Dame of Peace: Patience Jonathan re-elected as president of AFLPM

by Stanley Azuakola

These are sweet times for Nigeria’s first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.

Still basking in the euphoria of having an Abuja street named after her, as well as her appointment as permanent secretary in Bayelsa State, Dame Jonathan added another feather to her headgear in Abuja on Friday. This time, it was from her fellow first ladies, who re-elected her as the President of the African First Ladies’ Peace Mission (AFLPM).

Jonathan’s election which took place at the 7th Summit of the AFLPM, was unanimous. Not only was she re-elected as the president of the AFLPM, she is also expected to oversee the affairs of the Mission in Africa.

The AFLPM aims at promoting peace and harmony in Africa. It was established in 1995 after the UN Conference on Women in Beijing, China.

Nigeria was charged to provide a permanent secretariat for the Mission after the country was elected president in 2008.

Other first ladies who were also unanimously elected at the summit include the first lady of Cameroon, who was re-elected as vice president (Central African Region) and the first lady of South Africa, who retained the post of vice president, Southern African Region.

Also, the first ladies of Sudan and Libya were re-elected as vice presidents for the Eastern African Region and Northern African Region respectively.

Dame Jonathan thanked all the members of the Mission for the confidence reposed in her and members of her team to continue as AFLPM’s executives.

“It is a great honour for me and our country, Nigeria; this new mandate would further strengthen our resolve to laying a solid foundation for our great organisation.

“We will not relent in our efforts in ensuring that the African First Ladies Peace Mission fulfills its divine responsibility of achieving a lasting peace in Africa.

“Let me appeal to you my dear sisters that all of us owe our spouses support in ensuring that peace, security, and total development is achieved in Africa.

“We must all work hard to change the picture of war painted of Africa to that of a peaceful, stable and progressive continent.

“We can still play our part in resolving some of the ongoing conflicts in Africa.”

According to Mrs. Jonathan, women as mothers could no longer afford to sit in their comfort zone and do nothing. She stressed that the African first ladies were responsible for shaping the future of the continent, adding that tangible efforts must be made in the peace building process.

“I want to urge us all to reflect on the programmes and activities we intend to implement as we return home.

“This is very important because without conscious, clear and thoughtful commitment on our part with regard to efforts to pursue an agenda for peace in Africa, the goals of this summit would have been defeated.

“Therefore, we must work hard for peace promotion as African mothers so that generations yet unborn will be proud of our efforts in making our continent a better place to be.”

A total of 10 first ladies attended the summit, while 21 others sent representatives.

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