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Port Harcourt Stands Still For Amaechi

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The celebration of two years in office of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was eventful and the city of Port Harcourt literally stood still for the performing governor. The celebration apparently started last Saturday when the governor with stakeholders and other august visitors traversed the state, inspecting landmark projects executed by his administration within the past two years. While some of the projects have been completed, several of them are still ongoing. Those that have been completed were commissioned while those at various stages of completion were merely showcased to the stakeholders and members of the public. The second anniversary of the governor’s administration got to a resounding climax last Monday morning at the prestigious Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre along Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, when the governor gave his account of stewardship to the good people of the state as well as to residents of the state and some august visitors who were in the state to celebrate the excellent performance in office and good governance. It was at the event that the Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs literally stood to a stand still for the governor, as he dazzled and shone like a million stars. The mainbowl of the Civic Centre was filled to capacity as people started thronging the venue of the accountability forum as early as 8a.m. Even before the scheduled time of 9a.m when the event was expected to commence, the governor and his entourage including respected dignitaries drawn from far and wide had already taken their seats. Those outside the gates of the mainbowl were in their thousands, and security men had a hectic time controlling them. The crowd at the civic centre was as if all residents of the state, both men and women, young and old had turned up to listen to the governor and probably catch a glimpse of him, because in the past two years he has been on the saddle, he has been making a lot of waves, either for good or for ill. A mid way into the event when the governor ordered security men at the venue to allow those outside the mainbowl to move in, the tone of the event was clearly set, as that action in no unmistakable terms, proved succinctly that his administration was serving the ordinary people. It also proved beyond words that the Accountability Forum was targeted at the ordinary people in keeping with the tenets of democracy. Questions from these ordinary people including those from a young boxer who claimed that boxers from the state who won their championship bouts at a national contest were yet to be paid their entitlements, and a poor widow residing at one of the waterfronts in the city with her six children, marked the beauty of the Accountability forum. Their questions got instant response and attention from the governor. The young boxer in particular left the civic centre happier than when he came. Again, though the governor did not particularly address the concern of the widow and her six children, the administration’s stance on the planned demolition of the waterfronts was re-echoed, that such waterfronts must fall and the houses therein bought back by the government at their present commercial rates. Speaking with The Tide On Sunday shortly after the event, Hon. Augustine Ngo, the Special Adviser to the Governor on projects said the secret behind the success story of the present administration was the fact that it has remained focus. He further stated that in the coming months, the administration would be on the neck of contractors handling various projects across the state to ensure that they execute quality jobs, stressing that the administration would also ensure that all ongoing projects were completed next year. According to him, as a Rivers man, he was today proud of the achievements of the present administration. The Special Adviser also indicated that the remarkable achievements of the present administration would be clear to all Rivers people at the end of three years, as the government would intensify the supervision and monitoring of contractors handling various projects. Also commenting, Alhaji Ahmed Okiri, a Muslim leader in the state said going by the administration’s remarkable achievements, the governor deserves a second term mandate, but advised him to tread a middle course in the planned demolition of waterfronts in Port Harcourt. He explained that the Accountability Forum and various bold initiatives adopted by the present administration were novel to the state, and likened the achievements of Governor Amaechi to the achievements of Alfred Diete-Spiff. He, however, called on the government to concentrate on link roads across the state in the coming years to completely decongest traffic in Port Harcourt. Indeed, the Accountability Forum was a remarkable success as people came from all walks of life to grace it but the maiden edition of the NUJ platform which the governor featured as a special guest on Tuesday took the two years anniversary celebration of his administration to a different level. The event brought the governor face to face with media practitioners selected from different media organisations in the state. The fact that there were four panelists and a moderator at raised platforms, with the governor seated in the middle facing an audience which comprised senior journalists, made the NUJ platform different from a traditional press conference in which a public officer addresses members of the fourth Estate of the realm. From the blast of the whistle, starting with the moderator, our own, Editor of The Tide Newspapers, Mr. Soye Jamabo, the governor was asked a barrage of questions which he fielded without batting an eyelid. No doubt the general manager of the rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Mr. Celestine Ogolo who incidentally was one of the panelists actually gave a good account of himself, going by the quality of questions he threw to the governor. In all, the governor’s bluntness and his characteristic jokes and simplicity were not lost to the respected media practitioners. His comments on his Information Commissioner who apparently signalled him to adjust his posture while answering one of the questions, elicited laughter from the journalists. The point was clear. The governor has his own mannerisms, his idiosyncrasies if you like. Then, can you beat this? After the journalists finished firing from all cylinders, and the governor seemingly taking them to the cleaners, the amiable governor walked down the staircase, moved straight to the NUJ canteen and sat down with some media men sipping bottles of beer with which they were washing down plates of pepper soup. The governor ordered for a bottle of coke and gulped it down his throat before departing the Ernest Ikoli Press centre. Hold your breath because the gist has not ended. When he got to where his unmarked jeep was parked, he simply slided into the steering wheel and drove himself out of the press centre. He was also decked in a simple jacket with an ash-coloured shirt and a white pair of trousers to match, gestures from a governor out to demystify the office of governor. The platform was truly the journalist’s encounter with the governor, and it was truly remarkable. During the celebrations to mark the governor’s two years in office, Port Harcourt literally stood still for him. The city wore a festive hue. Pavements of roads particularly along the busy Aba Road were painted. The Rowland Cookey-Gam Drive, leading to the new Government House was adorned with colourful banners, eulogizing the governor. The terraces of the civic Centre revibrated with the echoes of his remarkable achievements and the hallowed chambers of the Evans osi hall ruptured with his principled stance on issues.

Donatus Ebi

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Metro

Rivers, A Global Investment Hub

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Nothing could be more elusive and desirous as the special skills and talent of a wand and a midas touch. Dr Freeman O’ Freeman is one the few possessive of this rare gift. He has a penchant for the reorganization of ailing industries, organizations and institutions. The foremost technocrat and consultant was recently spotted by the Port Harcourt Metro at a public function in the Garden city. When his attention was sought for an interview he willingly obliged an the session was a deep insight into his experience especially his years of consultancy services with the Rivers state Government in the  early 1990s. During these period he recalled that 14 parastalals and government agencies including the three state owned media Houses were under his consultancy services for full reorganisation process. “We made the State Electricity Board to be the highest revenue earner after the Ministry of finance, we also made the staffs of Water Board, Super Board, and Rivers Marine to earn their salary after the reorganization processes, some of the moribond companies can still be revived.”  He said Rivers state was deeply blessed with potentials to host the business world through flourishing business activities, nothing that most black Americans business moguls were looking for opportunities of investing their wealth and knowledge. Dr Freeman who is also and author and religious counsellor emphasized the need for proper restructuring of the Nigerian state to address the needs and imperatives of justice in the country. He canvassed for the creation of a state owned insurance company to secure the wealth and investments of  Rivers state. “ Rivers state is global investment hub, their is need to decongest Lagos by tapping into the enormous investment potentials in Rivers state, it’s quite unfortunate that investments of Rivers state government are easing out without full privileges to the state government, despite hosting two federal terminals economic activities in the state is still low. I want the Rivers state government to reap the benefit of insurance before Governor Wike leaves office, it will count for him as one his greatest legacies for Rivers people. Commenting on the prevalence of ethno religious crisis in the country, he pointed out the very custodians of religious faith were the propellers of the evolving Crisis. “it’s very unfortunate that people don’t practice what they preach, the much resources in the hands of the ministers should be redirected for the interest of the followers, the early missionaries gave education virtually free. Ministers should allow their members to have leveraging access to their schools, this will reduced the loads of poor parents and help in producing an informed and better society”. With a deep sense of concern, he urged the federal government to address the growing spate of insecurity in country, particularly the “ incautious activities of herders.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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Metro

Wife Battery: Man Forced To Undertaken By In-laws

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In a bid to restore the marriage of a certain couple in Port Harcourt, ( names withheld) the family members and parents of the wife has forced the husband to an undertaken that he will no longer used their daughter as a punch bag. The Port Harcourt Metro gathered the parents of the wife are relatively well to do very supportive to the upkeep of their daughters family. Their intervention came as a result of repeated cases of physical and psychological abuses of their daughter by her husband. It was also gathered that the parents of the wife had made moves to terminate the relationship to secure the life of their daughter but she bluffed their moves and stuck to the marriage based on her professed love for the husband. The husband was said to have been invited to an intense family session during which he was asked to sign an undertaken to be of good conduct and act as a responsible man or gets his wife forfeited. The session became dramatic when the repentant husband and in-law was said to have broken down in tears , with confessions that he was always propelled by some incontrollable forces to act the way he did.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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Metro

Group Plans Grassroots Medical Campaign

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As part of measures of promoting effective medical care at the grassroots, a body under the auspices of Medical  Xray and Imaging Technicians Association of Nigeria says plans has been put in place for mass sensitisation on the need for greater access to medical services at the rural areas. National President of the body, Rev Akiene Nunyor who disclosed this during a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the sensitisation was targeted at rousing the sensitivities of critical stakeholders towards improving health care at the rural areas as well as creating awareness among the rural dwellers. He pointed out that the absence of ultra sound facilities at rural communities was responsible for high mortality among pregnant women in rural communities, as they lacked access to the facilities. Its difficult for women to go for scan exercises for proper medical check at the rural areas. In times of emergencies before they get to the urban areas that have the facilities it becomes late. He called for a synergy between the private sector and government especially in the area of research, training and manpower development in the health sector,  He assured that the body was ready to provide the professional regulatory services for middle manpower development and standards in medical practice. While commending the Rivers state Government for its efforts in promoting care in the state he called for a “ Public/ Private sector  driven “approach in promoting effective health sector delivery.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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