By Patrick Ochei
The highly cerebral mother of Anioma Nation and culture colossus, HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu (Omu Okpanam/Omu Anioma/Nneoha) has called for a conference with a focus on inter-generational mentoring to address issues of Anioma women, especially for those with interest in politics.
She made this call while responding to the award of 2023 Global Icon Of African Cultural Heritage, bestowed on her by the African Living Legend Award Committee from the African Diaspora in Germany, which was inspired by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/16.
Omu Dunkwu said it was time to begin a process to deeply get the Anioma woman involved in politics through mentoring, underscoring the fact that women hardly support their own, especially in political contests.
She said rather than becoming deciders in politics, women usually take the back stage by being the dancing members, singing members, food and drinks serving members and voting members; but when it comes to occupying positions of authority, they are sidelined.
In a definitive tone, the no nonsense Omu Anioma said it must stop, positing that it’s time for women to have their freedom by taking their destiny in their hands through educating the Girl-Child and training the woman to know her rights and pursue her purpose on earth with vigour.
According to Omu Dunkwu, “I have done my part, I have fought a good fight since I was a child. I was born by poor parents but was determined to lift my family above poverty. That singular decision made me decide not to marry, but to see my lineage of the Dunkwu dynasty lifted above poverty. I achieved my dream because at 24, I built my father a house and trained my younger ones who are today doing well across the globe.
“The Nigerian male leadership has failed colossally; they have shown incompetence and lack of transparency to take us out of the woods. The woman is also complicit for not being able to adequately play her role all these years as a support system to the man. It’s the woman who of course trained the male child who has become a truant to the family and society at large.
“We must correct all of these to bring back our value system and culture of honesty. The women must go back to the drawing board to address all these issues militating against the production of competent leadership at the family, community and national levels, being the result of poor handling of the training of both the male and female children. Because the future of humanity is in the hands of women, they must do everything Godly and humanly possible to inculcate sound societal values in the children.
“On this note, I want those Anioma women who are currently in politics to do us proud by taking the initiative to mentor other women who will come after them in leadership. With due respect to Chief Nkem Okwuofu, Chief Theodora Giwa-Amu and Chief Barr. Mrs. Josephine Ada Kachikwu, they have done well in politics and family life. They are already at the peak of their political pursuit and those who must take their positions must strive to outdo their achievements.
“We currently have four women in strategic political positions doing us proud in the State. The Hon. Bridget Anyafulu representing Oshimili South Constituency in Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Marilyn Okowa-Daramola representing Ika North East Constituency, Rt. Hon. Joan Onyemaechi (Ada Anioma) as Commissioner for Technical Education and Hon. Barr. Princess Pat Ajudua as Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development must galvanise our young girls and women to a conference where we all must begin to mentor them on the art of leadership and fulfilling their purpose as women.
“This is a task that must be realised, because if we did all the activities in politics and leave the stage without someone taking after us, then we must have wasted our time and opportunity given us by God. That is why, having done all that I did in the past four decades trying to bring renaissance to our culture and promote the Anioma Identity, I have decided to set up the Obi Martha Dunkwu Foundation for the education and empowerment of the Anioma Indigent Girl-Child; and in addition, I also set up the Centre for Omuship and Women Development Initiative for the study of Omu Institution and advancement of Anioma women. There must be something to live for and a legacy to leave behind”, Omu Anioma affirmed.
In their separate goodwill messages, some attendee women eulogized the Omu Anioma, describing her as the best to have happened to Anioma and humanity in general.
Hon. (Barr) Bridget Anyafulu, member representing Oshimili South Constituency in Delta State House of Assembly, said, Omu Dunkwu is an advocate of responsible parenting and proper motherhood, commending her for the active roles she is playing in ensuring that the Girl-Child is better weaned and informed of her rights.
“As those in politics, we have taken all that you have said, and we must do everything possible to advance your dream to fruition”, Anyafulu promised.
On her part, Hon. (Barr) Princess Pat Ajudua, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, described Omu Dunkwu as a crusader for social justice, maintaining that she has been known over the years as a fighter for the less privileged.
She added, “No one can resist something good, I am not surprised that even from the Diaspora, the calling and the performances of Omu Dunkwu are visible for them to see and appreciate”.
In her modest analysis of the event, Chief (Barr) Mrs. Josephine Ada Kachikwu, former Chairman, Delta State House of Assembly Service Commission and currently, member of the Delta State Advisory Council, affirmed that in her over forty years of knowing Obi Martha Dunkwu, she has not changed in her resilience and drive to infuse positive values into any system she is associated with, be it media, business, humanitarian services, culture and other areas of human endeavour.
For Hon. Chief Theodora Giwa-Amu who was eminently represented by a member of the Otu Odu-Ahaba, Omu Dunkwu has done so much for the women singlehandedly, much more than what those that had found themselves in politics had done since the inception of democracy. “She is indeed an icon, recognised all over Africa and beyond, because of her sincere activities in promoting our culture and propagating value based leadership”, she added.
However on behalf of the Omus, HRH Omu Onyebuchibe Okonkwo, Omu of Obior declared that they have found a mother in Omu Anioma, saying that they are profoundly proud of her. She prayed God to give her long life to continue to mentor them in line with the laid down rules of the Anioma forebears.