• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Yet another feather and chapter

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This week I have chosen not to write about the tragedies that are turning up everywhere we look. The kidnappers den in Ibadan, the missing Malaysian plane, continued stories of rape, murder etcetera.

I have chosen instead to write about happy things, about honour, about dreams and the incredible year I served as Vlisco’s Ambassador and inspiring woman of the year 2013.

Only two weeks ago, I joined an array of thirty women in Lokoja, Kogi state to receive an award from my state Governor, Captain Idris Wada at a well-attended ceremony. I was humbled and touched by the accolades and the thoughts. The plaque elegant, classy with a small photograph of me on it and my name, has the words, Kogi inspirational woman award presented to Eugenia Abu in recognition of her outstanding achievement. Can you believe? I am so humbled.

Among the awardees were some of Nigeria’s most formidable women, Professors, humanitarians, Justices, entrepreneurs among others. There was Aunty Nike of Nike Art Gallery, Mama Cass, Funmi Awomolo (SAN) and a host of women who dare to dream, impact and work hard. It was a fitting end to a very successful workshop for women in Kogi state organised by KOWEN, Kogi women empowerment network, the project of the wife of the Kogi state Governor, Hajia Halima Wada . The workshop touched on various issues that affect women; women in politics and women in entrepreneurship among others, with resource persons drawn from across Nigeria and from International organisations.

The award ceremony itself attended in person by the Governor and his lovely wife, organiser of the entire project under the auspices of her organisation, KOWEN was a homecoming. What all thirty awardees had in common was hard work, charity, mentorship, selflessness and citizenship of Kogi state, a state like no other. Permit me to say I had no idea some of these amazing women were from my state. I am honoured to share space with women I consider some of the brightest and the best in the country. I thank Kogi state for honouring me so. In the middle of things that make you sad, there is always a bright light somewhere to shine on the world and illuminate a portion of it. I have received many awards but when it comes from your home, your core, it is very special. I am truly indebted.

This Sunday, I will be doing the rite of passage as Vlisco Ambassador 2013 by handing over to a successor. You will recall that last year, to celebrate the International women’s month of May, textile manufactures, Vlisco, honoured me with Nigeria’s most inspiring woman. My term of one year; to impact and  inspire, comes to an end on Sunday the 30th of March. The nominees for 2014 are ADESUWA ONYENOKWE, and OLAMIDE OREKUNRIN and ESTHER AGBARAKWE. May the best woman win.

I, on the other hand, have had an incredible year with Vlisco. I have been feted at a beautiful ceremony of networking, poetry reading and friendship in Lagos last year November. We have laughed, inspired each other and enjoyed an eyeful of Vlisco fabrics, the history, the texture, gorgeous designs and gifts.

I have been flown to the Vlisco factory in the Netherlands established in 1846 and watched dedicated men and women tend to a brand that is over 100 years old with the same passion that the founders brought to it many years ago.

Only last week along with the Friendraisers community in Abuja, I was again celebrated by Vlisco at an evening of mentoring, inspiration and laughter. The questions, the comments about how I do what I do, from guests and young persons in attendance, told me that many Nigerians are ever ready to learn, to dream, and to make a change.

Not only have I being feted, I have made many new friends and my life has been touched by the many stories I have heard, the many women who dare to touch the sky and the many others whose lives are unravelling positively because of the Vlisco inspiring woman award. Like I always say, I share Vlisco’s core values of inspire, engage, empower and respect.

In addition to all of this talk, energy and motivation, I have basked in the beauty of Vlisco motifs, texture, textile and gifts all year round to enhance and validate my fashion. I have been dressed by Vlisco; to parties, to events and for my everyday life.

Aah! Indeed it has been an incredible year. I wish to thank Vlisco for considering me a worthy ambassador and inspiring woman of the year, and to all those who held my hand while it lasted, my family, particularly my husband, my friends all over the world and the Vlisco team, Ada, Adebisi, Salome and Georgine; thank you all very much for a wonderful year.

To the next Vlisco Ambassador 2014, welcome and good luck, I wish you a year as successful as mine was.

Eugenia Abu