Her Excellency, Ngo Talatu Jang,
Former First Lady of Plateau State.
Ngo Talatu Jang, wife of the outgoing Plateau State Governor, is the indefatigable founder of Women in Agriculture and Youth Empowerment Foundation, popularly known as WAYE FOUNDATION, a Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Development Organization which she set up in 2007. Widely known for upholding the virtue of giving a helping hand to the needy and for possessing a humane nature, Ngo Talatu Jang took up the humanitarian career of nursing and in early life was tagged with the nick name, Mama Lago.
Ngo Talatu Jang was born on the 25th of July, 1952, to the household of Mr. and Mrs. Yusufu Dawyaro at Kwoi, in Jebba Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The young Talatu attended the Christian Training Institute, Kwoi, Kaduna State, where she obtained the First School Leaving Certificate in 1967. She immediately enrolled at Wusasa Training School, Zaria. There, she came out in flying colours as a nurse. Determined to make what is professionally referred to as ‘double qualification’, she went ahead to enroll at the Kano General Hospital to study Midwifery in 1975. Thereafter, she worked at the General Hospital Kano and the Mount Sinai Hospital, Nigeria Airways, Lagos.
By then, young Talatu was already happily married to her sweet heart- Jonah- who, today, by the grace of God, became the prolific Governor of Plateau State in 2007 and got reelected 2011. As he would always proudly say, she demonstrated those rare virtues of true womanhood, devotion and selfless love which won his heart and endeared her to him. It was, therefore, only natural that they would walk down the aisle in 1972.
She is been regarded as the most experienced of Nigeria’s first ladies. The following decades would see Mrs. Jang facing great challenges and taking on higher responsibilities as the wife of an air force officer who rose to become a two- time Military Administrator of the then Benue and Gongola (now Adamawa) states in the 80s, later a one-star General and subsequently the Governor of Plateau State. It is worthy of note that she has been able to successfully accomplish these tasks while at the same time being a loving wife and naturally modest quintessential mother and grand-mother.
Ngo Talatu penchant for, and abiding love of assisting the less privileged in society has recorded for her, among many other acts of charity, the gracious donation of a two-bedroom house to a helpless couple that had just had a set of triplets and was living in only one room. Already, they had been blessed with two other children. Mrs Jang consistently shows that as a nurse, she truly believes that health is wealth through leading awareness rallies on cancer, organizing workshops on cancer and screening participants, and planning to set up screening centres in the seventeen local government areas of the state.
The idea behind the establishment of the WAYE foundation came from the state governorship campaign journeys she made with her husband. While dutifully offering him the much-needed support and inspiration, she was struck by the sheer number of rural women that were toiling away on farms, petty businesses, etc, without getting their due returns; innocent girls whose young and promising lives had been wasted by the otherwise treatable VVF scourge and other curable diseases; while many other women and youth were in dire need of socio-economic empowerment. As a mother, woman and, above all, wife, she was deeply moved by this pervading state of poverty, disease and want which amelioration became a major burden to her. Indeed, she knew that, one way or the other, she just had to do something that would make a difference in these peoples’ lives. These were the seminal circumstances that ultimately gave birth to the Women In Agriculture Youth Empowerment Foundation, WAYE Foundation. The major goal is to improve the living conditions of the women and youth in our society. Slowly but surely, the foundation is taking on more students and lending them tools to forge a better life for themselves.
The major objectives of the foundation include setting up a skill acquisition centre in order to empower the target group economically and socially; linking up beneficiaries with organizations and agencies where they can access micro-enterprise loan facilities; building the capacity of peasant women and youth on farming and preservation, in order to improve on their economy and be self-reliant; partnering with any organization or government, to promote the ideals of WAYE Foundation; and rendering reproductive health services including HIV/AIDS and VVF care and rehabilitation.
As a Nurse and a mother who knows the needs of the women and youths, she ensured that WAYE focused on four core areas that would address the basic needs of the target population. With human development and skills acquisition, sustainable small scale agriculture, micro enterprise development and reproductive health as the thematic areas, the First Lady has continued to touch the lives of the people using the foundation.
These units of WAYE were established to facilitate the training of target indigenes of the state in these areas of human endeavour, and indeed when fully developed, to serve the entire nation to alleviate the daunting challenges of poverty confronting women and youths.
Since its inception, the First Lady has not looked back in her desire to help women and youths to realise their potentials and be holistically developed at sustainable levels.
WAYE has achieved most of its targets especially that of setting up a skill acquisition centre. She put up a massive edifice at Doi, Jos South local government area of the state, which houses a skill acquisition centre, reproductive health centre, and a small scale agricultural unit. She has also trained many women in vocations such as tailoring, knitting, hairdressing, beads making, fish farming and other agricultural practices and computer.
It has also introduced and exposed peasant farmers to the modern method of farming, including preservation of farm produce and marketing, in its sustainable small-scale agriculture scheme. It has a demonstration farm to avail trainees the avenue for practical work, while making fertilizer available to women during the farming season.
The micro enterprise development unit of WAYE trains women and youth in production and marketing of produce in a way that will be profitable to them. Just as the name implies, it is the development section of the foundation where trainees go through a comprehensive exercise on how to establish small-scale businesses and grow them.
Because it is a healthy woman that thinks of business, WAYE has a Reproductive Health Unit, which addresses the major health concerns of women. It attends to the treatment, care and rehabilitation of women with various kinds of ailments including Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF), HIV/AIDS, Maternal and Child Health challenges among others. It has continued to organise series of workshops to promote good health, treatment and awareness for the VVF.
The Redemption Center of WAYE Foundation has since commenced its first skill acquisition training. In addition, soft loans have been made available to women for agricultural purposes in rural areas. A devout Christian, Mrs Jang has served in various capacities and participated in many church programmes; she is as well widely travelled, loves farming and speaks Jabba, English and Hausa fluently.
She would be remembered as one who utilized her God-given privilege, time and resources to touch the lives of the poor and the forgotten.
Ngo Talatu, who is a mother of six and a grandmother of four, still indulges in one of her childhood passions, farmin
By the time she is a great-great-great grandmother, Ngo would want to be remembered as one who utilized her God-given privilege, time and resources to touch the lives of people who would have otherwise become mere footnotes in the annals of human development and progress. She also passionately dreams that, in the no distant future, this mustard seed that is today WAYE Foundation would ultimately blossom and prosper into A World of Hope! that will offer succour, comfort and sustainable livelihood to an even greater number of indigent people.
Ngo Talatu charges needy youth and women folk to rise up and learn how to fish instead of depending on others for mere pittance of fish that will definitely get finished tomorrow!
Ngo Talatu is an embodiment of humility, a loving wife, devout mother, philanthropist and a pride to the womenfolk in Plateau State and Nigeria.