Sunday 19 November 2023


 The Voice of Women (VOW) conference is an annual gathering of women and he for she's for the advancement of the female gender and indeed humanity. The seventh edition of the VOW initiative was held at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Centre, Abuja on the 25th of October 2023. Kudos to Mrs. Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, the humble and self-effacing CEO of the very first and only Women's Radio so far in Nigeria for painstakingly putting together this remarkable programme yearly! I was a valued participant.

This year's edition was chaired by Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, former First Lady of Ekiti state. In her enervating speech, Erelu noted that Nigeria features poorly on most global indicators measuring Gender Equality and Women's Empowermnet (GEWE). The most recent Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) 2023, ranks Nigeria 130th out of 146 countries! The GGGI tracks Economic opportunities, Education, Health and Political leadership. Nigeria has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world at 12% of global figures, right after India that has 17%. Nigeria also has the highest number of child brides at 22 million, the highest in Africa and 11th globally! With this dismal picture of the plight of the female gender in Nigeria, many of the speakers proffered their solutions... 

L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa & Counsellor Yemi Adenuga (1st Irish-Nigerian Counsellor in Ireland)

Some of the participants are:

*Alh. Ibrahim Shettima - VP, Nigeria, Represented by Dr. Salma Ibrahim - Special Assistant to the President on Health

*Mrs. Toun Okewale-Sonaiya - Convener/CEO Women Radio

*Erelu Bisi Fayemi - Chairperson/Former 1st Lady of Ekiti state

*Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq - Governor, Kwara state

*Hon. Maureen Magreth Hinda-Mbuende - Deputy Minister of Finance & Public Enterprises, Namibia

*Dr. Margaret Karungaru - Commissioner, National Gender & Equality Commission (NGEC), Kenya

*Counsellor Yemi Adenuga - Councillor, Meath County Council, Ireland

*Mufuliat Fijabi - ED, Sustainable Gender Action Initiative (SGAI)

*Amb. Prof. Olufolake Abdulrasaq - Chairperson Nigeria Governors' Wives Forum

*Chief Mary-Maudline Nwifuru - 1st Lady, Ebonyin state

*Hajia Zainab Nasir - 1st Lady, Kebbi state

*Barr. Chioma Uzodimma - 1st Lady, Imo state

*Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun - 1st Lady, Ogun state

*Hon. Nkiruka Onyejeocha - Minister of state, Nigeria

*Dame Pauline Tallen - Former Minister of Women  Affairs  

                                                            The conference brochure

Mrs. Yemi Adenuga, the first Irish-Nigerian to become a Counsellor in Ireland said as a mother of two sons and two daughters, she started by working in schools. She addressed the issue of bullying in school. It took over two years of persuasion before the schools could open up to her to make a positive impact on the issue of bullying. Kids of colour were routinely victimised in schools. Yemi built roots for her children in Ireland. She founded 'Sheroes.' She also got involved in the Black Irish Sisters' network. Yemi joined Fingel, the ruling Party in Ireland.

Yemi said she did it afraid - campaigning as a black, inexperienced politician. She gave the following advice to incoming politicians: *No one will hand power to you a la carte, fight for it and take it by force. *Be strategic *She never thought she could be a politician, but the living conditions of blacks (especially black females) in Ireland triggered her interest in politics. *She had a supportive husband *Wanted a bigger platform to do good in the society. *Encountered extreme discrimination and racism. *It was very difficult canvassing. * Yemi campaigned from door-to-door. *Don't let distractions get to you. *Women should support their own. *But the Black community did not automatically support her. *Start your campaign early. *Encourage/teach women to register to vote and win their 'pain points.' *Lift people out of poverty. Yemi gave full support for the women agenda in Nigeria.

                                                  Dayo @ the venue of the VOW conference

There was the fire side chat with Fellows of the McArthur Foundation. The theme of the parley was 'leveraging on technology.' The section was anchored by Ajibola Hamzat from the African Centre for Investigative Journalism, The Fellows used journalism as a tool for interrogating social issues, The Fellows were:

*Angela Apollo
*Yahaya Abubakar
*Blessing Oladunjoye

                                  L-R: Mrs. Moji Makanjuola (Broadcast journalist) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa   

HIV positive Boko Haram survivors in Kano were studied. It was a difficult exercise, since many of them tried to hide their identity because of the stigma attached to their condition. Also in Kano newly married wives who get pregnant are forced to abort such pregnancies by their husbands! Education is inaccessible to them. There's a high rate of divorce in Kano state. In Imo state, the sit-at-home order has eaten into the capital of abacha (local salad) sellers significantly. From the hinterland to Owerri, shops are closed. Those who contributed to Esusu (thrift cooperative) could not be paid.

The budget for education in many states is only 1%. In some communities, there's no Secondary school. Girls embark on very long walks to school and they could be raped, beaten and/or killed on their way to and from school. Some solutions were proffered: Community policing should be embraced; Nnamdi Kanu should be released; Hisba (local police) should continue to stand in the gap, while being less

Governor Abdurahman Abdulrazaq, Governor of Kwara state was the formidable he for she at the event. There is six months maternity leave for women in Kwara state. Constituency that features highest number of women in elections receives $5m. $3m is given for transparency in budgeting. This is a whole lot of encouragement for women in Kwara state. 

There was experience sharing by delegates from other African states: 

Namibia is number one in Africa and number six in the world as regards the inclusion of women in decision-making and governance. There are numerous revolving loans for micro-credit for women. There are also many housing schemes for the female gender. There are many female-headed households. There are cross-cutting interventions all over the country. Four seats are reserved for women in each County. Humility is silent strength. If you are humble, you can carry your male counterparts along.

Kenya: The head of the National Gender & Equity Commission is a woman. Women are constantly negotiating with men for more inclusion.

Liberia: There are Constitutional provisions for the inclusion of women in the political space. There are schemes for the financial inclusion of women. One female legislator can take at least three men to lunch in order to facilitate effective lobbying for greater inclusivity for women...

The camaraderie exhibited at the conference between and among Nigerian female legislators and decision-makers and their counterparts from other African countries was indeed a pleasing sight to behold. This trend needs to continue. Thanks to Toun Okewale-Sonaiya and her team for bringing women's issues to the fore through her Radio station, W FM 91.7 and yearly VOW conference...   

Saturday 18 November 2023


 The International Institute for Creative Development (IICD), was founded by Nduwhite Ndubuisi Ahanonu. Every year, IICD opens up Art Spaces in Abuja. These experiences are exhilarating for Art lovers like me. The theme for this year was: 'Catalytic Synthesis'. It is a follow up to last year's theme: 'The Convergence.' The convener explained that synthesis logically follows convergence. Please view the link to my Blog post last year: This year, the week long art experience began on the 26th of October 2023 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel and ended at Fraser Suites on the 31st of October with the closing ceremony of an art exhibition by the duo of Dr. John Oyedemi and Akachukwu.

                                             Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa in the exhibition hall

Dr. John Oyedemi is the artiste who has produced the highest number of durbar paintings in Nigeria! I asked John why he, a Yoruba man, is fascinated by northern Nigeria art forms like the durbar. His response was simple: 'I am fascinated by the durbar. It is grandiose and spews royalty in its unadulterated form...Northern Emirs ooze royalty and a unique culture. There is motif in there that artistes can manipulate. I was fascinated by horses in the Zaria Art School. My mentors are Gani Olutokun and Prof. Jerry Buhen. I have been labelled Mr. Red because of my love for the colour red vis-a-vis my paintings.' 

L-R: Dr. John Oyedemi & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa beside John's painting: 'Royalty Palace Splendour'

John is a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, and the current Head of Department of Fine Art in the citadel of learning. He complains that administrative work in the University slows down the pace of his creativity in his private studio. He said that he was contemplating resigning his appointment in the University in order to concentrate on his first love, painting. John says two weeks of concentration on the paintings in his studio could fetch him his salary for a whole year in the University! He affirms that paintings are therapeutic. John's Ph.D thesis was titled 'Palace of Oppressors.' In the thesis, he dissects the charcoal market where the rich oppress others...

                     Dayo with one of Dr. John Oyedemi's paintings in the background

Akachukwu, the second artist, is a 1998 graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Ike Chukwueke is his mentor. His medium is dye on canvas. In 1996, he started dyeing jeans for N200 and cut bamboo to make designs on them. This was an instant hit in Nsukka, where he sold out! This encouraged him to join Insight Communication for some time, where he used oil and acrylic on dyed jeans. This, according to Akachukwu, is the narrative behind his paintings. He also began to critically observe the clouds in the evenings. He said to him, the clouds looked like humans. That was the inspiration for his painting: 'Forms on my sky.' Then he began to critique novels in the African Writers' Series from a painter's perspective. This was the genesis of his metamorphosis into a full time studio artist. It was indeed a glorious week for the artists, artistes, their sponsors and art enthusiasts. Kudos to Nduwhite and his team at IICD for putting the art week together yearly...

                                 Dayo with one of Akachukwu's paintings: 'Forms on my sky'

Dayo with the terrific violinist who serenaded his audience with captivating tunes at the event




 On the 16th of November 2023 at the National Headquarters of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the High-Level Multi-Agency Team (HI-MAT) held the annual Implementation Report & Validation Meeting of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015. I attended as a valued member of the Mandate Secretary (Women & Children Affairs) FCTA team. Other members of HI-MAT are: The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Security & Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA), Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development (MBNCWD), Mandate Secretariat (Women & Children Affairs, FCTA), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). 

On the premises of NAPTIP immediately after the meeting of the HI-MAT. Photo: Dr, Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, extreme right (in brown outfit)

The 2022 reports of the various agencies were put under the 'kaleidoscope' by the HI-MAT, and the necessary updates, correction, etc. were effected on the screen. Each Agency/Ministry provided the required updates. The newly created Mandate Secretariat (Women & Children Affairs), which inherited the Gender Department of the Social Development Secretariat, FCTA, effectively defended the progress report submitted by her predecessor. A knotty issue was whether the term Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was appropriate terminology when describing the process of settling disputes between and among members of a family and their estranged Sexual & Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) victim(s) in the process of rehabilitation. The Ministry of Justice raised this issue.

        Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa still on the premises of NAPTIP after the HI-MAT meeting

Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa responded on behalf of the Secretariat (Women & Children Affairs, FCTA) thus: 'Lawyers always adopt a legalistic approach to issues, including ADR. I am a Chartered Mediator/Conciliator of over 25 years. I am a Political Scientist & Conflict Transformation Strategist. I am not a lawyer. Therefore, I take a non-legalistic approach to the issue in spite of the fact that there is a 'law' guiding the practice of ADR in Nigeria. ADR is a spectrum, and Mediation is at the lowest end of this. Conciliation, Arbitration, etc. are other forms...Any mother who has successfully settled quarrels over sweets for two or more of her children, is indeed a non-certified Mediator. This is indeed my line of thinking - the Secretariat (Women & Children Affairs FCTA) could Mediate in matters of re-integration of violated women and girls into their original homes without necessarily involving legalese.'

At the end of the back and forth debate with the Ministry of Justice, as a Conflict Transformation Strategist, I know it is not enough to win an argument. It is more important to maintain a relationship and if the subsequent nomenclature still stands in the gap, while facilitating the desired re-integration of victims of SGBV, then let it go. So, our team agreed to re-labelling the process: 'Facilitation of re-integration of victims of SGBV...'

Another high point of the meeting was the launch of NAPTIP's i-Reporter, which can be downloaded from Google Play Store. It has a number of unique features:

*User-friendly interface
*Efficient/effective incident reporting
*Reporter remains anonymous
*Live location tracking
*Multi-media attachment

To be sure, HI-MAT is for VAPP implementation while SPARK is the implementing arm. It was indeed an impactful meeting, where patriots from the various Agencies advanced the discourse on the implementation of the VAPP Act 2015. I look forward to the next edition in 2024... 

Wednesday 4 October 2023


 As a prelude to the celebration of the International Day of Peace (IdP) celebrated every year on the 21st of September, Drum Majors for Peace held the 4th Entertainment & Peace celebration on the 20th at the China Cultural Centre, Abuja. I was invited as Guest of Honour and Speaker. The general theme for this year was 'Action for Peace: Our ambition for the global goals'. The specific theme for our engagement was 'Building harmony through entertainment & cultural diplomacy'.

                            The pre-summit poster featuring me as Guest-of-Honour & Speaker

Some of the participants were:

*Li Xuda - Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy & Director, Cultural Centre in Nigeria

*Prof. Joseph Golwa - Former DG, Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR)

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist/Gender Specialist & Former Director, IPCR

*Dr. Constance Ikokwu - Arise TV Analyst

*Dr. Stella Dorgu - Founder, Ayamara Foundation & Member 7th Assembly of the House of Representatives

*Amb. Nsikan Paul - Convener/Founder/ED Drum Majors for Peace

*Dr. Chike Okogwu - PWD Rights Advocate

                                 L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa & Dr. Constance Ikokwu

In my speech, I called attention to the fact that 'peace is not served a la carte'. We all have to work assiduously and consistently to make it happen. Since war starts in the minds of men, it is also in the minds of men and women that peace should start (UNESCO). Besides, entertainment is a viable tool for engendering peace via songs, dance, theatre, etc.

Li Xuda, Director of the China Cultural Centre in Nigeria, alluded to the fact that the Chinese Ambassador, Cui Jianchun proposed an initiative called 'Sharing Chinese Harmony & Performing Nigeria-China Symphony.' Harmony is the most important traditional value in Chinese culture and symphony is a metaphor used for win-win cooperation between  Nigeria and China

                                         L-R: Amb. Nsikan Paul & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

Front row L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Li Xuda (Director, China Cultural Centre in Nigeria), Dr. Chike Okogwu (PWDs Advocate launching the 'Peace T-Shirt')

After a few speeches there was the panel discussion where I pointed out the distinct difference between country, state and nation-state. I said that beyond the geographical entity, a country called Nigeria, we need to synergistically and organically evolve into a state where we genuinely voluntarily give up part of our sovereignty as citizens to the elected government and we expect in return protection of our lives and property. We the citizens also expect the protection of our fundamental human rights among other baseline demands. It is via this organic evolution that Nigeria can truly become a nation-state...

                                     The panel discussion. 2nd left - Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

                                                                Dayo with participants

The 'Peace T-Shirt' was launched after the robust panel discussion on the theme: 'Engaging cultural diplomacy for peace...' There was so much entertainment - singing, dancing, poetry/spoken word and calisthenics.  I look forward to the 5th edition of the Peace Summit next year.


Sunday 27 August 2023


Between the 23rd and 24th of August 2023 in Abuja, National Institute for Legislative & Democratic Studies (NILDS) held an International Conference with theme: 'Women's representation in governance in Nigeria: Issues, challenges & way forward.' The parley was attended by parliamentarians from within and outside Nigeria, academics, practitioners and several other stakeholders. I was a valued participant.

L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa & Sen. Abiodun Olujimi on the first day of the parley

Some of the participants are:

*Sen. Godswill Akpabio - President of the Senate

*Hon. Dr. Tajudeen Abbas (Represented) - Speaker, House of Representatives

*Prof. Abubakar Suleiman - DG NILDS

*Barr. Uju Kennedy - Minister, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development

*Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi - Co-founder, African Women Development Fund (AWDF)/Fmr. 1st Lady, Ekiti State/Keynote Speaker

*Hon. Agnes Kirabo - Member, Ugandan Parliament

*Advocate Olave Mogale - Chairperson, Commission for Gender Equality, South Africa

*Hon. Mbalu Jessica Kilo - Member, Kenya Parliament

*Mrs. Beatrice Eyong - Country Representative, UN Women

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist/Gender Specialist & Fmr. Director, Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR)

*Sen. Biodun Olujimi - Fmr. Parliamentarian, Nigerian Senate

*Prof. Shola Omole - Federal University, Oye Ekiti

*Ms. Ekaete Umoh -Country Director, CBM Global Disability Inclusion

*Jake Ekpelle - CEO Albino Foundation

*Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola - Fmr. Majority Leader, House of Representatives

*Prof. Olalekan Yinusa - Obafemi Awolowo University

Senate President, Godswill Akpabio greeting Ms. Lois Auta on the first day of the conference

In his address, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said the 10th National Assembly is determined to promote gender equity. He noted that gender stereotypes and biases have hindered the desirable turnout of women in politics and governance in general. 

DG of NILDS, Abubakar Suleiman said he shall continue to put programmes in place to deepen the democratic culture, while promoting gender-sensitive legislation. Let the DG speak for himself: 'In recent times, there has been growing concern in the public space about women's under-representation in governance. Despite accounting for 49.7% of the population, Nigerian women continue to be under-represented in governance at the national, state and local levels, compared to their male counterparts. Though the extant policy framework in Nigeria recommends 35% affirmative action in favour of women, their representation in governance remains below 7% as witnessed in the 2023 elections.' (Source: Conference brochure, pg. 10). For Prof. Suleiman, the conference was NILDS's contribution towards the effective correction of the anomaly of low representation of women in governance.

A cross section of participants: Ms. Lois Auta (sitting); Ist right - Alh. Dr. Shehu Chindo Yamusa (Emir of Keffi); 2nd right - Prof. Abubakar Suleiman (DG NILDS); 4th right - Barr. Nkiruka Onyejeocha (Minister of State); Hon. Kafilat Ogbara (Rep. Speaker, House of Reps); Sen. Godswill Akpabio (Senate President); Sen. Barau Jibrin (Deputy Senate President); Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye (Minister, Women Affairs); Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi (Fmr. Ist Lady, Ekiti state/Keynote Speaker) 

In the speech of the representative of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, she was indeed on the same page with the Senate President. She pledged that the Lower House would support the five Gender Bills rejected by the 9th Senate when re-presented.

In her illuminating address, the keynote speaker, Erelu Fayemi, made a passionate appeal to the Senate President to walk the talk as regards the vexed issue of the representation of women in politics. She would like to see more competent women in the political space, enabled by relevant legislation on affirmative action and gender equity.

Middle - Barr. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye (Minister, Women Affairs); Right - Ms. Rosemary Effiong (UNICEF)

In my many interventions, I broke down the concepts: gender equity/equality and affirmative action. I did this because the two different concepts of equity and equality were being wrongly used inter-changeably. Besides, I mentioned the fact that some of the discussants should be more kind in their remarks to paper presenters at the parley. The import of the discourse was to enrich the review of the various papers with their comments without 'putting down' the presenters. To be sure, some of the younger presenters/academics need to be encouraged rather than discouraged with rather harsh remarks. The point could still be made in a gentler and more accommodating tone...

On the whole, there were at least 21 parallel sessions, some of which are:

*The historical, conceptual & theoretical context.

*Women & the Political Party system.

*Women, elections & the electoral system/process.

*Poverty, women's empowerment & the SDGs.

*Gender norms & socio-cultural practices.

*Constitution, citizenship & women's rights.

*Girl child education & national development.

*Women in science, technology & mathematics (STEM).

*International gender protocols & legislation in Nigeria.

*Conflict & insecurity: The peace-building & gender dimension.

*Inclusiveness of women with disabilities in politics & governance.

*Cross-country perspectives of women's representation.

*Climate change & women's participation/representation in governance.

In conclusion, it is necessary for the few Nigerian female legislators to take a queue from their counterparts from other African countries who said they took some of their male counterparts to lunch in order to lobby them to support gender-friendly Bills! The discussion continues on the corridors and other spaces. The DG has emphasised the fact that this is not the last from the institution on this matter. We look forward to further engagements in collaboration with other stakeholders that would hopefully catapult women to where they should be...Kudos to DG NILDS and his formidable team for pulling off this remarkable and impactful conference...

                           Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa on the second day of the conference


Wednesday 9 August 2023


 On the 8th of August 2023 in Abuja, the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) held a conference with theme: 'Unpacking the outcomes of the 58 sessions of the subsidiary bodies (SB58) of the UN framework convention on climate change'. The parley assessed Nigeria's preparedness for CoP 28 and how much progress has been made since CoP 27. Please see my relevant Blog post: I was a valued participant at the meeting.

Photo L-R: Ms. Jasmina Haynes (Representative of Integrity Action) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

Some of the participants are:

*Dr. Salisu Dahiru - DG NCCC

*Xolisa Joseph Ngwdla - South African academic/Lead paper presenter

*David Greene - Charge d'Affairs ad interim/US Ambassador to Nigeria

*Richard Montgomery - British High Commissioner to Nigeria

*Mohammed Yahya - Resident Representative UNDP

*Markus Wagner - GIZ Country Director for Nigeria & ECOWAS

*Lazarus Angbazo - CEO InfraCorp

*Aminu Sadiq - MD Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA)

*Ahmad Salihijo - MD, Rural Electricity Agency (REA)

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist

*Ms. Priscilla Achakpa - Global Lead Women Environmental Programme (WEP)

The lead paper by Xolisa Joseph Ngwdla focused on the 'Overview of the negotiations in the African context & outcomes of COP 27/SB58.' He discussed mitigation, adaptation, finance and cross-cutting issues in relation to climate change (CC). He was particularly interested in sustainable pathways to net zero emissions. Xolisa admonished Nigeria to be mindful of the lens through which she achieves development in CC. Loss and damage was another contentious issue. The cross-cutting issues addressed were global stock-taking, international cooperation initiatives, just transition work, indebtedness, criteria for aiding African countries towards adaptation, etc

In my submission I was worried about the concept of loss & damage as it affects Africa, especially Nigeria. Besides, I challenged NCCC to include more women, youth, PWDs and other vulnerable groups in the adaptation process/agenda. For me harnessing indigenous knowledge (IK) is germane for effective adaptation in any clime.

Dr. Salisu Dahiru emphatically said that the 'financial page' was of utmost importance and that Nigeria needs to figure out exactly what it would cost to sustainably adapt to CC in the country. This may help the country attract the necessary help from the relevant sources globally. We should always remember that adaptive capacity is a function of development. For example, Nigeria lost about $7b in one rainy season. What does that tell us? CC is perpetrating significant damage in our clime...He also presented salient points in the National CC Act. The Act was signed into law in 2021.

The panel discussion was concerned about in-country platforms that could be catalytic for CC mitigation and adaptation. If these platforms are effectively harnessed, we may be able to shift forward the 2030 deadline we have set for ourselves to adapt to CC. The Energy Transition Plan (ETP) needs to be continually interrogated. The role of the media in the dissemination of vital information about CC cannot be overemphasised. 

The youth are desirous of 'green skills' for the post-adaptation era. The Action Plan on Gender & CC was alluded to. In agriculture, for example, there are initiatives to reduce emissions from paddy rice production. Environmental/human health was another burning issue. NCCC was advised to carry sub-nationals along in all they do.

On the whole, there was fruitful discussion. I look forward to the next pre-CoP 28 parley sometime in October 2023... 

Sunday 2 July 2023


 The Nigeria Chapter of the African Women Network of AfCFTA (AWNA) was launched on the 26th of June at Labour (Pascal Bafyau) House, Abuja. AfCFTA is the African Continental Free Trade Area. I am a foundation member of the Nigeria Chapter of AWNA. The Convener of the meeting was Comrade Hauwa Mustapha (Vice President, AWNA @ the continental level).

Photo L-R: Chinwe Obiora, Precious Mbat, Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Angela Ajala, Hauwa Mustapha & Yetunde Balogun

The meeting was attended by:

*Hauwa Mustapha - Convener/VP AWNA @ the Continental level)

*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist/Gender Specialist

*Angela Ajala - National Coordinator, Association of Women in Business Network (ANWBN)

*Precious Mbat - Programme Officer, Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA)

*Yetunde Balogun - Office Assistant, OTUWA

                                                                      Meeting in progress

The aim of the meeting was to rub minds on the strategy the Nigeria Chapter of AWNA should adopt in order to harness the benefits of AfCFTA accruable to women within the Nigerian space, while exhibiting the uniqueness of our country. Women who fall within the vulnerable margin have a right to tap into the benefits AfCFTA could engender via AWNA, and indeed the Nigeria Chapter.

We agreed to: 

*Identify the uniqueness of Nigeria within AWNA and AfCFTA.

*Map our partners, allies and enablers.

*Identify key stakeholders and collaborators.

*Identify the strategic areas of engagement for AWNA in Nigeria.

AWNA - Nigeria would concentrate on women/girls rather than the gender agenda. We shall vigorously source data without re-inventing the wheel. We shall leverage on extant data from various sources and also conduct our own independent research whenever necessary. The Mission and Vision of AWNA - Nigeria is in the oven, baking. We are also leveraging on the contents of the third National Action Plan (NAP) for Nigeria, which is a fall-out of the UNSCR 1325 Agenda which urges member states to develop NAPs in order to realise the goals of UNSCR 1325. The protection of women in peace/war times and indeed the well-being of women, which the NAPs seek are the bases of all that AfCFTA seeks to achieve. Without peace, there can be no development...An Advocacy Brochure for AWNA - Nigeria is in the making.

All this discussion and more took place within one hour! It appears AWNA - Nigeria has hit the ground running. If this tempo is maintained, Nigerian women of all classes are set for access to what AfCFTA has to offer them. Kudos to the Convener, Comrade Hauwa Mustapha and all those who were present at the inaugural meeting. We eagerly look forward to the deliverables...

                                                               Meeting still in progress