The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, yesterday in Seoul called for a collective effort to eradicate poverty and disease across the globe.
Jonathan said this in her acceptance speech after being conferred with an honorary doctorate degree in Social Welfare and Administration.
According to her, women, who are mostly plagued by the twin evil of poverty and disease, have crucial roles to play in contributing to the developmental progress of Africa in particular and the world in general.
She said: “I must stress that the fight against poverty and disease anywhere in the world is not an individual battle. It is a fight that calls for collective action and responsibility by all stakeholders.
“I therefore want to use this opportunity to call on well-meaning individuals, governments, international humanitarian organisations and civil society organisations to contribute effectively and join in the fight against disease and poverty across the globe.”
Addressing newsmen after the event, the president’s wife expressed delight that her contribution didn’t go unnoticed and pledged to do more to advance the cause of women who were instrumental to her position in life today.
“I’m really delighted at this honour. This is the fourth doctorate conferred on me and I’m encouraged to do more. I also urge everyone that it is not when you have millions that you can reach out to the needy.
“My grandma used to say, `whatever little you have, share; If you have a thousand and you can’t share, you won’t share a million if you have’.
“I was just doing my own thing not knowing that in far away Asia everything was being noted. I want to assure you all that with God’s help I will do more,” Jonathan said.
The President and Chancellor of Hansei University, Prof. Sung-Hae Kim, after decorating the First Lady in her graduation garb, lauded the recipient for working for “many good causes”.
“Dr Patience Jonathan has been working hard for many good causes. She’s a humanitarian who has dedicated her life to working for the less privileged in Nigeria and Africa especially for women and children.
“Her vision as the defender of the poor in Nigeria fits into Hansei University’s motto of a practising Christian. Now she’s part of our community.”
She lauded the programmes of the First Lady’s NGOs where more than 4,000 women had been trained in various skills to help re-position them to begin new lives with dignity and vigour.
Dr Yonggi Cho, co-founder of the Hansei University, in his congratulatory message, said “I’ve known Dr Patience Jonathan for her dedication to prayer and the less fortunate in her country.
“I was surprised that she travelled here for the Church Growth International conference years back to pray for Nigeria. For her selfless work, Hansei University confers this degree on her.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ambassador of Nigeria to South Korea, Desmond Akawor, and his wife, Ene, presented Bouquets to the first lady.
NAN also reports that the ceremony was attended by wives of the governors of Benue and Ebonyi, wives of the Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Naval Staff, among other dignitaries.