Wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty- Anyanwu Akeredolu has urged the older generation of women to jointly get involved in the cause of empowering the girl child.
Mrs. Akeredolu who noted that the older generation of women might seem to have been inactive towards national development due to the ideology that female children were not expected to speak in public, however expressed optimism that the narrative could be changed.
She stated this while delivering her keynote address titled, ‘Building the next generation of Female Leaders: The Girl Child Education’ at the Winifred Hubbard lecture to mark the Egbu Girls Old Girls Association, EGOGA’s maiden global reunion held at Egbu Owerri, Imo State.
According to her, if older women took the responsibility of getting the next generation of women ready for a life full of innovation and impact, the nation would experience rapid development like other developed countries that invested in girl children.
“It is sad that up to this very moment, we continue to hurt ourselves badly as a nation by not only investing in the girl-child. An investment in the girl-child is not only an investment that secures our nation’s future but one that also tranforms our present state”, she said.
Mrs. Akeredolu noted that her passion for promoting the cause of enhancing girl-child education was a way of building on the legacy of his late father who believed that women should fully participate in engineering the development of the society.
She applauded the move by EGOGA to start contributing to the infrastructural development of the school, and appealed to the management of the school to maintain and sustain the projects of the association.
She also avowed her readiness to continually foster the education of girl child in Nigeria, while highlighting some of her initiatives committed to the cause of women and girl child since 2009.
The Chairman of the occasion, former Minister of Aviation Minister, Dr. Mrs. Kema Chikwe commended Egbu secondary for the confidence it instilled in its products.
Mrs. Chikwe who expressed joy about the coming together of the old students to form EGOGA in order to identify with their alma-mater, stressed the need for Nigerians not to always wait for government, but to contribute to the society in their little capacity.
She lauded Mrs. Akeredolu for her various women empowerment initiatives, affirming that she hadn’t met her before the event, but had been hearing much about her humanitarian services.
Also speaking, the Vice-Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the last general election, Mr. Peter Obi corroborated Mrs. Akeredolu that everyone must be involved in the investment in girl child education.
He attributed the crisis bedeviling Nigeria to the absence of adequate investment in education, saying there’s no universal basic education in the country.
According to him, Nigeria invests only N4.4trillion in education for 10 years compare to South Africa that invested about 17bn dollars in education last year.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Principal of Egbu Girls Secondary School, Lady Onyekachi Basil-Nwachukwu had noted that the school was known for its high standard which made it to produce classical women that had come together to form EGOGA, the like of Mrs. Akeredolu, and others.
She stated that the school remained Nigerian Champion in International Brain Bee(IBB) (Neuroscience) quiz competition for three consecutive years of 2015 in Australia, 2016 in Denmark, and 2017 Washington DC.
The Principal, therefore, commended Mrs Akeredolu for giving back to the society that produced her.
attendance also at the event was Bishop Prof. Emmanuel Uchechukwu Iheagwam, pioneer founder and Bishop, Rt Rev Enyinanya Okoroafor, the current Bishop, Special Assistants to Ondo State Governor on Women Affairs, Chief Mrs. Margaret Atere, Special Advisers on Women Mobilizations as well as members of BRECAN, BEMORE, BAAF and FOWOSO.
Story credit: Mary Agidi