I am indeed very delighted to join my dear wife, Martha, and all of you, the beautiful women of Akwa Ibom State, in the celebration of this year’s edition of the International Women’s Day. I still have fond memories of last year’s edition of this event, and I must confess that this year’s event has been even more memorable.
History records that the commemoration of International Women’s Day began as a struggle. A struggle for the rights of women, a strugglefor gender parity, and a struggle for better living and working conditions for women. This struggle may have been headlined by demonstrations in far flung parts of the world but our women also played an integral part in this history. The Ikot Abasi Women riots of 1929 and the trail blazing exploits of Margaret Ekpo in the political arena are some examples of the noble role played by our women in this regard. On this occasion, I pay tribute to the memories of these amazons who stood up to be counted when it mattered most.
Women play a very critical role in the development of any society. They are our mothers and wives, our nurturers and care givers. Little wonder Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “men are what their mothers made them”. Sadly, and despite this very important role they play in our lives, many women are still being subjected to abuse and discrimination in very many parts of the world. This is indeed sad and reprehensible.
It is therefore on this premise that the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day - Be Bold For Change – is very appropriate. It is a call for action on the part of all of us, as offspring of women, as husbands, as citizens and as a government, to help forge a better and more gender-sensitive world. We should be bold enough to drive the process of changing the fortunes of our womenfolk in our spheres of influence. This should be evident in the way we treat our women and issues concerning them.
As a government, we will continue to do our best to ensure that our women occupy a pride of place in our administration. We will continue in our empowerment and other programmes designed to raise the standard of living of our women as we appreciate the multiplier effect that this will have on our society. We will give opportunities to qualified women to reach as high as they can in their professional and career pursuits. I am mindful of the fact that the fastest way to change our society is the sustainable empowerment of our women and I am committed to doing just that.
My dear women of Akwa Ibom State, I charge you to continue to be the beacons of hope for our society. As the hand that rocks the cradle, you have the most influence over the way that our children grow into adults. If we must build a better and more secure future for our children, then you must not fail in your role as mothers and caregivers. I urge you to be good role models for our children, especially our female children and continue to make pivotal contributions to the growth and development of our state and nation.
Let me congratulate you all on this auspicious day of the celebration of womanhood. I congratulate all those who participated in the various activities organized to mark this year’s International Women’s Day. I commend my dear wife and all those who are working with her to give positive direction to the women of our state. I assure you of my unwavering support at all times. You have proven to be willing partners of my administration and I will work tirelessly to ensure that the lives of the women of Akwa Ibom State will never be the same again. It is often said in street parlance that to be a man is not a day job; permit me to add that to be a woman is the greatest and most fulfilling job of all.
Thank You very much and God bless the women of Akwa Ibom State.
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