By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The continuous commitments of Heritage Bank to the empowerment of women in the society have been lauded by the Oyo State government.
Heritage Bank was showered with praises at a three-day summit entitled ‘The Ultimate Woman at a Time Like This,’ which took place at the Emeritus Theophilus Ogunlesi Multipurpose Hall, Opposite UCH Gate, Ibadan.
At the event, organised under the auspices of the Oyo State Officials’ Wives Association (OYSOWA), the bank was recognised and awarded for this and charged to keep the flag flying.
Receiving the award on behalf of the financial institution, Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Dr Ifie Sekibo, stated that the bank’s supports toward women entrepreneurs reinforce its belief in small businesses and their importance to economic growth of the country.
“Heritage Bank recognizes the importance of women in the society, especially in the economy, and this informs its commitment to women empowerment. Our mission is to help women succeed in business and in life.
“We believe that with the right motivation and resources, more women in Africa and in Nigeria can achieve the enviable success that many women across the world have achieved. At Heritage Bank, we have committed ourselves to providing these capacity and resources to empower and motivate women across the country,” Dr Sekibo said at the summit.
Women empowerment, according to the bank chief, was informed by the need to advance the Nigerian woman’s confidence and also teach her to find a balance between living the life she wants and securing her financial future.
On her part, leader of OYSOWA, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, described the summit, in its 5th edition, as a landmark for two reasons: “The first is that this is the fifth edition of the summit and it is so amazing that this small idea that was conceived a few years ago has become a reference point.
“The second is that just this year, the Violence Against Women Law 2016, was passed by the Oyo State House of Assembly to the glory of God.
“I recall that during the first summit in 2012, I mentioned that steps were being taken to pass this bill into law and there was even a session on passing a bill on violence against women during that summit.
“This summit gives us an opportunity to celebrate this achievement for Oyo State that now, we have a law that protects us (women) specifically.”
She noted that over the last five years, several programmes have been organised with a view to producing ultimate women in the society. She also advocated upward review for the roles of women in nation building.
Wife of Imo State Governor, Mrs Nkechinyere Okorocha, who advocated greater recognition for women, noted that the change that Nigerians desired and believed has finally come to the country.
Also, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, emphasised the need for Nigerians to pray for their leaders and why women should be supportive to their husbands and play their own quota in the growth and development of the country.
Oyo State Governor, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, and his counterparts from Lagos and Osun, Mr Akinwumi Ambode and Mr Rauf Aregbesola respectively, called for increased support for women to ensure that they overcome challenges limiting their potentials.
The three governors noted that in this period of economic recession, the leaders at every level should ensure that the water does not become too hot for women, and that the future of every society is determined by the quality of women in that society.
They also called for empowerment programmes capable of preparing women economically for any emergency situation in the country and on the home front.
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