Amaokwe Item Women August Meeting And Commitment To Community Building
The women of Amaokwe Item Welfare Union (AIWU),have concluded their 2022 August Conference, with a resolve to remain resolute in the pursuit for a developed community.
August Meeting which is an annual gathering of women,is majorly celebrated among women of the South East region,every 8th month of the year.
It is a time of the year where women of the same clan come together to discuss issues relating to their welfare,as well as the development of their community.
While some cease the occasion to donate massively to community projects, others use it to honour their sons and daughters who have contributed meaningfully to the developmental drive of the area.
It was not a different scene in Amaokwe Item in Bende Local Government Area of Abia state, as the Women’s wing of the Amaokwe Item Welfare Union joined their counterpart in the celebration of this year’s August Conference.
These women have overtime been able to correct the impression of people who think,the yearly August meeting is simply a place for jamboree,where women come to display costly wrappers, blouses and other expensive ornaments.The aftermath of every year’s conference do not leave both the women and their communities the same, as the women always indulge in one form of community project or the other every year.
The Amaokwe women have embarked on series of projects, like the building of the Women Development Centre (WDC), awarding of scholarship to over 45 students, facilitating the relocation of their garri processing factory to a more hygiene site, opening of a charity shop,where indigent members of the community access free materials when they are in stock,among other people-oriented projects.
Our reporter who witnessed the event said, this year’s celebration was kickstarted with a powerful sermon from the Priest incharge of St John’s Catholic Church, Amaokwe Item,Rev Fr Osuji.
In his message, the Cleric urged the women not to relent in the virtues they are known for, but strive to make more meaningfully impact in their families and society at large.
According to the Priest,women are known for being industrious, therefore, those who do not have anything doing, should arise from this year’s August meeting to cultivate a hardworking lifestyle.
Rev Osuji, however,noted that women should ensure they protect their family’s image at all times and desist from exposing their family flaws to the public, which he said has given rise to the high rate of divorce in the society today.
Taking his Text from Ezekiel 18:1-10, he admonished the Women to cultivate the habit of praying for their children,so that they can fulfill their God giving destinies.
The Cleric later offered prayers to God on behalf of the women and wished them a successful conference.
The women later took the stage of the Jane Egbichi Oteh Mini Stadium,Atanko,Amaokwe Item, venue for this year’s conference, dancing to the popular Kizz Daniel ‘Buga’ song,to show happiness that they are alive to witness the celebration that was halted for two years due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The event was officially declared opened with the chairman’s opening remark.
The Chairman on the occasion, congratulated the women on the occasion of their August Conference, urging them to continue in their untiring drive for community development,as well as preserving the home front.
In her valedictory address the National President of AIWU ( Women’s Wing), Lady Sophia Ukachukwu, reminded the women of the reasons they gather every year, which among so many are to create awareness and discuss issues of welfare for women, honour some sons and daughters who have distinguished themselves in various areas of life, organise free health checks for women,as well consider and plan areas of development,so as to compliment the central executive of the Amaokwe Item Welfare Union.
Lady Ukachukwu expounded the success story of the outgoing executive of the AIWU women’s wing, to include the successful completion of the Women Development Centre (WDC), introduction of a scholarship project, a programme designed to assist in returning young girls who have dropped out of school and also assist indigent boys and girls to complete their secondary education.
According to her, the Scholarship project started with about 45 students,with 20 students who have successfully passed out, remaining 20. She added that from 2017 when the project started, till date, the women have committed a total of two million, three hundred and ninety seven thousand,nine hundred naira into the project, calling on good spirited Amaokwe sons and daughters to support the project,so as to see the remaining students through from school.
The Women’s president,also stated that the women have opened a charity shop, registered an Adult Literacy class, facilitated the relocation of a garri processing factory among others.
She expressed optimism that the future holds better as the Amaokwe women have the capacity to contribute meaningfully not only to the improvement of the women’s welfare but also contribute to the development of the homeland alongside the men folks.
While regretting the effect of the Covid 19 pandemic on the activities of the women, she called on the incoming executive of the AIWU women’s wing to ensure they revive the programmes that went dormant as a result of the pandemic,as well as consider renovating and upgrading the Doctors’/Nurses’ staff quarters, appreciating the AIWU men’s wing for their support so far made.
Lady Ukachukwu further hinted the new executive to ensure they improve on the patronage of the Women Development Centre or convert same to a better or profitable use,either as a Bank Space or a Cooperative Society Shop.
In his remark, the Guest of honour and member representing Bende North State Constituency at the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Chijioke Chukwu,eulogized the women for their numerous achievements so far made in Amaokwe, describing Amaokwe as a pathfinder in Bende development.
He assured the women and the entire Bende North that he would continue to speak for them and also attract positive development to Bende, congratulating the new executive of AIWU women’s wing, urging them not to relent in keeping the flag flying.
The event further witnessed the conferment of ‘Ezi Mie Okwo Aja’ award to about 14 women who have in one way or the other brought positive change to the area.
Among the Awardees who interacted with our reporter were Lady Mercy Amarachi Kesandu Uko,who is also the new National President of AIWU women’s wing.
In an interview,she expressed gratitude to God for the award and also for coming on board as the new President General.
Reeling out her new vision,she said part of her projects would be to bring a Bank to Amaokwe, place the elderly on a monthly stipend, extend the women scholarship scheme to tertiary level and promised to work with the Men’s wing of AIWU,to bring more positive change.
Lady Uko thanked her husband for his support, which she attributed to the numerous achievements she has recorded.
Another awardee, Mrs Nkechi Ikoro, said the award would spur her to give more effort to the growth of the Amaokwe community, advising women to remain good wives and mothers to their children.
Her husband, Barr Anyim Ikoro,congratulated the women on their successful August Conference and as well the Awardees for distinguishing themselves to such merit.He wished the incoming executive of the welfare union greater achievements.
For Lady Mercy Ejike Ogbonnaya, she promised never to relent in her support for the women, urging other women to keep working hard so they can be rewarded some day.
Prof Stephen Okpo also wished his wife, Mrs Ugonwa Okpo, who was conferred with the ‘Ezi Mie Okwo Aja’ award well.
According to him, the wife has distinguished herself in the service of her community, describing her as a good wife.He said even though the wife is not from Amaokwe Item,one would hardly detect,as she speaks the dialect fluently, relate peacefully with everyone she comes across.
He wished the AIWU women’s wing progress in whatever endeavour they make.
Highpoint of the event was the match past competition, presentation of trophies/prizes, display by the elderly, inauguration of a new executive of AIWU women’s wing among others