Our commitment to transform Nigeria through girl-child education stronger than our fears, says Ondo First Lady

..as Gov Akeredolu proposes BeMore permanent BootCamp

Wife of the Governor of Ondo State and Founder, BeMore Empowered Initiative, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has said her commitment to girl-child education is obviously stronger than her fears.

She made this statement at the Closing Ceremony of BeMore Ondo 2021 Summer Boot Camp, a two-week intensive training in Information Communication Technology (ICT), Solar Technology and other life-enhancing skills, held at the Main Auditorium, Federal University of Technology, FUTA, Akure, Ondo State Capital.

“Our commitment to transform the nation through girl-child education was obviously stronger than our fears, and because of our doggedness and the support of well-meaning Nigerians, today we are glad to induct these beautiful and strong-willed young girls into the BEMORE Girls Army.

“I am definitely the happiest person on earth today, because although I am committed to reshaping the future of young girls through the BEMORE Summer Boot Camp, I had serious doubt as to the possibility of holding this year’s summer boot camp due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant effect on funds.”

Chief Anyanwu-Akeredolu who said she is building army of female technology leaders who would serve Nigeria and solve her problems, said, our greatest error as a nation has been and continues to be denial of the girl child equal access to quality education.

Her words, “As I once said, our greatest error as a nation has been and continues to be; denying the girl child equal access to quality education by upholding cultural norms and traditions that discriminate against them. It is not too late to turn the tides and right the wrong. Join me to empower the girl children for a prosperous Nation.

“I am building an army of female technology leaders to serve Nigeria and solve Nigerian problems. They will not become professionals for export, good only for sending back dollars to parents and relatives “tufiakwa”. We have instilled a sense of patriotism. They will become “a breed without greed” in words and deeds. They will use their talents, knowledge and skills to serve Nigeria not the Western world.”

The First Lady also added that a country that allows violence against women and legal indulgence of it is virtually certain to experience violent instability, saying,

“We are wondering why insecurity is becoming more popular in Nigeria by the day; it’s simple! A country that allows proliferation of sexist family laws, unequal property rights, early marriage for girls, patrilocal marriage, polygamy, son preference, violence against women and legal indulgence of it; such country is almost certain to experience violent instability. If indeed we are concerned about the prosperity and security of this country called Nigeria, we must begin to invest in our girls.

“My girls, two weeks have come and gone but many more weeks lie ahead of you. Take all you have learned to heart and work so hard to make Grandma proud. I believe in you so believe in yourself. Never let anyone tell you “you can’t”. I can assure you that you now have the required skill to conquer the world. Go to your communities and mentor more girls. They are your comrades and together you all shall rise. Rise for a better Nigeria; rise for a better Africa.”

Speaking during the programme, the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, described the First Lady as one who cannot be distracted from whatever she is committed to.

The Governor said, “When you started the Boot Camp in 2017, I knew you were embarking on another journey from which nobody can pull you back. That is the stuff you’re made of. The Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) started in 1997 and nobody could pull you back. Today it is in about seven states across Nigeria.

“If anyone else does not know, I know that you’re a strong believer in feminism. You have fought for good causes all your life; most importantly anything that has to do with women and girl child is your priority. BeMore girls, you are very lucky to have someone like her as the initiator and founder of the BeMore Empowered Initiative, and a model for all of you.”

“I have followed your activities in the last two weeks and I know that what you were here for is something that you can never forget in your life-time. You now go back home a changed girl. When you get back to your various communities and local government areas, wear your badge of BeMore with pride. Say it anywhere you go that ‘I’m a BeMore Girl.’ because people have come to know that to be a BeMore girl is to display knowledge, to display integrity, and above all, a BeMore girl is the future of the state and the country.

Governor Akeredolu, however proposed the building of a permanent BeMore Camp for the scheme, saying “This is another challenge that we will not leave for you alone. This is a challenge that all of us must give more support and ensure that we have a permanent BEMORE camp in Ondo State. It will be a citizen’s program.”

Highlights of the event include exhibition of skills in Solar Technology, ICT, dance, Arts, Taekwondo, health talk on cervical cancer, Valedictorian Speech, presentation of Laptops and Certificates to BeMore 2021 participants among other activities.

Present at the event are the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu who was represented by Mr Yemi Gbadegesin, Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Bwari Branch, Abuja, Engr Halimat Adediran, Ondo State Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), Engr. Ade Adetimehin, former Commissioner for Women Affair and Social Development, Mrs Titi Adeyemi, Comrade Razaq Obe, Otunba Dele Ologun, Chief Olayato Aribo , Mr Jimi Odimayo, Hon Albert Akintoye, members of FOWOSO, the Iyalojas among other persons of note.

Credit: Debo Akinbami

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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