The need to see Nigerian women take their rightful place in the society has compelled Mrs. Ijeoma Umez-Eronini, former Head of Service, Imo State, to write the book, The Nigerian Woman and the Challenges of the 21st Century: Issues and Prospects.
According to Umez-Eronini, Nigerian women had a surfeit of potentials, but there was a yawning gap and disparity between contributions and achievements of men and women respectively to economic growth, development and other social activities.
She said, “The traditional Nigerian women is in a class of her own among the woman across the world and had clearly defined roles alongside those of the men which were mutually complementary.
“The colonial experience transcending from Western European masters and to some extent, Islamic cultures, influenced and prejudiced the Nigerian women, thus creating an unnecessary divide between their roles and contributions and those of their male counterparts.
“Colonisation brought with it discrimination, marginalisation, socio/economic and educational inequalities. The challenges of women in the modern society centre on politics, economy, commerce, education, technology, etcetera.”
In his remarks, the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, commended the author for her passion in the civil service career, having risen to the apex of her career as the first female head of Service in lmo State.
He added that, despite the landmarks achieved in her career, Ijeoma was first a wife and mother to her family. He urged women to change their attitude positively such that every woman becomes the nurturer of the other women, thus creating an enabling environment that facilitates communication, networking and strategising for focused activities and eventual destination to move Nigeria forward for we are stronger together.
Justice Mary Ukaego Peter Odili described the celebrant and author as a woman of inestimable value who exhibited career competence, and extremely caring, compassionate, committed to putting smiles on people’s faces without seeking reward.
The Justice went down memory lane narrating the commitment of the author as the Executive Secretary of Imo State Women Commission when her husband, Dr, Peter Odili, was the Governor of Rivers State and she the First Lady. She crowned her encomiums with the resonation of the role she played as the coordinator of Niger Delta East Women’s forum when her husband contested for presidency. These experiences, no doubt, convinced her that the celebrant clearly deserved to be celebrated, as her kind of woman was scarce.
Julie Nwariaku, a retired Permanent Secretary and former member, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), also poured encomiums on the author for drawing attention to the need to focus on strategies to align and re-align female gender issues to ensure the steady growth of equality.
According to Nwariaku, “Women should be enjoined to remain educationally proactive, advocate and agitate for the actualisation of the healthcare needs of the Nigerian woman and invade the political platform of the various political parties not as dancers or clappers but as active participants in seeking elective office and political appointments.
Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, re-echoed the sterling qualities of the author, drawing attention to her intellectual capacities, and noting that she exhibited extreme academic prowess in her days at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
The unveiling of the book, which took place in Owerri, attracted dignitaries, such as Emeka Ihedioha, the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party/former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives; Justice Chioma Nwosu Iheme, Justice B A Njemanze, Olisa Agbakoba SAN, among others.