By Sunday Oyinloye
It was a happy moment for women, youth and the physically challenged in Nasarawa State, Nigeria, when last week the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) commissioned Inclusive Representation Resource Centre at the Karshi Development Area Council, Uke. The project is funded by German government.
The centre which is a pilot project in Nigeria was facilitated by the International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH) Development Initiative for African Women (DIFAW) and Osasu Show Foundation. It is to serve as a platform for women, young people and persons with disabilities seeking electoral positions in the country, a melting pot where people can meet, plan, innovate, build confidence and interact on best practices to be able to engage in the nation’s political space. It is also a centre where they can improve on their chosen vocations.
Commissioning the centre, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Paullen Tallen commended the German government and the European Centre for Electoral Support for believing in Nigeria and building the capacity of her people for stronger political process. The minister was particularly happy that the focus of the centre is on women, youth and the physically challenged stressing that she would continue to give her best to any course that promotes the interest of the women.
“I am happy because this project focuses on women, the physically challenged and the youth, I am also happy because it in an inclusive centre and not an exclusive centre which means, it is for everybody.” She said
Paullen also commended Nigerian organisations that facilitated the centre advising them to maintain their good works.
The representative of ECES, Dominique Weerts in his remarks at the commissioning ceremony which attracted women, youth and the physically challenged, disclosed that the centre is a pilot scheme. He revealed that European Centre for Electoral Support intends to have a network of inclusive centres in Nigeria. This he however said will depend on positive reports from the pilot project in Uke. He also commended the people of Uke for their enthusiasm towards the project adding that the engineer that renovated the centre did a good job.
Also in his remarks, the Yakanajie of Uke, Alhaji Ahmed Abdullahi who traced the origin of his domain commended the sponsors of the cenre, Executive Director of ISMPH, Moji Makanjuola, President of DIFAW , Dr. Chidinma Uwajumogu and the Initiator of Osasu Show, Osasu Igbinedion for facilitating the centre.
The traditional ruler said the Inclusive Centre would no doubt empower and build the capacity of not only people from Karshi Development Area Council but Nasarawa people as well as Nigerians in general. The same was reechoed by the Overseer of Karshi Area Council who commended Moji Makanjuola for leading others to attract the centre to the area.
The Executive Director of ISMPH, Moji Makanjuola in her own remarks commended the German government and the European Centre for Electoral Support for bringing the centre to Nigeria. She promised that accountability, due process and diligence would be embraced in the operations of the centre and challenged women, youth and the physically challenged to take full advantage of the centre to empower themselves, so that they could participate more in the political space and be financially independent.
The veteran Journalist also advised Nigerians not to see themselves from the perspectives of their tribe and religion. Her words: “We should see ourselves as Nigerians first before we think about our tribe and religion. We cannot afford to compromise on the unity of this nation. Nigeria is a great country, we should all work together as a team and one big family to make it greater”
The Executive Director commended the Minister of Women Affairs, Paullen Tallen for always defending the rights of women and for promoting their interests. She also commended the Yakanajie of Uke for his efforts at attracting development to his area.
The President of DIFAW, Chidinma Uwajumogu in her remarks stressed the importance of the centre to the overall development of women, youths and the physically challenged emphasizing that it is in their interest and that of the country in general to make the maximum use of the Centre. She commended German government and ECES for bringing the Inclusive Centre to Nigeria.
Speaking specifically about DIFAW,Chidinma said “ We are training women to turn waste to wealth. When women build themselves, they will be able to participate well in politics without being induced in the political process”
Veronica Ogbole who was appointed the officer in charge of the Centre pledged to work in a transparent manner in the interest of women, youth and the physically challenged that the centre is meant to serve.
One of those who attended the commissioning ceremony, Mrs. Jumai Abdullahi commended German government, ECES and Nigerian organisations that facilitated the centre to Nasarawa State. She observed that it would go a long way in empowering women, youth and the physically challenged persons.
With the intention of the sponsors to give voice and opportunities to women, youth and the physically challenged, it is now let for Nigerians to ensure that they run and get positive results from the centre so that it can be replicated in more states in the country