Keynote address By Ms Abimbola Junaid, national coordinator Arise! Nigeria Woman Foundation! At its Nigeria @ 50 workshop and solidarity march on the 29th of September 2010.Hall 2, Ltv8, conference hall and the governor’s office Alausa, Ikeja Lagos.
Ladies and gentlemen, seeing you here today brings so much hope to me, not because, I fear that you may not turn up and that we will have an empty hall, but because, I hoped that there will still citizens of Nigeria, despite our disappointment at the state of the nation, who are still dedicated to the cause of rebuilding our nation.
And today standing before you, I want to tell you that if you did not see any reason before, as to why you should celebrate Nigeria at 50, I know of one. YOU. You are enough reason to celebrate. You whom have kept going despite all that you have encountered in your lives journey as a Nigerian living in Nigeria. You have survived several military rulership, you have survived several brutality, you have survived austerity, you have survived structural adjustment programme, you have survived strike upon strike, You have been relentless in your efforts in keeping alive, despite the betrayal of several governments and leaders that brought this country to its present state. So really the celebration of Nigeria at fifty, is a celebration of our survival, yours and mine. Please shake your neighbour’s hands and say to them “Congratulations, I made it, you made it, not many people made it, and we are still standing”. Please tell your neighbours again, that “I am a hopeful Nigerian, I believe Nigeria shall rise again”
Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation is indeed for women, and it is to build on the strength of womanhood, our natural gifting, innate nature of being solution finders. The state of our nation is a big concern for all and it is now imperative that we find lasting solutions to it together. The meek can no longer be meek and the silent can no longer remain silent, we are volunteers, ambassadors of the vision of rebuilding Nigeria, we want to deliberate from a woman’s angle on all the issues of Nigeria that is robbing us of a truly happy home.
Or did you not know that everything that happens in the society at large, indirectly and directly have adverse effects on the home? Then on women?, whom society says her role should be a nurturer and home keeper? Who gets the blame when there is no food on the table, when the husband and the children get’s home? It is the woman. Who keeps worrying about that unemployed husband, son, daughter and family members in a country where unemployment is rife? It is the woman.
Who’s children gets called cyber thieves, popularly known as yahoo yahoo, when they are idle and home on forced holidays, forced holidays meaning perpetual strikes in how institutions of learning? It is the woman? Whom’s daughter have become easy prey, sexual object All in the name of money and fending for herself? Who is suffering the most from environmental, pipeline pollution in the Niger delta as we speak? The Nigerian Delta woman and children, And who suffered the most in the massacre that took place in Jos Nigeria earlier in the year, again ladies and gentlemen, it is the women and children? And the men, killed from kidnapping, intertribal wars, road accidents due to bad roads, or poor medical services, who bears the brunt of the loss of their loved ones, it is the wife and children because as a widow and in some culture, she loses all her husbands possession to vicious family members who do not care about the welfare of the children left behind. We have all been there. One way or the other, we have been marked by these scenarios.
Yet women are the most populous gender according to statistics from our national censor’s board. I believe that as a matter of urgency, it is essential that the one who is most affected by our polity be a full stakeholder in building the nation. I have never seen anyone without passion in them, without creativity in them or the desire to become relevant and successful, what will determine how far they go is access and support. Gender discrimination is like racism or tribalism, where one race or tribe oppresses and stunts the growth of the other because it feels superior to them. The Nigerian woman wants to be allowed to maximise her potential without fear of discrimination or violence. Equality is a human right, not a privilege, Nigeria’s full potential will not be fully realised, without the full acceptance of the Nigerian woman as an equal stakeholder. So as Nigeria turns fifty, let’s take stock of the last fifty years and decide and make happen what we want the next fifty to be for ourselves and our loved ones.
Arise! Nigerian Woman in one accord we shall rebuild our nation.
Join us on facebook arisenigerian woman or visit our website www.arisenigerianwoman.org and register. We shall be holding regular community meetings soon.
God bless Nigeria and the people of Nigeria.