Kwara State Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq has urged the Nigeria Association of Women in Sports (NAWIS), Kwara chapter to extend their tentacles across all the 16 Local Governments Area of the state in order deepen the participation of women in sports in the country.
The Governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mrs Joana Nnazu Kolo yesterday during the inauguration of NAWIS, Kwara state chapter aligned with the objectives of the body which he says, will eliminate the marginalization of the women in the sports industry.
“I am convinced that all the objectives of your association are tailored towards mending the wall of discrimination which has been a plague bedeviling women participation in sports”, the Governor said, as he assured the group of his continued support.
The wife of the Kwara State Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Olufolake Abdulrasaq, who was also represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Barrister Iyabo Banire commended the body for refusing to be pushed to the background as done in the years past.
She noted that the inauguration represents the giants stride of the body at the national level in their bid to give voice to women and young girls in sports expressing her belief that NAWIS will do a lot in challenging the status quo.
In her remarks, the President and Founder of NAWIS, Professor Florence Bola Adeyanju commended the Kwara chapter for standing firm, as she argued that there must be a change of attitude regarding the stigma attached to those women who participate in sports if the country’s desire to attain the greatest heights in international competitions is to be achieved.
“Nigerian women deserve the very best in sports. I encourage Kwara state chapter of NAWIS to use sports to implement change in social and cultural perceptions”, she averred.
The state Coordinator of NAWIS, Mrs. Adebola Serah Esan, stated that the body, which was established on the 1st of December, 1990 has joined the global struggle for gender equity in a bid to aid women empowerment in sports and also give them equal opportunity as their male counterpart.
Esan, who is a former Director of Sports, Kwara State noted among many other things, that the association is geared towards facilitating effective women participation in sports, fight against abuse of female athletes, raise awareness against negatives beliefs and dispel myths and taboos that has plagued women participation in sports.
Describing the state Governor as a “feminine friendly”, she acknowledged his resolve towards giving women opportunity to serve in his administrations while also asking him to do more for women in sports.
NAWIS, which was instrumental in the formation of African Women in Sports Association (AWISA), is also a recognized by the Conference of Sports World Women in Sports, Nigeria Olympic Committee, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Federal Ministry of Education and many other notable National establishments.
Guests at the event includes, Head of Service, Kwara State, represented by Hajia Afusat Afolabi, Commissioner for Communications, Kwara State, Mrs. Adenike Harriet Afolabi Oshatimehin, Alhaji Muritala Olanrewaju, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development, represented by Dr. Idowu B. Anu, Director of Sports Kwara State, Ibrahim Alarape Atanda and the General Manager, Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation, Kayode Aremu.
The event was also graced by all the women Permanent Secretaries in the State, Kwara FA Chairman, who was represented by Hajia Segilola Alaya, Kwara United Chairman, Kumbi Titiloye, Director of Football, ABS Ilorin FC, Alloy Chukwuemeka and a host of other dignitaries.