The Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has assured the women of the state of greater opportunities to contribute their individual and collective quota to on-going efforts to reposition the state for greater heights.
Speaking at the 2014 Mothers’ Summit that took place at the Women Development Centre in Awka, the state capital last weekend, Chief Obiano said some of the developmental challenges that the Nigerian society was facing today could be traced to the few opportunities available to women, pointing out that his administration had a high regard for women.
According to him, it is in view of this that conscious effort is being made to ensure that women were given a fair representation in his cabinet.
“I took time to find the best of our women and place them in positions where they will make the most impact in the lives of our people.
“I appointed these women because I know that Nwanyi bu ife (Women are priceless) This belief is actually not new. It is embedded in our culture,” Chief Obiano explained.
The governor lauded the theme of the summit, “Women and Progress in Anambra State – a Priority Agenda,” and further assured that under his watch, Anambra State would continue to expand the frontiers of excellence for Nigerian women.
He said: “We shall open more doors for the endless talents of our women to flourish,” explaining that it was his wish to shore up the value of the womenfolk that informed his choice of Chimamanda Adichie, the famous novelist, as the keynote speaker at the special lecture that was held to commemorate his First 100 Days in office.
“Some of you were here on that day and you bear witness to the intellectual power of the Anambra woman that was on display that day. That is who we are!”
Further emphasising the importance of women in national development, Chief Obiano explained that he had an abiding faith in Anambra woman.
“I expect great things from you. As we continue our bold efforts to change Anambra State, we recognise the fact that we cannot make much progress without rebuilding the fabrics of our society. And this is where we need your assistance the more,” he declared.
Describing women as the pivot of the family and the true agents of civilisation, Chief Obiano argued that no child ever forgets the values its mother handed down to him/her.
“I still hear the voice of my mother in my head to date whenever I find myself drifting below the standards that I have set for myself. This is why we need you to plant the values that will return the lost glory of our people,” he said.
He said the menace of criminals his administration had been fighting since he assumed office was a reminder that, “we must wake up to our role as a child’s first contact with civilisation. Our mothers must plant the right values in children.”
He urged the women of the state to support the programmes that have been mapped out for them under the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, CAFE, the pet-project of his wife, Chief Ebelechukwu Obiano.
Earlier in her welcome address, the First lady of Anambra State Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano had raised the hope of the widows in the state when she promised to liaise with the State House of Assembly to enact a law that would protect widows from harassment and ill treatment of their in-laws.
Chief Mrs Obano also applauded the theme of the Summit as very apt in view of the formidable roles that women play in national development pointing out that the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE) was conceived to play a significant role in midwifing the welfare and progress of women in the state.
“I have already started providing life-saving kits to address the needs of expectant mothers as well as the distribution of cancer testing kits to women in the 21 local government areas to aid early detection of cancer in our women,” she revealed.
Announcing the commencement of the 2014 August Meeting, Chief Mrs Obiano promised that during the interaction, “30 indigent women from each community would be empowered to enable them start petty businesses in order to support their families. Likewise, 15 children and 8 physically challenged persons from each community will benefit from this interaction,” she further explained.