Soroptimist International Nigeria Association gets new national president

By Vivian Onyebukwa

Soroptimist International Association Nigeria (SINA), has installed Mubarakat Abiola Agusto-Agoro as the 25th National President of the association.

Chairperson of the occasion which took place in Lagos, Sinatu Ojikutu, charged women in leadership positions to use their positions to advocate for change, promote ethical leadership, and inspire the next generation of women to rise above the challenges they face in a patriarchal dominated world.

Ojikutu, the former Lagos State Deputy Governor, in her speech titled, “Empowering Women For Ethical Leadership: A Call To Action”, stated the imperative of women leaders to take a stand against injustices, and not to succumb to temptation to emulate band and corrupt practices often associated with men in positions of authority, especially those holding political powers, but rather lead by example, with integrity and honesty, showing the world that women are capable of ethical leadership. “We must highlight the importance of transparency, accountability, and good governance in all aspects, she said.”

The Chairperson decried occurrence where some women have been entrusted with positions of power and have disappointed by succumbing to the culture of corruption which, she said has eaten deep into the fabric of the society.

She advised that they must change this narrative, balance firmness with compassion, harness the power of motherhood for nation building, and break stereotypes through innovative leadership.

Agusto-Agoro, the newly installed president in her speech, noted that being a Soroptimist has been inspiring, rewarding and emotional. “I have witnessed first hand the suffering of women and girls. I am proud of how members have found ways to carry out diverse projects and create lasting friendships even in difficult times.”

She further stated how COVID-2020 inspired her great concern regarding the well-being of women and girls saying, “We cannot afford to be silent. We must stand up and do something to alleviate their suffering”.

Agusto-Agoro, then pledged to uphold the principles of Soroptimism, which is by advancing the status of women, through high ethical standards, human rights for all, equality, development, and peace.

She promised that with her team, they will focus on providing vocational training facilities for women and girls through government and NGO channels, provide educational support of girls, especially those physically challenged in order to promote inclusiveness, advocacy and awareness creation on sexual and gender-based violence, japa syndrome and human trafficking. Other projects to embark on include, encouraging women and girls to develop self-esteem using SWOT analysis to achieve their potentials through social media advocacy, and working with various clubs in Nigeria to achieve their projects. “The current situation is overwhelming. Many women and girls are in slavery condition, lack means of livelihood, they are out of school, raped, sexually abused or trafficked. This calls for urgent intervention by all of us to ensure that women and girls are not only protected but also assisted”,

Earlier in her speech, the out-going National President, SINA, Gloria Iveren Bai, paid tribute to her successor. She reeled out her esteemed projects carried out during her tenure, describing it as a thing of joy to hand over to someone who she said is sure of capable of taking the association to the next level. She described women and girls as endangered specie and who need all the support. “We live in a society where a girl child is seen as second class citizen because we live in a patriarchal society. They are more disadvantaged when when it comes to benefits in the society”

Olori Ameenah Adeleye Matemilola, wife of the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Abeokuta, congratulated the new National President of SINA, saluting the selflessness of the association towards the wellbeing of women and girls.

To achieve more, she urged members to join hands with the new executives, show more commitment, and shun bickering.  “Though it is a male dominated society, women’s current effort of breaking barriers must be sustained by passing the baton to the next generation”, she said.

Among the dignitaries at the event were the Alaiyeluwa, Oba Dr Adedapo Adele Tejuoso, Karunwi 111, Oranimiyan, Osile Oke-Ona Egbe who was the royal father of the day. He was represented by his son, Prince Femi Tejuoso.
Also present was, HRM Oba (Prof) Saka Adelola Matemilola Oluyalo Otileta V11, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Abeokuta, who was equally represented by Dr  Bakinson. According to Dr Bakinson, the Olowu identifies with women and children in his projects.

Soroptimist International is a worldwide service organisation for women who inspire actions that transform lives and are also committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual goals.

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