Madam Margaret Obaigbena,
By Victor Efeizomor
President, Ika Community Ladies’ Welfare Association of Nigeria, Madam Margaret Obaigbena, has stressed the need for parents and governments at all levels to pay more emphasis on women and girl child development, saying they are the major catalyst and springboard for nation building.
Obaigbena, who stated this Saturday at Boji-Boji Owa, metropolis, during the inauguration of Ika Community Ladies Welfare Association, a non-governmental organisation, also canvassed peace, unity and good neighborliness among other things the Ika ethnic nationalities need to ensure growth and development.
“It is our desire to plan strategies that will foster unity, revive cultural values and bring development to Ika women and children in particular and the entire community in general. This group will ensure that we collaborate with relevant agencies of government, non-governmental organisations, donor agencies and philanthropists in addressing issues of poverty and poor dressing among girls and women in Ikaland, ” Obaigbena said.While outlining the driving force of the group, Obaigbena explained that, “our priority after inauguration is to tackle the problem of bad link roads in our rural areas and any other urgent developmental needs as well as solicit fund from donor agencies to grant scholarships to indigent students of Ika origin.”
She pointed out that “our youths, especially the girls will be sensitised through public lecture to realise the need for dignity of labour and be encouraged to be more serious in academics or learning a trade that will equip them for good jobs.”
The Delta State Commissioner for Millenium Development Goals, Queen Victoria Ikenchukwu, in her remarks, commended the initiators of the association but frowned on the principle of the group that does not admit members below 50 years of age and called for a review of the position.
She also cautioned against unhealthy rivalry among the different ethnic groups in Ikaland, saying such “bitterness and hypocrisy will not engender good development among the people.”
Hon. Justice S.A Ehiwario (rtd) advised the group to be ready for the challenges ahead because of their lofty objectives of giving Ika people a sense of direction.
The Chairman of the occasion, Pa Fortune Ebie, said the association should be considered as the apex body of all other social groups in Ikaland because of the pedigree and caliber of women it parades as the social voice of the people of Ika nation.