The Chairman of Afikpo North local government area of Ebonyi state, Barr. Obiageri Oko-Enyim, has showered encomiums on the state governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, for giving opportunities to women in different leadership positions “unlike previous governments”.
In an exclusive interview with Blueprint in Abuja Wednesday, Oko-Enyim, who was elected the first female council chairman in August last year, said that, apart from her humble self, “Umahi has also given women the opportunity to serve in other political positions in the state, thereby not just fulfilling the 35% Affirmative Action enunciated at the Beijing Conference, but also surpassing it”.
She said: “Women inclusiveness in political activities in Nigeria have suffered some setbacks in the time past. It seemed so ideologically phenomenal that the feminine gender had absolutely nothing doing with and involving fully in active politics. This primordial and erroneous school of thought has, in decades past, relegated women from active politics.
“However, Governor Umahi, with his political arithmetics and ideology has brought the words of philosophers into reality in Ebonyi State as women are fully and actively involved in his Divine Mandate administration since inception in 2015.
“Suffice it to say that the administration of Governor Umahi has salvaged and totally eradicated the none involvement of women in politics. Today and to the glory of God, we can comfortably boast that in sensitive political positions in Ebonyi state, we have quintessential women from different parts of the state blazing the trail in leadership positions.
“For instance, since the creation of Afikpo North LGA in 1976 till September 2020, no woman has ever served as the Executive Chairman of the Council. However, history was made on 1st September 2020, as the first woman to be elected Chairman of Afikpo North Local Government Area since the inception of the Local Government Area, my humble self, was sworn in by His Excellency, the trail blazing Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Apostle Dr. David Nweze Umahi.
“It is not only in Afikpo North LGA that a woman is occupying the number one seat as Hon. (Mrs) Chinyere Nwaogbaga of Ebonyi LGA, Dr (Mrs) Nora Aloh of Ezza North, and Princess Nkechinyere Iyioku of Ohaozara LGA are Amazons, who have proven that women, if given the opportunity in public offices, can perform creditably well, even more than male counterparts.
“Governor Umahi has also given women the opportunity to serve in other political positions in the state, thereby not just fulfilling the 35% Affirmative Action enunciated at the Beijing Conference, but also surpassing it.
“Not only that, Governor Umahi has greatly accommodated Ebonyi women in his empowerment programmes. While so many women have been provided with grants to start off business of their choice, Gov. Umahi has also taken uncommon steps to empower widows and youths of the state to attain reasonable level of economic prosperity.”
She added: “Testimonies abound that the assumption of office by Governor Umahi as the Governor of our dear state, has changed every negative stereotype and tag on the image of Ebonyi and Ebonyians by the outsiders. Today, we raise our shoulders high as one of the fastest developing states in Nigeria. We can’t overemphasize Gov. Umahi’s zeal of incorporating women in politics. He has appointed female Commissioners, Special Assistants, Development Centre Coordinators.
“Also, creating the enabling environment for a woman to emerge as the Chairman of Coordinators Forum of the state and another elegant woman as the ALGON Chairman has truly defined His Excellency as a gender sensitive leader. This, among others, has given sense of belonging to the women of Ebonyi through Gov. Umahi’s deliberate policy of incorporating them in the political system.
“Truly, Governor Umahi is just making the impossible to be possible. He has brought light to many politicians, whose candlelight was almost cut off. To the admiration of all and sundry, Gov. Umahi has uplifted so many people to political limelight, who were once relegated to political oblivion. He has unarguably given them a headway, thereby demonstrating his passionate desire of actualizing his visions as a leader.
“Through this medium and on behalf of Ebonyi women, who have in different capacities served and those currently serving, I pray that the Almighty God, who has sent their Excellencies to pull out Ebonyi women from the doldrum of mediocrity and poverty and placed them on the high pedestal of economic and socio- political status, should continue to bless them and always be their shield and buckler all the days of lives.
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Since His Excellency gave Ebonyi State a facelift in the area of infrastructural development and otherwise, we honestly lack adjectives to completely qualify his kind of person. We know that our God can’t disappoint him and we believe that he will definitely make Nigerians proud at the national politics if he will make himself available to lead Nigeria as her Number 1 Citizen come 2023.”