The intimidating crowd that surged into the convention center of the Eko Hotel and Suites Tuesday to celebrate the 2019 edition of Handmaidens Women in Leadership Series with the theme, Leading Women Building Legacies, was a testimony of how far women have launched into the world of business, grabbing with both hands what were hitherto reserved for men.
The Summit was aimed at drawing attention to the crisis in leadership in Nigeria and causing the nation’s deepest thinkers and most innovative minds to come up with solutions to various problems. Also, it motivated women who wants to build a great career in life. The event brought together leading minds in career building and women empowerment.
Anchoring the programme, Mrs. Morin Desalu appreciated the presence of special and notable dignitaries who throng the venue including wives of governors, captains of industries, entertainment bigwigs and many more. She heaped encomiums on the Chief host, Pastor Siju Iluyomade, for her vision.
Pastor Siju Iluyomade
Kicking off with splendid praise and worship session, which was supervised by the Voices of Zion, the event nosedived into the recitation of the two stanzas of the national anthem. The rendition was a beauty to listen to as almost every soul in the hall participated, singing with fresh and renewed patriotism. It reestablished the blind faith with which women are known to approach any issue.
First Lady of Edo State, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, set the ball rolling as she delivered a highly motivating address.
In her speech, she encouraged Nigerians, especially women, to put in their best in developing country, prophesying that “soon, foreigners will be rushing to Nigeria the same way Nigerians are rushing to other countries”, adding that ‘it will happen in our time’.
Also contributing, the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, encouraged the women on the need to be self-reliant and strive to academically and otherwise develop and invest in themselves through reading among other things.
She said: “I learnt everything I know, especially during childbirth and afterwards from reading books.”
She told women to make reading a habit, and endeavour to be a total mother.
In her short speech, the wife of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Salamatu Gbajabiamila, highlighted that “women and anything about women is my passion”.
At this stage, the hall was enlivened with the sonorous voice of Enitan Adaba, who led all through a session of high worship. The session gave way to the inspirational speech of Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the First Lady of Lagos State.
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu, who brought glad tidings from the state governor on his 54th birthday, highlighted that Lagos is committed to the welfare of the citizens, especially women.
With the representative of the first families of represented states done with their speeches, Pastor Iluyomade heartily delivered a welcome message where she cautioned that “greed can bring your legacy down” drawing inference from Proverbs 31 in the same was she preached gender equality.
She also recognized women of Valor who have made a difference in their chosen fields such as the first female Managing Director of Cadbury, Mrs. Oyeyimika Adeboye; Dean of Lagos Business School, Mrs. Enase Okonedo; Lawyer and CEO of Terra Kulture and theatre enthusiast, Mrs. Bolanle Austen-Peters among others
The highlight of the event was the keynote address delivered by a seasoned Chicago based Oncologist, Dr. (Mrs.) Olufunmilayo Olapade.
Olapade, among many of her admonitions, lashed out at the government of Nigeria for not providing the required amenities and enabling environment for doctors to perform optimally.
She also charged the First Ladies to take up the banner of ensuring that drugs are made available in various hospitals to make it easy for patients to get at affordable price.
The event was a mixture of keynotes, unconference sessions, panels, and more to bring a rich set of content driven by a diverse audience.
The address was followed by the presentation of Born to Aspire awards to three deserving women, and they are veteran actress, Joke Sylva, Osayi Alile and Morin Desalu. The chief host, Pastor Iluyomade was also presented with the Original Born to Aspire award.
The event was rounded off with a panel session. The panel comprising 12 successful professionals and anchored by Osayi Alile, CEO, Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation, deliberated on How to Build Legacies to Last.
The meat of the discussion centered on how women can overcome various challenges that limit their developmental strides.
Pastor Siju Iluyomade ended the discussion with a quote:
“There are various categories of people in this world, there are those who make things happen, there are those who watch things happen, there are some who wonder how things happen, while there are some who don’t know that anything have happened at all, so which one are you” she asked rhetorically.”
The members of the panel include Bolanle Austen-Peters, TY Bello, Mrs (Dr) Olufunmilayo Olapade, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Prof. Sade Ogunsola, Prof. Enase Okonedo, Funke Bucknor Obruthe, Cecilia Akintomide, Kofo Akinkugbe, Dorathy Atoke, and Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro.
Mrs. Titilayo Akinsanya rounded the event off with a closing prayer to thank God for the success of the 2019 series.
Other dignitaries that attended the event included Honourable Duke, Mrs Bolaji Momodu, Mrs Quincy Akindele and a host of others.