Leadership (Abuja)

14 February 2013

Nigeria: Obasanjo Advocates Quality Education for Women

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday called for the provision of quality reproductive health services for women in the country.

Obasanjo made the call at the first Dr Abel Guobadia Memorial Lecture, organised by the Women's Health and Action Research Centre, in Benin.

He named some of the services needed to be provided by government as medical care, family planning, delivery care and treatment as well as prevention of sexually transmitted infection.

The former president added that "until we are able to have the issue elevated and addressed, we will not be dealing with the issue on the basis of root, stem and branch solution".

"The beginning of such solution will be giving the girl-child education a pride of place and the seriousness it truly deserves.

"'Education is core in resolving a lot of the questions and challenges around women's health.

"The person who said 'educate a woman and you educate a nation' could not have phrased or captured it better.

"And I strongly believe that even more now than ever. Your work here in this centre is highly desirous, if we must make a headway that is meaningful to our society."

He said government also needed to ensure that there was improvement in the social and political conditions of women, rather than emphasise on the increase of their numerical strength.

He said that government should provide the enabling environment to encourage women to have access to quality education.

"Women are faced with hard tide of second best education, after their male counterparts.

"Women must be able to access more economic opportunities, more education and they must be able to have a lot to contribute to decisions that challenge and affect them."

On the life of Guobadia, he said the former INEC boss' interest in women's health was infectious.

"His championship had effect on my administration in paying greater attention more than any other administration on women's health, in terms of legislation passed," he said.

Gov. Adams Oshiomhole commended Obasanjo for his interest in the affairs of one of his appointees, even after death.

Oshiomhole described the former president as an "African voice that is respected across the globe".

"Those who have respect for what people have done, will surely get respect when they die."

He said Obasanjo was known for his hard work, dedication and delivery on his commitment.

Oshiomhole, however, tasked the public to encourage women to participate in all human endeavour and encourage girl-child access to quality education.

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