It was a moment of excitement and showering of prayers on the First Lady of Ondo State, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, by widows in Owerri West Local Government area of Imo State, today, as she presented them goody bags, under the Igolo Abiam Widows ‘Care initiative.
Owerri West, the maiden LGA of Her Excellency, rounded off this year’s edition of the initiative, as two other local government areas of Owerri North, and Owerri Municipal, had earlier benefited from the gesture.
It could be recalled that, the aforementioned three local government areas of Imo State, earlier this year, conferred on Her Excellency, the foremost female Chieftaincy title in Owerri, ‘Ada Owere 1’.
Addressing the beneficiaries, who were assembled at St. Michael’s Anglican church, Obinze, Owerri West, the Ondo First Lady, hinted that the gesture was borne out of her understanding of the plight of womanhood, saying that only a woman understands what another woman is passing through.
According to her, the treatment, in terms of marginalisation, meted out to widows is universal, as there are well-to-do family members who abandoned the widows around them.
She, therefore, noted that it’s high time the narrative was changed, and widows were treated as important group of people who should be given adequate care and attention.
Mrs. Akeredolu, who asserted that she designed the programme because she was acquainted with the happenings in communities, being a grassroot person, informed the beneficiaries about how the initiative caused Ondo widows to be digitally compliant by registering online, saying, “We succeeded overwhelmingly in Ondo State”.
She added that, the online registration carried out in Ondo State had provided the state government with widows’ database as about 25,000 had registered so far, noting that the data would help to plan for their well-being.
As usual, she encouraged them on female political participation and leadership, which she said was doable and possible for women to be at the decision table from the local government to the national level.
She, however, appreciated her husband, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, for his support and understanding, especially the freedom and permission to be closer to her people.
A beneficiary, Mrs Nwaneri Charity, from Obinze ancient kingdom, said “I’m very happy for the visit of Her Excellency, Ada Owere 1, I appreciate this deed very much and I pray that God will also take care of her and her family”.
“We thank our sister for the gifts she gave us, only God can reward her for this and may God bless her more and more in Jesus name”, Mrs. Joy Chiedo reacts.
Ugoeze Comfort Eyinnaya, affirmed that it was first of its kind in the history of Owerri for someone to remember widows as done by Her Excellency.
Encouraging well-meaning Nigerians to emulate the gesture, she said: ” I’m very happy about this, we’ve not seen this before, this is the first time I’m seeing this in Imo State”.
Ugoeze Joy Godwin, described the gesture as a wonderful one, and Her Excellency as a daughter they are proud of in Owerri and Imo state as a whole. “She’s showing us that a woman can do what a man can do, in good things, we love her”, she said.
By Mary Agidi
Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Media
(Office of the First Lady)
Dec., 29th, 2021.