Benue’s Alia: Without massive women votes, I wouldn’t be governor

Alia stated this on Saturday in Makurdi, during the launch of the 774 Explode Project, an initiative of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the First Lady.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the 774 Explode Project, is being promoted by Dr Mary Alile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Woman Leader.

The governor said without the massive votes of women, he and President Bola Tinubu, would not have won elections in 2023, and therefore, reassured them of their continued support.

He said since he did not have a first lady, all great women of Benue State were his first ladies, while Mrs Tinubu was the mother of the state.

He assured women in the state that he would continue to support them to attain their goals and realise their potential.

On the 774 Explode Project, Alia said his administration would ensure that Benue remained number one in its implementation nationwide.

He said after training and skills acquisition by the women in their chosen skills, they would each receive ₦500,000 take-off support from the state government.

He commended Mrs Tinubu for the initiative, and the APC national woman leader for promoting it across the country.

He said the state was very grateful to Mrs the First Lady for all the support, both in cash and in kind, to Benue women.

He said so far, Benue women had benefitted from the provision of grains, fertiliser, scholarships, and several other things from the office of the First Lady of Nigeria.

Inaugurating the project, Alile said only five per cent of women were currently in governance in Nigeria.

She said out of the 469 national assembly members, only 20 were women, adding that 15 out of the 36 current state houses of assemblies had no female representatives.

She said women represented 49.3 per cent of the country’s population, and therefore, needed to wake up and make things happen for them.

Alile commended Alia for funding the launch of the project in Benue.

She also commended the governors over their support for the initiative, noting that it would benefit the states immensely.

She said from the initiative, Nigerian women would acquire skills, political mentorship, capacity building, training, and many others.

She disclosed that the beneficiaries of the initiative would be between the ages of 18 to 35 years old.

Mrs Christie Ode, wife of the state’s deputy governor, said women played special roles in nation-building.

Ode expressed concerns over Nigeria being among countries of the world where women still had less participation in politics and governance.

She said the launch of the 774 Explode Project was a significant step in the right direction in closing the gaps and including women in politics and governance.

She commended the first lady for all she was doing for women in the country, and also Alia for giving the Benue women a fresh breath of life.

In a keynote address titled: “Enhancing Gender Space in Politics and Mentoring”, Mr Dennis Dzawua said without the support of women, no candidate would win the election in Nigeria.

Dzawua said women were the architects of their problems, and until they started supporting each other, they might not get their deserved political positions in the country.

According to him, politics plays a significant influence over the decision-making process that impacts lives, so all women must strive hard to be in politics to influence such decisions.

In his remarks, Benue APC Acting Chairman, Benjamin Omakolo, said the project would further enhance women’s participation in politics beyond the state.

Omakolo said women occupied a special place in APC and Alia’s administration.

He commended the governor for his massive infrastructure strides within the last year in office, saying under Alia, “everything has suddenly changed positively “.

He said the governor had made history in Benue by becoming the first governor to pay salaries, pensions, gratuities, executing projects, and human capital development among other achievements without borrowing a dime.

Earlier in an address of welcome, Scholastica Ben-Sor, Special Adviser to the Governor on Women Affairs, said Benue women who voted massively for the APC in the 2023 polls, were solidly behind the governor and and the president.

Ben-Sor said the women had resolved to continue to support Alia and Tinubu to succeed.

“Benue women voted massively for the governor, the president and the APC. Wherever the governor goes we will go with you. No turning back,” she declared.

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