Gridlock Amid Celebration of Women in Abuja,By Stellamaries Amuwa



patience_jonathan_rallyIt is undeniable the fact that socio-economic activities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were grounded as the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, led some women groups, under the auspices of the Nigerian Council of Women Societies (NCWS), to march for peace in Abuja.
Though what was supposed to be a peace rally, turned into a political campaign as the women drummed up support for the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. The rally, which was tagged: “Celebration of Nigerian women for peace and empowerment,” created serious gridlock as security agents blocked and diverted motorists away from some of the major routes in Abuja.
All roads from Berger Junction, Central Business Area and the Federal Secretariat complex were blocked for the special rally, which started around 7am at the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Garki, as participants marched through designated routes to the Eagle Square, venue of the gathering.
As a woman and a witness to the colourful event, this is my perspective. Various groups, individuals and officials were not left out as they came out to witness and celebrate women. While Mrs. Nkechi Mba, National President of NCWS said the mega rally was to celebrate the unprecedented empowerment of Nigerian women, the National coordinator Nigerian Women Voices for Good Governance, Amb. Princess Grace, said women have never been given opportunity to serve at various levels of government in the past as the President has done now.
Speaking at the event, the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan expressed her heartfelt joy over the huge turnout of women of all class. She said women are endowed with special gifts to be peace makers and bridge builders, they are therefore key to sustainable peace in our society. She further remarked that the President Goodluck Jonathan has fulfilled his promise on given the Nigerian women the opportunity to serve in his government.
Realising that Womenfolk are integral part of nation building, the first lady has been unrelenting in her struggle to awaken and empower the woman folk as epitomized in various activities and campaigns especially in ensuring that women are accorded recognition constitutionally. Keying into her husband’s commitment to women empowerment, Dame Jonathan has been working assiduously through her pet project, Women for Change Initiative (W4CI), to better the lives of Nigerian women and children.
The Nigerian entertainment industry were not left out, as the Stallion and elegant musician, Onyeka Onwuenu was readily available to sing praises of the Nigerian women, she said people that criticize Nigeria, do that from afar not knowing what is really happening within the country, she added that majority of Nigerians appreciate Nigeria but the minority with negativity are just too loud. A popular comedian, Lepacious Bose condemned those that have negative issues towards this nation, she said they themselves need change.
While many women at the carnival and the dinner that followed showered encomiums on the administration of President Jonathan, men too were not left out. The chairman KWANKWASIYA WAZOBIA from Kano, said Nigerian Women are heading for greatness with the enabling environment to demonstrate their talents and acumen in various field of endeavours.
Various states were on parade as they displayed their culture and styles.
The entertainment industry also helped out again as they livened up the audience, who were already tensed up with security checks and scrutiny before getting into the venue of the event, most people had their clothes wet with down pour of rain, vehicles parked at long distance while people walked in.
Rather than looking for fault where there is none, Nigerians should appreciate the women, and encourage her, our land is blessed and beautiful, this was the Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe speaking at the event.
Everyone seems to be speaking positively about the nation Nigeria, and the improved image of Nigerian woman in the scheme of things in the country and beyond.
The carnival further showed the world the level of our endowment as a nation with nature, good music, colourful fashion and rich culture for tourist attraction. How I wish if the western media criticized Nigeria, our local press would project us to positively prove them wrong.
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