of what the party stands for, that is, empowerment, inclusion and a future where women are not just relegated to the kitchen, but shape the entire menu. We empower others, create support for each other and climb the political ladder together.

“The top is very lonely. A lot of women desire to climb to the top but they don’t know what to do exactly, without compromising their integrity. I have been in APC for about 10 years and I have never compromised. It depends on the way you carry yourself as a woman. Don’t let anybody tell you that, because you’re in politics you’ve got to be a dirty woman. You’ve got to learn from everybody and let people know you for what you stand for. Let integrity go before you. Initially, it might make you unpopular, but as you grow, it’s going to pay off. Never let anybody discourage you that you cannot survive in politics. If all of us decide to fold our arms, especially professional women, who then would be ruling us. So, I’m challenging every woman in the house to please, rise to the occasion,” she added.

Soyombo noted that the council has more work to do: “There are still barriers to break, battles to be won. We need more positions for women. We need exemplary women with integrity.

“The APC Professional Women’s Council is the engine that will drive this progress. You will be the advisors, the strategists, and the advocates who make change a reality. You will inspire the next generation of women leaders, showing them that their voices matter, their dreams are achievable, and their place is at the forefront of shaping our world.”

Also, Mrs. Asia Ahmad El-Rufai, wife of the former Governor of Kaduna State while delivering a powerful keynote address, urged society to break barriers and stereotypes that limit women’s inclusion and empowerment, emphasizing the importance of raising children in an inclusive environment.

“We must break the barrier and stereotypical mentality of seeing the female gender as an inferior being right from the home front. That way, we would raise our children to be inclusive and therefore an inclusive society. However, no society can survive on one gender doing it alone. The society needs the two genders. The society also needs both the old and young generations,” she added.

Honorable Tunde Doherty, Chairman APC UK Interim Committee also delivered goodwill messages, highlighting the importance of women’s inclusion in all aspects of society.

Hon. Tunde Doherty appreciated Toks Olunloyo, the host and Coordinator of the APC Professional Women Council, for a job greatly done, so far. “You have made us proud. We have identified some of the challenges we have in the party, especially where the diaspora is concerned. We must challenge ourselves to have a coordinated voice. So far, we have ensured that the voice of the APC diaspora is not just heard but is enshrined in the party constitution. We have a lot to give to our country, Nigeria. Everybody here is a professional and skillful, but we need to work together, brainstorm together, and see ourselves as equal. I encourage all of us because, with unity, we will always be able to break the glass ceiling”.

Hon. Tunde Doherty emphasized the diaspora’s pivotal role in Nigerian politics, heralding a decade-long endeavor to amplify their voice within the political discourse. Hon. Tunde Doherty highlighted the diaspora’s influence in Nigerian politics, saying, “We have worked so hard for nine years to make the diaspora voice heard; the constitution of APC among other parties in Nigeria now includes the diasporas.”

During the panel dialogue, Councillor Sade Sobanjo-Etti provided insights into the nuances of politics from a UK perspective.

Sharon Wint-Gordon, a financial consultant shared insights on financial wisdom for women, emphasizing the importance of financial education and resilience. Amb. Lorna Marah, a Global Peace Ambassador and founder/CEO of Rhybia Consulting, spoke about encouraging entrepreneurs and businesses to stand in their power. Prof. Dr. Parin Somani, Director of London Organisation of Skills Development, discussed the glass ceiling and its impact on women’s advancement in leadership roles. Chioma Fanawopo, a diversity and inclusion specialist addressed the topic of raising emotionally resilient children in the 21st century.

Addressing the prevailing disparity in women’s representation in Nigerian politics, CEO of Nigerians In Diaspora Commission, NIDCOMM, Hon. Abike Dabiri lamented the meager presence of women in key political institutions, urging proactive engagement to surmount systemic challenges.

Hon. Abike Dabiri noted that “The role of women in politics today is very very poor. In Nigeria today, only 5.6% of the senate is made up of women and the house of representatives has just 6.5%. No female governor and the deputy governors are now even less than when democracy began. The political culture is still much against us as women but we should not sit back and wallow in pity”

The council inaugurated its newly updated executive members as follows:

  1. Coordinator – Mrs. Toks Omowunmi Olunloyo
  2. Deputy Coordinator – Duchess Bolaji Odunuga
  3. Youth Leader – Mrs. Obiageli Stella Ngoesina
  4. Head, Media and Publicity – Mrs. Bolaji Odunuga
  5. Head, Contact and Mobilization – Mrs. Yetunde Awolesi
  6. Head, Training & Empowerment – Dr. Yemisi Akindele
  7. Head, Finance & Sponsorship – Mrs. Kudirat Olowosale
  8. State Coordinator London – Mrs. Gbemisola Ademola
  9. State Coordinator South England – Councillor Sade Sobanjo Etti
  10. State Coordinator North England – Mrs. Oluranti Omobola Ogunmulele

APC Professionals, which is currently under the leadership of Director General Hon Seyi Bamigbade, is made up of various professional bodies with the objective of providing platforms for political participation in Nigeria as a nation.

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