October 7, 2022

The First Vice President of the Economic Community of West African States, Female Parliamentary Association (ECOFEPA), Sen. Biodun Olujimi said the body will push for qualitative legislation that will lead to the empowerment of women and youths across the Sub-region.

She said this at the opening of the ECOFEPA Women and Youth Leadership Symposium with the theme “Unleashing the Potentials of Women and Youth in Politics & Entrepreneurship” in Lome, Togo.

Sen. Olujimi who is also one of the Nigerian Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament stated that women and youths empowerment of the ECOWAS Community is key in availing them with opportunities to participate in creating new frontiers for the political landscape of the Sub-Region.

“ECOFEPA gave the female Parliamentarians of ECOWAS the opportunity to use the collective mandate to empower women and youth through qualitative legislation, representation, and participation in the sub-region.

“As we know, development, diversity and inclusion all go together, the phenomenon that has a high indication that when women and young people are in the representative leadership and key decision-making body they bring about the bracket of changes.

“To say the least, evidence of repeated success on this matter is bound in many countries, especially developed countries such as Norway, Iceland, and New Zealand. May I also add that these are some of the Countries with the happiest people in the World, this means that women make the world happy.

She added that ECOFEPA will key into the regional body’s vision 2050 to achieve their desired objective.

“With the new ECOWAS vision 2050, which aims to create an integrated community with strong institutions that respect fundamental freedoms, inclusive and sustainable development, the ECOFEPA mandate is more important than ever”, she said.

The Nigerian lawmaker further said one of the five key pillars of the ECOWAS vision is social inclusion with the strategic objective being to create a community of people fully inclusive of women, children, and youths.

She, however, urged her fellow parliamentarians to take action by promoting inclusion as well as strengthen social cohesion, gender diversity for social development and progress.

“It is no secret that there is the insufficient political representation of women and youth in the sub-region.

“A huge part of this leadership symposium is therefore to create awareness and interest among our participants, this will help bring solutions to the limited representation facing groups who will lack sufficient models to look up to, thereby naturally, a career in politics and leadership seems less attainable and attractive.

“There is no understanding of the fact that we need to break this circle, we need to show the women and youth the full range of options available to them and bring them to optimum awareness of their potential, this will no doubt bring us closer to the ECOWAS that we earnestly deserve”, she said.