The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, First Lady of Kwara State, Mrs Olufolake Abdulrazaq; former Kwara State First Lady, Mrs Toyin Saraki, the Erelu Kuti of Lagos, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu have called for more women in leadership in all politics, royalty and other phases of life.
They made this known at the launch of a book titled ‘Unspoken: A chronicle of Yoruba female kings, Oba Obinrin’, organized by the House of Oduduwa in celebration of Women’s history, held in Lagos.
The Ooni in his address said that Female kingship, regency, and leadership are both fundamental and circumstantial templates and are integral aspects of human society. He said the book is replete with sweet tales of remarkable successes and joyous moments to behold.
In her keynote speech, Abdulrazaq said, in recent times women have been relegated to the back seat which wasn’t the case before now, as there were a lot of women leaders in the history of Nigeria, particularly the Yoruba people.
She said, “As a collective, We must involve women in the process of governance and continue to promote the grooming and empowerment of our women to be stakeholders where decisions that involve them and their communities are being discussed.”
Earlier, the chairperson of the occasion, Toyin Saraki, said that the underrepresentation of women in the decision-making process of the country calls to question whether Nigeria respects women.
She said,“ For example in our legislature, there are only eight women in the Senate which has 109 senators, and 13 in the House of Representatives out of 360 seats. In total, women make up around 4.47% percent of the National Assembly. This shows that the country’s decision-making body is an all men’s club.”
Proffering solutions to the issue at hand, Saraki said women must begin to look at the Yoruba female history and mirror them.
She said, “It is only through joint efforts that we can bring to current and contemporary life, the Yoruba tradition and culture, and its pillars of female leadership enshrined in our history by Alaafin Orompoto, the first woman to become king of the Oyo Empire and Ooni Luwo Gbagida, the 21st Ooni of Ife in the 10th Century.
In her keynote address, Erelu Dosunmu traced the origin of female kingship in Yoruba, saying it gave rights to sons of female royals to ascend the throne.
“Erelu Kuti has authority over the affairs of women organisations including all markets. She is a ranking and distinguished member of the Oba-in-council where vital decisions are taken. She is the custodian of the Palace of Oba of Lagos, a close confidant, and adviser, especially on social matters and conferment of honorary titles.”
Erelu also appealed that the male gender should ensure the restoration of the women’s pride, saying this will help in transforming the world.
She added, “Let our men, starting with our monarchs, political, spiritual and temporal fathers return us to our former pride and place in the society and encourage us, and see how society will magically transform into when we all want and desire it to be.”
The publisher of the book and Vice-Chairman, House of Oduduwa Foundation, Princess Funke Ademiluyi said: “Unspoken is a narrative of women who reigned as kings 100s of years ago and their great achievements.