By Professor Anya O. Anya, FAS, OFR, NNOM on November, 25 2014
The idea of setting apart the 25th November of each year for the celebration of our womenfolk was borne out of the history of the Abiriba people. Three times in our history, it was the women acting together in unity and in a spirit of creative protest, who brought the kingdom back from the precipice of impending disaster to the path of responsible leadership. We salute the prowess and patriotic zeal for peace and development of our women.
What is, however, new is His Majesty’s exercise of his royal prerogative to honour outstanding women of achievement in Abiriba, and beyond in Igbo land and in the wider Nigerian environment. These outstanding women have made exceptional contributions in education, in the judiciary, in the military, in the social services and in the Nigerian economy. We salute them not only because they have been great achievers. But in doing so, they have brought their feminine best into the mix.
They have in the process been outstanding role models, pathfinders and builders – in the family, in the community and in the wider Nigerian national space. In honouring them, the Abiriba Kingdom is once more pointing the way to the future – the indispensability of our women folk as outstanding leaders in the development of the society. What is more, we are benchmarking a global trend – the recognition and induction of women into the difficult and challenging business of leadership.
We also deign to underscore the recognition that a society that ignores the potential contributions of half of its population in the management of society and institutions that are essential to the orderly functioning of the society cannot make progress. It also serves to etch in our memory and thus remind ourselves that Abiriba is an achievement – oriented society – in whatever sphere from whatever quarter that one demonstrates excellence and achievement, the society will recognize and applaud.
That is why in times past, the kingdom has been the beacon of progressive development which earned it the acronym “Small London” bestowed on her by no less a personage than the founder of the Nigerian nation, the Rt. Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in 1945 at Amaukwu Square, Abiriba. He too was an outstanding lover and encourager of women and led the way in giving responsibility to outstanding women. By the same token, His Majesty Eze Kalu Kalu Ogbu IV, The Enachioken of Abiriba in these recognitions is emphasizing that in the new renaissance of the Abiriba Kingdom, our women folk will be our ambassadors within and beyond the Nigerian nation as the lodestars of the new Nigerian nation anchored on equity, justice and the provenance of equal opportunities for all her citizens.
We welcome all who have come to celebrate this epoch-making event with us. Through the grace of God, you are all witnesses to the inauguration of a new era in our kingdom, in Igbo land and in the wider Nigerian society. These are difficult and challenging times, but we are gathered here to reaffirm the creative potential of our women as leaders to steer us firmly in the direction of responsibility in nation building and exemplary commitment to what is good and enduring in our values and goals.
Once more, we send our congratulations to the Enachioken, to these outstanding role models of a new era and to the Abiriba community. We invite all our compatriots to join us in the onerous task of rebuilding and reconstruction of our society in the pursuit of a new future of peace, unity and responsible leadership.
Professor Anya O. Anya, FAS, OFR, NNOM
The Odu Ena b’Udemba of Abiriba Enachioken.
25th November, 2014.