Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Wife of the Bauchi State Governor Hajia Aisha Mohammed and Hon.Dr Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay(Former Speaker Gambian Assembly) grace THE CONVERGENCE 2018

Wife of the Bauchi State Governor Hajia Aisha Mohammed (Grand patron of women can lead campaign & Host of the Convergence 2018)

Bright and early on the 27th of July, 2018, the Engage Empower Educate Initiative an NGO that focuses on women and young people, set out to the National Centre for Women Development Abuja for The Convergence 2018.

The sun rose that day to meet this team putting final touches in place to ensure a conducive and successful conference.

Hon.Dr Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay(Former Speaker Gambian Assembly), Key Note Speaker

Delegates began to arrive at about 9am and at the stroke of 11am, the Executive Director, Engage Educate Empower Initiative and Convener, The Convergence; Mr.Belema Meshack-Hart took the stage to welcome participants present at the conference. He assured them of the important decision they had taken by participating in the conference and implored them to take seriously the information that would be shared and charged everyone present to learn, unlearn and relearn.

MC of the event, Adanmma of Kapital

Right after the welcome address, the Host of Summit Adanmma of Kapital FM introduced the order of events and ushered participants to the service area for breakfast. 
The convener of the Convergence & Executive Director Engage Empower Educate Initiative Belema Meshack-Hart, Hajia Aisha Mohammed (Grand patron of women can lead campaign with Hon. DrFatoumata J.C (Keynote Speaker at the convergenvce

Once breakfast was done, the conference proceeded with goodwill messages from partners. Representatives from UN Women and Action Aid undertook this task.

Hon.Dr Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay. took the stage to deliver her Keynote Speech shortly after this. She expressed the great importance for Nigerian women to engage the political terrain en masse, furthering that this development will have a positive ripple effect in other African nations especially in West Africa. Having served as the Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, she had first-hand knowledge of the power Nigeria wields in Africa especially in the Western region. She further implored that as Nigerian women rise up to engage the terrain, they must understand that their male counterparts will not take the development sitting down. By way of emphasis, she shared of the Gambian experience; how that the 1st Female Vice President in 19 years was removed from office due to the pressure placed on the President by male politicians to replace her with a man. She concluded by saying that any political system that does not have the full inclusion of women is no political system.
Chude Jideonwo
Following her stimulating speech, participants were drawn into the art of storytelling by Chude Jideonwo. He began by presenting two opposing approaches to speaking to the everyday Nigerian that is; from a politician’s stand point. He expressed the truth that the basic story a politician must sell to the electorate is the story of how her strive to attain political office will enable the electorate pursue his desire of providing for himself and his family. Beyond this, the electorate has no concern. The data presented by the politician is not of primary importance to the electorate but how that public servant seeks to empower him fulfill his interest. The crux of her (political aspirant/politician) story must enable the electorate see himself achieving self-actualization. If it does not, the electorate will not be persuaded to vote for the politician in question. He concluded by imploring the participants to take the path of selling a story of self-actualization to the electorates without relying on the presentation of facts and figures.
Lady ChySchwimmer (chairperson CPP)
Lady Chy Schwimmer (chairperson CPP)addressed the value of funds in gaining political office. She proposed that organizations that are pro-women development should create cooperative systems with the primary aim of generating funds for women who desire to contest political office in any capacity. She expressed that women are their best allies and they must work together to ensure the promotion of their political interests. 
Arrival of Mrs Mary Epere-Etta, DG of NCWD

As the conference progressed, the Grand Patron, Her Excellency Hajiya Aisha Mohammed, Wife of the Governor of Bauchi State showed up at the venue with a women-filled entourage from Bauchi State. She apologized for her lateness in arriving the conference and assured everyone present that her heart strongly beats for the furtherance of the interests of Nigerian women and the education of the girl-child. She recounted various projects undertaken under her leadership and expressed that much more work needed to be done. She charged participants to be drivers of progress in their immediate environment; instructing them to remain strong in the face of adversity. 

Progressing from the Grand Patron’s address, Emotional Intelligence Expert; Mr. Isaac Onoja shared some truths with all the women present. First, he established his support for the inclusion of Nigerian women in politics but shared his dismay in the strategy being employed. He said that a man is naturally wired to fight and if women engage combat mode, they’ll be hit real hard and most likely farther from their goal than their starting position. He expressed that women are great negotiators, emotionally responsive and skilled at multitasking. These qualities and more give them an edge in developing and utilizing unique strategies to achieve their aim of political relevance. He furthered that Nigerian women should engage subtle but effective means of getting what they want as a combat approach will not be successful.
Mr. Onoja
As Mr. Onoja took leave of the stage, Mr Belema Meshack-Hart led the launch of ‘The Women Can Lead’ campaign. This campaign is set to gather potential female leaders in all 36 states of the nation to engage mentorship platforms, workshops and trainings to position them appropriately for the task ahead. The launch was sealed by Hajiya Aisha Mohammed as she shook hands with all the state representatives present.
Cross section of Panelist
A panel session led by T.v Host Adaora Onyechere of A.I.T followed the launch. Mrs Blessing Obidegwu of INEC, Lady Chy Schwimmer (chairman CPP), Mrs Mufiliat Fijabi CEO of NWTF, Mrs Mary Epere-Etta, DG of NCWD, Adora Oyenchere, T.V host with kaakaki AIT, Chanel Elidianina Edward, founder COMPLEMENT ME UK, Barrister Gana of Law Reforms, Hajia Dr. RabiaYasai, Contributed intelligently to the session. 
Representative of UNWOMEN and INEC

The convener of the Convergence and Executive Director Engage Empower Educate Initiative Belema Meshack-Hart, Hajia Aisha Mohammed (Grand patron of women can lead campaign with Hon. DrFatoumata J.C (Keynote Speaker at the convergenvce

Cross Section of Participants

A participant with Chanel Elidianina Edward, founder COMPLEMENT ME UK

The Convener and executive Director Engage Empower Educate Initiative Belema Meshack-Hart giving the closing remark
With over 200 participants from Nigeria and The Gambia, The Convergence 2018 was a huge success, the inauguration of the WomenCanLead campaign in 24 states is a testament that indeed women are ready o lead and also ready to support other women, the event rounded up with a Gala Night and strategy meeting on the 28th of July at Nicon Luxury Hotel Abuja, see pictures below;

Female Political Aspirants

Cross sectionof EEEI Staff and Volunteers

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