The Eid-el-Kabir holidays started in Port Harcourt and in other parts of the country last Thursday and ended Friday. After the holidays, came Saturday, and then, Sunday.
To several residents of the Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs, Saturdays and Sundays are resting days. Hence, such resting days for last week, actually started on Thursday and rolled through Saturday and Sunday. This is particularly for workers, civil and public servants in government offices and large companies in the city including banks.
As was expected, since the Eid-el-Kabir holidays and celebrations afforded workers the ample opportunity to observe work-free days, in addition to Saturday and resting on Sunday, most of them travelled out of Port Harcourt to spend valuable time with friends and loved ones.
While some of the residents took trips to the countryside, the villages and communities, others who could not travel actually had a swell time at home with their children, relations, friends and loved ones. This in a way affected the hustle and bustle often associated with Port Harcourt, one of the greatest cities in the East of the Niger.
For one, the number of people and vehicles on major roads were drastically reduced. On several major roads, during the Sallah holidays, the ubiquitous traffic jams were hardly noticed, as most roads experienced free flow of traffic.
It is on record that Port Harcourt roads witness the highest number of cars on a daily basis basically because of its dense population. On major roads, in a typical busy day, car owners and other motorists scramble for space to move their automobiles. It is also on record that it is in Port Harcourt that you find the most reckless drivers. This is because it is always assumed that if one can drive safely in Port Harcourt, one can equally drive in any part of the country.
But for sure, the holidays forced down the number of cars on major roads in the city.
Where this was practically noticeable was along the busy Aba Express Road as it was observed that the vehicles which normally cause traffic jams along it had thinned down during the holidays. Traffic at such flash points as Rumuola, Garrison, Bori Camp, First Bank, Artillery, Rumukrushe and Elelenwo was not heavy as it used to be on a normal day.
There is also no doubt that the Sallah holidays afforded some grassroots politicians who often spend their work days in the city an opportunity to travel down to their communities to finetune strategies for the 2011 general elections. As elections’ year approaches fast, there is always the need for these politicians to align and re-align their political forces in order to make hay when the chips are really down.
Again, some of these politicians including chairmen and officials of local government councils, commissioners and Special Advisers among othersare the ones who normally paint roads in Port Harcourt red with their wonders on wheel, their exotic cars. For sure, the holidays made them change base, thereby giving the roads a breather.
The situation at Aba Express Road, to be frank, was not the same with the situation along the busy Ikwerre Road during the Sallah holidays.
If Aba Road was free of traffic, the same thing could bot be said of Ikwerre Road as traffic along the road was chaotic as it used to be. The reason is not far-feteched. Majority of vehicles that ply Ikwerre Road are commercial buses. These buses are operated by young people who struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet.This set of people did not abandon their lucrative business of commuting residents across the city to celebrate the Sallah holidays. They were always on the roads. last Thursday and Friday. They did not stop to drive in their traditional reckless manner though it was Sallah.
And Ikwerre Road was chaotic as usual. Poor artisans, market women and other petty traders equally made the Diobu axis tick during the holidays. School children who opted to help their parents and guardians to hawk fruits and other items were usually seen within this axis of the city. Their counterparts from well-to-do homes either stayed indoors or travelled with their parents to reduce the hustle and bustle of the city.
Even though life in the city was no longer the same due to the Sallah holidays which forced most offices to close down, Port Harcourt had a dose of the rumour of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s death on Thursday afternoon. Frantic phone calls were being made by some residents who wanted to confirm the rumour. The rumour indeed spread like a wild fire during harmattan as it was virtually in every household. Those who put calls across did that as a way of confirming it.
But on Friday, it was clear as crystal that the President, though seriously ill, was alive. The rumour was, indeed, Sallah blues that hung in the horizon and it faded away with the holidays on Friday.
It is, however, believed that Port Harcourt will return to its natural state tomorrow after everything that had to those who travelled with the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations and the resting days of Saturday and Sunday must have come and gone out of the city was stint returning in the evening of today.
It is only then that those who are thrilled by the hustle and bustle of the city would heave a huge sigh of relief. Because, from then on, it will be work and more work.
There will no longer be any dull moment because Port Harcourt must have roared back to life, enslaving and holding many captive with its captivating mien particularly now that sunlight is often seen across the horizon.
You can not believe this. Most workers of constructing firms in the city handling various road projects were equally on holidays for those two days including on Saturday and Sunday when in actual fact they were supposed to work round the clock to deliver on record time, to beat the rains again to their game. Afterall, the holidays were not bad entirely, Port Harcourt had a relief.
Rivers, A Global Investment Hub
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
Wife Battery: Man Forced To Undertaken By In-laws
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
Group Plans Grassroots Medical Campaign
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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