ByÂ Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa â€”Wives ofÂ the governors of South-South states converged on Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, yesterday to chart new strategy on the economic empowerment and improvement on health status for children and women in the zone, with an appeal to donor agencies to assist their pet projects and other campaigns concerning women and childrenâ€™s welfare.
Present at the meeting were the wives of Bayelsa State governor, Mrs. Alanyingi Sylva; Cross River State, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke; Rivers State, Mrs Judith Amaechi and wife of Edo State governor, who was represented by wife of the Deputy Governor, Deaconess Endurance Odubu.
Others include the representative of the wife of Delta State governor, Mrs. Stella Macaulay, the Chief Field Officer of the United Nations Childrenâ€™s Fund, UNICEF, Mrs. Pelucy Ntambirweki and the Community Relations Manager of Brass LNG, Mrs. Ruth Benamiasia-Opia.
The meeting commended the efforts of the state governors in the areas of political empowerment of women and provision of moral support for their campaigns to improve the welfare of women in the zone.
Declaring open the meeting, under the auspices of the Wives of the South-South Governors Forum, the wife of Bayelsa State governor, Mrs. Alanyingi Sylva, said though the Federal and state governments consented to the request of women and created the Ministry of Women Affairs, the change expected in the status of women and children has not been realized.
Mrs. Sylva lamented that children and women in the zone were still wallowing in negligence and ignorance about modern health practices and culture.
She said:Â Â â€œThe United Nation also made a declaration to make the world a better place in 2015, with its millennium development goal, “yet with five years left to 2015, we are still battling to achieve the goals.â€
According to her, women have resolved to support the tools of their husbands, the governors, to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, are met.
She noted that the world possesses the knowledge and resources to achieve the MDGs, adding that falling short of the goals would be an unacceptable failure, both morally and practically.
In their separate contributions, wives of the Cross-River and Rivers governors, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke and Mrs. Judith Amaechi respectively, explained that they had been restricted by lack of funds and stressed the need for a renewed partnership between donor agencies and their offices in the region.
In their solidarity speeches at the event, the Chief Field Officer of the United Nation Childrenâ€™s Fund (UNICEF), Mrs. Pelucy Ntambirweki and the Community Relations Manager of the Brass LNG, Mrs. Ruth Benamiasia-Opia, told the wives of the governors of their readiness to partner with them and make provision for the welfare packages and campaign on children and women welfare.
Though Mrs. Ntambirweki of UNICEF lauded the on-going efforts in the South-South, she said the wives of the governors needed to intensify efforts at raising the issues of the vulnerability of children and women to the highest point and make it a priority of government.
â€œThey should galvanize the state to rise up to reverse the negative indicators and impact on children and women.
â€œThey should support regular state consultations on children to gain consensus on the way forward and ensure the issues of children are integrated in the strategic plans-NEEDS, LEEDS, CEEDS strategic plans of action,â€ she said.