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PH Residents Lament High Cost Of Living

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It is therefore not uncommon in the city to see neatly dressed people who hussle in the day time and sleep in shacks and under flyovers in the night.

A young man of about 30 years of age recently made a frantic attempt to climb the gate of one of the oil companies in Port Harcourt.

Despite his appeals and explanation of the purples of his visit, the gate remained shut against him. He was wrapped in a tangle of misery and self pity. In his utter frustration, the barred visitor said he no longer blames people who go into crime as an option for life after facing untold hardship and a rejection from the society.

His predicament represents the collective frustration of many people who throng into Port Harcourt, the Garden City of Nigeria to reap of its supposedly blooming prospect but meet a situation of gloom and despair. Port Harcourt remains the delight of many Nigerians and offers irresistible  attraction because of its strategic location and prime objective, expecially in the oil and gas industry.

Like the story of the youngman who could not access the gate of the oil company, most people that move into the city to eke out a livelihood wrestle with the elusive ghost of cost paradise dreams as hardship stare them in the face. They however bare the strains of struggle and live out their lives in the status they are consigned by fate. Some seek artificial means of enhancing their status symbol and participate first hand in the luxurious indulgence and other trappings of city live. To this category of people, crime proof the most worthwhile option of clearing the bumps on the economic  highway.

Port Harcourt residents are variegated. They consist an odd assortments of individuals operating at various levels of economic existence and status.

There are the employed and the unemployed. The blue-collar and the white-collar jobbers. The business people and the petty criminals. The middle class and the bourgeois,  and they all jostle for live and the fortunes and opportunities offered by the city. No category of resident in the city is exclusively shielded from the harsh wind of economic reality.

Port Harcourt has a bloated Population and economic demands in the city is very high. One of the greatest problems faced by residents in the city is that of accommodation. Because of the teeming population of the city, the available house  because in sufficient and ulitities and existing infrastructures are been stretched.

A one room apartment in the city can be afforded at N5,000 a month, while a self-contain apartment is given within the rates of N130 to N150,000, depending on the location. For many residents of the city, expensive accommodation is out of view. The major thing is how to put food on the table on daily bases.

It is therefore not uncommon in the city to see neatly dressed people who hussle in the day time and sleep in shacks and under flyovers in the night.

To avoid the prying eyes of the city landlord over their rent demands, many presidents of the city, choose to live in the slums and cluster settlements in make shift apartments where about six to seven persons live in a room. They stalk out daily for survival and retire home to sleep vows in the improvised accommodation.

One of the worst victims of the biting hardship in the city are civil servants,  especially those of the lower cadre. A civil servant  who spoke with The Tide On Sunday but will not want his name in print said he finds it difficult take feed his family because of the high cost of living in the city. The civil servant, a middle aged man married with three children, said he had to device a means of coping with the harsh economic realities so that his  family would not starve to death.

“My salary can not pay my children school fee and feed the family well. What do is that I establish a small business for my wife to do, my wife is a petti-trader and it is from their that we eat, I also get my daily transport fare from the proceeds of the little business, my salary is just to pay the children school fees,” he lamented.

But Mr. Calab Chukwu who works with a private firm in Port Harcourt would preffer to be a civil servant. His reasons: ‘Although the money paid civil servants is small, their job is secured and guaranted. As a private firm worker you live at the mercy of your employer who can fire you at any time. The salary also fluctuate as he can reduce or increase it at any time depending on his temperament or state of the business.” Chukwu who is in his late 30s said he plan to marry the girl of his choice shattered because be could not raises enough money to pay the bride price. Chukwu also quit with his uncle as he can not pay  for a private accommodation.  He said his estranged fiancé gave it as a condition for him to secure a privacy for themselves and since he could not meet up the bargain she opted out.

Mr. Timi Akori, a mother of four and also a private firm employee said the challenges of family life is becoming heavier as her husband is a pensioner and has no active job to support the family at the moment. “I can no longer meet up the demand of my family. The salary I receive at the end of every month is too small. I would have opted out of the job but I just have to manage because my family has to eat.?

Market trader are also not spared of the hardship in the city. A cross section of market women interviewed at the mile one market complain of lack of effective patronate.

According to one of the traders, Miss Rose Kpesi that high cost of transporting the goods from the hinterland  is considered in the prices and buyers often complain that the goods are expensive. “It is not our fault, that good cost high this days, most of our product come from the villages and even others  states and the coster transportation is high we have to consider our transport far so that we don’t run out of business.” Port Harcourt is generally assumed to be a wealth city. Business men and women from other states with this mindset love into the city with the though of making much money. But they are astounded by the high cost of living in the city and this affects their business operations.

 

Taneh Beemene

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Asaramaija Installs Monarch Amid Fanfare

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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

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Youths March In PH For PDP Governorship Candidate

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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

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Democracy Day: Stakeholders Brainstorm In PH

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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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