By G9ija

About 6,000 participants are expected to attend the 20th National Women Conference (NWC) of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) to be held virtually.

The conference will hold from October 14 to 15, 2020 in line with COVID-19 regulations, First Lady of Lagos State and COWLSO Chairman, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has said on Thursday.

Addressing a pre-event press conference on Thursday at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja to announce activities lined up for this year’s edition of the COWLSO conference, Sanwo-Olu said all was now set to host the conference, revealing that necessary arrangements had been firmed up.

According to her, “Last year, we had about 3,000 participants physically. With the present pandemic protocols in place, we know that is not possible and so the NWC Committee decided that it will be virtual this year.

“In line with the guidelines put in place by the administration of the Governor of Lagos State that says we must have less people in a place depending on the size, we have decided this year that inside the hall, there will not be more than 100 to 200 people and because it is now virtual, we are expecting that if we have had 3,000 people, our expectation this year is that it might double the number.”

She said the participants at the physical venue would be minimal, while all COVID-19 safety regulations would be strictly observed.

“There will be minimal number of dignitaries, resource persons and participants at the physical venue at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, from where activities of the Conference will be beamed live to the public.

“I must add that all relevant and necessary COVID-19 guidelines will be strictly adhered to at the physical venue, while only accredited individuals will gain access to the said physical venue,” Sanwo-Olu said.

She also said interested participants could register through COWLSO’s website – http://www.cowlso.org.ng, adding that the registration fee had been reduced from N50,000 to N10,000 to give opportunity for robust participation.

Speaking on the theme of this year’s conference – “Exploring The Possibilities In A New World,” the First Lady said it was carefully selected and aimed at equipping participants with the skills and information to cope and stay above board in these interesting times when the world is contending with COVID-19 pandemic, which she described as unplanned, unanticipated and unprecedented health crisis in human existence.

“As it is the tradition of the Conference to strategically empower women and youth to contribute positively to the development of the State and Nigeria at large, this year’s theme was carefully selected in line with the “New Normal” that is now the order of the day.

“COVID-19 has practically changed life as we used to know it. We now have the “New Normal” and the “New Realities” in all spheres of human endeavour, and as a proactive organization, COWLSO is already thinking Post-Covid where women can explore possibilities in a new world and take good advantage of an unprecedented crisis,” she said.

She said it was gratifying to note that Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari would serve as the Mother of the day and would declare the Conference Open, while Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun, would serve as the Special Guest of Honour at the opening Ceremony.

COWLSO members at the event

Asides the main theme, the First Lady said other sub-themes to be examined by seasoned academics and accomplished professionals include: The Woman’s Physical And Mental Health; Legal Rights Of Women: Inheritance, Widows, Gender Quality In The Workplace and Divorce; Investment Opportunities And Wealth Building For Today’s Woman; Promoting Family Unit As The Bedrock Of The Society; Opportunities And Importance Of Agriculture; Digital Technology And Social Media; Environmental Sanitation & Personal Hygiene; Domestic Violence and Rape, among others.

She said the conference would be streamed live in order to give opportunity for members of the public to participate, while plans were also underway to come up with some viewing centres where Covid-19 regulations would also be strictly observed.
She said alongside other exciting programmes listed to make the conference memorable, awards would be presented to Inspirational Woman Of The Year Award, as well as Outstanding Achievements Awards to three individuals who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of COWLSO over the years.

Also, the First Lady said as part of pre-conference activities, there will be a Walk Against Rape And Domestic Violence by COWLSO on Saturday, 10th of October, 2020 by 8am from Ndubuisi Kanu Park to Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

On her part, Wife of Deputy Governor and Deputy Chairman of COWLSO, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat said it was heartwarming that the annual COWLSO NWC would be held despite the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, saying it was a clear confirmation of the determination of the leadership to play up issues affecting women and youth in the State.

Also, Conference Planning Committee Chairperson, Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello said all necessary arrangements have been put in place to make the conference memorable and hugely successful.