Senator Stella Oduah (Nigeria) has officially handed over to a new leadership of the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA), with a charge to continue to push for the advancement of women.
Oduah, the out-gone President of the women parliamentarians handed over to Hon. Filomena Vieira Martins (Cape Verde), and urged her and other members of the new executive to keep the fire of ECOFEPA burning.
Addressing Members of Parliament after a resounding ovation in her honour, Oduah emphasized on the need to mainstream issues that concerns women.
She charged all members of the Sub-regional Parliament to champion advocacy for women issues both at ECOWAS and in their respective countries.
“In Africa, we must mainstream women affairs and women activities, it is only by doing so that we can grow the economy of the sub-region and the economy of Africa in a whole.
“For our communities to progress, we must mainstream and anchor all activities, be it economic, elective and selective offices on women.
“On behalf of my Executives, the Executives of the past ECOFEPA, we want to thank this Honourable House for your support, and we plead that you continue to give the same support to the in-coming,” she said.
Other members of the Bureau elected include Hon. Kaboule Reine Bertille Sakande Benao (Burkina Faso) – 1st Vice President and Hon. Biodun Olujimi (Nigeria) as 2nd Vice President.
Hon. Guiro Oulimata (Senegal) was elected to serve as Secretary General while Hon. Fatoumatta Njai was elected as the Association’s Treasurer.
The new Bureau was unanimously elected following their proposal by the Stella Oduah-led out-gone executives at a meeting held at the Seat of Parliament in Abuja.
Speaking after receiving the mantle of leadership, Hon. Filomena Vieira Martins thanked the out-gone executives for their commitment and sacrifices.
She assured them and other Members of Parliament that the new executives will continue with the programmes of ECOFEPA.
“We intend to rise against the idea of diminishing the role of women in Africa. We will work to ensure women are seen in the positive light.
“Girl children and women should have access to education and training through which they can gain power and authority to impose themselves on society.
“We will combat all forms of violence against women and children in the sub-region: we want to train women that can lead,” she said.
She assured that the fight for women was not a fight against men and therefore urged the men to support women in the fight.
Martins stressed that women would contribute a great deal to curbing the growing insecurity and conflicts in Africa and the World if they are better empowered.
High point of the event was the presentation of a plaque by Oduah to the new president and the acceptance of one male supporter of the female association.