FIC Report (Abia State) – The Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu expressed delight that since it’s inception, AWADEC has remained a platform that brings together Abia Women under one roof to discuss critical issues affecting the future of Womanhood and a movement that is creating a paradym shift and making Women at the Community and Group levels to seek self realization to become empowered psychologically, socially and economically.
The Conference held at the International Conference Centre, Government Station Layout, Umuahia, Governor Ikpeazu represented by his Deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu reiterated that his administration will continue to encourage, empower and support Abia Women to tackle inequalities, discrimination and Gender Based Violence,(GBV) among others in the Society.
Dr. Ikpeazu expressed delight that the event provides a unique opportunity for Abia Women to mutually and convivially interact with one another and brainstorm on how to fashion out modalities and contribute to all efforts aimed at the common good of Abia Womenfolk.
The Governor charged Abia Women to remain alive to their responsibilities by doing their best especially in promoting gender- balance and all round inclusiveness.
He reminded every Abia Woman that they are valuable, powerful and deserving of every opportunity they wish to pursue in line with this year’s theme, “Choose To Challenge” initiative which he described as a wake up call that underscores the need and importance of Women collectivism in purpose and action against gender bias.
He appreciated his wife, Nkechi lkpeazu for her outstanding efforts and examplary leadership at championing the cause of Womanhood.
In her address during the event which saw the Wife of the Deputy Governor, Lady Vivian Oko Chukwu, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Governor, Sir Don Ubani, Body of Permanent Secretaries, Top Government Officials, Women Groups and Delegates across the State in attendance, the Wife of the Governor and Convener, Mrs Nkechi lkpeazu said AWADEC apart from enriching lives directly by empowering women in the last six years, has also instituted a revolving zero-interest loan scheme which has been adjudged successful.
Mrs. lkpeazu disclosed that the 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 Centre will soon be opened in the State and thanked the Resource Persons and all for making this year’s event a successful one.
The Chief Executive Officer/Founding Director of Women Aid Collective (WACOL)/Tamar SARC, a renowned University Don, Legal Guru, Former UN Special Rappoteur and Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Prof. Joy Ezeilo presented a keynote address titled “Women, Choose To Challenge”.
She said the August meeting of Igbo land has come to stay as a spring board for action to advance gender equality and promote zero tolerance to all forms of violence.
Prof. Ezeilo enumerated strategies to enhance the choice to challenge through Capacity building by Women and gender focused organizations in collaboration with relevant MDAs to ensure that front line Officers have the knowledge and skills for effective implementation of extant laws that protects persons from societal violence.
She, however, reiterated that Women must demand accountability and action to stand in solidarity with fellow women as well as support Government initiatives at all levels towards ending violence adding that Women cannot do this job alone, thus they must identify male allies and also work with them towards zero tolerance on Violence eradication and harmful practices against Women and Girls.
Continuing, the Legal Guru highlighted that Women’s engagement with Traditional and Religious Leaders, Formation of support groups to help in the recovery and re-integration of victims/survivors of Violence should not be underestimated.
Congratulating Abia Women on their Annual August Meeting, Chief Uzoma Abonta, who spoke on behalf of Abia Representatives at the National Assembly, described the central theme as one that will sharpen the Women to understand better ways of confronting life challenges and promised to always partner them in the State to enable them excel.
In their seperate remarks, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, The Rev Jane Nmereonye and Lady Victoria Akanwa said AWADEC aims at elevating the consciousness of the Abia Woman with the goal of placing her on a competitive plane to excel above Women in other parts of the Country.
They appreciated the Wife of the Governor, Mrs Nkechi lkpeazu for using AWADEC to empower Women and bring out the potentials in them.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion, Chief Okey Ahaiwe stated 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 and appreciated Abia Women for their continued support to the Wife of the Governor in her capacity as the greatest supporter of Woman Empowerment.
According to the Organizers, AWADEC since inception in 2015 has continued to encourage Women to pursue communal programmes that will address their rural needs and capture the essence of true womanhood as well as shape their attitudes in a constantly evolving and challenging global community. It is a way to go and a way to unite women for better future.
The event featured the Inauguration of the Umuahia North AWADEC Cooperative Societies Ltd, unveiling and cutting of the Abia Unity Cake, dance, cultural exhibitions and cuisine from various parts of the State.
(Year 2021 edition) being organized by the Office of the Wife of the Abia State Governor has commenced with the theme, “Choose To Challenge”.