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•Nollywood Stars Jim Iyke, Jumoke Odetola, DJ Cuppy among champions to Drive Youth-led Initiative

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, formally launched Lagos Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Youth Alliance, setting a new pace that will enable the State Government accelerate actions towards meeting key deliverables in the global goals.

The Governor’s commitment was greeted with all-round acceptance from youths championing interventions across the 17 goals, as key SDGs advocates thronged the State House in Alausa to witness the launch of the initiative.

Frontline Nollywood star, Jim Iyke, a musician, Florence Otedola (DJ Cuppy) and Yoruba film actress, Jumoke Odetola, led the youths to the event.

The initiative is the first ever Government-initiated but youth-led SDGs action, designed towards creating an effective platform for partnership with youths in achieving the 2030 Agenda. The platform would enable the Government establish an avenue for coordination on SDGs actions in communities and also create the conditions for active engagement.

No fewer than 9,000 youths leading interventions across the SDGs in Lagos have signed up to be on the alliance.

Sanwo-Olu, who was visibly excited by the acceptance of the alliance, told the youths that the future had arrived, as the partnership would afford them to lead Government’s interventions across the SDGs deliverables. He stressed that the Government would be willing to play supportive role, while the youth SDGs advocates leverage their network to make greater impacts across communities.

The Governor said: “What we are about is to see how we can bring SDGs champions and society influencers in our various communities together on platform for measurable impacts. We strongly believe the Government cannot do it by itself. We don’t have the reach and connection which you advocates have.

“When we took the decision to set up this alliance, we wanted to create a partnership through which we can have real conversations and engagement that can improve lives. The future is here and our young people have been given the seat to lead interventions across the SDGs, while the Government plays a supportive role. We want to see how we can turn efforts from this initiative into greater impact in multiple folds.”

The Government’s willingness to addressing key challenges slowing down the attainment of SGDs, Sanwo-Olu said, is central to the facilitation of the partnership, thanking the global goals’ advocates, whom he described as “great minds”, for accepting to work with his administration to meet the SDGs.

He urged the youths to turn the collaborative effort to a life-changing platform, saying the initiative would be a success story if it directly touched lives of the vulnerable people.

He said: “The objective around the alliance is to use the SDGs as a springboard for real development. There is no way we can talk about the future if young people are not in the conversation. I thank the youth advocates and various influencers for accepting to work with us on this alliance. By working with the Government, the interventions can reach a lot of people quicker and faster.”

Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs and Investment, Ms. Solape Hammond, said the alliance was borne out of the conviction that the youth demographic represented a potent force to drive positive impacts.

She said the Sanwo-Olu administration embodied progressive collaboration and engagement, expressing hope that the alliance would achieve its objectives.

Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on SDGs, Lekan Fatodu, said the Governor’s commitment towards the success of the alliance manifested in his physical attendance of the event.

Fatodu, while presenting the SDGs champions to Sanwo-Olu, said: “Many of the young people we have on the alliance are most active advocates in physical and digital spaces. They have expressed their interest in sustaining the engagement with the Government to deepen trust and confidence.”

Nollywood actor Jim Iyke said he was excited by the willingness of the Governor to allow the youths drive the alliance. He approved of the partnership and pledged his commitment to its success.

Also, Odetola promised to use her Nollywood platform to promote actions in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and gender equality.

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Obidike visits Tinubu, says he’s playing a pivotal role in youth constituency

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Following the return of the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, from the UK, the Director General – Conference of APC Support Groups and member of the Party’s National Strategic Lobby Committee, Hon. Obidike Chukwuebuka, has paid a private visit to him in his Abuja residence, to welcome him back to the country.

Speaking to the journalists  after the closed door meeting with Tinubu, Hon. Obidike said: “Asiwaju is a father to me and to all other youths in the APC and Nigeria, he has continued to play a pivotal role in the youth constituency through his impactful human capacity development which is the best gift of life. So as his son, and upon his return to Nigeria, I said I will come and welcome my father today and equally brief him of certain things we have been able to achieve while he was out of the country.

“I am happy to see him, hail and hearty, and it’s my prayer that the good Lord continues bless and keep him in good health and protection.

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NATION BUILDING: SANWO-OLU, AKEREDOLU, AISHA BUHARI HARP ON ROLE OF WOMEN

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…Women Participation in Politics Must Go Beyond Singing at Rallies, Says Ondo Gov
… As 21st COWLSO National Women’s Conference Begins

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his counterpart from Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu and Nigeria’s First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Aisha Buhari, on Tuesday, harped on the role of women in national development, saying women must be accorded their rightful recognition in the scheme of affairs.

They all spoke at the opening ceremony of the 21st Annual National Women’s Conference of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) with the theme: “Awake”, held at the Convention Centre, Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu acknowledged the fact that men can do virtually nothing without women, noting that it is important for women to be awake and alive to their responsibilities, especially the emerging realities of the 21st century.

According to him, “There is nothing we men can do without women beside us. And so the charge before us today is to look at the changes and the emerging realities of our time. I believe the word ‘Awake’ is appropriate and it is meant for our women to be a lot more resilient; to be aware of the environment; to have a new approach to doing things; to ensure that you have a sustainable mindset at everything you find yourselves doing as individuals, as organisations, as corporate entities and so on.

“I think it is important for us to know that all of you, working collaboratively as partners with the government, we can achieve a lot together working in unity”, he noted.

The Governor said, since inception, the policy direction of his administration had focused on empowering women, just as he paid a glowing tribute to the contributions of women towards the actualisation of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.

His words: “In our Agenda, all of the processes and the programmes we have, in one form or the other, are targeted at ensuring that we can put our women in the drivers’ seat. If you talk about health, education, infrastructure and so on, the strongest engineers that are leading our infrastructure in Lagos are all women.

“For us as government, we have actually awakened; we have said to ourselves that we need women to take their rightful position and it is not just by mouth that they said our government is “HeForShe” because you can see our cabinet members; they are the reasons for all of the great things that we are doing. We believe that when we have women leading the conversations, we will achieve a lot more. So, you can take it to the bank that our administration will ensure that women take the rightful leadership positions and that you are an integral part of our Greater Lagos agenda”, Sanwo-Olu said.

The Governor appreciated COWLSO for the various humanitarian initiatives in critical sectors, especially the donation of 5000 transistor radios to support continuous learning by students during the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19, as well as various interventions in health, sexual and gender-based violence, among others.

On his part, Akeredolu, who was the special guest of honour, said history was replete with heroic acts of women, and that no reasonable society would confine women to the background, informing that it is no longer acceptable for women’s participation in politics to be limited to singing at rallies.

“There is a need for women to start taking the issue of participating in politics seriously. Your role cannot be just jamboree and singing at political rallies. We must train the girl child in a way that she has a role to play in the future”, Akeredolu said.

Also, Nigeria’s First Lady, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Women Affairs and Administration, Dr. Rukayyatu Gurin, commended the initiative of COWLSO and called on other first ladies across the country to embrace it, with a view to empowering women and girls.

In her opening remarks, COWLSO Chairman and Lagos State First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, paid glowing tributes to the founding mothers of COWLSO, particularly the late Dame Obafunmilayo Johnson, wife of the first Military Governor of the State, who founded the Committee in 1974 and Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who initiated the National Women’s Conference in the year 2000 during the tenure of her husband, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Governor of the State, as well as her predecessors.

She said aside from the theme, other sub-topics would be thoroughly examined in the next two days, adding, “This conference will not just be a talk shop. At the end of the conference, we shall issue a Communiqué that will appropriately articulate the deliberations at this conference, and proffer insightful recommendations that will result in actionable initiatives. It is hoped that this will translate to significant improvement in the way participants address the highlighted topics, going forward”.

The event was attended by dignitaries including the Wife of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hajia Salamutu Gbajabiamila; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; Governors’ Wives from Ogun, Ekiti, Kwara, Osun, Ondo and Kebbi, among others.

Special inspirational women awards were also presented to Nigeria’s first female Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Muheeba Wonuola Folami; first female Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State and first female Vice Chairman of Transcorp Plc, Mrs. Foluke Abdul-Rasaq; the Iyalode of Lagos, Chief (Mrs.) Bintu Fatima Tinubu and Super Falcons captain, Asisat Oshoala, who was honoured as inspirational youth of the year.

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