The CEO and Founder of Elizabethan Humanitarian Life (H&H) Foundation, Mrs. Oyinade Samuel-Eluwole, has put forward a strong advocacy to the federal government for the establishment of the ministry of Men Affairs for the sake of gender balance, equity, and inclusion.
Mrs. Samuel Eluwole made this call at the Elizabethan Foundation’s International Men’s Day Symposium which took place Wednesday, November 15, 2023, in Lagos. The Symposium was organised as one of the activities to commemorate the International Men’s Day themed “Zero Male Suicide.”
Speaking at the event, she said that, “The International Men’s Day is a Day established by the global community to create awareness and to underscore the need to bring to the front burner many issues faced by men, which include but not limited to suicide, violence, and parental alienation, among others; and this is celebrated annually on November 19th.” She added that “The theme emphasises the six significant pillars of International Men’s Day, which include: To promote male role models. To celebrate the contribution that men make. To focus on men’s health and well-being. To highlight discrimination against men. At Elizabethan, IMD is very important to us because our focus is to intervene for male gender at all levels. We are focusing on the psychological and emotional frustration of males at all levels because we see males as endangered species.”
Speaking further the Elizabethan Foundation Boss said that the male gender in Nigeria suffer lack and neglect, and that there is an urgent need to focus on how to attend to them. “We have paid so much attention to the women, the girl-child, and to the female gender generally. This is good and the society and government should do more in that regard. However, for us in Elizabethan Humanitarian Life Foundation, we think that the society should not neglect the men in the process. If you notice, the men and the boy-child in our society, are going through so much pressure based on traditional disposition and societal expectations. Our boys are not expected to cry to express their painful emotions, and our men are expected to shoulder too heavy and too many loads – from taking care of their wife, children, extended family, and even to the larger society – where they are expected to take the lead in every activity. As a result most of them go through psychological trauma without notice, and physical emasculation without anyone paying attention.
Consequently, she called for intentional mindfulness on the wellbeing of our male gender from cradle to old age. According to her, our men, and in fact, the male gender generally, are systematically marginalised. For instance, you have the ministry of women affairs at the federal and state government levels, where is the ministry of Men Affairs. My Foundation calls on the federal government, state governments, and the local government areas in Nigeria, to be sensitive and hence set up ministries of Men Affairs to also attend to the peculiar needs of the male gender. This is necessary because, today, the world is concerned about diversity, gender equity, and inclusion, DEI. Nigeria should not be left behind in the matters that concern humanity.”
Fielding questions to the press about the Foundation’s other plans for the International Men’s Day, she said “Earlier in the week we went for an Outreach around Surulere in Lagos and its environs, where we met and spoke to a lot of abandoned male children who had no one to care for them. It was a very traumatic experience for me. It is so easy for some of us to move ahead with our own children or families without caring or paying attention to what is happening to other children, especially the boy child; Or even our aged fathers. Some of them are in a very desolate and pathetic condition. But, we move on. No one cares. But, we, in the Elizabethan Foundation care. That is why we are doing what we are doing.”
Other speakers at the symposium which focused on the theme “Zero Male Suicide” were: Prof. Sola Aletan, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, at the University of Lagos, Nigeria; Prof. Oyekunle Oyelami, a specialist in Community Development and Social Works Education, at the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos; Ahmad Ibrahim Sajoh, an activist, a Journalist, a Public Relations Practitioner, an Administrator and a renown Public Affairs Analyst. Currently, he is the Executive Director/CEO of FutureNow Initiative, an NGO based in Abuja; Prof. Omoniyi Kayode Yemitan, the Dean, Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences, and Sports Director, Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja, Lagos; and Prof Emevwo Biakolo, the founding Dean of Media and Communication Pan-Atlantic University, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
The event which was moderated by Mr. Joko Okupe, an accomplished brand management and marketing communication expert, who is also the founder of Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative, got the participants and the general audience – both those on ground psychically, and those who joined online – agitated and reflective, as so many salient issues concerning the male gender from cradle to old age were raised and discussed, including the fundamental issue of men suicide.