The ban placed by the Rivers State Government on the operations of motorcycles popularly known as Okada in Port Harcourt City and its environs has created the opportunity for tricycle also known as Keke Napep to creep into the transportation system of the state. Keke Napep was introduced by the Federal Government during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to check poverty among Nigerians.
However, the influence of the vehicle was not felt so much in the state until recently when the State Government banned the use of motorcycles as a means of transportation in the city of Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and other local government areas.
Some in the city have described Keke Napep as a substitute to Okada in the city. This is against the background that the vehicles now ply those routes that were used by motorcycles in those days.
Apart from plying the narrow routes, Keke Napep can be seen in major roads in the city such as Ada George, Agip, Abacha road, Elioparanwo, NTA, Mgbuoba road amongst others.
However, the Rivers State Government has also banned the operation of the vehicle in Port Harcourt City and its environs.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Traffic Matters, Engineer Ronald Odoyi, who announced the ban on behalf of the state government said that the system is not needed in Port Harcourt.
Engr. Odoyi said that the situation was necessitated by the need to save the city from environmental pollution that will be caused by gaseous emission by the vehicle.
According to him, tricycle and motorcycles have similar kinds of engines that are environmentally unfriendly in a big city like Port Harcourt.
The Special Adviser also blamed the resurgence in heavy traffic congestion across the city on the operation of Keke Napep.
However, since the announcement, more and more Keke Napeps are being seen daily in the city. The announcement is not also going down well with some sections of the society who see it as a ploy by the government towards further impoverishing the people of the state.
Some of those who spoke to The Tide On Sunday on the issue said that the state government has no reason to ban Keke Napep in the city since the system is now a source of income to many families in the state and beyond.
They also pointed out that the scarcity of taxis in the city is enough reason for the vehicles to operate.
In his view, Mr. Goodluck Bare said that Keke Napep is more accessible to people than buses and taxis.
“Keke Napep is preferred by people because of its easy movement. It moves faster than taxis and buses due to its size.
“It is tinier than others and so can easily manoeuvre its way through traffic jam”.
For Mr. Jolomie, a taxi driver, Keke Napep hastens movement. He added that despite the high patronage by people, it does not affect his business.
In his words: “People prefer Keke Napep to other means of transportation because it is a government project to eradicate poverty and that is why well meaning Nigerians appreciate it.
“They appreciate those youths who have taken to Keke Napep instead of remaining idle”.
In her view, Mrs Margaret Dodo said that the vehicle has boosted productivity in the state as it hasten movement.
Also speaking, Miss Ifeoma said that she prefers Keke Napep anyday, any time to buses because of its comfortability. While Mr. Wale who is a dealer in the vehicle said that people prefer the vehicle because it is safer to move with.
However, for Mr. Geoffrey Joe, a Civil Servant, “it is dangerous to travel with the vehicle since it is not balanced”.
Having examined the reactions of the public on the issue, it is now pertinent to note that Keke Napep, with its three wheels is too fragile to be used on major roads in the state as it can turnover.
The issue of pollution as raised by the Special Adviser must also be critically examined.
If the condition of roads in Port Harcourt City at the moment is anything to go by, the vehicle is not suitable for transportation in the city.
Elizabeth Ephraim Edi George
Asaramaija Installs Monarch Amid Fanfare
The colourful cultural displays that ushered in the coronation of Okangh Ama of Asaramaija Community in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State will for a long time stay green in the minds of the indigenes.
The ancient coastal community was alive for almost a week with various masquerade and cultural displays as part of the coronation ceremony.
The Tide Metro gathered that the salt making community picked one of its son, His Royal Highness (Dr) Inwon Joseph Isaac Urang for the unique stool of his fathers.
Urang is a medical doctor by training and is under the services of the Rivers State Primary Health Care Management Board.
Investigations revealed that the community is one of the oldest Andoni settlements known for salt-making before the advent of Europeans.
Highpoint of the ceremony was done last Tuesday when the new king severed the head of a life bull and presented it to the people.
In the culture of the community, once the king-to-be successfully cuts the head of a bull smoothly that means he has been accepted by the ancestors.
Shortly after the ceremony, Dr Urang promised to work assiduously to ensure peace, love, unity and progress of the community.
On his part, Secretary General of Asarama Divisional Council of Traditional Rulers (ADCTR), Chief Ubokikwan Gabriel Ogbologwung, said the emergence of the new monarch was a welcome development.
Ogbologwung urged the people to embark on a fresh journey to promote peace, love and unity among themselves.
“All the subjects of the new King of Asaramaija should love and work in unison with their monarch.
“The elders and kingmakers should rally round him to provide wise counsels to the new king with which the community and kingdom would make progress,” Chief Ogbologwung stressed.
By: Kevin Nengia
Youths March In PH For PDP Governorship Candidate
As part of the build up to the 2023 governorship election, millions of youths marched through some streets of Port Harcourt to sensitise the public, while crusading for a violence- free election.
The youths were made up of a coalition of various groups including Rivers Equity Group and the National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN) forming part of the majority of the participants
Clad in white T-shirts and blue jeans, the youths took off from Christmas Village Hotel in Eagle Island and marched through Illoabuchi to Ikwerre and Azikiwe Roads.
The acting state coordinator of the “Two Million Youth For SIM”, Ibim Daminabo said Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Siminialayi Fubara is generally accepted by the youths, hence, they are drumming support for him as a young man who wants to govern Rivers State.
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers, Siminialayi Fubara had earlier assured that he would be a governor for all the people of the state if elected into office in 2023.
Aside the youths, the rally also witnessed the presence of party stalwarts and statesmen who joined in the walk round parts of the city.
Some of the eminent Rivers indigenes under the aegis of “Rivers Equity for 2million Youths for SIM” include former Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Sir Clapton Ogolo; Alabo Pawariso Horsfall, two former Permanent Secretaries, Sir J. P. Nalley and Sir Hart.
Others are Sir Emeka Ichoku and Mrs Tari Ningi Wari.
Speaking to newsmen, Sir Ogolo told newsmen that the event was to sensitise youths in the state to abstain from violence during the 2023 elections.
Ogolo, who was one of the conveners of the event, said violence was not only destructive but limits development and progress.
He said at this time, Rivers State needed a youthful governor to continue with the developmental aspirations of the present administration.
Ogolo warned those throwing stones to desist as the days of ignorance were over, “Peace is development and it gives joy”, he said.
The former commissioner said the rally would be taken round the 23 local government areas of the state.
Also speaking, Alabo Pawariso Samuel Horsfall said the Rivers Equity for 2million Youths For SIM, has come to join forces with Rivers youths to say no to violence during the 2023 general elections.
According to him, Rivers youths have always set the pace in the country, adding that such enviable position must be sustained in next year’s election.
Counselling youths to take the message round the state, Horsfall said Rivers youths were lucky that Sir Fubara was one of them.
He described the PDP guber candidate as peace-loving, a character he exhibits in all his activities.
The keynote speaker, Sir Emeka Ichoku, who spoke on the “Role of Youths on Violence In Free Election”, said the Peoples Democratic Party guber candidate knows what empowerment is all about.
Ichoku urged the youths to join the moving train by fully participating in the electoral process by getting their permanent voters’ cards and abstaining from violence during the elections.
For Hon. Norman Iboroma, the time for youths to take over has come, as he canvassed for a violence-free election in 2023.
By: Kevin Nengia
Democracy Day: Stakeholders Brainstorm In PH
This year’s Democracy Day celebration in Port Harcourt witnessed a gathering of religious and public-spirited individuals on a one-day forum to chart course for the nation’s leadership in next year elections.
The event was organised by the Men’s League of Christ Church, Port Harcourt tagged, “What Do Nigerians Want?” as stakeholders drawn from all walks of life in the metropolis brainstormed on the kind of leadership the country needs.
Speakers and experts drawn from the academia, church and the general public all shared views on how to pull the country out of its current debacle.
President of the Men’s League of Christ Church Port Harcourt, Barrister Sotonye Inyeinengi-Etomi set the tone of the forum, when he spoke on the need for a new leadership paradigm shift considering the state of the nation.
He stated that the church as key player in both spiritual and social needs of the nation has risen to the challenge to sensitise and to awaken the citizenry on the need to make the nation better.
Worried by the worsening insecurity and economic challenges, Inyeinnengi-Etomi submitted that the forum was put together by the men in the church as their contribution to nation building.
The Christ Church Men’s League Chairman stressed the need for participatory citizenship and improving governance.
In his paper titled, “The President Nigeria Needs”, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo harped on the need for leadership change.
He argued that what the country needs now are leaders who have vision and are ready to sacrifice for the common man, saying” things must be done differently”.
Pastor Ighodalo was of the opinion that leadership remain the bane of Nigeria’s transformation, stressing that once we get good leadership other things will fall in place.
Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo while speaking on the topic “Restructuring and True Federalism” was of the view that some responsibilities need to be decentralised like the police, power provision and railway.
Once there is decentralisation, he believes that the state will have less dependence on the centre, “rebalancing of the constitution in terms of power and security. So, there is reason for state police.”
Oyewo maintained that regions are closer to the people, thus it will boost security, the economy and sense of belonging by the populace.
He also identified data and planning as key factors in ensuring that programmes are tailored towards the people.
The state of insecurity in Nigeria was addressed by Dr. Victoria Ekhomu, a security expert, who narrated how her husband was killed by kidnappers years back.
Dr. Ekhomu blamed security challenges on poor leadership in the country, as she warned that if the current insecurity in parts of the country persists then next year’s elections may be hampered.
Chairman of the forum’s Organising Committee, Engr Stanford Tasie said this year’s forum was a success and assured that the communique will be forwarded to appropriate authorities as a way to support national development.
He recalled that this year’s forum was the second in the series and that by next year when another one will be organised, the country must have concluded its elections.
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