•For 2019 ARISE Women Conference
For the 11th time, annually, Arise Women Conference put together by the Convener, a woman rights activist, Dr Siju Iluyomade, once again literally shook Lagos to its foundation. It was yet another groundbreaking occasion where Nigeria’s First Lady, Dr Aisha Buhari, led over 12 first Ladies to the event. It will forever be memorable in the minds of thousands of women who gathered to network, praise God and help their fellow women. The conference whose theme was tagged “Bloom” took place on Saturday, 26th of October, 2019 at RCCG, City of David, Victoria Island. City People’s society editor, TAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI, who was part of the Arise Media Team brings you what no one would tell you about the grand 2019 Arise Women Conference. Enjoy!
HOW ARISE WOMEN 2019 LITERALLY SHUT DOWN LAGOS
Lagos was locked down penultimate Saturday when Arise Women Founder, Dr Siju Iluyomade, staged her annual epic event in Lagos, Arise Women Conference. It was an event whose success had a multiple effects as its attendance surpassed the previous year’s. As usual it was an event full of women as over 4,000 stormed RCCG, City of David,the venue of the grand event. It was so colourful that whichever way or direction you turned to on Victoria Island that day, it was all about Arise Event. It also made all roads busy as everyone was trooping to Oniru axis to witness the conference. ARISE is a Faith-based Non-Governmental Organisation, which is committed to accelerating nation building through the empowerment of women in the society. Arise has, over the years, provided a forum where thousands of women have been making impact, inspiring and encouraging one another to achieve their God-given potential, by the words and teachings of carefully chosen and proven speakers. ARISE has been passionate about the health of women in the State and free, preventive medical care services were offered to thousands of women.
DR. SIJU ILUYOMADE — THE BLOOM ICON
In her theme for this year’s event, which brought excitement and hope, Dr Siju Iluyomade is a blooming agent whose personality captures the flower that is blossoming in her life over the years. It is one which replicates “a practice what you preach approach. No wonder, she took the message of ‘bloom’ to every woman who deserves to flourish. She is the Convener of Arise Women Conference and this year’s was the 11th edition since inception. She is one of the bravest women on planet earth. She is very bold, very confident, has a large heart and gives effortlessly, no wonder many women in their thousands trooped to Arise Women Conference to celebrate with her. She has listening ears and she has empowered many women in their different fields.No wonder in her speech, she affirmed, “I Siju, I am blooming, flourishing and blossoming”. She is a mentor to many and deals with all in a Christ-like manner, very loving and very generous. She distributed many gifts to thousands of guests and made sure she put a smile on their faces. In her speech, she admonished women to prioritise and strive to be self-reliant and economically empowered. She stressed that women should strive to change the narrative of scarcity, pain, poverty, anguish, homelessness in practical ways to help other women and the girl child.
WHY EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO BLOOM
The theme for the Arise women conference was bloom and many women who lit up the whole hall bloomed both inwardly and outwardly. They all made stylish statements at the event. The theme of the event #bloom is not just a hashtag, but a clarion call out to all women to step out according to Dr Siju Iyomade. Women need to shine brighter and shine collectively in different spheres of human endeavours. There is a need to increase and multiply in every area and your work must speak for you on merit, not on quota. The woman who blooms does not sit down, she steps out and takes charge, she said.
NAIJA’S FIRST LADY, AISHA BUHARI HONOURS SIJU FOR THE FIRST TIME
For the first time in the History of Arise, Nigeria’s First Lady, Her Excellency, Aisha Buhari, was part of the Arise Conference. She was ably represented by a former First Lady of Nasarawa State, Dr Mairo Almakura. She sent her heartfelt wishes to Dr. Siju Iluyomade and lauded the great event, which is also in line with Aisha’s pet project aims and objectives.
AND DR SIJU DRAGS OVER 10 FIRST LADIES TO THE EVENT
This is not the first time a large number of First ladies would be gracing the Arise Conference, but this year was bigger and grander. The conference witnessed about 11 First Ladies who all have one common goal in their pet projects, women empowerment. This gathering has not been staged in the last few years. They were First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Federal Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Her Excellency, Mrs Pauline Tallen. First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Represented by Her Excellency, Dr Mairo Al-makura, Former 1st Lady, Nasarawa State, First Lady of Ekiti State, Her Excellency, Mrs. Erelu Bisi Fayemi, First Lady of Akwa Ibom, Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel was also one of the speakers, First lady of Ogun State, Bamidele Abiodun, First Lady of Kwara State, Olufolake Abdulrasaq; a former First Lady of Kwara, Omolewa Ahmed, who led the prayer session, Former First Ladies of Lagos, Cross River and Ogun State, Dame Abimbola Fashola, Onari Duke and Olufunsho Amosun. Wife of the speaker of House of Representative, Salamatu Gbajabiamila and Edo First Lady, Betsy Obaseki. They all looked beautiful in their green VVIP Ankara, which was also worn by the Convener, Siju Iluyomade. Alongside the First ladies were also top Ministers, heads of government parastatals, technocrats who graced the event. The first female deputy governor of Plateau State and currently the Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen gave an impressive speech.
AND DEPUTY GOVERNORS TOO
The event also saw the coming together of many deputy governors both former and serving. H.E. Princess Sarah Sosan, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, H.E. Mrs. Pauline Tallen, former Deputy Governor of Plateau State and H.E. Princess Orelope Adefulire, former Lagos Deputy Governor and Special Adviser to President Buhari on SDG.
OVER 4 VENUESWERE USED
Due to the large crowd of women who besieged the City of David Parish, the venue for the conference, other adjoining venues which belong to the church were also used like the Havillah,
Incubator and others. They were all filled to the brim. Before the event started, free medical services were given to participants.
HOST STATE’S FIRST LADY, IBIJOKE SANWOOLU, HONOURS DR SIJU
One of the high points of the events was an award-giving moment when Pastor Siju has presented an award of “Woman of the year” by Lagos’ First Lady, Dr Ibijoke Sanwoolu, in recognition of her humanitarian gesture. She got the award at the just concluded 2019 Committee of Wives of Lagos State officials conference.
FIRST BANK’S CHAIRMAN—THE MENTORS MENTOR
Any event you see the first female Chairman of First Bank, Ibukun Awosika, you can be sure it’s an epoch-making one. She was the guest speaker at the Arise 2019. Pastor Awosika is one who is popularly referred to as the mentor of mentors. She captivated the audience with her mind-blowing speech. She held the audience spellbound and charged all women to remain focused and steadfast in all they do.
MEET ONE OF THE POWERFUL GUEST SPEAKERS, FUNKE ADETUBERU
Meeting the Reverend Funke Adetuberu for the first time, she appears to be very gentle, but she is the opposite when she mounts the podium to speak to people especially groups of women. To many women, Revd Adetuberu hit the nail on the head as she revealed her life experiences to the surprise of the audience. It was a thought-provoking speech where she made no hold barred revelation of what her life is all about. She also prayed for every woman. Reverend Mrs Funke Adejumo later prayed for the Convener and all the participants.
BISHOP TINA BAWA MADE IT
Bishop Tina Bawa was one of the guest speakers at the 2018 Arise Women Conference and she was not left out of the show as she stormed Arise 2019 all the way from Abuja to support her dear friend, Siju Iluyomade.
ARISE WOMEN COMMITTEE ON POINT
Give it to all these women, they made the event a hitch-free one. It was well coordinated and activities lined up were fully observed. They worked hard as weeks rolled into months of preparation and Arise 2019 came out bigger and better. Among the committee members fully on the ground on the day were Ayinke Almona, Iyabo Ladipo, Yinka Adesanya, Teresa Ayana, Omowunmi Adewole, Helen Adesanya, Feyi Osinupebi, Tope Akinbola, Ronke Olusile and Lolade Wakama.
GOSPEL ARTISTES THRILL GUESTS
The conference had many gospel artistes who did not only make everyone dance but had a splendid time in the presence of God. It was an atmosphere where praises were in high heavens and worship session was unlimited. From BJSAX leading the praise and worship to Nathaniel Bassey, David G, Big Bolaji to Asu Ekiye and finally Tope Alabi. It was a moment of joy. Wave-making music star, Teni, the entertainer, captivated the audience with all her hit singles. She was decorated with a hat by Dr Siju Iluyomade.
LAGOS CELEB WOMEN IN LARGE NUMBERS
Not only were the First Ladies and the guest speakers present,there were also many other dignitaries present like a former commissioner of Women Affairs, Kemi Nelson, Mrs Fashola, Emzor CEO, Stella Okoli, Tastee Fried Chicken’s boss, Pamela Adedayo,Hajia Bintu Tinubu, Barr Shade Balogun, Chief Mrs Onikepo Akande, Erelu Ojuolape Ojora, Idowu Ogunlesi, Bola Oduyale and many others.
OVER 10 ANKARA PICKED FOR THE EVENT
The event was such a colorful one that almost 10 different Ankara were picked. All the beautiful women stunned in their various Ankara, which were sewn into beautiful styles. That the show was also more of a fashion statement event is simply stating the obvious because it later became an urban fashion runway where celebrities strutted with so much ease and finesse as they made their way into the hall. The event paparazzi had a fun-filled time photographing participants.
–OMOTAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI