By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
The quest for gender equality has driven Rivers women to take a decisive step towards stamping their authority in political leadership in the state in the coming dispensations.
To achieve this, they have come together to form a common front using the Women In Governance Network platform, an initiative of the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD).
The platform was launched yesterday (Thursday, 15th August, 2019) at Edge Hotel, GRA 3, Port Harcourt.
Board chairperson of CEHRD, Constance Meju, in her opening speech, said Nigerian women now have a very insignificant voice in the politics of the nation unlike in the sixties when some Nigerian women made great impact in politics.
She said the group was formed after town hall meetings were held with women in the 23 local government areas in Rivers State.
Meju, who thanked The Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria for its support, said the appointment of only seven women out of forty-five ministers falls short of expectation.
She expressed gratitude to Governor Nyesom Wike for being gender-friendly given the appointment of women as vice chairmen of all the local government areas in Rivers State, adding that the time has come for women to be more involved in governance.
In her brief keynote speech, Deborah Effiong, Director of Alive, a non-governmental organization, said the notion that women should not be in leadership position is an error from the point of view of scripture.
Deborah Effiong, who said she is a pastor, argued that if God had not wanted women to be involved in leadership, he would not have appointed, anointed and supported Deborah to lead the people of Israel successfully.
Effiong, who said she is a leader in her own right, urged Christian women to start participating actively in politics and other leadership ventures.
In her goodwill message, Christy Iwezor explained that women are the cause of most of their problems and should therefore stop blaming the men for their woes.
She said in the rural areas, it is usually the mothers that perform female circumcision and force their female children into early marriages or house help labour because of material wealth while sometimes preferring to train their male children rather than their female counterparts.
Ngozi Ndukwe, FIDA president in Rivers State, urged the women to eschew inferiority complex and stand up to their rights of freedom of expression, adding that women in leadership positions have always proved that they are as good as their male counterparts if not better.
Many vice chairmen of local governments in the state were in attendance while women from the three senatorial districts entertained the guests with dance performances.