The Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, COWSLO has, no doubt, become a worthy partner in the progress of Lagos State. Founded by the Late Mrs. Olufunmilayo Johnson, wife of the first Military Administrator of Lagos State, General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd.), COWSLO has since grown in leaps and bounds, breaking new frontiers and achieving greater things.
Having been in limbo for a long time, the Committee was revitalized by Senator Oluremi Tinubu while she was the First Lady of Lagos State. Imbued with a fairly good knowledge of the vision and mission of the organization, in 2000, Senator Tinubu put in place a strategy that led to the resurgence of the body. Under her able leadership, members were mobilized to complement efforts of the state government in the provision of essential infrastructure for Lagos residents. Focus was mainly set on construction of recreation centers and gardens across the state to promote the culture of good family life among family through embracing a culture of relaxation in serene centers.
Presently, under the leadership of Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, COWSLO has continued to soar to greater heights as it has become a huge platform being positively deployed to enrich lives. Last year, COWLSO donated the first state-of-the-art Ear, Nose and Throat (E.N.T) equipment in the state to General Hospital in Odan, Lagos Island. Equipment donated to the E.N.T Department by the committee includes heine otoscope, diagnostic audiometer, AD629, video laryngoscope and propalse ear injector among others. Hearing and understanding are central to life. Undoubtedly, those who cannot hear properly stand the risk of becoming increasingly isolated and are more likely to experience depression. Thus, COWSLO intervention in this respect is a life saving enterprise.
COWSLO has also undertaken free Goiters surgery and distribution of hearing aids to selected women, men and children who were randomly picked after medical screening carried out by the officials of the state. Owning to the high cost of the surgical procedure, many women are unable to complete the full circle of treatment. This explains why COWSLO decided to sponsor the surgical procedure for some women, including post surgery test and drugs administration.
As expected, COWSLO is particularly passionate about children and women health matters. This is quite logical as tales about pregnant women and their babies dying of conditions such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, convulsion or shock arising from post-delivery bleeding come about regularly. A high number of such bad cases are referred from Traditional Birth Attendants and Faith-Based homes. After effecting deliveries, subsequent proper care requiring intensive care, is always lacking.
It is in order to appropriately fill in this vital missing link that COWLSO intervened by upgrading and strengthening the existing High Dependency Unit of the State General , to an ultra-modern Intensive Care Unit to cope with increased number and complexity of emergency cases. It is an intervention that has the potential to save mothers and babies as well as ease financial pressure on families that may need the services. COWLSO is without doubt wholly devoted to the Safe Motherhood Project to ensure that no life is lost in pregnancy and during delivery.
This is why COWSLO provided an ultra-modern Intensive Care Unit to the Lagos Island Maternity with neo-natal hearing screening equipment donated to Gbagada General Hospital, Ikorodu General Hospital, Badagry General Hospital and Ifako-Ijaye General Hospital.
Aside its various interventions, COWSLO have equally raised the bar with respect to the convening of her annual National Women Conference. Last year, the 16th edition of the Conference with the theme ‘Relevance in Economic Turbulence’ examined the role of women in economic downturn with a view to orientating women on how they could successfully turn the unpleasant global economic environment to an advantage for their families and society in general. The over 1,500 participants that attended the highly revealing Conference were provided new insights into establishing and maintaining good quality life.
If the 16th edition of the Conference was impactful, this year’s version was no doubt a huge success. Under the theme: ‘She Creates, She Transforms’, the Conference was a befitting celebration of the perseverance, deftness and resourcefulness of women and their outstanding contributions towards nation building. At the end of the Conference, women were charged to step up their entrepreneurial skills and not be afraid of contributing meaningfully to nation building.
They were also urged to take full advantage of the paradigm shift from Nigeria’s dependence on oil and explore the many opportunities available in the fast growing agricultural industry. The Conference also tasked women to embrace entrepreneurial disposition and also get more involved in animal husbandry because of their prudence and passion, in order to increase daily production in the country, while government should also provide lands and conducive environment for women farmers.
Present at the event were Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who was at in the company of fellow governors from Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel; Edo, Godwin Obaseki; Bayelsa; Seriaki Dickson and Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose.
In her keynote address, the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo urged women to draw inspiration from women who had performed creditably well in their chosen profession, and endeavor to leave their footprints on the sands of time, just as she equally said that women must speak up against rape and all forms of abuse against women and children, and also speak in defence of the downtrodden and less-privileged in the society.
In her closing remarks, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode said it was important for Nigerian women to understand that they are in a unique situation at this point in time, and must see the current reality in the country not as a hopeless situation but an opportunity for entrepreneurial ambition to make a positive impact in a challenging situation.
She said: “I urge all participants to make the best use of all they learnt at the conference for their personal benefits. You should also please endeavour to pass on the knowledge acquired.”
In all, it could be safely concluded that the recent history of COWSLO is not in any way really different from that of Lagos under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. It is a story of transformation and progression. It is a story that bothers on touching lives to meet peoples’ expectations. This, of course, is the actual nucleus of all human interactions. Every human activity that adds no value to life is, to say the least, needles. According to James Milson, the real essence of life is in the number of lives that one touches positively. Through their several innovative and landmark interventions, Mrs. Ambode and COWSLO have really demonstrated that they recognize the real meaning of life.
Ogunbiyi is of the Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.