Governor Willie Obiano eulogises the value of women in the development of the nation while opening the Mothers’ Summit in Awka, Anambra State
ANAMBRA State government is committed to sustaining the betterment of values of Nigerian women in all fields of human endeavour. Willie Obiano, state governor, stated this on Friday, July 25, while declaring open the 2015 Mothers’ Summit with the theme “Realising the Values of the Nigerian Woman – Osodieme’s CAFÉ in Focus” at the Women Development Centre, Awka,
The governor, who was accompanied by his wife, Ebelechukwu Obiano reiterated the importance his administration attaches to the empowerment of women, on account of which he had continued to appoint them in leadership positions to enable them contribute meaningfully to nation-building.
He charged them to always support his administration’s Four Pillars of Development and their Enablers aimed at improving the lots of the citizenry, assuring that he would leave the State better than he met it.
Ebelechukwu, who spoke as the chief host, said that she considers “the theme appropriate in helping us appreciate the roles and contributions of women to socio-political developments at global, multinational and national levels.”
She noted how well the keynote speaker captured the activities of her pet project, CAFE, and the value being added to the lives of women in the society, asserting that “we all are aware that women are quiet leaders and achievers. Many of us have seen our mothers in action and can attest to their dedication and commitment to the family and societal development.”
She appreciated the global role of the United Nations Commission on the status of women, CSW, in pursuing gender equality and advancement of women since the Beijing Conference, and maintained that “… a lot of progress has been made in the area of the 35 percent affirmative action with more women thrust into positions of authority.
“Today, I am proud to say that our dear State Anambra is ahead of others in recognition and appointment of women to positions of authority. The Obiano administration has many women commissioners, special advisers, senior special assistants, special assistants and other top government functionaries at different arms and levels of government. The latest in women occupying strategic position is the emergence of state governor, a female speaker in Anambra State House of Assembly. Maduagwu succeeded another female speaker.
“We have witnessed increased women participation, visibility and involvement in politics and governance. Most of you can attest to the clear demonstration of that support and confidence by our able and committed governor, my dear husband, Chief Willie Obiano to the promotion of the course of women with the appointment of many at all levels of his government. I can tell you that whenever I bring up the issues of our women, he is quick to show enthusiasm and often times acknowledge: “Nwanyi bu ife” (meaning woman is light), to buttress his satisfaction with the active and result-oriented contributions of the Anambra woman to the development of our state.”
The governor’s wife mentioned the prevalence of unprecedented security in the State, which according to her, has led to the wonderful achievements of the administration and increased think-home attitude of wealthy individuals and corporate bodies, with the result that, presently, the state has attracted over $2billion worth in investments with potentials for employing many of our youths.
She contended that there was also the general improvement in the fortunes of workers especially the women whose place in the scheme of things have been assured with the steadfast implementation of the 35 percent affirmative action.
“As you are aware, the call of duty for my husband as the governor of Anambra State and the need to ensure that he succeeds in the service of our people means that everything I am engaged in must support him. This is why apart from handling my primary responsibility in my household, I also engage myself with the activities and programmes of my pet project, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, CAFÉ.”
Obiano stated that since 2007, she has with the cooperation of the ministry of women affairs kept the tradition and sustained the essence of the mother’s summit which heralds the annual August meeting in various communities, and expressed the hope that the 2015 August meetings will afford the women the opportunity to evaluate the impact of programmes and development initiatives in the communities.
While urging them to continue to support governor Obiano and his team, she expressed the hope that the meetings would discuss the challenges and barriers faced by women, review progress made while at the same time set agenda on issues that will further promote empowerment of women.
The governor’s wife called on the womenfolk to live a benevolent life, “You should embrace charity. I urge you all to touch lives. Always do the things that will please God and give them inner joy. Always use every opportunity available to you to touch live positively. My husband and I attained the height we are because we are always cheerful givers. The mind to give is important. ”
Contributing, Nkechi Ikpeazu, wife of the deputy governor of Abia State, while extending the goodwill of her husband, Okezie Ikpeazu and the good people of Abia State to the Obiano-led administration, tasked women to prioritise their choices and take the best decisions in their undertakings.
Ikpeazu, who was represented by Vivian Udeoko chukwu, advised them to always ensure that success in their chosen career does not affect the way they bring up their children, even as she urged the children and wards to respect their elders.
She urged the mothers to assume their appropriate positions and contribute to community development in the areas while pursuing projects that enhances status of women, widows and their children.
In her goodwill message, Oby Nkem-Okeke, wife of deputy governor of Anambra, while pointing out that the attendance of the wife of the governor of Abia State to the event shows the close relationship existing between the two states, reminded the women that they can do all things through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Okeke, who described Obiano as possessing an “inner beauty that comes from God,” listed the 10 qualities of a virtuous woman as faith, trust worthy, service, teacher (in the way of the Lord), healthy living; discipline with care and wisdom; industry; and home maker.
Delivering a Keynote Address titled, “Nwanyi bu Ife: Realising the Values of the Nigerian Woman: Osodieme’s CAFÉ in Focus,” May Ojukwu, retired Vice Principal, questioned what the world would be like without a woman, pointing out that overtime, some women have made tremendous impact in their different careers. She mentioned Mary Slessor, late Professor Dora Akunyili, the Biblical Deborah and now the wife of the governor, of Anambra State, whom she described as “God-given gift to us.”
“Even before she became the wife of governor, she had devoted a percentage of her salary to charitable works. Then she set-up Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, CAFÉ, and since then has done many laudable things: sinking borehole and building classrooms blocks and renovation boarding houses/dining halls, Basden Memorial Special School, Isulo; free artificial limbs to physically challenged, undertaken medical outreach services like, training of rural midwives and giving them motorized bikes baby cot and telephone; free Cleft Lip and Palate surgeries at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Nnewi etc”.
Ojukwu also noted her assistance to farmers with free seedlings, and jobs to the unemployed youths through Sure-P, fashion design, over 1000 engaged in SURE- GIS programme, support to indigent widows. succor to the physically challenged as well as empowerment of women to be meaningfully engaged through skills acquisition trainings in areas of hair dressing, tailoring and fashion designing, Soap making, confectionary , etc. after which she provided the trainees with tools and take-off funds.
“Osodieme’s achievement is a challenge to us all in whatever we are doing, and we should take a queue and become builders of life like her. We should thank God for giving her to us as a gift to Anambra,” she said.
The 2015 Mothers’ Summit was also attended by Mary Oye, wife of the national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Chinwe Sibeudu, former deputy governor, Ego Uzoezie, Summit initiator/former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, now the Provost of College of Education, Chinelo Orizu, wife of former deputy speaker, wives of chairmen, Legislators Wives Association, LEWA, and female councilors.
Others were the representative of the Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Anambra Command; team from National Council for Women Society, Christian Women Organisation and Anambra State Association of Town Union, representatives of Yoruba and Hausa communities in Anambra, Umuada Igbo, Osodieme Obiano Ladies Movement, Willy Obiano Support Group, APGA faithful, and market women
— July 25, 2015 @ 9.00 GMT