Communique Delivered At The South West Women Arise For Nigeria (SWWAFON) Maiden Awareness Project On ‘One Nigeria’ By the Co-convener, Mrs. Bolanle Idowu

At the end of the first conference of the South-West Women Arise For Nigeria, participants commended the vision and the courage to embark on this renaissance, and resolved as follows:

We are totally convinced that Nigeria is in dire need of these kinds of interventions at this time. It takes wisdom and courage to dare to be different at a time when emotions and harsh realities have beclouded the better part of human reasoning, making most people rather resort to brutish grandstanding and shortsightedness in the clamour for and movement for often ill-defined actions.

Only peace can guarantee progress. Once peace is gone, everything else hangs in the balance until peace is restored.

From the drums of war sounding across the land, it is clear that a lot of people are aggrieved, owing to the myriads of challenges, especially insecurity-related, bedeviling the nation. Truly, what we face today can be described as a war situation already. Thousands of lives have been lost to needless and inhuman acts of bandits who get emboldened by the day. Kidnapping now seems to be a most lucrative job, aside from oil and gas. Criminal minded individuals even connive with others to kidnap themselves just to squeeze money out of their relatives.

But in all of this, we must remember that beyond politics, no government would watch its administration crumble or deliberately sponsor or encourage bandits and terrorists to shed so much blood as to warrant a state of emergency that could lead to any counter-action.

We also resolved to single out Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State as a role model governor that has recognized the importance of women in nation building. This is the reason education has not been interrupted in the state since he assumed power and the state is adjudged the safest in the North.

He is the first Governor ever to appoint a female ADC in the history of Nigeria. His SSG is also a woman. More important to add that all the Vice Chairmen of the local governments in the state are women. Youths are doing wonders in the state.

This is why we are saying that the problem of Nigeria is not about political parties but about the person who can do the job and take us out of the quagmire.

Some women in the gathering called on Yahaya Bello to declare for 2023 Presidency, saying that they would support him and others like him across Nigeria.

The women must come in and prevail on our husbands, on our children, to toe the path of peace and not allow agents of destruction use them to cause greater destruction.

For communities and countries, peace supercedes everything else. Some tend to have taken the peace that we have been enjoying, at least before the current crisis started, for granted. And by this, we are speaking to the consciences of those bent on splitting this nation by all means, through ceaseless blood letting from across Nigeria. Two wrongs would not make a right, they would only end in disaster.

All the dreams of Eldorado would quickly evaporate the moment we fold our hands and allow the fabric of peace to be pierced by the sword of the champions of ethnicity.

So, we must be the voices of reason across our families, offices, communities and wherever we find ourselves to drum it into the ears of the people that war is an ill wind that blows no one any good.

It is our sincere desire that this quest be sustained and that it yields the desired fruits across the land.

The drums of war are beating everywhere, fueled by ethnic sentiments. But you have to ask, ‘do these ethnic lines still exist?’ Whatever response you give may end up being a case of perception being stronger than reality.

The fact that the people of Nigeria have become so intertwined has made it difficult to separate the leaf from the soap, after long periods of embracing each other, as a Yoruba adage has it. Strong strings of nature that have entwined the ethnic nationalities together in Nigeria include socialisation, marriages, business, politics and internal migration.

Looking at internal migration, there is scarcely any part of Nigeria that you will not find a blend of the major ethnic nationalities. At this moment, migration has made it difficult for any part of this country to claim to belong to any tribe anymore. Not in the sense that our forefathers knew it. And this is not restricted to the cities. A look at the remotest parts of Nigeria would show a good blend of various ethnic nationalities.

Among us today, though we have come together as South West Women Arise for Nigeria, are people married to tribes other than Yoruba. Others are fathered or mothered by other tribes. For instance, the Deputy Editor in Chief of the News Agency of Nigeria, here present, is Ifeyinwa Omowole. And significantly, this scenario applies to many families. So, are we going to wage war against our own families? Let us think twice and whip our men, our children to line.

We should live up to our responsibilities and rise to our roles as mothers, wives and sisters, by speaking sense into our sons, husbands and brothers to refrain from plunging the country into needless bloodshed.

Experience has shown and it has been said again and again that women and children bear the brunt of war, the most. We need to remind ourselves of this sad reality and do everything humanly possible to preserve the peace of the land and save ourselves, our families and loved ones, communities and country from tragedy. War is an ill wind that blows no one any good. Nothing will change this reality.

Please let us take this message to everyone.