It was an evening of sober reflection at the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium, Calabar as Cross River women mourn Late Senator Rose Oko who died at UK after battling an undisclosed illness.
The Chairman of Cross River Women Organisation, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo described Late Rose Oko as a rare gem that would never be forgotten, urging other women to venture into leadership positions as the demographics in the world has changed.
In her words: “Women in Cross River State pursued today’s agenda, these women decided it was important to eulogise one of their own. We thought and accepted and decided to work together to give honour to the first president of the Cross River State Women Association as it is presently constituted”.
“We are very pleased to say that its present constitution is one that is deep and embracing of diversity and one that is also embracing of its complexities. We are not going to discriminate people on grounds of indigenes or whatever, if you are a wife or a woman in Cross River State, you are welcome to be part of us”.
“The demographics has changed, in many countries of the world, we are beginning to see more women than men in leadership because of the demography”.
“All over the world, the pandemic has exposed the unique capacity of women to lead countries. The country that have done best under COVID-19 are the women led countries”.
Also speaking during the event, Florence Ita Giwa, who was the Senator for the Cross River South Senatorial District noted that her demise has left a big vacuum in the state and prayed for the peaceful repose of the deceased soul while asking God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
In her words: “The person of Late Senator Rose Okoji Oko has created a vacuum that would be difficult to filled. Her emergence on the political scene in Cross River State gave me lots of joy and hope as I was assured that the future of female participation in the politics of Cross River State was guaranteed”.
“Senator Rose Oko was an accomplished woman, yet incredibly humble. Her passion for public service gave her series of appointments at both the states and at the federal level and her diligence earned her an appointment to the high office of commissioner in INEC”.
“It is so sad that Nigerian women are being used and dumped. They bring us out and give us two wrappers and hair tie and you sing choruses for them. At the end of the election, that is all. You might not even see the person that you voted for again. As small as a councilor, you may not have access to the councilor’s gate after singing choruses and dancing”.
“I would like to correct the impression that Ita Giwa does not support affirmative action. I support affirmative action with amendment, that is on the issue of appointments. It should not even be 35%, it should be 50% because we do all the work”.
“Even at this age of 74, if you dare me I will tell you “let’s meet in the field” and I will trash you in the field because I have been working”.
“Please don’t allow yourself to be intimidated, many years ago, one of the top women of this state looked at me in Abuja and said “You remind me of a bull”. I know that I don’t look like a bull, why I reminded her of a bull is because I am pushing in. I must push, immediately you push that door, I must push myself in there, come and take me out if you can”.
“Today we are happy for Rose, she is the second person after me that has been in the 3rd chamber and she did very well. To her family, please stay strong, you had a great lady. And to Cross River women, stay united, stay strong”.
Highlights of the event includes song by the catholic choir, Bible reading, Tributes to Late Rose Oko and lots more.
Special Recognition: Chairman of the Cross River Women Organization, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo
Former Senator representing the Cross River South Senatorial District, Senator Florence Ita Giwa
The Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Mrs Tina Agbor Banku
The Cross River State Commissioner For Women Affairs, Hon. Rita Agbo Ayim
The Vice Chairman of Bekwarra LGA, Mrs Linda
The Senior Special Assistant to Sir Ben Ayade on Electronic Media, Mrs Imani Odey
And other distinguished personalities
See photos below