Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of the president, said on Monday that strong family values should be cherished and nurtured to surmount the challenges of poverty and crime in the country.
She gave the advice in Lagos while declaring open the three-day 16th National Women Conference organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO).
The conference has as its theme: “Strong Family, Strong Nation.’’
The president’s wife, represented by the wife of the Imo State Governor, Mrs Nneoma Okorocha, said that that love, support, friendship and guidance were key qualities necessary in the family.
“We must continue to emphasise the importance of strong family values.
“Poverty, crime and declining school performance are some of the challenges a country could face when families are not cohesive,’’ she said.
Buhari enjoined participants to take advantage of the array of topics to be discussed and see the conference as a knowledge-based one to enrich their lives.
“The conference also provides a forum for women to deliberate on issues that affect us, our families, communities and the nation at large.
“Our core concern should be how we can make a positive impact on ourselves as women and our society,’’ she said.
Also speaking, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State said his administration had implemented many policies to enable women to thrive.
He pledged to continue to ensure that the rights of women and girls were protected to ensure a peaceful and progressive society.
The governor said that the family unit was very important to the overall development of any nation.
“The family is the foundation and smallest unit of any nation. The heart and conscience of a nation is formed, to a large extent, in the family.
“With strong families, we can build a strong nation; but strong families will only exist in a society where nobody is left behind, where everybody has a voice and a stake,’’ Ambode said.
He described women as the glue that held families together.
According to him, an empowered woman, with a sense of self-esteem, will be better positioned to make a success of her career and at the same time be a pillar of strength for the family.
He said that his administration was totally committed to empowering women and also protecting the girl-child against all forms of negative vices to create platforms for families to bond and recreate.
In his goodwill message, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State said the theme of the conference was apt, as the myriad of problems facing the country were due to the erosion of family values.
His Osun State counterpart, Gov. Rauf Aregbesola, said that women were the foundation of families, and as such, the values they passed on to their children reflected greatly on the society.
In her remarks, wife of the Lagos State governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, said the theme was carefully chosen for participants to rub minds on the best ways to tackle some of the social challenges confronting the nation.
“Most of the social challenges currently confronting our country like drug addiction, cultism, teenage pregnancy, kidnapping, armed robbery, among others, have their foundation in dysfunctional family units,’’ she said.
According to her, to build a strong and virile country, strong family units must be built.
The highlights of the event include the investiture of Sen. Oluremi Tinubu as the Grand Matron of COWLSO and the presentation of Inspirational Woman of the year award to a beauty entrepreneur, Mrs Tara Fela-Durotoye.