By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA-IT was all smiles for hundreds of Abia State women, particularly those from the rural communities last week, when 11 out of 17 wives of Southern Governors doled out various empowerment items to improve their living standards.
The empowerment programme was part of the programme by the governors’ wives who had their 4th quarterly meeting at Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
Operating under the aegis of Southern Governors’ Wives Forum, SGWF, the distribution of the empowerment items to the rural women, South East Voice learned is usually the high-point of the meeting wherever they meet.
Among the empowerment items given out to the rural women were sewing machines, hairdressing equipment and kits, grinding machines, cooking utensils and coolers as well as local soap making equipment, among others.
Handing over the materials to the elated women, the governors’ wives through their Chairperson and Wife of Imo State governor, Mrs. Nneoma Rochas Okorocha, advised them to make maximum use of the items to improve their lives by being a bit financially independent.
They were advised to engage in small businesses which could grow to change their lives for good.
According to Mrs Okorocha, the empowerment items were the little ways the forum could encourage the rural women to eke out a living and be less dependent on their husbands and other relations.
Earlier the governors’ wives had taken time to talk to the thousands of women who were gathered at the International Conference Centre, Umuahia and venue of the programme on their individual pet projects.
Wife of Cross Rivers State governor, Dr (Mrs) Linda Ayade, lectured the women on early detection and prevention of cancer while Dame Edith Okowa of Delta State, harped on the need for women to avoid gossip and pull-her-down vices, which she said, hampered their unity.
The wife of Enugu State governor, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi spoke on the ill treatment of widows and urged women to rise up against evil widowhood practices. She challenged the women to jettison such a culture where ever it exists.
Also, her Lagos State counterpart, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode brought into sharp relief the role of women in education and urged them to be good role models. She told the women to always work together and help in community development.
The wife of Oyo State governor, Mrs. Florence Ajumobi also, challenged the women to go into small businesses, saying that no amount was too small to start off.
She illustrated to the listening women cases of women who started in very small ways and later graduated to become business moguls.
Describing herself as a business woman, Mrs. Ajomobi told the women that she started in a very small way, saying that many of them could also succeed like her.
Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State spoke on care for the girl-child, lamenting high rate of teenage pregnancy which she blamed on the carelessness of mothers.
Udom further noted that child rape was also on the increase because of negligence on the part of women and warned that “we have to be careful with the girl-child so that her life will not be truncated”.
Those absent were Mrs. Ebele Obiano of Anambra State, Mrs. Eberechi Nyesom-Wike- Rivers State, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki -Edo State, Mrs. Rachael Dickson – Bayelsa State, Mrs. Feyisetan Fayose – Ekiti State and Mrs. Olukemi Mimiko of Ondo State.