President Sirleaf Extols Governor Okorochas, People of Imo State for Honoring her; Receives Imo State Merit Award; Challenges Imo Women to Rise Up

Sunday, 12th November 2017

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Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has extolled Executive Governor and people of Imo State in Nigeria, Rochas Anayo Okorochas for the honor bestowed on her by erecting a huge statue in her honor. She also received Imo State Merit Award, the highest honor conferred on leaders who have made significant impact in Africa and the world with determination and commitment to service and unveiling of a road named after her something she said was the best she has ever seen given her travel around the globe.

 “Let me on behalf of the government and the good people of Liberia the women of Liberia, the women of Africa and in my own name expressed my profound thanks and appreciation to you, Governor Okorochas, your family and the great people of Imo state for bestowing on me these great honors and the kind words and warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful city of Owerri” President Sirleaf noted.

According to a dispatch from Owerri, Imo State President Sirleaf made the statement on Friday, November 9, 2017 at the Ikemba Ojukwu Square in Owerri, the state capital, when a huge statue erected in her honor was unveiled amid hundreds of dignitaries, including senior Nigerian Government officials, Traditional chiefs, women, citizens among others were in attendance to grace the occasion.  President Sirleaf is confident that the erection of a statue in her honor will inspire young girls and women in the continent to reach their full potentials and dreams.

Speaking further President Sirleaf highlighted that the erection of a statue in her honour in Imo will inspire young girls and women in the continent to reach their full potentials and achieved their dreams.  She made the remark while delivering an addressed on the topic “Women in Politics” at the International Convention Centre in  Owerri, Imo state adding that as a continent Africa has some good reasons to celebrate.

Accepting the honor, President Sirleaf said she was excited to be in Imo State and overwhelmed by the goodwill of the Executive Governor and people of Imo State for the honor bestowed on her something she said she’s grateful to Imo State.

In remarks, the State Governor Rochas A. Okorocha said President Sirleaf has done well for Africa and in particular proud and the world at large, stressing that the Liberian leader deserves every honor because she has remained a woman of inspiration and example for women of Africa. He used the occasion to thanked President Sirleaf for accepting his invitation to come to Owerri, Imo State in spite of her busy scheduled coupled with her national and international engagements among others.  

He furthered, conferring the title on the Liberian leader was a way of encouraging her and other African women who have contributed to the development of Africa, especially breaking the chain in a men’s dominated world, advocating for girls and women, and the restoration of peace to Liberia after years of destruction among others.

In a related development, President Sirleaf has congratulated Imo State Executive Governor Rochas Anayo Okorochas, who is also the founder of Rochas Foundation College in Owerri for what she termed as extraordinary service to humanity stressing,  "I have travelled to every part of the world and I have travelled all over Africa, I have never experienced something like this. I have seen leaders of Africa build schools, roads, give scholarships, and so on, in all of these things. "I have not seen any of them go beyond the ordinary by gathering indigent children of Africa from all of our countries, bring them together in our family, sharing together, I thank you. There is no other better way to fight poverty and preach unity than this."

Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has said women in Africa are still behind in Politics due to social, cultural, economic and political constraints that limit their political participation. She said women in Africa have to do much more to get the equality that we all seek. She was addressing hundreds of women at the International Conference Center in Owerri where they had gather to honor and thanked her for being the first democratically woman President on the continent of Africa and for being the living example of women in Africa something they said brought hope and much determination to the women of Africa.

“In our political parties, we need to put more emphasis on recruiting female candidates including in and outside of politics. Our governments need to do more to put females in up and down the hierarchy. We need to ensure that we as women take the advantages that we have and develop a strategy to deal with the disadvantages we face." She said.

The Liberian leader stressed, quality education changes the attitude and mindset of people. And equality means better performance, and also means a better life for everyone. Hence, “We need to put more emphasis on education to enhance performance. And that is why what the Imo governor, Rochas Okorocha is doing with his foundation should be encouraged."

President Sirleaf noted. She Governor, Rochas Okorocha has done well. She spoke on how she has combined her job as President, mother and grandmother among others professional engagement to reach the level adding, “One needs to paid the price to achieve greatness emphasizing hard work, determination, commitment, discipline and passion for what you do”
She made the remark while delivering a lecture on the topic “Women in Politics” at the International Convention Centre Owerri adding that as a continent Africa has some good reasons to celebrate I  am overwhelmed by this great honor and the  unity of purpose, I see Africa would soon get to the promised land.

“We can achieve our dreams. We can stand tall among the many women of the world in providing the kind of exemplary leadership that will lift us up to stand, as I stand to represent women. She said her election as the first woman to be democratically elected President in the African continent was a strong signal to all the women and girls in Africa because according to her, it also signaled a new dawn with the view of steamrolling the playing field between men and women in politics in Africa.

The Liberian President was in Owerri for a 2-day visit on the invitation of Rochas Foundation College of Africa. President Sirleaf and delegates return home Friday evening following a successful working visit to Owerri, Imo State.