Thursday, 14 August 2014

Mrs. Akpabio’s ‘Baby Factory’ Campaign: Where are our LG First Ladies?   BY TONY ESIN

Mrs. Akpabio’s ‘Baby Factory’ Campaign: Where are our LG First Ladies?   BY TONY ESINMrs. Akpabio’s ‘Baby Factory’ Campaign: Where are our LG First Ladies?   BY TONY ESIN
Precept is good but it is generally held that examples are better especially when it comes to leadership. This informs why it is often said that a good leader shows good example. That in other words means that as a leader, one does not need to only teach in principles but take some time to do what one expects his or her subordinates to do. 

However, it is counter-productive and indeed waste of time and resources when leaders provide practical directives with the hope that their followers would emulate them, only for the followers to abdicate from their expected responsibilities at the end. Such a situation most times would irritate the superiors who, consequently, may be compelled to take punitive actions against the subordinates especially if it had been a repeated trend or when the subordinates seem to not care for remorse over their actions.

Hence, just as it is expected of the wives of state governors to take a cue from the policies and programmes of the president’s wife, it behooves wives of local government chairmen who are the First Ladies of their respective council areas to take after the wife of the governor in ensuring they implement programmes capable of touching positively the lives of the widows, vulnerable women and children in their domains. 

Yet, it is unfortunate that a number of local government chairmen’s wives in Akwa Ibom State do not consider this a priority. It is no longer news that many wives of local government chairmen in Akwa Ibom State are detached from their people in the same manner as their husbands; they live in the state capital and other major cities alongside their spouses instead of their local communities. This raises the question as to whether the state-of-the-art residential quarters called Security Villages graciously built by the current administration of Chief (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio in the 31 local government areas which are currently virtually deserted by the local government officials were built merely for formality.

During her ongoing tour of churches for sensitization of women and teenage girls against child traficking and indulgence in baby factory ‘business’ that has suddenly crept into the state, the wife of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mrs. Ekaette Unoma Akpabio expressed dismay over this untoward attitude by some wives of local government chairmen who have abandoned the rural women whom they had wooed to vote for their husbands during the elections. The First Lady who apparently felt disappointed as she could not personally go round all the local communities in the state frowned at this dereliction of social responsibility by the wives of local government helmsmen and admonished them to return home and help spread the information to the women and female children in their areas.

As observed by the governor’s wife, the main essence of the existence of the local government is to ensure people at the grass root feel the presence of the government and equally enjoy the benefits enjoyed by other citizens living in towns and cities. As a matter of fact, wives of serving members of the State Executive Council, local government chairmen, councilors and female council helmsmen who attended the 50th birthday thanksgiving service of Bar. Emmanuel Enoidem, held recently at Power City International, Uyo may not have gone back with just reflection of the usual stylish preaching of Pastor Abel Damina that held the congregation spellbound but also with some thoughts arising from the note of advice from the First Lady, Mrs. Unoma Akpabio, challenging them to go home and commence the campaign to eradicate child theft and baby factory business in their respective domains. Mrs. Akpabio used the occasion to caution parents against handing over their female children to operators of baby factory for any amount of financial gratification, revealing that about 30 persons were so far apprehended in the state in connection with the crime.

It is so shocking that, according to the governor’s wife, investigation reveals that apart from those teenage girls who are lured into the business by their abductors, some gullible parents give consent for their female children to be taken away by the operators of the business for a monthly pay arrangement. The girls are put into family way by a young man hired by the factory operators. The babies given birth to by the girls are sold between five hundred thousand naira and three hundred thousand naira, depending on the gender and the parents or guardians may only be receiving just a meager sum as recompense.

Therefore, it is high time our local government chairmen’s wives heeded this call by our amiable First Lady, Mrs. Unoma Akpabio. They have a task to sensitize their constituents against this barbaric and immoral act as the teenage girls in rural communities are odds on to be the most victims of this colossal societal menace due to lack of exposure.

Besides preaching against the social vices such as this, the wives of local government chairmen should also endeavour to empower the less-privileged women in their localities as poverty may also contribute to this illicit venture. Her Excellency, Mrs. Unoma Akpabio has in the past seven years shown good example in this regard through her Family Life Enhancement Initiative programme and numerous other brisk donations and empowerments for women at different fora. 

So, while the governor’s wife deserves a pat on the back for leading by example, and should be encouraged to do more, it is necessary for wives of local government chairmen to borrow a leaf from her in order to better the lots of the numerous impoverished women and girl children in the rural communities.

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