Recently, the wife of the Adamawa State Governor, Dr Zainab Nyako stoked passion when her pet project, Women Education and Empowerment Initiative (WEEIN) organised a two-day capacity building workshop in Yola for women. MOHAMMED ISMAIL writes that the occasion as instructive as it were, highlights the willingness of the female folk to actively participate in political and economic mobilisation.
From a distance, one could easily mistaken the gathering for a carnival of sorts, because the atmosphere was animated by a colorful rendition of local musical interlude and the enthusiasm displayed by participants, mostly women dressed in their best attires, who came from all the 21 local governments of the state defying the harsh and hazy harmattan weather to arrive the venue of the event before most of the organizers.
But the occasion was actually another attempt by the Women Education and Empowerment Initiative (WEEIN), a pet project of the state's first lady, Dr.Zainab Murtala Nyako, in collaborative synergy with the Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress and the Ministry of Local Government Affairs to organize a 2 day Capacity Building Training Workshop for 250 women on milk production as a precursor to exploit milk and create job opportunities for women in the state.
The workshop was a follow up on a previous one convened by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council where it was observed that if the opportunities that abound in the milk subsector were exploited, the sector is capable of providing job opportunities to the teeming women population in the state.
The workshop seeks to train women on the rudimentaries of processing dairy products as an alternative means of fighting the debilitating scourge of poverty and its concomitant effects on the society through training and retraining of participants and the provision of soft loans after the training for the successful take off of these businesses.
The intention of the organizers of the event to reach the targeted women groups was underscored by the choice of the venue of the programme, Njoboliyo a rustic pastoralist settlement in Yola South Local government Area.
The Deputy Director of Borno Coalition for Democracy, Professor Umar Pate, said that his organization is poised to contribute its quota to eradicate poverty in line with the Millennium Development Goals, hence, it entered into synergy with different organizations to achieve this objective.
He said women empowerment is in tandem with the policy goals of the MDG which also focuses its actions on activities that empowers women in one way or the other.
The professor acknowledged the efforts of Dr. Zainab Nyako for the role she has so far played to empow women which informed his group's resolve to synergize with her NGO for the improvement of the women folk in the state.
The state coordinator of the National Directorate of Employment, Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, in his remarks acknowledged that the task of creating jobs is usually a daunting one and cannot be undertaken by only one organization. Abubakar said he believes that with people like Dr. Zainab whose agenda is to provide job opportunities in the state, his work will not be as daunting as he had envisaged.
"I was in tune with the activities of the present government in the area of job creation due to the surfeit of positive reports I read in the newspapers about the giant strides Governor Nyako is making in creating opportunity windows for the unemployed through the Skills Acquisition Centers, Local Apprenticeship (LAS) and the SA programmes he embarked upon in the state," Aliyu said.
He similarly thanked Dr. Zainab Nyako for aiding his work through her multifarious approaches to job creation in the state which he said has significantly impacted on people's lives. "With people like her Excellency on my side, I will not suffer finding collaborators and partners to achieve my goals in Adamawa state," he said.
The coordinator of Fadama III office in the state, Mallam Kabiru Mayo, said Dr. Zainab Nyako was a forerunner among first ladies to register support for his organization nationwide. He thanked governor Nyako for his consistency in availing his counterpart funding which is responsible for the success of his office in the state.
He urged Local Government Chairmen to emulate him for optimum results in the state. Dr. Zainab Nyako said she is confident that multitude, of job opportunities will be created if the diary subsector is well harnessed in the state because the subsector has the potentials to ginger a lot of economic activities.
Dr. Zainab also thanked Professor Umar Pate, the Ministry of Local Government Affairs and other stakeholders for their support of her activities. She said her concern over the plight of women was her motivating factor to exploit every available opportunity to empower them. She promised to provide soft loans for the participants to enhance the capacity utilization of the skills they acquired during the training workshop.
Dr. Zainab said the use of local resources has proved the best means of fighting poverty over the years which informed her mission to look inwards to identify local raw materials that can be exploited to fight poverty and dairy products presented itself as the magical resource, she said.
"My concern was that despite the availability of different local resources which other nations have used to empower their people, our women are still wallowing in abject poverty; that informed my resolve to resort to the use of local materials to fight poverty and I felt that we must fight this cankerworm with every weapon we have at our disposal until poverty is completely eradicated in our state", Dr Zainab added.
She said the participants will be taught how to produce about five products using milk and they will be the better for it because a gallon of milk is by far expensive than petrol but because people doesn't know the benefits they prefer to deal with petrol at the expense of local resources which may yield more dividends to them. The permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs in the State, Hajiya Maisaratu Bello, eulogized Dr. Zainab Nyako for her vision to empower the women in multifarious ways.