By Adanna Nnamani
The Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria (SWAN) turns 40 April next year, but it recently rolled out programme of activities to mark the anniversary.
The body kick-started the commemoration with a talk session on the theme: “Women in leadership”, at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja on October 17.
SWAN came into being on April 28, 1978 through the efforts of ten female leading lights in the accounting profession; namely: Olutoyin Olakunri, Dorcas Kuforiji Olubi, Mojisola Osiyemi, Elizabeth Adegbite, Olusola Isikalu Akinbami, N.A. Shoaga, M. Adeyeye-Olukoya, F.O. Fadipe and A. Animashaun.
Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo was on hand to flag off the programme that was a typical gathering of professional women.
In her keynote, she charged them to look up to the enviable records of the amazons of the profession who formed the association while contributing their quota to national development.
She mentioned notable achievements of people like the first female chartered accountant in West Africa, Mrs Olutoyin Olakunri, who was president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) 1994-1995.
National Chairperson of SWAN, Mrs. Folake Onabolu also extolled the founders of the society, adding that aside encouraging the girl child into the accounting profession, the body has given the female accountant a platform to be of service to the Institute.
She explained that the talk session, which covered such thematic areas as national development, politics, transparency and accountability, women empowerment as well as peace and unity, was intended to further boost the capacity of its members.
The National Chairperson also reiterated the resolve of her administration to carry out more community social responsibility projects, especially prison visitation, as a way of giving back to the society.
In her presentation on transparency and accountability, Auditor General of Lagos State, Mrs. Helen Deile posited that accountants have very serious role to play in the fight against corruption, charging them to search and tackle the monster in their practice.
She harped on the need for women accountants to build sustainable homes, noting that neither profession nor career could take the place of motherhood.
Deile sounded it clearly that the society expected so much from accountants; in making the various socio-economic systems functional. For instance, she said that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) depend on accountants to keep records and raise funds because they lack capacity.
“When we do these, we would have contributed in building the nation…As chattered accountants, we must fight corruption,” she stated, but however, posited that Government must create the enabling environment through policies for businesses to grow.
Similarly, the Abuja Chapter Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Mrs Ngozi Ikenga’s talk on women participation in politics was quite incisive and thought-provoking.
She charged women to wake up from their slumber and embrace politics instead of waiting for positions to be given to them on a platter of gold, since according to her, power is not given but struggled for.
In addition, National Chairperson of Society of Women in Taxation, Mrs Ezinwa Okorafor, who spoke on “peace and unity: the role of professional women accountants,” stated that women must be peace builders beginning from their respective homes.
The programme eventually dovetailed into the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the body and was followed by networking and socials.
SWAN has grown like the oak tree from 36 members at inception in 1978 to about 5,000 members across the country.