Another set of young female undergraduates have completed a year-long training on leadership and entrepreneurship skills organized by Afara Leadership Centre, a project of Women’s Board- Educational Co-operation Society (ECS), a not for profit, non-governmental organization (NGO).The fourth graduation ceremony of the Leadership Development Programme, (LDP) was held on the 21st of November 2015 at the Centre’s address at 25 Thorburn Avenue, Sabo-Yaba.
The LDP Graduation started days before the event, when the reminder sent to me indicated that we wear suits. For us to have been asked to wear suits the event must be very formal; almost synonymous to a convocation ceremony. Would there be a speech and prize giving session? Would there be ceremonial gowns as well? These were thoughts that went through my head as I played and replayed how the event would onfold in my head.
On that morning, I could see the best of 18 Saturdays on the faces of my co-participants. It was written not just on their faces (because we were taught a bit of make-up) but in their carriage as well. Everyone called the other “leader”. The court yard at Afara was transformed into an array of Red and Gold.
At the start of the event, honour was given to three guest who were called to the high table. Jessica Ezemoha’s mom was one of them. The quest speak of the event Mrs. carol Coker, congratulated the 2015 graduating students and noted that the nation is in dire need of female leaders of their caliber. In her speech captioned: Value Responsibility of Women in the Family and the Result in the Women Leading as a Home Keeper, she stated the need to have women also leading in the home front. In her words, “the men are the head of the family but the women are the neck and the shoulder and the head cannot stand without them”. One thing that stuck to my mind is her example with respect to how a woman should comport herself in the workplace irrespective of the sex of her colleagues.
Afterwards, on behalf of the 2014 set – a number of them joined us for the graduation –Tinuke Adigun gave a speech describing her LDP Experience. She narrated how she paid her LDP fees herself using some money awarded to her as scholarship. Ifeoma Nnewuihe was the valedictorian of the 2015 set. Her’s was a particularly touching experience as she did not only expend energy and time towards the success of the community project, but she also lost a luggage full of clothes. Irrespective of her loss, she continued with the project.
Recognition was given to certain participants for their excellent participation in the community project and also during the course. Aisha Oladele (one of the participants recognised for excellent participation) had her wedding on that day. It was a pity we couldn’t go, our challenge was the distance.
The event was a brief one. We rounded off with light refreshments (the organizers of the LDP know the value of food!!) Lots of pictures and selfies were taken and we got to see some pictures from the LDP sessions and the AMAD.
So my thoughts about the event were not so different from the real event, except that there were no ceremonial gowns.