From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
A non-governmental organisation, Gallant Ladies International, literarily painted Awka yellow recently during its maiden national convention.
The main field of Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre was filled to the brim as the women gathered in their numbers to share ideas and take a stand on matters affecting them. Supported by government functionaries, politicians, traditional rulers, pastors and others from diverse backgrounds, it was a carnival-like celebration for the group formed barely three years ago.
Chairman on the occasion, Chief Simon Okeke, former chairman of the Police Service Commission, represented by the Anambra State Commissioner for Commerce, Markets and Wealth Creation, Chief Uchenna Okafor (Wiper), said the formation of the group and its maiden convention offered a great opportunity for learning and growth among the womenfolk as ideas are shared.
He described Gallant Ladies International as a great forum, which has built its values over the years through dint of hard work, focus, vision and purpose, urging them to remain on track.
National president of Gallant Ladies International, Iyom Ifeoma Anyaka, said the inspiration behind the formation of the group came as she realized that there was an urgent need to do something different that would uplift the living standards of women.
She said: “We use this platform to sensitise women on the dangers of child labour, early marriage and for them to realise their self-worth and values, to let the women know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, as special creatures by God.
“We want women to be financially capable, engaging in productive ventures, so as to support their husbands, instead of receiving daily handouts from men. The most important of them all is for them to know their place in God and serve Him well.”
On their role in the next Anambra State governorship election coming up in November, Anyaka said the Gallant Ladies tries to let government hear their voices and realise that there are many women with potential waiting to unleash them for good.
She said women would not be onlookers during the next election in Anambra State but rather be active participants. She disclosed that the group would profile party candidates during the election and choose the person they believe can deliver in his/her commitment to women in particular, and Anambra people.
Anyaka also appreciated their vision helpers like the traditional ruler of Umunya community, Igwe Kris Onyekwuluje, Pastor Francis Eze (Bro Ejima) of Greater Grace and Fire Ministries, Onitsha, and Prophet Chukwuemeka Ohanemere (Odumeje), among others.
Wife of the Anambra State governor, Chief Ebelechukwu Obiano, represented by a former House of Assembly member, Hon. Tochukwu Mmegbuanaeze, in her goodwill message, declared her support for the group in their commitment to the welfare of women in Anambra.
The governor’s wife noted that Gallant Ladies was also working in line with her pet project, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, that has been touching lives positively.
She encouraged them not to be daunted by the enormity of the challenges they may face and also embrace unity of purpose in their dealings.
Commissioner for Women Affairs, Anambra State, Lady Ndidi Mezue, who declared her unflinching support to the organisation, said nothing could be sweeter than the cooperation of women in a group.
She described the group as an assemblage of beautiful souls who were not only endowed by nature in physical beauty but also exemplary in their conduct and attitude.
To show her support for the organisation, Lady Mezue declared that the premises of the Women Development Centre, Awka, would be given free of charge to the group for their meetings and gatherings.
She prayed that all the noble intentions of setting up the group shall not only be achieved but surpassed.