SUN Newspaper Award: Why Akeredolu is my number one fan —Ondo First Lady
By: Ade Adeleke
The Ondo State First Lady, Chief (Mrs) Betty ANYANWU AKEREDOLU has expressed appreciation to her Husband, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for standing by her and for being her number one fan in her efforts to impact positively on many girls and women in the state and beyond.
The first lady who was flanked by her Husband and other top government functionaries including the state Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, stated this in her acceptance speech while receiving Sun newspaper Award as the MOST SUPPORTIVE FIRST LADY, 2020 AWARD.
Below is the full text of her speech as obtained by SUNSHINETRUTH;
BEING AN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY, CHIEF BETTY ANYANWU AKEREDOLU ON THE OCCASION OF HER AWARD AS THE MOST SUPPORTIVE FIRST LADY, 2020 BY THE SUN PUBLISHING LIMITED.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to stand before you to humbly accept this award. Special thanks to the Sun Publishing Limited for deeming me worthy of this award among other deserving First Ladies in the Country. I thank you.
In our daily activities, innovations and initiatives to make this country and indeed our world a better place, the real reward and satisfaction lie in the fact that people’s lives are touched positively and that we are leaving the world better than we met it. However, an award such as this is a testimony that the society is also taking note and it is encouraging. After all, our people say that when the woman who made a delicious meal is appreciated, she will be encouraged to make a better one.
Being the First Lady of Ondo State in the past five years has been challenging. It has come with its ups and downs, but it has been a worthwhile experience, a learning curve and platform for service. I have always maintained that the Office of the Wife of the Governor should not be for fanfare, but must be used to compliment the efforts of the Governor. If the Governor as the father of the state is at work, then the Wife of the Governor as the mother must compliment his efforts especially on issues concerning women, girls and the youths in general. It actually takes a woman to truly understand this class of people.
I must, at this juncture, appreciate my darling Husband Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, for being a great husband. He is my number one fan and has been the pillar behind most of my achievements.
He gives me that freedom to operate and is always ready and willing to throw in his support at every point in time. Mr. Governor is a HE for SHE with a difference. I fondly remember my parents, Chief Benson and Mrs. Dora Anyanwu of blessed memory who laid the foundation of whom I have become today.
I deeply appreciate all the personnel attached to my office and everyone who assiduously and unrelentingly work with me to ensure that all these initiatives are fully implemented. No successful individual ever walks or works alone. Some of them are here with me today;
Members of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), an organization I founded 24 years ago to galvanize action against breast cancer in Nigeria.
The Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu Foundation (BAAF) team; young brilliant minds whom I choose to call my Think Tank. Together, we brainstorm and come up with most of the initiatives that have become the hallmark of our time in office.
My BEMORE girls, who will be the faces of Science and Technology in no distant time are represented as well. BEMORE is a project that I conceived as a platform to raise the profile of the girl child by providing her with training in ICT, renewable energy technology and other life enhancing skills. I believe that if we must get the best out of them, we must give them the best. In the past four years we have trained almost 2,000 girls who are scattered all over the place, making very positive impact in their communities. I see this as the best form of investment, we hope to train 2,500 girls by 2023.
My FOWOSO women are here too and these are champions through which we are changing the narrative of women in leadership and also affecting the lives of the vulnerable ones in Ondo state.
In 2020, during the peak of the covid-19 pandemic and the sharing of food palliatives across the country, we came up with the idea of reaching out to the widows who are mostly neglected and marginalized. I wanted to give them a voice and recognition. This birthed the Ondo widows care. A designated website (www.ondowidows.com) was dedicated to capture the data of all widows across the 18 local government areas of the state. It worked. We were able to reach over 20,000 widows. The registration helped us to reach out to them and made sure that they got food palliatives without stress. So if you have any good package for widows in Ondo state, we have their data, we know who they are and where they are. We did this to compliment the efforts of Mr. Governor at ensuring that no one is left behind in his administration. We now have a rich data source, which government can use to plan.
We are also complimenting the efforts of Mr. Governor at providing quality healthcare in Ondo state by coming up with the Solayo initiative, a platform through which we provide pregnancy kits to indigent pregnant mothers across the state. Our Accelerated Birth Registration (ABR+) is also another way we are supporting the Government to capture all births in the state, especially those domiciled in the rural communities.
Our numerous advocacies to end gender based violence in Ondo state have yielded a wonderful result with the signing of the SGBV act into law by Governor Akeredolu. It was a proud day for women in Ondo state as it marked a major victory in our struggle to end all forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the state.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me encourage us all that the task of building a better society is a task for all of us. We must ensure that we work together as partners in progress. The onus lies on us to create the kind of world that we wish to live in and the one we want to bequeath to our children. We do not all have to be in privileged positions or places of authority to make changes. Simple, random, selfless acts of kindness and service to humanity can go a long way.
Thank you all for this honour and for celebrating me.