An Address By Ondo First Lady, Betty at the Closing Ceremony of the 2019 BEMORE Summer Boot Camp
BY THEIR FOOTPRINTS YOU SHALL KNOW THEM
An Address by Her Excellency, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu at the Closing Ceremony
of the 2019 BEMORE Summer Boot Camp on the 24th of August, 2019.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have for too long endured an imbalanced society, an unprosperous community, and an environment inimical to our person as women. Our norms and traditions were carefully constructed to keep our mouth sealed, keep our hands chained and leave our wings clipped. But we know who we are; we are the 21st century women, the untamable, unbeatable and indomitable. And, now, I see a new breed. From the ashes, they have risen; from the tunnel, they have emerged: beacons of light in our dark clouds, the twinkle little stars that will align our voyage.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold our Future, a very bright future. Behold the BEMORE girls, see the future without boundaries; a sustainable future where girls and boys are doing amazing things, innovating equally, deciding equally… oh yes, a future of mutual respect.
For two rigorous weeks, we fed these girls so well to cause an unending hunger.
Take a look at each one of them here, there is that unending hunger to become somebody, experience another
world other than what they knew and grew up in. They are angered by what our nation has become and are determined to place their hands on the wheels of change and steer it without fear or fright.
My heart sank when I realized how terribly our nation had failed. I attempted to tread cautiously with any transformative agenda I have for this country because there are enemies within who profit from this failed nation. Nevertheless, I am determined to focus on the young girls who are malleable and not yet polluted with tribalism and rabid religiosity notorious with Nigerians.
I determined to equip them with the tools to succeed and protect them from harm: all manners of physical abuse; rape, in particular. I am certain that this will lead them to become leaders not only
in technology but in all endeavors, especially politics where their voices are desperately needed to sit at the table of decision making.
I make bold to say today unequivocally that men have failed us; they have failed the nation. We can’t continue this way. Something has to give. We are at the crossroads in this country where
nobody cares. BEMORE is structured to chart a new course, a grooming ground for a NEW BREED WITHOUT GREED. It is a university of life. The alumni are well aware of their position in the society. They were taught to be selfless, good-mannered, advocates of causes of their choice
especially those related to the upliftment of women, and most importantly, they were trained to be proficient in their chosen professions. Every BEMORE girl is an ambassador, and from their footprints we shall know.
My BEMORE girls, let me quickly warn you, all that you have learnt here will be tested. You will go back to your various communities to initiate positive change but you will be confronted by the high and mighty, the most respected in your community.
They will tell you to keep shut, they will say to you that you are a woman and are limited in every way. They will say you are limited in strength, in words and in action. But I make bold to say to you today; you are limitless. You are the you they never saw coming, the you they never knew; you are the greater version of yourself and you will rise above all confrontations, all intimidations to create the change this country greatly needs. My beautiful queens, never stand down when they try to keep you out, never keep shut when they try to intimidate you. You must speak. And if you are not heard, I charge you to speak yet again.
Never go silent even when you feel your voice isn’t heard, for I assure you, in due time your voice will echo through our ears and steer up our hearts to take action. Your voice is your powerful weapon: your footprint. You must guard it and ensure it is never taken from you.
Ladies and gentlemen, although we live in a society where it seems like no one cares about the girl child, I am delighted to know that some persons have truly distinguished themselves as a campaigner of a prosperous and equitable society. I will use this opportunity to thank everyone,
both individuals and organizations, who have in one way or the other contributed to the successful implementation of the 2019 BEMORE Summer Boot Camp. Without you, we can’t dream of an
equally enabling community for both genders. We are indeed grateful.