‘Government is in support of who can help create peace’
Her Majesty Queen Josephine Diete-Spiff is the Chairperson of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Wives Association and the organizer of the first Bayesa traditional rulers wives summit on peace building, scheduled to hold from May 1 to 3, 2018 in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state. In this interview with JULIUS OSAHON, explains what the program is all about and the place of women in peace building. Excerpts.
Just give us a little background information about yourself
I am her majesty, Dr. (Barr) Queen Evangelist Josephine Diete-Spiff CMC, JP, Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom, Bayelsa State, the chairperson, Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Wives Association, the wife of the First Military Governor of Old Rivers State and now the Amanyanabo of Twon Brass; King Alfred Papapereye Diete-Spiff OFR, I am popularly known as “Your Majesty” the “Amazon of the Niger Delta” in the Christian circle “the Evangelical Majesty” and in the Golfing family “Lady J”. I was born on January 14th 1967 to late Rev. (Dr) D. U. Akporero, an acclaimed writer and publisher and Rev. (Mrs) Florence Akporero, an educationist, I was of humble family and humble beginning. I supported myself through school. I had my first job at the age of 16 as a mason in other to pay for my school certificate examination and did 001 which is eating once a day during my university days.
I made and sold coconut candies, chin chin, okrika clothes and graduated to Aswani materials for survival and pay for my studies. It was a trying period for me yet I graduated in Honours because God was merciful to me. I met my husband when I was Vice president and then president of the students Union, University of Port Harcourt and we got married a year after my Youth Service Program in 1994. I am the third child and first female of a family of seven children. I attended Ezoti Primary School and the famous Idia College, Benin City. I am a mother of three two males and one female. I am an ordained evangelist of the Anglican Communion, an author.I have been in business for over three decades. I worked in four companies and now in only three and NGOs (Non-governmental organization). They are:I am a very busy individual, ministering, working from office to social functions with over 70 Awards to my Credit.
A graduate of Theatre Arts, University of Port Harcourt -1992
• Of Laws, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt-2006
• Barrister at Law of Nigerian Law School -2007
• MBA, University of Liverpool, UK- 2012
• DBA, Doctor of Business Administration, Walden University, USA – 2015
• PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, Honorary Causa, Ashland University, Ohio, USA.
• I am a certified Management Consultant (CMC), a certified Microfinance Banker, and I own certificates in Management, Theatre Arts, French, Computer, Ministry and I am a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Administration.
What is this programme all about?
This summit is anchored on peace building and conflict resolution because poverty and insecurity are major challenges facing the Niger Delta, our dear country Nigeria, and indeed every nation of the world. It is a fact that our own Niger Delta Region has a fair share of these two monsters called poverty and insecurity. It has been observed that despite the several commendable efforts of successive Governments to restore peace in the Niger Delta, violence and insecurity has continued to permeate our fragile environment. It is also common knowledge that no region can truly prosper and develop in an atmosphere of rancour, violence, and insecurity. Therefore, in a peculiar environment such as our Niger Delta, the continuous and persistent call for peace and empowerment become apposite, germane, and imperative. Therefore, this occasion principally signposts the maiden gathering of the Wives of Traditional Rulers in the Niger Delta to discuss, learn and empower ourselves for onward impartation to our respective traditional domains in the region for the overall promotion of peace and economic prosperity within our respective domains.
What do you seek to achieve with this programme?
Consequently, the focus of this great gathering is to train, empower, and enlighten the royal queens of the Niger Delta on how to touch lives with royalty in their respective domains by enlightening the queens on acknowledging God as their sole helper, enlightening the queens on their roles in fulfilling their “help ministry” in their domain, enlightening the queens on techniques for promoting peace, unity, and harmony in their respective domains. It will help in enlightening them on techniques for mediation so as to engender peaceful co-existence, equipping them with the mental, moral, and social capacity to carry out positive attitudinal changes amongst the women and youths within their respective domain. The queens will also be enlighten on techniques for the education, protection, development, and empowerment of the girl child. The summit also seek to empowering the Queens with the ability to attract social and welfare packages to the less privileged and also empower them with the mental capacity to be productive and encourage productivity within the women folk in their domain with entrepreneurial skills.
Who are the expected participants?
The expected participants are the First Class Royal Queens and Women Kings in their own right from the nine states of the Niger Delta of Nigeria.In the tradition of Nigeria, Queens are expected to stay in the palace and take care of domestic matters, but nowadays our queens have ventured into many aspects of life including governance, what do you think is the place of the Queen in a Kingdom?
In answering this question, I disagree that it is tradition for Queens to stay in the palace and attend to domestic issues. Prior to this time queens ruled their kingdoms and fought wars in this country Nigeria. You must have heard of Queen Amina, Queen Idia, Adesuwa, etc. They were warrior queens who protected their kingdoms. On the contrary, queens of today has become complaisant, while their Kingdoms lack the touch of royalty. Royalty indicates leadership, support, and protection for Kingdom indigenes, a role the queens occupy as helpmate to their husbands the King.
What is the involvement of the government in all these, and how is the King taking the programme?
The government is in support of anybody or group of persons who can help create peace in the State and has also given a platform for the traditional institutions to strive by providing the enabling environment for leadership and peaceful co-existence. As for my King, it has always been an acceptable welcome development to have his Queen’s support in peace building and leadership support in his domain.
What do you think is the way forward for peace in the country?
The way forward for peace in our country Nigeria is for people to be enlightened, and prepared on good leadership before they ascend office. To be their brother’s keeper and selfless in their service to the nation and humanity. Thank you.
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