By Kalu Kalu, from Umuahia.
The Governor of Abia State, South East Nigeria, Dr Alex Otti, has assured the women in the state of government’s commitment in ensuring quality living standards for the people.
The Governor gave the assurance while speaking at the flag off of this year’s Abia Women August Delegate Conference (AWADEC), held at the International Conference Centre, Umuahia, the state capital
Dr. Otti praised the women for their important roles in
nation-building and emphatically stated how important they are to the success of his administration, having assigned them the responsibility of masterminding the Government’s efforts in areas that his government had declared emergency, which includes Health, Education and Agriculture sectors of the state’s economy.
“We will like to assure you of all the support that is possible from this Government. We have started by giving very serious appointments to women, the areas we have declared emergency – Abia State Ministries of Education and Health are supervised by women. It is because we know that women will always deliver,” the Governor stated.
He used the occasion to appreciate the women across the 17 local government areas of the State for supporting him during the past election, emphasising that without them he would not have won the Governorship election.
In her keynote adress, the wife of the Governor, Mrs Priscilla Otti, thanked God for the unity, coexistence amongst the people and changing the political direction of the state for the better.
She emphasised on Governor Otti led administration’s commitment and decision to ensuring that women occupy strategic positions (posts) in the state, citing the Commissioners of Agriculture, Education and Health, and other female appointees, who are working directly or indirectly with the Governor, as typical example of Governor Otti ‘s firm resolution to give women equal representation in his administration.
Mrs Otti, who described Dr. Otti’s led government as the most women friendly since the creation of the state, also said that Governor Otti believes in women because, “We are dependable and trustworthy”, adding, “Onye ji nwanyi, ji ihe (With a woman, you have a dependable ally).”
She used the opportunity to announce her plan to support the vulnerable groups in the state, especially single mothers, widows, infants and children with special needs, adding that some of her pet projects would be based on creating structures to support the education of brilliant girls from economically-challenged backgrounds, girls with interest in skill aquisition, women farmers and entrepreneurs amongst others.
Mrs. Otti also distributed some palliatives and monetary gifts to some physically challenged women, Elderly women and widows across the 17 local government areas of the state.
In his speech, the Senator representing Abia Central in Nigeria’s, Senator Darlington Nwokocha, thanked the wife of the Governor for organising this year’s women August meeting and expressed hope that important decisions that would impact positively on women would be discussed and arrived at.
He described women as a positive force in the society adding that things are changing for the better in the State.
He promised to ensure that the Nigerian National Assembly work collaboratively with the Governor to achieve set goals.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Ngozi Felix, who announced the theme of this year’s event as “Abia Women: Dare to Dream”, noted that the August Delegates’ Conference is gradually becoming a movement of sort for women’s welfare and active participation in governance.
She said that the platform recognises the value for gender equality, women empowerment, and response to gender-based violence and potential that lies within every individual.
Some of the guests and speakers, who attended the event were: the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adaeze Chidera Emetu; wife of the Speaker, Abia House of Assembly, Mrs. Uchechi Emeruwa; the Commissioners of Education, Prof. Uche Eme-Uche ; Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, amongst other top government functionaries.
August Delegates Conference is an annual women event (meetings) organised by women in the different communities and states across the South Eastern Region of Nigeria aimed at charting a course for women empowerment and development in the different communities and states in the region.