Okey Sampson, Aba
For years, self-help has remained the key word for development in Igbo land.
In the South-East, which is populated by the Igbo, people set the pace for development in their various communities, and this cuts across gender.
In Igbo land, as a result of the hunger for communal development, women are engaged in a healthy competition with the men for the development of their various communities. That was what informed the formation of the Women August Meeting across the Igbo nation.
In Amaokwe Item, a community in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, the women, under the aegis of Amaokwe Item Welfare Union (Women Wing) (AIWU WW) have taken the annual August Meeting to the next level.
In the previous years the women were faced with the task of erecting an edifice known as the Women Development Centre. However, this year witnessed the official handing over of the complex to the women by Rotary International, through the Rotary Club of Eziama Sun-Rise, Aba, Abia State which took over, completed and equipped the building started by AIWU (WW).
AIWU (WW) is the umbrella body that coordinates the activities of Amaokwe Item women unions all over the country and in the Diaspora. It has the responsibility of uniting all Amaokwe Item women wherever they reside and also create an avenue for discussing the welfare and enlightenment of members as well as the general development of Amaokwe Item community.
The grand finale of this year’s August conference witnessed the celebration of some prominent sons and daughters of the community, including the new Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh. The event was held at the Jane Egbichi Oteh Mini-Stadium on Saturday, August 10,
Speaking at the event, President of AIWU (WW), Mrs. Sophia O. Ukachukwu listed some of the recorded by the women. These include the Women Development Centre, which the women started and was nearing completion when the Rotary took it over; scholarship for indigent girls, adult literacy classes, charity shop and a cassava cottage industry.
While eulogising Rotary International for what it did through the Rotary Club of Eziama, Aba by completing the Women Development Centre, Mrs. Ukachukwu, said: “After our formal request to Rotary International, their representatives from overseas came and inspected the centre and
promised that we would hear from them soon.” She recalled that the women, indeed, heard from Rotary. Not only did the club complete the complex, it also equipped the facility and handed it over to the women during this year’s conference.
Mrs. Ukachukwu said apart from completing the building, Rotary Club also trained some women from the community in various skills such as Computer Appreciation, Cooking/baking, Hairdressing, Fashion and Design and Makeup Artistry. She informed that 40 of the women who
excelled during the training were going to be empowered soon.
National secretary of the union, Mrs. Ijeoma Ogba Nwokoro commended the patriotic zeal of the women of Amaokwe Item from all over Nigeria and in the Diaspora for coming home every year to chart a course for the development of their community.
While reliving her excitement over the success of this year’s conference, Nwokoro, who gave all the glory to God, described Amaokwe Item Women August meeting as distinctive.
“If you compare our August meeting with others, you will agree with me that ours is the best in terms of organisation and pursuit of goals. We do not come home for fashion parade. Our major focus is the development of the community and I believe we are getting it right,” she added.
Four traditional rulers from Amaokwe Item clan – Eze (Dr) Onuoha Okorie, Eze Clement Ofia Chukwu, Eze Chile Igwe Ogo and Eze Osoka Agwu witnessed the event. They poured royal blessings on the women and attested to their good works through the August Meeting.
They also promised to continue to support the women in their quest to turn the community around positively to stand among the progressive communities in the state.
Chairman on the occasion, Mr. Joshua Kesandu Uko said he decided to identify with the women of his community because of the positive things they had done in the community through the August Meeting.
He said with more support, the women would achieve more in their pursuit for the development of the community.
The event also featured awards given to deserving sons and daughters of the community, including the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh. He got the ‘Ezinwa Okwoaja’ (good son) award for his exemplary services to humanity and the community in general.
Speaking while presenting the award to Ukeh’s representative, Mrs. Nnenna Ezieme, the national president of AIWU WW, Mrs. Ukachukwu said Ukeh was given the award because he has over the years not only helped the women of Amaokwe financially but has single handed ensured her activities were given the widest publicity.
“Through the publicity given the union’s activities by our very good son, Ukeh, we have received international recognition and assistance in so many ways.
“Apart from that, Ukeh has been helping the AIWU WW financially over the years and we deemed it necessary that we should give him an award this year in recognition of all he has been doing for us.”
After receiving the award, Mrs Ezieme, who collected the award on behalf of Mr Ukeh, expressed joy that the women of the community remembered her brother’s little contributions over the years to the growth of the community.
She said Ukeh, as a true son of the community, would continue in no small way to assist the women in what they are doing for the good of the women folk in particular and the people in general.
She said the honour would spur The Sun MD to do more for the women in their quest to develop the community since he has no other place to call his home.
The event also witnessed a march past, which was won by the Enugu Branch, even as the Home and Lagos branches came second and third respectively. Trophies were thereafter presented to winners.
This year’s AIWU (WW) August Conference was also used to raise funds for ongoing projects. The event was rounded off on Sunday, August 11 with a general thanksgiving service at the Central School, Atanko, Amaokwe Item.