The Wife of Edo Governor, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, has advised wives of elected and re-elected state governors to use their position to make positive impacts on the society and the people and not to oppress them.
Obaseki noted that though the position of First Lady is not constitutional, it can be used to drive positive changes in the society because of its image and natural power.
She also noted that the wives have the support of their husbands to impact on their communities.
“So, naturally as wives of governors we have the power to drive change in the states,” Obaseki said.
She spoke during a presentation on: “Achieving Impact” at the day two of the governors spouses’ summit organised Nigeria Governors Wives’ Forum (NGWF) in Abuja on Friday.
Obaseki advised her colleagues especially the incoming ones to identify challenges in their states, key into them, identify stakeholders to partner with, be innovative and be passionate about their visions.
She cited how wives of Governors were able to convince their husbands to set up structures to tackle rising incident of Gender Based Violence at at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic as example of the impact the office of First Lady can bring about.
“We came together as governors’ wives, we took it to the minster of women affairs, we also took it to the president and the he declared a state of emergency that every state should domesticate VIOLENCE AGAINST PERSONS (PROHIBITION) ACT, 2015 in their states.
“And members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum also resolved that it would make their wives chairpersons of Gender Based Committee in the states.
“As at that time we had only 13 states that have domesticated the act, the law which was enacted many years ago by the Federal Government before we became wives of governors but now almost all the states have done so,” she said.
She also advised them to rise above tokenism for impact, but be determined to do something that would outlive the tenure of their husbands.
Obaseki said that “when God puts you in a position, He expects you to use that privilege to affect your neighbours, communities, your state and your nation as governors’ wives.
“He would demand a report from you the day you face Him.
“Don’t enter this position and think it is about the funfair and the physical, let’s go spiritual because God will demand account of what we do.
“There are many Nigerian women God would have made governors’ wives but He chooses us. So we must be serious about it. Don’t go there and sit back and do nothing,” Obaseki advised.
Also speaking on the same topic, the Wife of Kebbi State Governor, Mrs Zainab Bagudu, also advised wives of incoming governors to use their positions to impact on their states.
Bagudu advised them to be responsive and get involved in different programmes going on in their states.
“You can focus on the issues of women empowerment, children education and violence against women and children among others.
“Education is a big issue. My state and many others are doing a lot in that regard. You need to know how you can come in and drive the needed change in your states,” she said.
The Wife of Lagos State Governor, Ibijoke Sanwoolu, said though it was the governors that were elected, their wives are also needed by the people to be of positive influence.
Sanwoolu advised them to be the listening ears to their husbands.