Abia State chief executive, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Thursday told women in the state: “I’ll tackle discrimination and inequality against you, support and encourage you until my administration elapses in 2023”.
He further stressed “I’ll fight against gender-based violence and give you your due in any event”, saying “women will always be appointed in positions of trust in the public and civil service sectors in the state”.
Speaking during the 7th Annual Women’s August Delegates Conference (AWADEC) held at the International Conference Centre, Umuahia, Ikpeazu expressed delight that the event provided a unique opportunity for Abia Women to mutually and convivially interact with one another as well as brainstorm on how to fashion out modalities and contribute to the common good of womenfolk in Abia.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, charged Abia women to remain alive to their responsibilities by doing their best especially towards the promotion of gender-equality.
It was his belief that women should be valuable, powerful and deserving of every opportunity they wish to pursue in life and that it is line with this year’s theme, “Choose To Challenge”, pointing out that this year’s theme should be a wakeup call that underscores the need and importance of women collectivism in purpose and action against gender biases.
The Abia governor expressed delight that AWADEC since its inception has remained a platform that brings together Abia Women to discuss critical issues affecting the future of womanhood and a movement that is creating a paradigm shift.
In her address, the wife of the governor and convener of the August Meeting, Deaconess Nkechi lkpeazu explained that AWADEC, apart from enriching lives directly by empowering women in the last six years, has made women in Abia to gather under one roof every year to proffer solutions to the challenges of womanhood.
She also disclosed that AWADEC has instituted revolving zero-interest loan scheme which, according to her, has been adjudged successful.
The Abia First Lady disclosed that her office has also developed a gender-based Violence Resource Center where ideas, strategies and actions are developed to combat GBV, while a Sexual Assault Referral Center will soon be opened in the state.
Speaking on behalf of Abia Caucus in the House of Representatives, Representative Uzoma Abonta congratulated Abia women on the success of this year’s August Meeting and described the central theme as one that will sharpened them to understand better ways of confronting life challenges.
He pledged to always partner with women in the state to enable them excel.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Chief Okey Ahaiwe argued that, for the average Abia woman to survive the very critical and challenging period, she must come out of her comfort zone and take decisive steps to match the demands of the time.
The event featured lectures by Prof Joy Ezeilo and Prof Roseline Ndimele as well as cultural dances, and also attracted prominent personalities from all over the country.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.