…As Omu Anioma Thumbs Up For Rivers Women Who Withstood Military Interference During Election
By Patrick Ochei
Women have been identified as useful instruments for the prevention of election violence in the Niger Delta.
This was one of the 10-point recommendations in the communiqué drawn at the end of a one-day roundtable meeting on mobilizing and raising women’s voices against election violence, held on the 21st March, 2019, at the Pearl Hall, the Atrium Event Centre, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
The roundtable meeting was held primarily to discuss and analyse the post 2019 election and particularly, the role of women of Ogu/Bolo, Okrika and Abonnema in Rivers, where they prevented election violence and resisted the hijacking of election materials suspected to be aided by the military in their respective local government areas.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the roundtable meeting and Omu Anioma, HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu has thumbed up for the women of Ogu/Bolo, Okrika and Abonnema of Rivers State, and of course women of Odenwari in Bayelsa State, for mustering the courage to withstand violence in their domains while also resisting the hijacking of election materials by politicians who were allegedly guarded by men in military gears and thereby creating tension and insecurity in the State.
The Omu posited that the confidence exercised by the women in the face of terror is an evidence of leadership and it underscores the need to build the capacity of women to help in preventing election violence in their various communities in future.
However, part of the communiqué was setting up a Committee of women under the leadership of HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu and AA PeaceWorks, to strategically engage traditional rulers and political leaders in all the States to put an end to violence in the Niger Delta region.
While the chief coordinator of the programme, Chief Dr. Judith Burdin Asuni had earlier welcomed participants and spelt out areas of focus of the roundtable; other speakers like Ann Kio Briggs, Hon. Joeba West and Sonia Daniel Sonime were made to dwell on: Organising and mobilizing women against violence, Engaging critical stakeholders – Who, Why, How and When?, Promoting peace; a post election action plan, Strong voice for inclusive governance in a post election setting and Engaging the media on conflict sensitive reporting.
The programme was basically meant to focus on the Rivers State 2019 election experience, organized by AA PeaceWorks and sponsored by the Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND).
The next edition of the roundtable meeting comes up in April and will be funded by the European Union. The focus will be on Women of the Niger Delta and Omu Anioma has again been asked to be the Chairman.