- Posted March 9, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Empowering images of women
International Womens’ Day Celebration, Imo State Perspective
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate this years’ occasion, the achievements of Late first Lady, Mrs. Mariam Babangi in her Better Life for Rural Women program, that of former first lady Mrs. Miriam Abacha in Family Support Program, and first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan’s current Women For Change Initiative cannot be overemphasized in uplifting the lives of women in Nigeria.
Also the efforts of the former wife of the former Vice President, Mrs. Titi Abubakar and other first ladies in all the States of the Federation have all gone a long way in bringing women’s abilities to the fore front of the Nigerian Polity.
In Imo State the efforts of the first lady, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha have superseded all the efforts of the first ladies in the State by the bold step she took in providing shelter for some indigent people in the State through her “SNAR” Project, coupled with “Nneoma Kitchen”, feeding Imolites who cannot feed themselves at various times.
In fact, Imo women have unanimously said that she is unequaled in the history of the State first ladies since inception of Democracy in 1999.
Although all these programs and efforts have always been geared towards the realization of the 35% participation in Politics and economic empowerment, statistics show that the engagement of women in Nigerian Governance is yet to attain the desired level in Nigeria.
Opinion of women in Imo State and environs today is that the time has come for full implementation of the Gender Equality Policy and 35% Affirmation Action For Women Participation in Public Offices in the Country, despite the obvious challenge in the Nigerian Socio- Political Culture.
Family responsibilities, Religious factors and Post Economic Empowerment are some of the factors militating against full participation of women in Politics. But recent developments in Imo State politics show that women supported by their husbands have won elective positions contended by strong men.
However, empowerment and recognition of women in the occupation and distribution of Political/Administrative positions in Public Offices, has to be realized, if the Federal Government is sincere in itself because it set up the National Gender Policy, signed and rectified the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in 1985.
Nonetheless, successive Governments in Nigeria have been engaged in the sustained campaign for greater participation of women empowerment in line with the Benjin Conference deceleration which advocates 35% affirmative action like other Countries of the world.
The low participation of women in the Nigerian Politics has been decried and governments at all levels are called upon to initiate more programs targeted at the development of women in the Society.
There is no doubt that woman as an integral part of nation building requires support from the male folk for a better Nigerian Society. Hence, the saying that when a man is trained, only one person is trained, but when a woman is trained the whole nation is trained have been buttressed by efforts of first ladies like Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha of Imo State and those working under her Administration.