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Bayelsa To Prioritise Women Empowerment

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Bayelsa State Government says it will pay more attention to women in its empowerment and small businesses development programmes as part of efforts to stimulate the local economy.
The State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo disclosed this recently when a delegation of Ekeremor Local Government Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Women in Politics paid him solidarity visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, the Deputy Governor said the state government was putting in place effective measures to commence the disbursement of soft loans to the people particularly the women.
He explained that although the empowerment scheme such as the ongoing “Diri Boost” was conceptualized to impact Bayelsa youths and men, priority will be given to the women in recognition of the role they play in society.
He also pointed out that government decided to transfer the responsibility of women empowerment from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Empowerment to the Women Affairs Ministry to ensure effective and efficient coordination of issues affecting women.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo noted that the loan facility was targeted at promoting the development of small and medium scale businesses as well as engender agricultural production in the state.
According to the Deputy Governor, the present administration will do everything within its reach to take the Sagbama-Ekeremor Road to Ekeremor Town, which he noted, substantial work had already been done by the Chief Seriake Dickson’s Government.
He thanked the Ekeremor women for the visit and their abiding support for the PDP and urged them to gear up for the upcoming empowerment programmes “since government cannot give appointment to everybody who has worked for the party.”
His words, “You know that when you empower the woman, you empower a nation because mothers are key to whatever we do. They give birth to the children and also manage their husbands.
“So, as part of what we are doing, we have started the ‘DiriBoost Programme’, which is for both our women and our youths.

 

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Womanhood In Ibani Nation

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The Iria ceremony among the Ibani people (Bonny and Opobo) in Rivers State is an admired and valued rite that marks the passage to the age of child bearing and marriage.
Consequently, it is compulsory for all women and it gives the woman the leverage to participate in socio-political activities of the Ibani Kingdom. This ceremony makes the Ibani woman unique among other women in Rivers State and the world in general.
The practice of Iria (Mgbede) gives the status of complete womanhood. Any woman who does not perform the Iria, cannot be recognised and honoured among the womenfolk.
This, however, is performed in two levels. The first is between the ages of 12-15 years to celebrate the attainment of puberty, that is a strategy for preserving chastity among young girls. The second level is when the woman has attained the age of 30 and above. In recent times, due to the expensive nature  of the ceremony, women go through both levels within the same week.
Recently, Mrs Evelyn Owunabo, nee Brown, a public servant, an educationist and mother, completed her Iria rites, her passage to womanhood as an Ibani indigene from Bonny Kingdom.
According to Owunabo, “the ceremony named Bibite/Egerebite in Bonny Kingdom is a traditional rite of passage from a young maiden to a full grown woman. This is an induction into womanhood in Bonny Kingdom.
To prepare for the ceremony takes a lot of planning and preparation, it may take at least a year”.
Enumerating the financial involvements, she attested to the fact that it is really huge  because it involves buying a lot of traditional wrappers which are expensive. They include Ikaki, Suu, Egerebite, Poopo, Akparakpa, Damask, Georges (Big and small). Each of these wrappers will go with a matching blouse, head tie and shoe. Then jewelry (gold), choral beads, food, drinks and other things.
Her advice to women and their husbands who wish to perform the ceremony is that they should start gradually, by buying the wrappers one at a time.
For the jewelry (gold) and choral, since they are so expensive, one can hire if you can’t afford them.
On the perception by some people that the Iria ceremony is anti-Christian, which conflicts  with Christian beliefs, Owunabo disagreed with the fact that people have no understanding or are misinformed about the ceremony, According to her, there is nothing  fetish about the ceremony. The celebrant accompanied by the women, dances to the admiration of family members, friends and well-wishers. “It is not against my belief as a Christian because there was no ritual, libation or invoking of any diety involved. And at the end, all thanks, glory, honour and adoration is given to God Almighty”.
She added that, “the ceremony has come to stay as long as Bonny Kingdom exists. It is our culture and it is our pride. This culture is one thing that makes us unique and stand out among others, so, it must be sustained. The ceremony is so important that if you don’t perform it in your life time, you will do it in death. Whichever way, you must do it, so it’s better done in life”.
Recounting her ordeal after the ceremony, (though she rested a few days to recover from waist pain resulting from dancing), she narrated that the ceremony was not really stressful because it was properly planned.
“You will be in confinement for about two weeks to one month before the occasion. This confinement period, you are not to do any work. All you do is to eat, sleep enough, so in the evening, the older women will come to teach you the dance steps, so you are supposed to have enough rest so that on the day of your outing, you will look refreshed and full”, she said.

 

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

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Fashion Trends And Prospects In 2021

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There were a lot of hardships in 2020. The fashion industry had its own share of it. In 2021, it is hoped that the fashion industry will grow wiser and more aware of its environmental and social impacts. Businesses spoke against discrimination, designers had pledged to reduce waste and rein in the frequency of their collections. However, consumers on the other hand have warmed up to the idea of resale, “DIY” (Do It Yourself) and in general, buy less, consequently, a leaner and more responsible fashion industry has brought its own set of trends to watch in 2021. These trends include:
. Apparel brands introducing fabrics of silky nature, smooth touch to give consumers the sensory experience they crave.
.Expect to see a shift towards finer fabrics and slimmer fits as well as modified basics like turtle necktee shirts.
.Environmentalism-planet-friendly slogan tees, nature-inspired motifs, brand and product stories with an environmental slant are bound to be on the rise.
. Resale of products will boom in 2021. The wide- spread acceptance of buying secondhand fashion and accessories can be recreated by introducing vintage and pre-owned items to traditional sales floor.
.Colours of 2021 may likely be bright yellow hue and ultimate grey, representing unity, stability and hope.
.Black sleek face masks will rule the fashion world. This will match almost any outfit. Silky fabric for easier breathing will be it, with fancy embellishments to look exceptionally stylish.
. Head scarfs taking inspiration from the 50s and the 60s, this sleek fashion trend is coming back in a big way, from silky design with floral motifs or intricate patterns or bold colours and block letters. This accessory can either be wrapped around the neck or allowed to dangle from the hand bag.
.Yellow bags will take over runways and the streets in 2021. This trend is easy to replicate and it is timeless.
Here in Nigeria, the fashion industry in 2020 experienced a turbulent year but top style influencers, fashion bloggers and celebrities are already setting the pace.A tutu or tulie dress will trend big in Nigeria with a comeback from 2015 and 2019.
Also, bead bags will make a comeback from 2018.

 

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

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Scenes Around Nigerian Women In 2020

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A review of the events of the year 2020 in Nigeria, cannot be complete without remarkable happenings around the women. The Tide’s Women Desk takes a look at scenarios of events involving Nigerian women within the year under review.

Prof (Mrs) Blessing Esuru Ahiauzu was recently on the news for a good reason.This time, she has broken a record as the only person and woman to become a Professor of Library and Information Management in Rivers and Bayelsa States.
Prof (Mrs) Blessing Esuru Ahiauzu, who incidentally is the wife of the former Vice Chancellor of the then Rivers State University of Science and Technology, now Rivers State University,Prof Augustine Ahiauzu, was the lecturer, at the 67th inaugural lecture of the institution.
The distinguished audience at the occasion intermittently applauded and poured encomiums on her for her astuteness and brilliance, and the fact that she is the first Professor of Library and Information Management in the institution, made the honour conferred on her by the university at the event most significant.
No doubt, Prof Blessing Ahiauzu who rose from the ranks as a university Librarian from 1979 to 2017 to get to her current level, could not have achieved this great feat without hard work, humility, dedication and wisdom.
On his part, former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, who congratulated Prof Blessing Ahiauzu on her achievements, emphasised the need for awareness campaign on the importance of Library and Information Management to be taken to the grassroots Generation Equality.
The Government of Nigeria and UN Women launched the Generation Equality campaign in Nigeria. The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, declared the campaign officially launched in the presence of a high-level UN delegation including UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed.

Amina Mohammed
Dignitaries at the launch included the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare; Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas; Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), Ms. Hanna Tetteh; Assistant Administrator, Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa; UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon; Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President, Dr. Otive Igbuzor; British High Commissioner to Nigeria, H.E. Catriona Laing; Australian Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Claire Ireland; Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Carl Michael Grans and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Norway in Nigeria, H.E. Ingrid Skjølaas.
UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Comfort Lamptey introduced the campaign: “The Generation Equality campaign is rooted in a journey that began 25 years ago in Beijing, China when 189 countries gathered to adopt what is considered the most ambitious blueprint for women’s empowerment and gender equality to date – the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, with its 12 critical areas of concern. Today, 25 years later we have a chance to take stock of progress and also to chart a new path forward. It is in doing so that we launch the Generation Equality campaign.”
Women in End SARS campaign
Very fresh in our memories, is a leading role played by Nigerian Women in the recent past #EndSARS movement against police brutality and government violence in Nigeria, specifically seeking to abolish a federal police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. One nascent women’s group in particular, the Feminist Coalition, has used digital platforms to mobilise funds and design strategies to support protesters across Nigeria.
The Feminist Coalition’s work in the #EndSARS movement continues a long history of women leading and supporting political mobilizations across Africa. In July, Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi, both under 30, formed the Feminist Coalition activist group alongside 12 other young women. The group advocates equality for women in Nigeria through a focus on advancing education, financial freedom and representation in public office. Based in Lagos, the group uses online platforms for its work.
The Feminist Coalition gained popularity when it took on a central role in the #EndSARS protests just two months later. It raised and managed funds for the movement, established a legal aid service made up of volunteers, and coordinated help lines to align efforts across the country.

Ndidi Nwosu
Ndidi Nwosu:
March 1, 2020, saw the end of a 40- year old Owerri-born Nigerian female powerlifter and Paralympic champion, Ndidi Nwosu, who became a professional powerlifter in 2008. Ndidi Nwosu won gold in the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016, gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games which took place in Australia, where she sustained an injury that affected her spine and incapacitated her the rest of her life in spite of the series of surgery she had.
She gave up the ghost on March 1, 2020, led to her having different surgeries in Owerri, Imo State Nigeria.
Okonjo – Iweala
10 June – The World Trade Organisation accepts the nomination of two-time Nigerian minister Okonjo-Iweala as its Director-General.The global economy faces profound uncertainties, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, faith in the efficacy of international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been weakened by a power struggle between China and the US.
As the process for appointing a new head of the organisation moves into its final phase, it is hoped that front runner Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala posseses the wherewithal to manage the international organisation, including designing and implementing reforms.
As the first woman and African to head the trade body, Okonjo-Iweala has shattered a couple of ceilings at the same time. She also has a chance to put Africa’s plans to build the world’s biggest free trade area on the top table, pointing to the productive and market opportunities on the continent.

Shafkat Bose Adewoyin
Shafkat Bose adewoyin:
The nation was thrown into a sorrowful mood as the news of the death of a renowned actress, Shafkat Bose Adewoyin, hitted the news wave on June 23, 2020. Shafkat Bose Adewoyin, was a Nigerian Nollywood actress. She was best known for her role as Madam Tinubu in Efunroye Tinubu. Adewoyin played in stage plays like ORÍ (Destiny) and as “Mama Oni” alongside Adebayo Salami in Funke Akindele’s Omo Ghetto.

Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile
Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile:
A notable event in the women circle that can’t be forgotten in a hurry, in the year under review, is the death and burial of a 24- year old Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile, on July 14, 2020.Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile, born December 13, 1995, was not just the youngest female helicopter pilot, she was the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force.
According to Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Ibikunle Daramola, Arotile died on 14 July 2020 as a result of head injuries sustained in a road traffic accident at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna State, when she was inadvertently hit by the vehicle of a former Air Force Secondary School classmate who was trying to greet her.
Arotile was described as courageous, patriotic, nationalist and a role model for Nigerian youth.

 

By:  Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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