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*Gov. Mbah calls for women inclusion in nation-building, as Igbo women hold annual conference in Enugu*

The governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, on Tuesday advocated the need for the inclusion of women in social development, peace and nation-building in the country. 

Mbah, who was represented by the Deputy Governor of the state, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, made this known during the Nkata Ndi Inyom Igbo annual conference held in Enugu.

He observed that women have been veritable tools for societal development, insisting that more partnerships with them on issues concerning the society could only engender success and progress.

The annual conference was organized by the Igbo women with the aim of partnering with the men and young people to ensure that the insecurity bedeviling the nation, and particularly the South East region is quelled. 

Speaking on the theme of the event, 'Women: Unifying Force in Peacebuilding', Mbah maintained that gone were the days when women were relegated at the backwaters of societal affairs, subjugated and maltreated by their male counterparts, saying if prosteriy would forgive the forefathers for engaging in such act out of ignorance, the present generation would not be forgiven should they resort in such act.

"When we talk of the capacity and ability of women to build our community, local government, and the country, anyone who pretends that it is not true is only paying lip service to the reality that we all have to face. Most of the developments in the communities are the product of the women's August meetings. The initiative they took is what gave birth to some of those projects we see in our communities.

"The Aba Women Resistance as we have just learned is still ongoing even in government. It is still the women who come to the office, asking of things that are not personal to them; public schools, child vaccination, rural development, etc. So, women are those same people who call our attention to the vital things that we need to get our society functioning. They always have a way of dragging everyone back to their senses," the governor said.

In her welcome address, the Founder and President General of Nkata Ndi Inyom Igbo, Iyom Josephine Anenih, decried that things were getting deteriorated in Igbo land, as all that are seen on a daily basis are tears, sorrows, and blood, bemoaning that women are the greatest victims of the insecurity wreaking havoc in the Igbo land.

Anenih recalled that the Igbo children whom they saw as the hope for the future were all running away from home and those who remained were roaming the streets due to unemployment, while those in far away places who wanted to invest in their land were reluctant to come home because of insecurity. 

"We have sadly looked on, but it is obvious we all need a team spirit for the wrongs to be righted. We must all look in the mirror to see what ails us and how we can partner for the progress of the third tripod in a Nigeria that seems to be at a crossroads, politically, economically, and socio-culturally. The South East needs the urgency of now to address the insecurity that has made the region lose billions if not trillions of naira for a region known for its industry and commerce," Mrs Anenih said.

Similarly, the Chairperson of the group's Board of Trustees, Mrs. Regina Amadi-Njoku in her address maintained that the need for the conversation is borne out of the fact there is a need for speedy healing of Igbo land, as no society developed without security, justice and peace.

According to her, women are the daughters, wives, and mothers that fuel the informal sector, yet they become the biggest victims of the dysfunctional formal sector where modern development seems to have excluded their input, assuring that the conference would enable them to rub minds, proffer solutions in unison as they harness the ideas of men and women.

"Women play undeniable roles in peacekeeping, arbitration, and the institutionalization of justice in communities in ways that douse tension and promote peace. This is possible because, unlike men, women are tripodal in nature, they are daughters, wives, and mothers and they never totally leave any of those roles. So, they work for peace on all fronts and circumstances," Amadi-Njoku said

Some of the dignitaries who attended the event were the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, who was represented by the National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji; Amb. Bianca Ojukwu, Senator Grace Bent, and a host of others.

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