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Arts/Literary

Parade Of Rivers Literary Icons

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In the contemporary world of today, there is a widely held, negative impression that places the development of any nation in the palms of the political class, oblivious of the fact that every other member of the society has a role to play in the development of the society.

One class of people that has made valuable contributions to the society is the literary artists who use their great talents and literary skills to tell the story of their people and promote their culture through literature.

It is true that those in the pinnacle of political power have the powers to make and unmake, but whatever impacts, positive or negative, they make in the society are often shaped by critics, mot of who are made up of literary icons, playwrights, musicians, actors and actresses.

While those in corridor of political power depend more on commonwealth than their intellectual endowment to make whatever impacts they deem necessary, those in the literary world solely employ their intellectual skills to build their society. With a touch of imagination and creativity, literary artists metamorphose the happenings around them into plausible texts which in turn become a relevant reference point to the society.

Literary icons like the legendary Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, John Pepper Clark, Ola Totimi, Zulu Sofola etc have made great impacts not only to Nigeria, but to the world in general through arts and literature. They are an institution every student must pass through in the world of literature.

Due to his literary works, professor Soyinka, the first African Nobel  Laureatte  needs no introduction in any country of the world. His literary acumen and intellectual contributions to the world have earned him and his country, Nigeria an unenviable image among the comity of nations. Today, while Soyinka’s face is an international passport in any nation’s airport, Nigeria is regarded as a nation endowed with skills. This is one golden laurel the combined efforts of all Nigerian politicians have not earned Nigeria since its 50th year of political independence.

In the 43 years of Rivers State creation, there are many people whose literary genre has earned Rivers State good reputation. The legends among them are Emmanuel Elechi Amadi, Claude Ake, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Margaret Kay Williamson and Rex Jim Lawson.

Through their numerous works, these great writers and artiste projected the Rivers State culture and folkcore in such a way that those that belong to other cultures were able to appreciate the Rivers people.

For instance, ELECHI AMADI is a playwright and author with a strong passion for African Literature, and with a thrust of native languages. Unlike many writers who seem to have no cultural affinity on which to hang their writings, and who as a result, rely on foreign words, idioms and imitations, Elechi Amadi is a roots writer with a vision.

A well-known creative writer with African folklores, this 76 year old son of Aluu in Rivers State belongs to the core of artistes who explore the range of his local, native challenges and document them in his works.

Like a griot from the Sahel region, Amadi takes African literature to contemporary level and promotes Rivers culture to an international level.

And like the legendary Wole Soyinka and J.P. Clark whose separate, famous poems on Abiku (the reincarnate) are being driven by African beliefs, myths and mysteries, Amadi’s verse play, Isiburu is rooted in his native Ikwerre language and culture.

Due to the excellent presentation of his works which evolve pre-colonial African societies as ruled by the gods and which is wedded in the core traditional myths, Amadi is popularly acclaimed as the leading authority in the supernatural in African literature. He has in his kilts, among others, the reknown trilogy: The Concubine (AWS 25), The Great Ponds (AWS 44) and The Slave (AWS 210).

CLAUDE AKE is another prolific writer of Rivers State origin whose numerous scholarly articles in learning journals spread across six continents. His seminal work “A political Economy of Africa” was simultaneously published by Longman in London and New York in 1981, and was declared the best text book in the United States of America in 1981. The Soviet Academy of Science translated the book into Russian language in 1985.

Till date, Professor Ake’s literary works remain a reference point in political science all over the world. This achievement, in no means earns Nigeria and Rivers  State in particularly an unenviable image in the world. And until his death through a plane crash in 1993, this Professor of Political Economics and founder of the Nigeria’s first private Think Thank called centre for Advanced Social Science (CASS) was an intellectual kingpin in Nigeria.

As for  KEN SARO WIWA, he was one fearless writer who, in order to draw attention of the world to injustices in his community, turned to pen and paper and gave vent to his creative impulse. Before his death on November 10, 1995, he had written 27 books.

Through his writings, he highlighted the social and economic ills of the Nigerian society, as well as helped to tell the nation’s political leaders what they were not doing right, even when it was obvious that his criticism could cost him his life.

Even though he was from a prominent family in Ogoni, he was consistently concerned about the treatment of the Niger Delta within the Nigerian federation. The non-violent movement for social and ecological justice which he launched in 1990 against oil companies operating in Ogoni though precipitated genocide in Ogoniland, later forced Shell Petroleum Company out from Ogoni in 1993.

It is however unfortunate that the struggle for justice for his kinsmen cost this great writer and former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) his life in 1995.

In a male- dominated world where the voice of women seemed unheard and under- appreciated, it is difficult to see many women stepping forward to distinguish themselves. But Margaret Kay Williamson did.

Even though, she was born in Hereford England in 1935 and had all her education in England, Mrs Williamson was one writer who devoted her writings to the promotion of Nigerians, especially Niger Delta languages. Her  Doctoral thesis was on the Ijaw language.

Titled “A Grammar of the Kolakuma Dialect of Ijaw”, the thesis was later revised and published in book – form in 1965. This thesis, by and large, promoted the Ijaw language all over the world.

It was therefore not surprising that she was given a befitting State burial in 2005 by the Bayelsa State Government at Kaima, her adopted Nigerian home-town.

Last but not the least is the music legend, Rex Jim Lawson (a.k.a. cardinal). With a compelling African rhythm and cultural affinity, Rex Lawson’s highlife music was steeped in the style of the early superstars like E.T. Mensah of Ghana, Bobby Benson and Victor Olaiya of Nigeria.

Through music, which he started playing from his primary school days under late reverend D.S.H Bob-Manuel, Cardinal was able to project the African culture, especially his Kalabari language through the use of native words, parables and anecdotes.

Within his 33 years sojourn on earth, Rex Lawson was able to compose and record a total of 109 songs.

There is no doubt that these arts and literary giants have, through their works, left valuable and indelible legacies that would continue to be a source of pride to the Rivers people.

Therefore, the best way to keep the memories of these legends alive is by improving on the legacies they left behind. This is one area the Rivers State government has a role to play.

And one way in which this can be done is by organizing special annual arts and cultural festival and literary week that would provide opportunity for the younger generation to highlight their literary skills.

Boye Salau

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Firm Partners Parents Association On Education Plan

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Leadway Assurance has partnered with the Association of Parents of Private School Students (APPSS) to launch an education insurance policy plan tagged the ‘Group Education Protection Plan (GEPP)’.
The bespoke education plan, which was launched at the Children’s Day event hosted at Eliud International School in Port Harcourt on Thursday, May 27, 2021, is designed to help parents protect their children’s future from possible socio-economic disruption in schooling due to unplanned or unforeseen events, such as the death of a parent or guardian, life threatening critical illness, total and permanent disability resulting from personal accidents.
With this partnership, the parents are guaranteed the fulfilment of bequeathing their children quality and life-defining education, no matter what life throws at them.
This unique alliance mandates Leadway Assurance to assume the payment of the children’s fees for the agreed remaining school terms from the point the sponsoring parent or guardian dies or contracts a critical illness or disability.
Speaking on the initiative, Head of Life Retail, Leadway Assurance, Bolorunduro Saliu, said, “This policy reflects the organisation’s proactive steps towards mitigating the risk parents face of failing to achieve their dream of bequeathing quality education to their children due to circumstances that are beyond their control, especially death or permanent disability.
“We are pleased to work with a forward-looking association that is keen to proactively take smart financial decisions for their children’s assured future.
Our partnership with APPSS provides every parent under the association the assurance that, should the most unnerving life situation occur, there is guaranteed peace of mind regarding the completion of your child’s education”, he added.
He further stated, “The intention of this policy is to have a solution that protects the parents which in turn protects the education of their children in case of any eventuality. This product is designed to provide an actionable and affordable solution to ensuring that our children, being the future of the society, have proactive measures put in place to ensure that their journey to greatness was not halted abruptly.”
Also, commenting on the partnership, National President, Association of Parents of Private School Students (APPSS), Dr Ovy Chukwuma, said, “Leadway Assurance has magnanimously created this programme at a very affordable premium and high sum, assured to cater for the payment of fees for children in private schools nationwide from Nursery to Secondary Levels.
The programme is designed to be driven by our Children Education Promotion and Protection Ambassadors (CEPPA), a project to provide parents, schools, and society at large an opportunity to be involved in the process of quality children education delivery in the country”, he added.
The GEPP partnership was officially inaugurated on Thursday, May 27, 2021, in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, commemorating this year’s Children’s Day.
Leadway Assurance is one of Nigeria’s foremost insurance service companies with a reputation for service efficiency and customer reliability.
The organisation is committed to providing innovative ways to equip every Nigerian with the tools needed to mitigate risks whilst adopting insurance as a top choice for wealth creation.

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Social/Kiddies

‘Your Reaction Matters More Than What Happens To You’

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Once  a time, a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a  reknown chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the boiled eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. ‘Daughter, what do you see?’
‘Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,’ she hastily replied.
‘Look closer,’ he said, ‘and touch the potatoes.’ She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
‘Father, what does this mean?’ she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
‘Which are you,’ he asked his daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?’

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Why Youths Must Pay A Price For Success

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Youths today desire to be like Daniel in the Bible, but they are not ready to pay the price in order to earn a reward.Daniel in the Bible was a successful, wise, intelligent, knowledgeable, consecrated, and a committed person.The Bible records that he was 10 times better than others.
Today, parents name  their children, Daniel because of the divine and excellent spirit in him and the way he was successful.We try to be like those who have excelled but we are not ready to do what they did before they  succeeded ,we are not ready to pay the price for success.
Life is wonderful but the world itself is “colourful”.
Today, the acronym, “This World No Balance” turns to be a popular slogan of many youths today.They feel relaxing,weak,and tired. When they try and fail, they never try to continue or to keep moving forward,they are discouraged and taken off balance because of little trials, failure, etc.
They forget about the story of Ben Carson who was buried in failure and dullness in his school days,but now he is one of the best medical doctors we have,and they also forget about the story of Michael Faraday who failed 999 times just to bring about the existence of electricity in the world,but he was not shaken, discouraged or stopped trying.
His aspiration, inspiration, dreams and zeal never dried up or died in him,but he consistently persevered and strived to attain to achieve his purpose and goal.
Today,youths shouldn’t just sit back and complain about their backgrounds,level of education, psychological capabilities and abilities,we should not forget that Daniel was a slave but yet was found victorious.Joseph was a slave before he became the Prime Minister in Egypt.We should just try our best,read our books,go for predominant skill acquisition,engage in meaningful things,we should strive, persevere,aspire,inspire and have the zeal for success and goal oriented .We should fight back with success when life offers us failure, fight back with victory when life offers us defeat,and we should fight back with positive when life offers us negative.Then I believe with all these at heart ,the popular slogan will change from “A Disbalance Life  To A Balance  Life”.
 As youths,we should remember that no good thing comes easily,and no good thing comes without paying a price.If youths today can chant their perspectives and believe,then success will be sure and secured for youths and failure will be a thing of the past.Youths today can be successful like David, Job,Joseph, Michael Faraday,Ben Carson and other successful men and women in the world.
See You at throne Of Success!!

By: Wisdom God’swork
 God’swork is a student of  Community Secondary School,
Kalio-Ama, Okrika LGA, Rivers State.

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