WIFE ABIA GOV. MRS. NKECHI IKPEAZU (C) At 2022 AWADEC CONFERENCE.
The Office of the Wife of Abia Governor in collaboration with the state ministry of women affairs and social development has rallied Abia women for this year Abia Women August Delegate Conference(AWADEC) themed “Women in Abia : engineering development, creating legacies”.
As the women converge at the International Conference Centre Umuahia, the capital city of Abia today.
Parts of the deliberation centers on the issues affecting them and the place of women in governance, the progress made so far and what the future holds.
Below is the text of address delivered by the wife of Abia Governor, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu Ph.D on the occasion of the 8th Edition of Abia Women August Delegates Conference 2022.
It is with happiness that I welcome you to the 2022 Abia Women August Delegates Conference.
Today’s event is the 8th edition of our annual meetings which started in 2015.
The 2022 AWADEC would be my last as First Lady.
The theme is “Women In Abia: Engineering Development, Creating Legacies”. The theme evokes thoughts of how women have deliberately created sustainable LEGACIES in the spaces they found themselves by using whatever grace God has given them and whatever skills at their disposal, be it professional, entrepreneurial, maternal, and spiritual to ENGINEER societal change and DEVELOPMENT.
Eight years after it started in 2015, I have sat in retrospective thought, wondering if my initial vision of AWADEC has been achieved. It is only a score that can be measured when my stewardship as First Lady is over in a few months from now or perhaps years after.
The vision of AWADEC has driven me to score on so many other fronts, which I hope can be sustained.
One of the principal successes I have on record is that I was on the driving seat when a Gender Policy for Abia State was developed: to define the policy thrust of not just current and successive government as it relates to gender, but to interweave with private sectors’ course of action as it relates to gender balancing in various aspects such as development planning, resource distribution, education, health, social welfare, political appointments, in the workforce and the workplace, in the provision of social amenities, in accessing the justice system and the rule of law, in virtually almost all expressions of strategic social development.
My unparalleled interest in Gender-based violence has led to the passage of the Violence Against Person Prohibition Law, the setting up of GBV Incidence Reporting Centres in 17 LGAs, establishment of GBV Resource Centre in Umuahia, the establishment of a GBV Action Committee, and the ongoing Sexual Assault Referral Centre and many capacity-building interventions to improve the GBV prevention and response ecosystem in the state.
I am proud that during my stewardship, the National Council For Women Societies have a new ultra-modern secretariat initiated and co-funded by me with the support of these great men you see on the high-table. We have a sprawling half-way home and skill acquisition centre for displaced women completed in Umuahia as we are on course to revive other shelters for vulnerable women in Umuahia and Aba.
At the last count, I have built and donated 172 houses for indigent families, especially widows, in Abia State, I have put a total of 600 people through a 3 months skills development and entrepreneurial course (facilitated by NDE) and provided them with starter packs, startup funds and equipment.
Through my Vicar Hope Foundation, I set up a breast cancer prevention and detection programme that includes sensitization, examination, and diagnosis. I have played an indelible role in sustaining maternal and child health care and nutrition.
I have set up clusters of traders in 13 rural communities, providing business growth funds, did direct cash injections into the businesses of hundreds of small-time rural-based women traders and built market stalls so that the women traders can do business in comfort.
In the last 5 years, AWADEC has enriched lives directly by empowering women through the AWADEC Loan Scheme and the AWADEC Cooperatives.
We have instituted a revolving, zero-interest loan scheme which is adjudged successful. Hundreds of women from the 17LGAs of Abia have had fifty thousand naira (N50,000) and one hundred thousand naira (N100,000) injected into their businesses. For very small businesses, it is a huge lifeline. The scheme is sustainable so it will continue to yield results even after we have left office.
Today, I have invited several important personalities to support the women of Abia State. We are cutting a cake today, the Women Legacy Cake.
We want to raise some funds which will be deployed to women empowerment.
I have been most grateful to my husband, Okezie Ikpeazu for his support. Not much could have been achieved without it.
Over the years, I have come to associate with several persons whose contributions and support have been invaluable in making AWADEC and my forays in women empowerment a success story. I cannot mention names for space, but I assure all of you that I have you in my heart and I am grateful for the various roles you have played.
Most importantly, I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to make this difference.
To the women of Abia, I am thankful for the support that you have given me. I will not have achieved the much that I did without your help. I urge you to continue to support us as this administration winds to a close and to also support us in establishing a competent successor whom you will also support the way you have supported me.
Finally, I pray that this year’s AWADEC will live up to the expectations of all the delegates.
God Bless the women of Abia State.