From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Women of Ahoada and its environ have cried out over the level of underdevelopment and poverty in the area, stressing that they feel abandoned by the government.
Speaking during a training on gender based civic and citizenship education organized recently in Ahoada
town by Centre for Environment, Human rights and Development, CEHRD, for women of Rivers West Senatorial District, Rivers state, the women who participated in the training lamented that their communities lack basic amenities such as good roads, electricity, potable water, hospitals.
In some communities, school children have to go to school with chairs and desks as there are no desks and chairs in their classrooms, said the women.
They said they do not know how else to draw government attention to their plights. “We would like you to help us tell the government to remember us and come to our rescue”, the women pleaded with CEHRD, the NGO which organized the training with support from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Abuja.
They considered the training as a good opportunity to voice out their predicaments and seek solutions.
In response, Lady Doris Onyeneke, a renowned women’s rights crusader and motivational speaker who facilitated the training commended the women for voicing out the ordeals of their communities, saying it is part of the duties and responsibilities of active citizens to seek
solution to problems facing them.
She noted that many women in communities hardly bother about getting involved in governance issues
that need attention in their communities, adding that the training on civic and citizenship education is geared towards arousing the interest of women in governance issues in the society where they live.
According to Lady Doris Onyeneke, the training was part of a human rights project aimed at empowering women to begin to be aware of their duties and rights as citizens and how to assert those rights.
“The essence of the training was to empower the women so that they will become active citizens. We want the women to begin to carry out their civic duties as responsible citizens. They should also know their
rights and how to assert them”, said the facilitator.
She stated that the gender roles assigned to women by the society have seriously contributed to the apathy of women towards politics and governance, adding that with determination, the women can end the age long domination and marginalization by the male folk.
“Women have been silent for too long; we have to break the silence. Women should step into politics to unlock their talents and assume their position as the
light of the society”, she charged.
Styvn Obodoekwe, CEHRD Programme Director while declaring the training open noted that the apathy of women towards politics and governance is
He encouraged women to step out of their closets and join politics, saying that as citizens, it is their fundamental human right to participate in governance. They also have the right to associate with political associations of their choice.
“Women have been silent for too long and that has not augured well for the society. They have the potentials to hold those in power accountable, demand transparency
in governance and end the culture of corruption in the society. It is time for the women to take their rightful position in politics, he said.
At the end of the training, the participants lauded CEHRD for opening their eyes to the need and how to become active citizens., saying that the training came at a right time. They promised to start early to prepare
for the next season of political contests in the state.