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New face of August Meeting

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THE month of August belongs to Igbo women. The eighth month of the year hosts the August Meeting which is peculiar to Igbo women. August Meeting is the annual congress that features Igbo women making a massive homecoming to their matrimonial hometowns from the cities and the Diaspora to thrash out issues of common interest as per the development of their communities. 

  August Meeting originally started out from church meetings organised and attended by women of Igbo extraction to support the church. It has over the years grown in leaps and bounds to include issues such as human development, conflict management, and sundry cultural and socio-economic matters.

  Essentially, August Meeting lasts for three days; firstly, meetings in the village; secondly, meetings at the communal-cum-town level; and finally, gatherings in the churches where thanksgiving is offered to mark the end and celebrate the success of the meeting.

  It is indeed a phenomenon worthy of celebration that every year, Igbo women from different towns and cities across the world collectively return to their matrimonial hometowns where they interact with their home-based colleagues. The hallmark of democracy is bringing people together and Igbo women justly deserve commendation for raising the values of popular representation through the vehicle of the August Meeting.

  Before the very eyes of the world, August Meeting has grown beyond supporting the churches into a veritable means of trans-communal development. These gatherings of women can no longer be neglected by power wielders and leaders at the state and even the national levels. It is a time marked on our annual calender by governments and decision makers to communicate important policies targeted at the womenfolks and family units. Politicians have also come to cash in on this gender specific yearly occasion to sell themselves to these women whose influences on their family units and principled positions on issues cannot be under estimated.

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  Undoubtedly, the women congresses have morphed into hands-on instruments for self-help, rural uplift, community development, conflict resolution, community peace-making and human capital development in diverse ways.

  August Meeting is to all intents and purposes a unique demonstration of the resourcefulness of Igbo womenfolk not just contributing to Christianity but equally adding crucial positive values to family life and communal fusion. The shared knowledge of women from different fields of endeavour and varied spheres of locale does a world of good to the local aspirations across the vast canvas of Igbo land.

  It is noteworthy that some of the women observe the August Meeting as an annual vacation from the drudgery of domestic routines, and thus turn it into a cherished opportunity to frolic and refresh with their friends. Making new friends and conquering fresh frontiers add to the attractions of the August Meeting. It is an event that most women cannot have enough of.

  Given that Igbo society is patriarchal in nature, the influence of women over their spouses can better shape the society if they exact the right kind of positive pressure on their husbands.

  Our women are indeed increasing their roles as joint stakeholders in the improvement of the affairs of the community instead of perennially playing the regressive roles as just housewives. They have progressed from being Oliaku (eater of wealth) to Okpataku (bringer of wealth) and Odoziaku (builder of wealth) respectively.

The initial parade of expensive clothing and jewelery at the August Meeting has given way to the use of a common uniform for all attendees. Instead of falling in love with the accident of ostentation, the women have embraced the essence of modesty. This ensures that the women are ever keeping their eyes on the goal of development instead of the distraction of worldliness.

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  Since these influential women served the inimitable purpose of having carried the present youth population in their wombs for nine months, they are definitely in a prime position to address the societal ills affecting the land such as the scourge of “Mkpulumili” and other ill-assorted drugs destroying the youths.

The issue of dangerous drug abuse should deeply command the attention of the women at the August Meeting. Home training is a natural turf for the women, and a well-brought-up child can hardly ever go the way of taking mind-bending drugs that induce the so-called Unknown Gunmen to kill, kidnap and behead people. It goes without saying that these evil ones come from homes.

The women should compel each other to bear fundamental searchlight on their homes to extirpate the drug scourge from the source. The women would be offering the government a great social service by ensuring that the erstwhile unknown marauders are made known and shamed.

  Anambra State is on the cusp of disruptive change, as Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has championed. This years August Meeting keys into the solution essence of the government by being not just an annual jaw-jaw but a key element in statewide development by positively impacting on progressive politics. The women can in due course produce that elusive ideal leader that Nigeria has been yearning for.

  Wishing all the women a fruitful August meeting.

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