Everybody has been sufficiently mobilized for this year’s August Meeting. Thanks to the involvement of the governor’s wife and the unusual orchestration of the event by the state’s radio and TV stations.
For being such a fantastic occasion for fellowship amongst our womenfolk, we join in warmly welcoming all attendees and wishing them fruitful deliberations. It is worth shouting Hallelujah that people are alive to witness yet another women’s home-coming. We thank God for it.
It all began as a non-governmental, self-help Initiative, deriving inspiration from the remotest villages. This is very significant. It has developed rapidly into a big movement. By this movement, the high and low, the educated and the un-educated can meet, feel one another’s pulse and join forces to do projects in love and harmony. Sometimes it has helped to settle bloody disputes and in imposing community peace and discipline.
But these lofty ideals have, of late, been in danger of being eclipsed by politics of divide and rule. The party in power is using it to woo supporters and members, deviating from its originally noble aims. And this makes a lot of women who do not play politics stay away.
We call for de-politicization of the women’s August meeting in future in order to attract the women on the ringsides. Let it just be an event where all women can inter-act freely, have a sense of community and be updated about their needs and roles as women, the good of their families and the needs of their communities and the society at large.
There, they can make new friends, have fun, learn to work together, exchange ideas and experiences. They can get filled with positive inspiration and motivation to collaborate and advance the search for a good society. The influence of an inclusive, large body of women statewide can be profound, if well-channelled.
The agenda for each year’s August Meeting must be widely discussed, accepted and articulated well in advance. This should never be government business, whereby it takes over the movement for selfish political agenda. If the government must be interested, it ought to set up an independent Agency, in collaboration with universities, churches and cultural communities to run the movement as a democratic, result-oriented, all-embracing, politically non-partisan institution. We feel that government must purge itself of the urge and tendency to use the August Meeting as political campaign fora. The intellectual base of the August Meeting must also be widened and strengthened.
The August Meeting is serious enough to warrant this central state agency, housed in a prestigious, befitting secretariat in Owerri that will put more organizational verve into the movement. That’s one of the ways the value of the August Meeting will be realized in full. The government has much to gain in this.