The Southern Governors Wives’ Forum(SGWF) has advocated women empowerment and development as a viable tool for sustainable development.
The advocacy was made yesterday in Calabar, where this year’s forum was held.
The SGWF comprises of wives of governors from Seventeen states of Southern Nigeria.
In her welcome address, wife of Cross River State governor, Her Excellency, Dr (Mrs) Linda Ayade, who played host to the event, thanked her counterparts from other states and everyone who had made out time to attend the event, which took place at Adiabo Town Hall, Tinapa. She urged those who attended the event, especially women, to make good use of the opportunity having wives of Fourteen state governors, who were present at the occasion, addressing them on crucial issues affecting women and children and the society at large.
In her opening speech, wife of the Imo State governor, Her Excellency, Mrs Nneoma Rochas Okorocha, who also doubles as the chairman, SGWF, expressed happiness for sitting among other governors’ wives to brainstorm on how best to tackle the numerous challenges confronting women in the region. She commended Cross River State first lady, Dr (Mrs) Linda Ayade for organizing the event, while describing as laudable the positive impact her pet project is making in the lives of vulnerable women and children through the Mediatrix Development Foundation.
Speaking further, she described the SGWF as a reference point when compared to other sister body, noting that through its activities, the SGWF has since its inception touched the lives of many, including women and children, girl child education, poverty reduction and many others. She described women as home builders who must be economically, politically, socially and legally empowered.
Addressing the gathering, wife of Abia State governor, Her Excellency, Mrs Nkechi Ikpeazu, who dwelt on women empowerment, noted that national development cannot be achieve without women’s participation, and that for women to be involve, they need to be empowered. While highlighting on the prospect for women engaging in small scale businesses, Mrs Ikpeazu identified choice of business, market survey, customer service, vision, marketing, accounting and mentorship as rudiments for starting up a successful business. She urged participants, who were mostly women, to use the information at their disposal to better their lives.
Building on Mrs Ikpeazu’s submission, wife of Edo State governor, Her Excellency, Mrs Betsy Bene Obaseki, stated that empowerment is very important in Nigeria today, given the high level of poverty, and that it goes beyond disbursement of cash. ”What is most important in our country today is empowerment. The problem we face in Nigeria is all as a result of poverty. When they say empowerment, it is not about giving you money. When you truly empower a human being, you give the person capacity.” she said.
Mrs Obaseki added that as governors wives, one of their responsibilities is to support their husbands through the empowerment of women.
In the same vein, Lagos State first lady, Her Excellency, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, who spoke on the topic, self-enhancement, career progression, and self-motivation, informed that self-motivation and self-enhancement are key to proper planning and continuity of small scale enterprises. She advised women against investing their capital into business which they know nothing about, stressing that knowledge about a particular business is the roadmap to success. She also noted that passion and motivation are essential for business to survive. Mrs Ambode maintained that if women are to become successful in their chosen business they must do away with fear and be hungry for success which will propel them to work hard.
She concluded by urging women to be useful to themselves, their families and the society.
High point of the event was the empowerment of women with sewing machines, hair dressing equipments, generating sets, confectionery equipments and lots more.