Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 5 October 2014 | 3,986 times
Anambra State was agog yesterday as women and notable politicians from the South-East gathered for the women empowerment by the wife of the president, Dame Patience Jonathan.
The programme, held at the Ekwueme square in Awka, was put together by ‘4J’ group, a non-governmental organisation formed by an oil magnet and philanthropist, Prince Arthur Eze, in collaboration the office of the First Lady.
The five-hour programme which started at about 1pm witnessed a large turnout of people from all walks of life, ranging from politicians to the clergy, market women, youths as well as widows who were celebrated by the First Lady.
Political aspirants from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the 2015 state and national assembly elections had a field day as their supporters danced round the arena in support of their various candidates.
In his speech at the occasion, Prince Arthur Eze said the NGO was born out of inspiration and a desire to cater for thousands of widows in the South-East who have suffered so much neglect following the loss of their husbands.
According to him, the NGO has plans to empower 9,000 widows, build an industry for them, support over 1,000 women to engage in meaningful ventures and build 45 orphanages in various parts of the states in the zone.
Eze said: “Whenever I see widows, I remember what our people went through during the civil war. Because of their plight, I had to go to President Jonathan, who asked me to go to his wife. The wife of the President has not looked back since then and what we are seeing today is part of her belief that there is need to assist the less privileged in the society.
“Politicians are thieves who never live up to their political promises, so I decided to join forces with Mama to reach out to these people.”
Eze commended the First Lady for cuing into the programme by making mouth-watering donations to support South-East women, promising that the people of the zone would not forget the gesture in a hurry. He noted that the good gesture of the President and his wife would be clearly remembered in next year’s general elections.
In her speech, First Lady Patience Jonathan commended Prince Eze for his large-heartedness in giving to the poor and the needy, adding that the initiative would impact positively on the lives of women.
She pointed out that the greatest enemy of women were women themselves, saying that it is fellow women that force widows to drink water used in cleaning the bodies of their dead husbands on the suspicion that they killed their husbands.
Dame Jonathan expressed worry that most of those who perpetrate the act were Christians who do not understand the meaning of Christianity.
She said: “Mothers, women, no matter their level in the society, should preach peace because there would not be any meaningful development where peace was lacking.
“I love peace and that is why my name is Patience, Mama Peace. Women should carry that olive branch of peace and place it on their door step for a better society.
“As you collect your gifts today, I plead with you, don’t sell it, keep it and use it to train your children. Train your children in school because is the only key to success.”
Items donated to the women include sewing machines, grinding machines, hair driers, bags of rice, cash, etc.
•Photo shows Dame Patience Jonathan.
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