Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke is the Vice President, Womens’ International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria. Eunice led a full delegation of WISTA members for a condolence visith to Mr. Kingsley Anaroke following the demise of his wife Promise. Promise was a former Public Relations Officer of WISTA-Nigeria. Ezeoke granted this interview during the condolence visit.
How would you recall the personality of Mrs. Promise Anaroke?
It is very difficult to forget who Promise was. She was a very vibrant lady, a very active and dynamic member of WISTA. That vibrancy and dynamism that she exhibited in WISTA, she also carried to Enugu State to contest and build the political party as she went into politics We were always getting good reports of how she has was building the women faction of the party, making impact in her host community and grew the women wing of the party into an enviable and formidable group in Enugu State.
Promise started displaying these amazing leadership skills when she was the Public Relations Officer at WISTA-Nigeria. When she was the PRO, WISTA was really going places. We became known in areas where we thought we weren’t known because of the dynamism of Promise. The areas where nothing was heard about WISTA, she was known and WISTA became known.
She was always cheerful and ever smiling. You could hardly see a frown on her face no matter what.
I’m sure that wherever she is, she is happy. We are pained but I’m sure God has his reason for calling her at this young age. Our hearts are broken but we also thank God. We know she is in a happy place.
This year has actually been about women as regards the International Maritime Organization as they dedicated the World Maritime Day to celebrate women this year. One other big development for Africa is the signing of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). How can women benefit from this development?
AFCTA agreement is a very good document and initiative but it cannot achieve its purpose if women aren’t carried along. However, the fact that we have a lot of women associations means there is need for synergy. Synergy is everything. Together we stand firmer and we have a stronger voice. We cannot have a strong voice in the government if we are speaking in discordant tones.
Women must speak with one voice and there must be a deliberate action on the part of the women associations and the governments as well to make sure women are given opportunities to contribute in the trade.
There must be conscious effort because there are a lot of economic setbacks that is working against women. Women need to be empowered because if we are not empowered, we cannot do much. You can be empowered through several means. Government can make it a policy that a percentage of loans must be reserved for women that want to go into such intercontinental businesses. Through this, they can empower those that are coming up especially the rural women that bear the burden of bringing up children and managing their homes.
What are the particular areas where you would advise African women to look at as part of efforts to boost the economy and earn income?
There are fishing companies and trolling companies. Women could go into fish canning, fish processing and even exportation. These are the areas that women can be assisted.
In this aspect of fishing, WISTA has been empowering the coastal women. We have been bought boats and donated to women in Epe. We have also bought for the Aguleri women in Anambra state. Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom state women have also benefitted from such provisions. The next group would be women in Ondo and Enugu states.
These are our techniques of encouraging these women. We have been fostering the young ones like students in the Maritime Academy, Oron. We given scholarships to the best performing students and also given reference for those that are looking for sea time experience onboard vessels. These are areas where WISTA has been excelling in encouraging and empowering women