Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has called on the female gender to use their humane disposition and numerical strength to promote the unity of the country.
Governor Emmanuel made the call during a courtesy call on him by the Southern Governors’ Wives Forum (SGWF) at Government House, Uyo.
He said Nigeria and Africa by extension, have been left behind in the development matrix of the global community, and urged them to use their platform to speak with one voice and change the status quo.
Governor Emmanuel commended the wives of the Southern Governors for coming together to brainstorm on how to improve the living standard of the people particularly the girl child and the less privileged members of the society through their pet project.
He specifically commended the forum for living above biases, gender, ethnicity and political platforms to complement the developmental programmes of their husbands.
He reminded the Southern Governors’ Wives of the sacrifice of the matriarchs who protested against act of injustice in 1929, and urged them to rise up against issues that threaten the unity of the country.
Earlier, the hostess and wife of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, said the Southern Governors’ wives were in the state for the quarterly meeting of the forum to enable them brainstorm on ways to improve on the lives of the people in their various states.
She expressed appreciation to the wife of the President, Her Excellency, Hajia Aisha Buhari, for giving them the platform through the forum to meet and cross-fertilise ideas on how to improve on the living standard of the people particularly the women.
She also expressed appreciation to her husband, Governor Udom Emmanuel, for the encouragement given her to impact on lives of the people through her pet project, Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Path-initiative (FEYReP), and for the warmth reception accorded the women.
The Akwa Ibom First Lady acknowledged with pride that it has been a rewarding experience touching people’s lives, restoring hope to the hopeless, and adding value to humanity.
She said the forum approaches interventions as an investment on the people and the society and they have reaped social returns by way of reduced incidence of teenage pregnancy and reduction in youth-related crimes.
She expressed optimism that they will work as sisters beyond boundaries to foster unity and bridge the gap of underdevelopment in the country.
The Chair Person, Southern Governors’ Wives Forum and wife of the governor of Imo State, Mrs. Ugo Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha, while commending the effort of Akwa Ibom State Government in infrastructural development, explained that the forum which is a brainchild of the wife of the President, Her Excellency, Hajia Aisha Buhari, was formed to engender unity among wives of governors in southern Nigeria as well as complement the development effort of the various state governors within the region.
She commended the Mrs. Martha Emmanuel for using her pet programme, FEYReP, to launched advocacy for the improvement of the lot of the girl child and youth reorientation, and lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for his gender friendly disposition.
On the entourage were wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunsho Omosun; wife Abia State Governor, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu; wife of Cross River State Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Linda Ayade.
Others were Mrs. Racheal Umahi of Ebonyi State; first lady of Enugu State, Mrs. Monica Ugiwuanyi; Mrs. Bonlade Ambode of Lagos State, and wife of Delta State Governor, Dame Edith Okowa.