…though initiated by a man, the success of our womenfolk is what drives African Women Leadership Conference every year…”  “Every woman is beautiful”… That is a line from a special song made by a rising pop music artiste called MISH, whom we know more for his soar-away hit, ‘Akwa Ibom Ayaiya’.  From time to time, we’ve had artistes who try to capture and extol the beauty of womanhood. Our scientists have also made women-inspired innovations that we all benefit from, especially in the area of technology.
Indeed, we cannot rule out the beauty women add to our world.  In Africa, the womenfolk had hitherto been relegated to the background and we grew up hearing quotes like ‘…behind every successful man is a woman”.  

Agreed, our women have been catalysts that spur our men to success. However, they are not mere ‘success catalysts’ for men alone. They also have the capacity to spur themselves to commendable success.  The countless number of successful women we have across the globe attests to this.
Another thing that supports this is the laudable platform we have come to know as African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC), an offshoot of the African Women in Leadership Organization. 

 
Since inception, AWLC has been bringing notable African women together with the aim of celebrating them, imparting knowledge and uniting them. The success of the platform has been impressive.
The African Women in Leadership Organisation (AWLO) is a non-profit organisation with a membership that is open to all women leaders across Africa. The AWLO’s flagship programme is the annual African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC). 

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The AWLC aims to harness and enhance the leadership potential of women in leadership positions in Africa as a whole and channel them towards the unity and development of the region.
AWLC has been hosted around other African countries like Ghana and Gambia.  This year, Nigeria was picked again as the host country. With ‘African Women of Worth’ as its theme, the platform gathered notable women achievers and astounding women leaders/professionals from across Africa together for three amazing days in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

It was indeed a gathering of dames, amazons and damsels. For three days, the women were together ‘rubbing minds’, inspiring each other with personal/professional experiences and in climax, were dully celebrated in a Gala night with merit awards given to outstanding women achievers. This had Mish, Pat Akpabio, Helen Paul, Seyi Law, Amaika and other entertainers adding color to the night.

Prior to the event, the publicity campaign was intensive especially on Satellite TV. It’s TVC (Television commercial) was enthralling enough to up the ante and raise expectations. The Women in the host state were already warming up to receive their colleagues that came in from around Africa.
These women thronged in from all walks of life. It had distinctive career women, political office holders, first ladies, experts and others huddled together.

The conference had notable speakers like Sen. Jewel Taylor (wife of Charles Taylor), Aisha Babangida, Pastor Grace Aiyedogbon, Dr. Hajo Sani (Former Minister of Women Affairs), Lydia Kpodo, Biola Alabi (MD Mnet Africa, Comfort Ocran, Gloria Buckman, Prof Uduak Archibong, Renee Boatang, Arc. Olajumoke Adenewo etc.
The speakers spoke on topical issues that range from personal matters to impressive leadership/professional inputs. With presentations like “The Total Woman: Celebrating the Economic Power of the African Woman in the Society” and “Social Entrepreneurship”, it is glaring that they harped on issues of relevance that benefits womenfolk and the society at large.

The event was held at the Le Meridean Hotel & Golf Resort, Uyo, which happens to be an upscale venue that is befitting for an event of such magnitude and prestige. It was heartwarming to see women come together to encourage themselves and raise people’s expectations and perceptions into positive altitudes for the womenfolk.
With the success of this platform, it is necessary to evaluate its impact and relevance. The speakers were a clear evidence of success recorded by our women in the society. This isn’t hard to tell if one glares at their pedigree and inspiring presentations at the conference. On the other hand, the attendees proved to a good extent that our womenfolk are aware of the success they have and can become. They also showed their keenness to aspire and achieve more.

On his part, the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio, represented the state well as he played the role of a good host by coming out to identify with the women and give them his support.  This is quite commendable as it gives a good example of how welcoming and receptive the government should be. This is a nod in the right direction and sinks the perceived tide of subtle relegation of gender sensitive issues to the foreground. Remarkably, he didn’t send any delegate or his deputy who happens to be a lady, he graced the occasion in person.
It is also apt to commend the persons behind AWLC, especially the  AWLO Executive Director, Lady Edith, who presented a commendable communiqué at the closing of the event. Personally, I have been a friend of the founder, Sire Elisha Attai, and must say, he is one commendable professional with a good heart. It might come off a bit surprising that the AWLC vision was initiated by a man. Well, that goes a long way to show he thinks beyond himself and his gender. With the support he has gotten from laudable partners, the vision has grown in leaps.
As I round this piece up, I would like to point out the fact that though initiated by a man, the success of our womenfolk is what drives African Women Leadership Conference every year. It is a platform that adequately celebrates and encourages women across the continent. I call it a proverbial stone that kills the ills and sordid neglect of women. As you gasp at the pictures that accompany this post, have it in mind that the stage is already being set for AWLC 2014 which is scheduled to hold in Malabo!
Written in by:
Philip Asuquo –  a Publicist and Media Strategist who have been in practice for close to a decade. He writes recurrently to support gender equity and youth advocacy. Philip is also a successful blogger –www.gospelcitynaija.com
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