By Mary Agidi
Wife of the Ondo state governor, Arabinrin Betty-Anyanwu Akeredolu has avowed her unalloyed commitment to continuey impact lives for a sustainable development, whether her gesture is appreciated or not.
This she said in response to the merit award conferred on her, by the Imo Newspaper Publishers Association, INPA, in Owerri, on Friday, in recognition of her various life-impacting programmes across Nigeria.
Mrs. Akeredolu, who noted that her desire to impact lives does not intend to seek attention, added that all her developmental initiatives are driven by passion and as a result of childhood experiences.
She decried the negative response to good initiatives demonstrated by some Nigerians, describing such act as a bane of development and the quest to achieve a sustainable nation.
The First Lady reiterated her doggedness to see the emancipation of African women, noting that the black race had denied women folk the opportunity to contribute significantly to development, like their counterparts in the developed nations.
“It is in my quest to fulfilling this mission that I initiated the BEMORE Empowered Foundation through my foundation, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation.
“The programme which runs as a two weeks Summer Boot Camp, is aimed at bridging the gender gap in STEM and empowering girls to become complete leaders who are able to pilot the affairs of our nation effectively.
“Not that my will to give to the society is steered by appreciation and kind words from recipients, in fact if it was, I will probably be inactive in community service and philanthropy by now, because quite a number of Nigerians are quick to believe there is an ulterior motive to every philanthropic act”, she said.
Mrs. Akeredolu disclosed that as part of her advocacy for women’s health and well-being, especially the alarming mortality rate from breast and cervical cancer, Ondo State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dana-Farber Cancer centre of Harvard University to establish a context-appropriate comprehensive cancer treatment center in the state.
Appreciating INPA for the recognition, the First Lady charged publishers and journalists in Nigeria to always strive for high level professionalism for the development of Nigeria.
She said: ” You shape our appearance and make us either attractive or unattractive at the international space. Not to say that you should pedal down on criminals and corruption stories, but you must equally pay much attention to good news”.
The governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, described the award as a revered one, and an honour for the state.
According to the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Donald Ojogo, who represented the governor at the event, Mrs. Akeredolu is a promoter of women empowerment and First of her kind wife of the governor to initiate multiple programmes without government’s fund.
He noted that she is complementing the developmental strides of the governor by developing human capacity through her various initiatives.
He appreciated the organiser and also charged journalists to be passionate in their reportage by promoting good governance.
Earlier, the INPA Chairman, Mr. Henry Ekpe noted that Mrs. Akeredolu was not selected for the award just for mere praise, but due to her philanthropic quality and passion for a changed society.
He added that, as a daughter of Imo state, her leadership qualities were since noticed during her days at Egbu Girls Secondary School Owerri North
Government officials from Ondo state at the event included Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Titi Adeyemi, her counterpart for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs. Lola Fagbemi, Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Princess Oladuni Odu, and FOWOSO members.
The award ceremony featured presentation of the achievements recorded by some BEMORE girls, and breast cancer awareness campaign