From Everest Ezihe , Owerri
It was a nostalgic sight with feelings of happiness, seeing hundreds of rural women including professional ladies and girls at assemblage in Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO led by Prof. Mrs Ednah C. Mathews-Njoku happily participating in the marking of the institution’s celebration of the 2023 United Nations (UN) International Women’s Day and being exposed to entrepreneurial innovative technologies.
Mathews-Njoku who’s the Director, FUTO’s Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies, IWoGDS was also host of the globally recognized event with theme : Digital Innovation and Technology For Gender (#EmbraceEquity) while Prof. Mrs.Nnennaya Oti, the Vice Chancellor of the University was the Chief Host.
The participants who first assembled at the entrance of the university Senate building amidst pomp and pagentry as they were received and addressed by the impressive Vice Chancellor with her lieutenants.
The excited participants carried placards with inscriptions; Little Girls With Dreams Become Women With Vision, Inclusive World: Her Voice Can Change The World, The Most Beautiful Thing A Woman Can Wear is Confidence, Women Are Already Strong among other inspiring and motivating inscriptions.
While introducing the participants and essence of the programme to the Vice Chancellor and her entourage, Mathews-Njoku described Oti as, “a woman of indomitable courage, an ambassador of transparency, integrity and due process, an incorruptible Nigerian, an epitome of discipline, a role model as well as the new face of Nigerian democracy, my Vice Chancellor in whom am well pleased” she gladly complimented.
She recalled how Oti as a woman of substance and recently as the INEC Returning Officer of Abia State Governorship election bluntly refused intimidation, harassment and inducement and ensured that the election was not rigged and proper things done.
The Director of IWoGDS, FUTO expressed gratitude for the support and encouragement the university management gives to her in uplifting the institute and her vision.
Mathews-Njoku re-emphasized that the mission of the celebration is to focus attention on, women abuses, violence, women rights,etc.
She recalled that UN began the celebration in 1975 and on March 8th, 1977 member states proclaimed it as official UN holiday for women rights and world peace.
The Lecturer further said that it’s a special day for recognizing and appreciating women who have achieved greatness in various endeavors as well as men who identify beyond gender binary in discussions/celebrations concerning women.
The Director also said that in conformity with this year’s theme, that they are celebrating with women of FUTO host communities and environ just to deeply involve them in the University’s activities aimed at exposing women to innovation and digital technology development that will help them in to becoming bigger and better entrepreneurs
Responding, the Vice Chancellor commended the organizers for their vision and mission and enjoined them not to relent.
She expressed gratitude to the beautifully dressed women cum ladies in different uniforms, and more especially, the girls just as she nostalgically recalled when she was like them and the phases of life she passed through to be a wife, a mother and today a Vice Chancellor and assured them that commitment, dedication and perseverance pays.
Oti told them point-blank that she’s just like any of them as a woman and without much differences, informing the girls that they are divinely privileged by going to school and should not abused the opportunities.
The University Amazon, while flagging off the programme, that quickly commenced with 3 Kilometers Walk For Life from the Senate Building to the institute’s massive Secretariat for the remaining programs of the event with the organizers and the participants, also canvassed the need for women to deligently play there domestic and communal roles as heroines and voice of the voiceless.
While re-addressing the participants, Mathews-Njoku observed that the rise of women is not about the fall of men, insisting that gender balance is also an economic issue, even as she expressed regrets over the existence of gender biases, despite all efforts to eradicate same.
The Director passionately advised on the need for everyone to play a role in jettisoning gender parity by inclucating worldwide aggressive mindsets and adopting inclusive behaviours.
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