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N-Ue Uebari Samuel Assesses Saronwiyo, At 75

CONSTANCE SARONWIYORHRH (Dr.) Constance M.S Saronwiyo, the first female graduate in Ogoni land turns 75 on March 9, 2014.

She is an outstanding teacher, lecturer, administrator, philanthropist, nation builder, social mobilizer and peace maker.

HRH Dr. Constance Saronwiyo was born in Buen Gwara, Babbe clan of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State. She attended primary school from 1946 to 152 and that of her post primary and tertiary education took her within and outside the shore of Nigeria. She started her working career in 1958, when she took up teaching appointment. She taught in the Anglican Girls School, Orom, Aba as a science teacher until the outbreak of the Nigeria civil war.

Shortly after the war in 1971, she moved to Birabi Memorial Grammar School (BMGS), Bori and in 1973 she was appointed as a foundation Principal of Marian High School, Bane.

She equally served in the Rivers State College of Science and Technology now the Rivers State University of Science and Technology as a foundation chemistry lecturer and thereafter moved to the Obafemi Awolowo University, where she taught Anatomy.

As a pioneer female science teacher in the East of the Niger, she established science laboratories in the post primary schools in the Eastern region. She devoted all her energy towards the growth of women’s education in Ogoniland and Rivers State as well.

At the creation of Rivers State in May 1967, she was appointed into several positions of trust and responsibilities, such as the Emeritus E.J. Alagoa led first Board of the Rivers State Council in 1972, a council that won many medals for the state.

She again led the state contingents to the first Argungu Festival held in Sokoto in 1972. And also represented the state in the National Council which was later called the Committee for Nigeria’s participation in the famous “FESTAC 77” as the head of the popular Dressing Committee for three (3) years where she masterfully and artistically grafted the Nigeria dressing akin to the popular Ogoni Bogo-koo art. She used the opportunity to showcase Ogoni rich culture by presenting the Nkogio, Eguini and Yormene, a female dance that attracted the attention of the then Head of State Major General Yakubu Gowon.

Her ground breaking researches and published in the tropical medical journal, a scholarly works which shown “contraceptive values of indigenous plants”, indigenous herbs in breast cancer control.

Constance Saronwiyor was the first woman to hold the position of Commissioner in the State as she became first Commissioner for Special Duties in charge of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Scholarship and Women Affairs from 1977 to 1982 and later held the portfolio of Economic Development and Planning, a position she held until military seized power in December 31, 1983. ###

Mene Gbarabe

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