TEXT OF A PRESS BRIEFING BY THE WIFE OF THE GOVERNOR OF ABIA STATE AND CONVENER OF THE ABIA WOMEN AUGUST DELEGATES CONFERENCE (AWADEC), MRS. NKECHI IKPEAZU ON THE 2018 EDITION OF AWADEC.

August Meetings have always been platforms for women to discuss some communal matters, do fund raising programmes to carry out community projects. A cursory survey showed that top on the list of projects embarked upon by the women groups were mostly community or town halls. While this in itself was good as it brought some infrastructural and aesthetic development to the communities, it did not totally fill the ever-growing need to empower women groups and individuals socio-economically. It did not give back to the women full value for their efforts. I found this missing element critical, especially in the current economic downturn where every kobo should be made to count and add value to the spender.
In 2015 when I became First Lady, we confronted this stereotype in August Meetings and did a total re-engineering when we introduced the Abia Women’s August Delegates Conference-AWADEC. We conceived AWADEC with the intention of creating “a paradigm shift that would propel our women at the community level and the groups to seek self-realization, become empowered psychologically, socially and economically.”
We pursued perception changes. We sought to set agenda for women groups ahead of their annual August meetings in various communities. At 2015 year’s edition of AWADEC, I promised that we would place emphasis on encouraging women to pursue communal programs that would apart from addressing their communities’ needs, also capture the essence of true womanhood as well as shape their attitudes in our constantly-evolving and challenging global community.
It is my assessment that over the past few years, we did succeed because most women associations have shifted their focus to skill acquisition, and empowerment instead of building community halls. Women are now more focused on emerging issues that have direct bearing on their wellbeing. After we held AWADEC a few years back, a couple of women groups embarked on building collective businesses like bakeries, water treatment and bottling plant and they invited me to commission. I commended that effort as it will put more money in their pocket.
AWADEC this year will be held in one central place in Umuahia. The last two editions in 2016 and 2017 were held in three locations across the state, to cover senatorial zones and take the message closer to the people. The event this year will take place on the 30th of August and we will use it to evaluate what we have achieved so far in line with our set objectives. We will also hold empowerment for about 500 indigent women plus free eye care for delegates. We call on partners and friends to come and support us.
The theme for this edition is “Women Participation in decision making, the Bedrock to Sustainable Development” and the programme will feature a keynote address on the roles women can play in expanding the political horizon, and promoting qualitative and responsive leadership. This is particularly timely as we begin the campaign and electioneering season. The Abia woman needs to locate the correct perspective in definition of good governance and be empowered to make the right choices about her political future. The Abia woman also needs to claim her right of place in ensuring gender parity for elective positions. Women have over time demonstrated capacity to hold public office with credibility and above-par performance.
Therefore I call on Abia women, to come out to Michael Okpara Auditoruim on the 30th of August 2018 by 10.00 a.m. to be part of this landmark event.
God Bless Abia State.