IGBO WOMEN’S WORLD CONFERENCE, 2009
The first Igbo Women’s World Conference took place in Aba, from 5th – 7th May, 2009. The conference was hosted by the Abia State government. In his welcome Speech, the Abia State governor, Chief Theodore Orji advised the women to be the conscience of the nation and of the Igbo world in particular.
In her own address, the Special Guest of Honour, the Wife of the then Vice President (now President and Commander in Chief), Dame Goodluck Jonathan, praised the women for getting themselves together to have a world conference. She praised the Chairperson of the Conference Planning Committee, Professor Catherine Acholonu, for her foresight and perseverance in organizing the women. The wives of the governors of four states of the South-East were all present and gave their support and encouragement to the conference organizers (Imo governor’s wife was represented).
The Chairmen of the occasion, Ambassador Raph Uwaechue, President of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo was full of praises for the Conference Planning Committee led by Professor Catherine Acholonu. He thanked the wife of the Abia State Governor and her husband for hosting the women’s world conference and especially for making a uniform wrapper for them. In his remark, the Chairperson of the Festival of Igbo Civilization, Professor T.U. Nwala advised the women to assist the men in the task of nation-building. He gave the history of the First Festival of Igbo Civilization of which the Conference was part.
The Chairperson of the Conference Planning Committee, Professor Catherine Acholonu gave what served as the Keynote, reiterating the main thrust of the Lecture given by Professor Chinua Achebe at the 2009 Ahiajoku Lecture. She said Acbebe’s lecture set the pace for the Women’s Conference theme which was “Nneka – Mother is Supreme”.
Speeches were presented by over 30 intellectuals from several disciplines including USA-based German researcher Sabine Jell-Bahlsen who spoke on the dwindling respect of Igbo Women Priestesses.
The conference ended with a visit to the Ikwuano grave of the leader of the Aba Women’s War of 1929, led by Professor Catherine Acholonu and a representative of the wife of the State Governor.