Thursday, 1 September 2016

Sustaining Gains Of The August Meetings


  BY EMEKA OZUMBA


 As the August Meetings 2016 wind down, the wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano has called on Ndi Nne Anambra to build on the momentum and gains from the deliberations.

The governors’ wife advised the women to uphold commitments made during the meetings and community development engagements and ensure the gains are properly harnessed for the progress of the respective communities and the state.
This clarion call could not have come at a better time and from someone who rightly set the agenda for the 2016 meetings in Anambra with the Mothers’ Summit convened at Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre late July which heralded the annual Mecca of sorts for women with a plea to go to the community meetings bearing goodwill and ideas that would help in development.
Osodieme also assured Ndi Nne Anambra of Governor Willie Obiano’s commitment to their welfare and belief in the ability of women to achieve results which she noted is reflected in the appointment of many of them to positions of responsibility in the government.
Incidentally governor Obiano while declaring open the parley with women leaders told Anambra women that his administration has developed and is implementing a robust plan for the promotion of their welfare as key stakeholders in the state's development. Akpokuedike assured the women that despite the economic hardship in the country, his administration will not renege in its commitment to securing a new lease of life for women in the state as part and parcel of his developmental agenda.
Obiano also enunciated some of the investments targeted at improving the status of the womenfolk including the upgrade of health centres across the state to meet the challenges of maternal and child healthcare delivery, the N2bn Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Micro Credit Loan Scheme from Central Bank of Nigeria which is managed by the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) of which 60% is reserved for women cooperatives amongst other incentives to mention but a few.
At the peak of this year’s August Meetings, the Igbo heartland literally become a beehive of activities with ‎gatherings and engagements by women groups. The noticeable high turnout of women from home and abroad in most communities of Anambra State was attributed to the existence of security of lives and properties which encouraged many who hitherto were unable to visit in the past to attend the Mass Return calendar meetings.


 There is no doubt that the large turn-out of women enriched the deliberation on the welfare of families and progress of the respective communities. Many actually bore testimonials to the Obiano administration’s giant strides especially in the area of peace and security prevalent across the state which is widely acclaimed as major reason for the successful 2016 August meetings.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the August Meeting is a veritable platform for harnessing the talents and inputs of women in the towns and state development plans, while post-meeting engagements allow our mothers to turn out in their best, decked in colorful uniforms for thanksgiving and fundraising in village squares and churches. Intrinsic in the dedication of the women to the meetings and the successful outcomes is the indefatigable spirit of the Igbo woman whose quest for the well-being of the family transcends these austere times.
Also worthy of note is the visit of government officials and appointees of the governor of Anambra State who came to the respective communities during the period bearing information on government programmes for the citizens. The officials also brought goodwill to the women and took feedback to the governor whose insistence on the community visits demonstrated proven sensitivity to total well-being of the people.
As advocated by the wife of the governor, the meetings and engagements may have come and gone, but it is important that the gains are not lost on every Anambra Women nay Ndi Anambra. The way forward is to ensure that various agreement and projects initiated during the period is followed-up to the later. In these times of dire economic challenges, one of the routes to survival is the resort to the practice of collective enterprise and pursuit of common good.
This is perhaps the only way to measure the success achieved by the last August meeting. Ndi Nne! No one should be found wanting because our people cannot afford to be left behind.

Ozumba, a Public Affairs Commentator writes from Enugwu-Ukwu.

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