BENIN CITY – Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State yesterday brought smiles to the faces of 846 widows in the state with an empowerment programme worth millions of naira, saying poverty is no excuse to sell Permanent Voter Cards.
Speaking at the ceremony in Government House, Benin City, Oshiomhole said, “Edo State Government believes that the best way to support widows is to empower them. First is to get yourselves busy and possibly to even employ one or other persons to help you to run a micro business courtesy of this programme.
“I have no doubt that the beneficiaries will put these machines to good use because the Edo woman is known in history to be resourceful, hardworking, creative and absolutely trustworthy. These facilities are grants to the beneficiary, they are not loans to be repaid because we believe that by putting these equipment to good use, helping to support your families and your children, you are contributing to helping to address part of the social challenges in our society and therefore whatever profit you make, rather than refund to government, we expect you to use such profits to buy from one sewing machine to another so you can end up owning a number of sewing machines”, he said.
Oshiomhole added, “I believe by the special grace of God, this empowerment programme will really empower many of you and change your condition and empower you to look not only after your immediate family but also contribute to the development of your various localities where you live.
He said: “Let me lend my voice to appeal to you as women, given the fact of poverty should not be an excuse for you to succumb to the pressure of anti-democratic forces that are manipulating the poor to sell their voters card so that they can disenfranchise the poor. They are afraid of that weapon called the permanent voters card because it empower you to hire and fire those in authority.
He advised them, “You must never be tempted even when you are hungry to sell it because one meal won’t satisfy you for one year. This country will not witness prosperity if we do not have responsible people in government and you are not going to have responsible people in government if those in government do not have the fear of the electorate.”
According to him, “we will continue to identify with the forgotten majority in our society. This government is a people government, it is about the people and we are here only because you are there. This is a government that is in power not because of men of so-called money and power but because very ordinary people identified with us
“I assure you that this is not the end of our support programme. We will from time to time, identify various groups who need support and provide the support. In the next phase, I will encourage various agencies of government that are dealing with poverty related issues to look beyond the category that we generally refer to as widows because there are other rural people and even urban women though not widowed but are also facing serious challenges that they will need the support of government”, he said.”
Speaking Earlier, Wife of the State Deputy Governor, Deaconess Endurance Odubu thanked the State Governor for his thoughtfulness towards the wellbeing of widows in the state by empowering them. According to her, the gesture will go a long way in alleviating the economic plights of widows in the state.
Deaconess Odubu used the opportunity to encourage the women to put into best use the empowerment materials given them to make a better living for themselves, while urging them to continue to support the administration of Governor Oshiomhole by voting for all APC candidates in the forthcoming elections.
In an address, Executive Director, Office of the First Lady, Haija Maimuna Momodu said that about 850 widows are expected to benefit from this year’s edition of the empowerment programme.
Hajia Momodu while commending the Comrade Governor for empowering the widows urged the them to use their voting power to install a government that will care for them and the nation advising them to collect their PVC’s and use their voting right wisely as this is their part in creating a greater future for the nation.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Esther Amunegor thanked the governor for the gesture saying it will go a long way in ameliorating the hardship of the widows.
She assured that they will continue to support the government of the Comrade Governor to achieve the best for the state.
The items distributed to the eight hundred and forty six women included 270 sewing machines, 216 hair dryers and 360 grinding machines. Each of them was also given the sum of N10,000.

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