By Jerome Mario Chijioke Utomi
Recent attacks on Nigerian women’s rights in Nigeria notwithstanding, the most painful example is the rejection by lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives of bills aimed at giving women special seats in the legislature and the 35 percent party Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa , the governor of Delta State, however, in voting on 68 amendments recommended in the report recently presented by the special ad hoc committees reviewing the 1999 Constitution, showed that there was a ray of political and political Responsibility gives socio-economic hope for Nigerian women, especially widows in Delta State.
That being said, Governor Okowa has a proven track record of leadership that qualifies as people-oriented, as a recent phone conversation with Elder Isioma Okonta, the Governor’s senior special assistant for the Social Investment Program and coordinator of the Delta State Widows Welfare Scheme, further demonstrates without a shadow of a doubt Believing in the words of the late former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Mr. Kofi Annan, that there is no more effective development tool than women’s empowerment, and no other policy is likely to increase economic productivity or reduce child and maternal mortality”.
To help understand the play, a recent report noted that a widow is a woman who has lost her husband in death and has not remarried. Widows are invisible in society. They are scattered across the globe because of their condition and the tremendous challenges, blame and shame most of them face.
In order for widows to secure expectations by keeping their hopes alive through food, shelter, and quality education for their children, they must take the position of their late husband, who happened to be the breadwinner.
Speaking about how the state government enacted a life-changing program in 2018, widely known as “Widow’s Alert,” to provide aid and wipe away their tears, ease their despair and helplessness, and still their hunger, he explained that the Initiative of The Governor cares for the poor and vulnerable widows in Delta State and is distributed among the 25 local government districts.
The congregations are touched by this non-political and cross-denominational program that takes care of the widow’s pension on a monthly basis.
The widows can benefit from free health care. The premium for this health care is borne by the governor through Delta State’s contributory health care system. Even if the widows have to undergo surgery, it is free and we have 5,607 widows enrolled in this program.
As for how the state prosecutes those who are actual widows, he explained that until now, the names of those widows have been pulled from communities in Delta State. And the state ensures that community leaders are involved to help determine the truthfulness of widows. For those who say they are indeed widows and for those who say they are poor and vulnerable widows, church leaders are there to verify these points.
He stressed that the state does not compile a list without ensuring that community leaders double-check the facts. And recently the governor brought in a consultant to conduct an integrated service.
It has been charged with the responsibility of building an electronic database of widows throughout Delta State. Today she completed her work and we have over 50,000 widows in the Delta State widows electronic database.
So now we have a compendium of widows generated electronically. This database serves as a real tool for the government to make decisions and plans regarding widows.
About Governor Okowa’s way of supporting the project, he captures it like this; The governor is the reason for the success of the program. You know, Okowa is an astute chief executive, and for every aspect of governance that’s involved, there’s a feedback mechanism that he put in place.
Whenever there is a program, the governor doesn’t just keep the program. He pays attention to every detail of the program. The structure that we have in widow welfare today was built by Okowa alone.
Apart from me as the country coordinator, there are three overseers, each overseer is responsible for each Senate district in each local government, there are two coordinators charged with the responsibility of looking after the affairs of these widows, and we have very little or none Complaints from the widows. dr Okowa is the reason for the success of the program.
Continuing, he said; If you look back before 2018, the issue of widows in Delta state was not known to anyone. Widows are part of our society that no one cares about. No one cared about their welfare. Then Okowa changed the narrative. When he came in, he could make the poorest of the poor among these widows take their problems to the fore. Now we participate in International Widows’ Day on June 23rd every year. They were recognized by the United Nations, a day to commemorate the widow issue.
The governor is the first of the 36 states to commemorate the day. He’s the only governor who has a program of this kind, where widows are paid monthly, where those widows’ health care is processed monthly.
In other states, governors may only care for widows at seasonal times such as Christmas and Easter, or during campaign times. But Governor Okowa made sure to bring the issue of widows to the fore.
what happens to it There is a lot of violent outcry out there due to elements caused by improper upbringing when a home loses a father and only the wife remains and the wife is unable to take care of the children. What happens to the children? Either the young girls go into prostitution or the boys go into robbery. They go out there and try to scam people.
When Okowa began caring for widows, one can see that the narrative has changed and the lives of these widows have had a fresh start. So many milestones have been made since widows became part of the political system in Delta State.
He turned to life. He has touched the untouchable. He has taken Delta State from a point where the roads are impassable to a point where there is massive road construction going on everywhere.
He has touched the youth of Delta State through several programs. He helped create programs for girls in Delta State, where girls are no longer dependent on their parents.
You have been offered business opportunities. Okowa has ensured that there is calm in all of these areas. He did well.
I think this program is here to stay. I think the way Okowa structured this program, whoever takes it on has to keep the program going. In his wisdom he appointed the Humanitarian Services Officer to oversee this and of course caring for widows is part of Humanitarian Services.
So you can see how detailed the governor is. You can see that he is trying to put in place structures to ensure that the widows’ welfare system does not fade away. With the local structures set up by the governor, I think the program is sustainable.
Utomi Jerome-Mario is Program Coordinator (Media and Public Policy) of the Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA). He can be reached at email@example.com or 08032725374