Beside every successful man, there is a woman who inspires, motivates, drives, encourages and walks down the aisle of life with him amidst enormous challenges and accomplishment, perhaps most men who are mentally and psychologically stable draw inspirations from the support of their wife and this relentless support will equally enable the women to accomplishment their wishes on earth.
The Wife of Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, supported her husband a Civil Rights Activist in every step of his career and at the same time carrying out other programmes to support the campaign of her husband, even after the death of her husband. Similarly, Dolores Huerta, the Wife of the Labour Leader, Cesar Chavez, created the National Farm Workers Association with him and she did much in approving the ideas of her husband that enable them to make more fortune. Also, Freda Kelly, Zelda Fitzgerald – Wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Rachel Robinson, Wife to Jackie Robinson and Hillary Clinton, Wife of former President of the United States of America are examples of wives who support their husbands to achieve their goals.
In the same manner, the resolution of the Wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu – Akeredolu, to support the administration of her husband through series of programmes and projects that impact positively on the lives of the people of Ondo State can be likened to the women soldiers of Dahomey, who supported their husbands during wars and contributed to the kingdom’s military power and thus they were respected for providing great support to their husbands and never running away from danger.
Therefore, to better understand the reason for the ongoing successful execution of new dawn in Ondo State there is need to look inward and x-ray the woman behind the anchorman, the “bedroom inspiration” of the Architect of new Fortunes for Ondo State people, through activities done to support her husband which include exhibiting and extending her motherly care to the people of Ondo State through numerous unprecedented achievements and activities in the State.
At the beginning was the unique celebration of International Women’s Day 2017 in Ondo where a pleas was made to Governor Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu for more women involvement in the governance of Ondo State, which has since been embraced by the Governor through the involvement of more women at the helms of affairs in the State. To this end, Ondo State today has more female political appointees unlike what was obtainable in the time past.
Her Excellency, who is also the Ada Emeabiam II of Emeabiam in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo state, believes in more women participation in governance, women liberation and equal-gender inclusive governance that will protect the rights and liberty of the women and children. With this goal in mind, the First Lady therefore brought in various programmes that support her husband towards achieving good governance for all in Ondo State.
The first lady fondly known as Digital Mama organized Solar4Girls training programme, Ondo State Girl Child ICT Training, distributed 100 tablets to Girls at the Girl Child ICT training – all aimed at impacting into the lives of women and girl-child in the state. She also established the Ondo State Tennis Clinic for young ones where children are trained on Tennis so that the children of Ondo state can have opportunity to compete on the world stage. It will interest you to know that the Governor and his wife are sport loving family and the involvement of experts to assist in developing of Youthful potentials in Tennis game is one of the heart desires of Mr. Governor and his wife for Ondo State, specifically, making it the hub of Tennis game in Nigeria.
Desperate about care for the underprivileged, the Wife of the Governor donated materials for children at the Ondo State Children’s Home, where she called for the promotion of community and humanitarian services among the people in order to propel the Home to a befitting status. The Wife of the Governor also donated items to Inmates at the Nigeria Prison, Owo, Ondo State Correctional Home in Akure, thus, giving life to the hopeless and forsaken people in the society. Items donated to them includes but not limited to mattresses, pillows, foodstuff, first aid box, food ingredients, mosquito nets, toiletries, gas cookers, burners, among others that worth millions of naira.
Other donations include cash and gifts to the widowed mother of triplets; first three babies born in Ondo State in year 2018; the father of a triplet, Mr. Chukwuma Eze, who lost his job few weeks to the delivery of a triplet by his wife (new motorcycle to the father, cash gift and baby foods as well as pampers). Cash gifts, toiletries and food items were also donated to another set of quadruplet and triplet, who were born in the state.
The parents of the quadruplet and triplet, Mr. and Mrs. Okechukwu Paul and Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Onyeama were full of joy and appreciation to the Wife of the Governor for her gesture, as they believed the donation would in a great way change their standard of living and further create a reliable source of income.
It can be said that the Wife of the Governor has gained the support of her female counterparts by encouraging them to support the needy and the less privileged through donations and other things that can improve their lives.
These programmes coupled with the campaign against Breast cancer brought the First Lady of Ondo State who is also the Founder of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu – Akeredolu to the public domain like the Wife of some notable Presidents and world leaders in history. She was therefore found to be among the great women behind successful men, earning her several awards within and outside Ondo State.
The awards include but not limited to: decoration of Her Excellency as the Grand Matron of Sunshine Queens Football Club of Ondo State, the Matron, Akure Diocesan Mothers’ Union, the Cluster Advocacy Change Champion, the Patron of Imo State Boys’ Brigade of Nigeria, IT Community Builder – National Information Technology Merit Awards (NITMA), Award of Excellence by the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Award of Excellence in recognition of her contributions in the fight against cancer by International CSOs Cancer Conference 2017 and most importantly installation as the Ada Emeabiam II of Emeabiam in Owerri West local government area of Imo State.
The Alumna of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, always gains the support of her husband and understands the kind of heart her husband holds and thus affirmed her determination to improve the standard of Ondo State Women, towards making them accomplished personalities who are at the helms of decision making. Example of the mechanism to achieve this is the “Be More” initiative introduced by Her Excellency.
The First Lady, an Apostle of equity, fairness, transparency and prudency can be likened to the Wife of Martin Luther King Jr, Coretta Scott King, who supported her husband’s vision till it was accomplished, as such, just as it is known, a golden fish cannot hide itself, so is the case of unveiling of various programmes and projects that unconsciously revealed the inner mind and motherhood of Her Excellency and all has been geared towards creating room for better governance in Ondo State through Mr. Governor.
In the continued drive of the Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu – Akeredolu to see to the success of her husband’s tenure in office, many are still optimistic that her quest for a Cancer Control Centre in Ondo State will soon be a reality. In her words, “the government of Arakunrin needs to prioritize Cancer control. We need a Cancer Treatment Centre equipped with radiotheraphy and mammography machines. Most of the Centres we have across Nigeria are not working. It is a shameful thing and we are pleading with the state governments to be alive to their duties other than waiting for the federal government”.
Accordingly, in order to mitigate death and misconception about breast cancer, the Wife of the Governor launched the Ondo State Chapter, Oyo State Chapter, Lagos State Chapter, FCT chapter, Imo State Chapter of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, to further propagate and enlighten the people, particularly the women and girls about early detection and timely treatment for breast cancer.
It will interest you to note that in Ondo State and Nigeria in general, the women are now increasingly informed about breast cancer and they no longer see it as a death sentence and this has been achieved through the mission of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, an organization that has earned Arabinrin wide acceptability, even overseas.
The First Lady has also embarked upon series of empowerment programmes for the women in Ondo State, by training them on various skills like how to make shoes, hair, wigs, sewing, etc. The empowerment programme is being taken from one local government to another and today several women, specifically the vulnerable are now skilled in their households. This has helped to put smiles on the faces of the less privileged in the society and given life to the lifeless. Many have since commented on some of these initiatives, for example, the Caretaker Chairman, Okitipupa local government, Mrs. Morenike Alaka, affirmed that the support given to the women through the training exercise is unprecedented as it would go a long way in equipping them towards contributing their quota to their family’s development.
The Wife of the Governor has also visited several stakeholders, support organizations like Malaysian High Commission in Nigeria, Pathfinder International – a global non-profit organization that focuses on Reproductive Health, Family Planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and care and maternal heath, the British Deputy High Commissioner, on how to assist in empowering Ondo State women and as a way of facilitating these objectives, the First lady championed the establishment of the Forum of Wives of Ondo State Officials (FOWOSO) which serves as a round-table for all wives of political appointees and female appointees in the State to create programmes that are impactful and capable of empowering the women in Ondo State. The platform has since started yielding good fruit and sequel to this is the empowerment programme carried out for women in some local government areas of the State, like Akoko South East local government, Isua, where several women, youths and special needs people in the local government were trained on how to make shoes, handcrafts, bags, beads, etc. Thereafter, the participants were presented certificates and presented sewing machines, hair dryers, grinding machines, laptops and many more that could enhance their trade. According to the First Lady, there is need for the women to support their husbands in their service to the people and this can only be done through their little contribution, therefore FOWOSO has come to stay to support governance in Ondo State and change the lives of many women for better.
According to the Secretary to the Kogi State Government, Mrs. Folashade Arike Ayoade, FOWOSO is a great platform that would help the spouses of the officials in the State to compliment the efforts of their husbands; as such resounding the objectives of establishing FOWOSO by the Wife of the Governor.
The Arabinrin equally initiated the idea of Olori Connection in Ondo State to serve as bridging gaps in the healthcare system of Ondo State. This is unprecedented in the State, as it marks the first time wives of monarchs are directly involved in governance and will equally create a database for Accelerated Birth registration of children between the ages of 0 – 17. The Olori Connection according to the First Lady will support the Arakunrin administration in actualizing the goals of Reproductive, Maternal, newborn, child, Adolescent, Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) initiated by the Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, thus, making Ondo State the first State in Nigeria to domesticate the maternal policy of the Wife of the President, for the benefit of the women in the state. In her words, “…throughout Nigeria, this is happening here for the first time. We are kick starting registration of children … and that will ensure that no woman in this state find an excuse for nor registering her child. …our Akowe Abiye will also use the opportunity to get some other information that will help us to know where we are having problems and that will help us to know where to direct our intervention”. These activities have equally encouraged the women at the grassroots to provide necessary support for their spouses where need be.
Many have commended the activities and support the Wife of the Governor is giving to her husband, and it has been noted many time that the Wife of the Governor is a woman who has strong love, care and passion for the underprivileged, not only in Ondo State, but as many who came across her way in Nigeria and around the globe.
The Wife of the Governor is very visible and accessible in areas she’s needed, irrespective of party affiliation, maintaining that she is a humanitarian par excellence and will support her husband to ensure the people feel the good impact of the government. A tireless and vigorous woman who fights for the cause she believes in.
Flowing from the above, it is necessary to conclude by stating briefly that Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu – Akeredolu is not running parallel activities against the programmes of her husband but she is providing necessary support, as done by women whose husbands have excelled, that would assist her husband towards delivering the dividends of democracy to the good people of Ondo State. It is necessary to state that husbands are always at the centre and wives are supposed to support them, correct them, advice and inspire them where need be so as to be emotionally stable to achieve desired goals
By Oluwatobi Omosalewa Fademi