By Hon. Dr (Mrs) Lilian Agbazue, President of Our Beloved Girl Child Global Foundation  

Upon the review of the performance of the incumbent Governor of Imo State with regards to women empowerment and the rights of the girl-child, popular civil society, women and girl-child activist, Hon. Dr (Mrs) Lilian Agbazue (Igolo South-East), who is the President of Our Beloved Girl Child Global Foundation applauds the novel efforts of Governor Hope Uzodinma. 

In a press conference, held at the headquarters of Our Beloved Girl Child Global Foundation in Abuja on 7 November 2023, Dr Lillian Agbazue, discussed the methodology for the appraisal, which is based on indicators drawn from the provisions of The Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights. She thereafter commended Governor Hope Uzodinma for his policies, initiatives and tangible deliverables, during his first tenure, which have promoted women empowerment and the rights of the girl-child in Imo State.

According to Dr. Lilian Agbazue: “When you analyze the tangible efforts of the incumbent Government of Imo State in terms of the requirements of The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (also known as “The Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights”), Senator Hope Uzodinma may be described as one of the most gender-friendly Governor in Nigeria. 

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, also known as the Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights, provides comprehensive rights for women and girls in Africa. The Protocol guarantees extensive rights to women, including the right to take part in the political processes, to social and political equality with men, improved autonomy in their reproductive health decisions, and an end to harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, among others. It covers a broad spectrum of civil, political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights and is considered one of the most progressive human rights instruments globally.

According to Dr Lilian Agbazue: “Without empowerment, women, as the largest proportion of our population; will be vulnerable, at-risk and impoverished due to the challenges caused by social, economic, cultural and political marginalization, gender-based violence and discrimination against women, terrorism, conflict, and fundamentalism. As demonstrated by the Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights as well as The African Union’s Agenda 2063, Africa is committed to resolving and ending violence against women and girls, and improving access to, and control of, finances, land, education, health, information, services, sciences and technology and decision-making in political governance and business enterprises.”

In addition, Dr Lilian Agbazue stated that: “Aspiration 6 of African Union’s Agenda 2063, envisages a non-sexist Africa, an Africa where girls and boys can reach their full potential, where men and women contribute equally to the development of their societies. The vision of Africa expressed in Agenda 2063 is one of an Africa whose development is people-driven, especially relying on the potential offered by its women and youth.”

Dr Lilian Agbazue further reiterated that “under this vision, it is envisaged that there will be women empowerment in all spheres of life and an engaged and empowered youth. Women are key contributors to global economies and play a critical role in the development of their societies. Without the effective participation of women in all spheres of socio-political and economic life, the vision of Agenda 2063 might not be realized.”

According to Dr Lilian Agbazue, Senator Hope Uzodinma’s appointment of women to serve in different categories in his first administration demonstrates a clear demonstration of his desire to foster women’s right to take part in the political processes and to social and political participation of women in decision making processes. While also expressing delight with the selection of a woman of impeccable character (Lady Chinyere Ihuoma Ekomaru) as the running mate of Senator Hope Uzodinma in his bid for a second-term in office, Dr. Lillian Agbazue opined that Lady Ekomaru’s involvement is a great opportunity to showcase the capacity of women in leadership roles in Imo State and their charisma in nation building.

Dr. Lillian Agbazue further praised the incumbent Imo State Government for the 3R’s mantra of Senator Hope Uzodinma’s administration: Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery, which she stated has indeed supported women economic empowerment and the rights of the girl-child in Imo State.

Dr. Lilian Agbazue highlighted some of the notable achievements of the Governor as part of the Shared Prosperity Government, that impact on women empowerment and the rights of the girl-child in Imo State:

The rehabilitation of 305 Health Centres in the 305 electoral wards in Imo State, most of them already equipped and with solar generated power.

Returning peace to the State by tackling its insecurity challenges with synergy from security agencies in the State.

The infrastructural revolution, including the construction of over 1000km of roads across the State, including the Orlu/Owerri and Okigwe/Owerri road. Noteworthy are also ongoing construction of a 5 kilometre road in each of the rural roads in 27 Local government areas of the State.

Notable efforts in area of education, e.g. revived the Ben Uwajumogu College of Education at Ihitte-Uboma and instituted a governing council to ensures its continuous function. Noteworthy is the recruitment and training of 10,000 Primary school teachers in the State.

Rehabilitation of several Palm and Agricultural Plantations and Holdings (Adapalm Plantation, Acharaubo Farm Estate at Emekuku in Owerri North LGA). 

Rehabilitation of several Water Schemes e.g. Otamiri Water Scheme serving Owerri Capital Territory, as well as Eluama Water Scheme in Orlu LGA.

Dr Lilian Agbazue further discussed the work of Our Beloved Girl Child Global Foundation, which include the responsibility of restoring the pride and dignity of the girl-child by protecting and encouraging societal norms and values to making them become women of substance towards building a greater global society.  She indicated that further reviews of other states will be forthcoming and that the work of the Foundation will be exhibited during the forthcoming African Union Summit earmarked for January 2024, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in conjunction with Influence Africa Media and The Pan African Centre for Policy Studies in South Africa.