The Abuja Accelerator Event 2024: A Giant Step for Women’s Empowerment and Emancipation

Written by Dr. Florence Akano

On March 19, 2024, the Abuja Accelerator event titled “Unifying Women for Global Impact” was held as a significant effort to enhance women’s voices and influence worldwide. During the event, Hon. Dr. Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi, Mandate Secretary for Women Affairs Secretariat of FCT Administration and Dr. Mariya Mahmud Bunkure. The Hon. Minister of State FCT Abuja Ayodeji Megbope – CEO of No Left Overs  Nig. Ltd,  Ms. Inimfon Etuk – Founder of She Forum Africa and Facilitator, Mama Africa (Mrs. Grace Adayilo), Hansatu Adegbite – Executive Director of WIMBIZ,  Beatrice Eyong – UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, and Dr. Adedolapo Fasawe as the Mandate Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory Health and Environment Secretariat (FCT-HES), pledged to accelerate economic development specifically for women in the region.

The Abuja Accelerator conference, themed “Unifying Women for Global Impact,” was a side event co-organized by the Office of the Mandate Secretary, Women Affairs Secretariat, and UN Women. Held in New York City, the event was a microcosm of the larger FCT-hosted conference, bringing together influential speakers and stakeholders to tackle critical women’s empowerment and advancement issues. 

The distinguished figure leading the Abuja Accelerator was Hon. Dr. Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi, the Mandate Secretary of the Women Affairs Secretariat. Hon. Dr. Benjamins-Laniyi’s multifaceted career – from media to politics, environmental advocacy to entrepreneurship – has long championed women’s empowerment. 

The summit kicked off in earnest, and Chief (Dcn.) Linda Middleton delivered opening remarks, setting a tone of inspiration and determination for the proceedings. Following this, Hon. Dr. Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi, the visionary leader behind the Women Affairs Secretariat, delivered a heartfelt welcome address, emphasizing the importance of unity and collective action in advancing the rights and opportunities of women worldwide.

According to Hon. Dr. Benjamins-Laniyi, the Abuja Accelerator Programme will empower women in the FCT through innovation, inspiration, collaboration and cooperation.

She stated that the purpose of the gathering in New York was to rally everyone and anyone towards advancing ongoing initiatives aimed at amplifying FCT women’s voices and championing their cause.

She also stated that the program served as a means for promoting and increasing awareness of women’s successes and challenges, which resulted in her becoming an advocate. She expressed optimism about the program’s potential to boost women’s status in society and lobbying for legislation that promotes gender equality. The Abuja Accelerator program is a noteworthy instance of how women can unite to bring about positive change in the world.  Importantly, she noted that the accelerator is transforming more than just the lives of individual women by equipping them for global influence – it’s also moulding a profitable and accepting future for everyone, which includes the children that represent the future.

Hon. Dr.  Benjamins-Laniyi pledged to empower women in the FCT via creativity, inspiration, collaboration, and cooperation through the Abuja Accelerator Programme. That idea inspired the event in New York, which aimed to bring together people from all walks of life to engage in current efforts to raise women’s voices in FCT and campaign for their rights.

Dr. Mariya Mahmud Bunkure. The Hon. Minister of State FCT Abuja,  was in attendance and reaffirmed FCT H.E. Hon. Minister Nyesom Wike’s commitment to advancing women’s economic progress and combining their potential for national and global influence.

Her description of the theme emphasized its ability to highlight the potential for women all around the world to collaborate and come together in solidarity, making it a powerful concept.

According to Hon. Dr. Mahmud Bunkure, the Abuja Accelerator program will serve as a guiding light of “renewed hope,” providing women with an opportunity to unite, exchange their experiences and enhance their voices in order to bring about significant transformation.

She stated that the program encompasses a sense of empowerment and advancement for women in all spheres of life from FCT.

“The space will allow women from diverse backgrounds to come together, share ideas and collaborate on ways to tackle urgent challenges affecting women worldwide.”

She stated that the program would provide the necessary skills and knowledge for participants to initiate positive changes in their communities and elsewhere.

Her outlook was positive, as she believed the program would enhance women’s societal standing and advocate for policies that advance gender equality.

The Abuja Accelerator summit was abuzz with fervour as it addressed multiple facets of enhancing women’s empowerment. 

HRH Queen Hauwa Kulu Adamu Ibrahim, the widely respected matriarch of the FCT, gave a deeply wise talk on the theme “challenges that face rural women of the 6 area councils of the federal capital territory – The Abuja Accelerator.” She started by explaining what unity means, and how important it is for women to embrace it. She then delved into the obstacles encountered by rural women in the FCT, emphasizing the immediate requirement for specific measures. Subsequently, Amb. Dr Jacqueline Mohair delved into the crucial need to enhance female empowerment worldwide, ensuring a unified growth that doesn’t leave out some women. She majorly talked about how important it is to have women online, showcasing their brilliant abilities for the world to see.

The Dean, Commissioners of Women Affairs in Nigeria, Dr Ini Adiakpan, was in attendance too. She gave an impassioned speech, starting from her own mother’s story to highlight the strength of women in groups. She encouraged the women of Africa to form partnerships and groups to grow even better. She also talked about an important need: bridging generations, teaching children the right knowledge in other to leave a good lasting impact.

During the afternoon, participants bonded through interviews, photos and VIP engagements, facilitating a platform for enhancing women’s empowerment by building networks. An award-giving ceremony followed a lunch celebration to acknowledge exceptional female pioneers. 

Attendees left feeling revitalized, purposefully committed to using collaboration as reinforcement to empower future generations of women. The Abuja Accelerator acted as a catalyst in driving dynamic change, sparking movements that go above and beyond borders in empowering females towards achieving their maximum potential.

Written by Dr Florence Akano

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Dr. Florence Akano

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