Liberian President, Sirleaf tasks African women on political heights

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. PHOTO: Utomi Ekpei, AFP

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President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has urged African women to overcome the challenges of education and attain heights reached by their male counterparts.

She said the African woman must rise above unnecessary cultural walls, be courageous, take the right decisions, stay sway from criticisms; have conviction and confidence; and share values and experience even as they remain focused in achieving what they desire.

Sirleaf, who was accompanied by some of her ministers and government officials, made the assertion yesterday at Imo International Conference Centre (IICC), Owerri, during her presentation on Women in Politics and interaction with students of the Rochas Foundation College.

The Liberian leader, who disclosed that she married early, has 10 grand children, had no barriers in achieving her political heights, said proper education was the stepping stone to overcoming poverty and hunger.

Governor Rochas Okorocha named the Orlu-Onitsha Road after her, while a bronze statue was unveiled in honour of the first female African President, and was conferred with the Grand Chancellor of Imo Award.

She was also conferred with the title of Ada Di Ora Nma of Imo State (Good daughter of all of Imo State, by the chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Sam Ohiri, when she arrived on Thursday at Ohiri’s palace in Owerri.

“Women who make progress work harder with determination, commitment and zeal to stand fast at all times. As I prepare to leave office in a few months time, I am proud in my leadership of my country, with the aspiration and expectation of women in my continent; that women can do what a man can do and say much better.

“To get there, we have to work for it across seas, countries,” she said.

She argued that any aspiring woman political leader must have access to finance; factors of production; professional advice and supports from well meaning persons.

She advocated for global gender parity as a way forward for women, noting that more barriers of backwardness due social, cultural, economic and political constraints must be taken away.

Sirleaf added that the contributions Nigeria made for Liberia between 1989 and 2009 during civil strife in her country were very significant.

She noted that former President Olusegun Obasanjo wass the Board of Trustees Chairman of the Rochas Foundation College of Africa.

Speaking, Okorocha said the college started about 20 years ago, adding: “What I do today is not a dramatization of affluence, as I am not among the richest in Africa, Rochas Foundation is a dramatization of sacrifice. This may as well be the Africa we are looking for.

“I do know that this institution will grow beyond me and my generation. This may be the beginning of the unity we all crave for in Africa. These children now see themselves as one family.”



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