Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan has urged mothers to play key roles and pay more attention to the training and education of their children, as a means of repositioning the nation for greatness with skillful and responsible citizens.
She highlighted the importance of family values, noting that proper upbringing and training of citizens will help the nation build a sustainable economic and social power.
The former First Lady who stated this in her keynote address delivered at a virtual conference on Ijaw Nation development organized by the Ijaw Nation Development Group (INDG) and the Ijaw Women Connect Worldwide (iwc), also encouraged women to get involved in politics and contribute to decisions that affect their families and communities.
Mrs. Jonathan said: “First, we need to focus on training and education… The more educated we are, the better for us in building economic and social power that will help us as a people. We need to ensure that more Ijaw boys and girls are educated. This is key to building a better Ijaw nation.
“We have to encourage those Ijaw children who are skillful with different talents and passion, to take advantage of any government or private sector program for skills acquisition. They can learn to become carpenters, fashion designers, hairdressers, mechanics, and so on.
“As this seed of self-development is being planted and nurtured, by all of us, in the coming years, I hope that we will not leave any Ijaw man, woman, or child behind.”
Making a case for strong family values, Mrs. Jonathan further said: “At the family level, as mothers, we must dedicate our time to bringing up our children to understand our culture, moral values, and ethics. Let me state here that I believe strongly that our men must play their fatherly role in the upbringing of our children at all times.
“This will help sustain and even improve family values, culture, and moral ethics which are key virtues to building a good character in any society.
As mothers, I know that some of us have challenges in our homes, businesses, or places of work.”
She further described women as change agents and bridge builders, who should bear the responsibility to assist one another to bring peace and sanity back to the family unit.
“It is very important that as mothers, we contribute to bringing peace to the Ijaw nation, our region, and our country. This is because, where there is no peace, there is no development.
“We owe the Ijaw nation a responsibility to speak to our husbands, brothers, and sons to always embrace peace if there is conflict or disagreement.
“As mothers, we can deploy motherly emotion to appeal to our children to shun violence and as wives, we can use our bedroom voice to convince our husbands to embrace dialogue instead of violence.”
The former First lady also underscored the need for women’s involvement in politics, stressing that they should have the opportunity to make valuable contributions to governance decisions that affect their families, communities, and nation.
The former First Lady further said: “When I was the First lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I began my advocacy for an increase in women participation in politics, leadership positions, and decision-making processes. I knew at that time that we had to participate and contribute to decisions that affect us at all levels of government, from the local government to the national level.
“I still believe that this is very important so that we can attract developmental programs to our women in the grassroots. As mothers, we have to ensure that our leaders at all levels of government, irrespective of the political party and the private sector will buy into this vision for the development in the Ijaw nation.”