By Nosa Obaze,
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration prioritises gender issues, noting that he has mainstreamed affirmative action for women in his government.
Obaseki said this when he received the Team Leader of the World Bank, Samik Sundar Das, who led a team from the bank on a courtesy visit to the Government House, in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
He said efforts are being made to reflect this gender bent in his administration, which informed the recent appointment of a Special Adviser and 18 Special Assistants on Gender in his government.
The governor added that the move was necessary to engage women in governance, noting that their input in governance ensures that policies are properly primed to address the needs and views of a wider spectrum of the society.
He said attaining the target on affirmative action was one of the promises made during his electioneering campaign, which he is committed to fulfilling.
According to him, the appointments will assist in meeting targets set in the affirmative action policy being spearheaded by the World Bank, adding that the state is willing to position itself to benefit from World Bank programmes aimed at add value to the lives of the people of the state.
“We are ready to work with you as a state to organise ourselves to get the benefits of the programme,” he said.
Earlier, Mr. Sundar Das explained that the empowerment project, on which the affirmative action policy is anchored, is being carried out in six–geopolitical zones in the country with Edo State being one of the beneficiaries. He said the programme is focused on under-privileged women in both urban and rural areas.
He said the World Bank Group is in the state to engage with various stakeholders on the design being formulated to drive the implementation of the programme.
“We are on ground to talk to women directly and understand how flexible the design should be. If a country wants to achieve growth and development it has to work with women. That is why we push for the inclusion of women in government,” he said.