IN THE 179 communities of Anambra State, Anambra State women activities are painting everywhere red. This is the period of their yearly August Meetings. But beyond the fanfare and fireworks that go with this season lies the gap of motivating women to contribute their quota in socio-economic development of the state.
This is where the tour of communities by the Wife of Governor of Anambra State and Founder of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano comes to issue – in timing and concept.
OBVIOUSLY, Osodieme’s tour, is conceived to plug a void hitherto yawning unattended by several earlier administrations that treated social mobilisation of Anambra women as infra dig. Though Mrs Obiano’s predecessors had one platform or another for womenfolk, by ferrying them to Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, anytime the need arose, particularly during electioneering campaigns.
But none really sat down to activate templates by which government consistently engages Anambra women right at their communities every year. The difference now is that Osodieme has dusted up an approach programed to engage women.
Hence the opportunity for women to be effectively mobilised to play their roles in social, political and economic development of Anambra Sate right from their communities, by talking and interacting actively with them, instead of talking to them which was initially lost in times past.
That is why even if everything else is lost, the timing of Osodieme’s tour of Anambra communities for the fifth consecutive year is inescapable. For there is no better time to involve (not just talking to) Igbo women and urge them to evolve into a generation of wives, mothers and family moulders of global standard than at this auspicious period when almost all of them are around in their communities, both those living at home and Diaspora.
WHILE wives of other state governors in Nigeria may be having good times abroad on their annual vacation, Osodieme has evolved a seamless system by which she remains in regular touch with Anambra women, feels their pulse and relays first-hand feedback to appropriate authorities in the official communication channel of her husband’s administration for prompt action, where it falls outside CAFÉ’s scope. This shows the depth of Mrs. Obiano’s sagacity and astuteness, as well as her motherly care to every segment of ndi Anambra, particularly the vulnerable.
The governor’s wife has tailored her itinerary to suit the mode of advocacy and empowerment needs of women, youths, widows, the physically challenged and the less privileged, as well as bringing government programs such as Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme (ASHIS) to the doorsteps of these groups in their own language.
TAKING the format of town hall meeting and roundtable talk shop in most cases, Osodieme has continued to galvanise women and mothers to rally round their husbands through hard work and partnering in wealth creation for stable families.
She has also used the tour to network inter-group solidarity among Anambra women. What sets apart the Osodieme tour is it’s going beyond religious divides, to create one united and cohesive interactive platform in the communities, as well as bringing grassroots women under CAFÉ umbrella for free training in many fields of micro enterprise, after which trainees get financial incentives for their start-ups. Over 5000 women and the physically challenged have benefitted from the scheme already.
IN THESE fora, Osodieme has also continued to inculcate Anambra women with home management tips which are sure bets to making their husbands always think home once the day’s work is over every day. There, women are equally educated on rudiments of devoting to charity – taking their men on board to reach out to indigent ones in their communities, no matter how little or big.
ALL these will no doubt have far reaching effect on the state’s economy.
ANOTHER totem that stands Osodieme’s annual communities tour firmly on leadership parameters is its conception around calibrating Anambra women, irrespective of religious and political dichotomies, on communal and social value chain. Women that excelled in different fields are also on hand on Osodieme’s delegation to take on some technical aspects of the talk shops and tell fellow women in argots.
WHILE commending Osodieme for coming up with necessary spade works that gave birth to her annual communities’ tour, recharging it with muliebrity and verve every year to deliver on its promises, we recommend this rare inter-personal engagement of womenfolk to wives of other state governors in Nigeria – beginning from South-East zone.
WE ALSO call on Anambra women to take up the gauntlet and de-emphasise narrow primordial interests by putting in practice the lessons they learnt from Mrs. Obiano. In doing this, August Meetings that blurs the boundary between faith based groups, should hold in all communities to foster broader women congress in their localities.
WHILE some communities have already started taking cue, others cannot afford to be left behind.
WE BELIEVE that not only will this redound to greater oneness and co-operation in the communities, devoid of dichotomies and mundane rivalries, it will also propel women, children and homes generally to contributing more to community development and having greater say in their affairs – especially on issues that have direct bearing on womanhood, children and homes generally.