The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari recently expressed the optimism that the current political crisis rocking the state would be over in a matter of weeks.
As reassuring as that proclamation was, some actors in the crisis appear to think otherwise. Even when eminent persons have tended to intervene, it seems the crisis is nowhere close to being resolved. This is neither good for the state nor for the fledging economy being built in the state.
It is against this backdrop that The Tide feels worried that the actions and comments of some highly-placed persons still appear to be inflammatory, divisive and utterly undemocratic. That is not the best way to deal with the issue as what is at stake now is not who wins, but how much the State may lose.
The Tide therefore, appeals to all sides of the dispute to drop their swords and tow the path of reason and caution for the well-being of the state and its people.
We say this because of the far-reaching implication the situation can have on the economy, the polity and the safety of the people on the long run. It is, indeed, worrisome that the economic community in the state has started expressing disdain over the crisis.
Reports indicate that the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), NUPENG, and PENGASSAN have expressed one threat or the other to the effect that they would do something if their safety and the security of their businesses may no longer be guaranteed as a result of the impasse. One of them actually threatened to relocate from Port Harcourt if the crisis and its attendant fears persist.
These organisations may not be alone in this fear as even the police who, ordinarily, should tread the path of neutrality as unbiased umpires have been alleged to compromise the protection of lives and property in the State.
The apparent rise in security concerns has adversely affected the polity and can impact on the effective governance of the state as the ugly development had continuously polarised the people of the state along factional lines.
We, therefore, remind all Rivers people and those who live and do business in the state to remember how disadvantaged the state was before the advent of the president Rivers administration and how monumental efforts were being made to realise the dreams and aspirations of the people.
We are not unaware that politics all over the world is intended to serve the best interest of the people and the present crop of politicians in Rivers State should appreciate this. They should know that in spite of who is right or wrong, the political class of the day cannot afford to fail the state and discount on the dreams of the founding fathers.
Those who take sides and even cry more than the bereaved because of the little patronage they expect from the parties, should stop and put the interest of Rivers State first. The way the crisis had degenerated and the negative image it had given the State is something that should worry everyone.
The Tide therefore, wishes to call on the courts, panels and even the on-going probe of the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Mbu Joseph Mbu, to expedite action and bring the crisis to a quick end.
We must note, however, that conflict is a normal phenomenon in human life, particularly in young democracies such as ours. What is happening in Rivers State is not entirely new and should not be blown out of proportion to shortchange Rivers State and its people for whatever personal or factional interest.
It is, therefore, expected that people would stop taking sides or making unguarded and inflammatory utterances capable of escalating the crisis. Rather, we expect people to encourage the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness, as well as appeal to the conscience of all the parties involved with a view to coming to a quick understanding and reconciliation in the interest and well-being of the Rivers Project.
Tackling Insecurity In Kenpoly
Perturbed by the activities of criminals and hoodlums in their campus and its environs, students of Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic (Kenpoly), Bori, in Rivers State, are bemoaning heightened insecurity. Many students are roundly raped while robbery attacks are on the increase.
There is no doubt that the growing level of insecurity in Bori has spilt over to the polytechnic. Robbery incidents are comfortably executed and almost on a daily basis, students are heard crying helplessly in their hostels. Female students are the worse for it as they are molested and robbed, while their male counterparts are brutally beaten.
According to reports, the attackers mainly target students living off-campus. The victims have been left to their fate as repeated entreaties and calls to the police in Bori to come to their rescue had fallen on deaf ears. However, the police had defended their non-response by claiming that they were not informed about the development.
Their defence notwithstanding, it is disappointing that there is scant security presence at the school. The only security outfit seen on the ground is the anti-cultism squad which entirely has very few men amounting to an acute shortage of manpower on their part.
The happenstance indicates that life is no longer comfortable and safe for the polytechnic community given the incessant or unabating criminal activities. Apart from the incidents of robbery and rape, cult attacks and maimings have become the order of the day. Sadly, the pathetic phenomena have been ascribed to some unscrupulous students of the school in collaboration with a few natives.
Unfortunately, the Khana Local Government Area Chairman, whose primary duty is to protect lives and property in the area has failed to demonstrate sufficient concern about the obvious threat to students of the polytechnic. According to sources at the school, several correspondences made to him on the matter had received no response.
We are worried by this impression being created by the chairman, and call for pragmatic approach by the chief security officer of the local government to combat crime and criminality in the institution, albeit, the area. We urge him to work with all relevant security agencies to bring the situation under control.
The entire scenario playing out at Kenpoly is appalling and shameful. Therefore, we call on the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mustapha Dandaura, to urgently do the needful. The police should be held accountable if the trend continues and more students are maimed or killed. Despite the denials by the force, the truth is that the Bori police division on its part has remained dormant in the equation of providing adequate security as they are of little or no assistance to the students’ community in their ordeal.
As the trend escalates, the school authorities have to beef up security around the school and the off-campus hostels. They can do this by taking measures such as drafting military and police officers to vulnerable points around the school to curb the menace. This is where the expertise and professionalism of operators of ‘Operation Sting’ come in handy.
Furthermore, the school authorities should provide its security unit with new security equipment such as scanners, analyzers, bomb detectors, and CCTV cameras to assist the security personnel in achieving efficient and effective operations. The authorities have to realise that not only students are at the receiving end of this menace, lecturers and non-lecturers alike had had a fair share of the heinous attacks by these criminals.
Also, we advise all students of the institution to be wary and security-conscious always and monitor the movements of their fellow students because the proliferation of these criminal and robbery incidents is perpetrated by some students within the institution. Similarly, the security situation at Kenpoly underscores the need for governing authorities of higher institutions in the State to build additional hostels to reduce the number of off-campus students.
The constant attacks on Kenule Polytechnic have left an impression of a general state of insecurity, not only in Khana LGA, but the entire State. That is why we think that the Rivers State Government should not let this matter lie low, but should, where necessary, employ similar drastic measures applied in the Rivers State University (RSU) cult clash saga to restore normalcy in the polytechnic.
To this end, The Tide welcomes the proposed meeting of the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike with heads of all state-owned tertiary institutions, including Vice Chancellors, Rectors as well as Provosts and Chairmen of Governing Councils to be held today. We believe that such a meeting will properly convey the resolve of the governor to end the various security challenges confronting these institutions while charting a path towards achieving educational excellence in the State.
It is also important to note that not all students of the polytechnic whose lives are threatened are indigenes of the State; many of them hail from different parts of the country. Therefore, if the dangerous trend does not cease, a wrong signal may be sent out to the effect that Rivers State is unsafe.
Rivers: Our State, Our Responsibility
For those whose stock-in-trade is to debrand and de-market Rivers State for egocentric considerations and other selfish reasons, the recent campaign powered by the State Ministry of Information and Communications christened: “#Our StateOur Responsibility” may well serve as food for thought. It is, indeed, a lesson for every Rivers man and woman worth their onions.
As instructive as the campaign may be, the fact remains that despite the political and socio-cultural differences of our people, there can be no better place or State where we, particularly those of us living and doing business in the state, can proudly call our own than Rivers State, as envisioned by our founding fathers.
It is against this backdrop that The Tide is particularly appreciative of the bold initiative of the ministry for powering the campaign to, among others, correct the erroneous impression by the infinitesimal minority portraying the State in negative light.
While elucidating on the motivation for the campaign, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Paulinus Nsirim, affirmed that to achieve the desired results, all stakeholders should collaborate in order to sustain what Rivers State proudly symbolises since its creation in May, 1967, especially in the over four years of Governor Nyesom Wike’s stewardship.
It is, indeed, particularly heart-warming that the ministry acknowledges the pivotal role of the media as agenda setters and public opinion moulders whose practitioners could take the campaign to all strata of the society, and for this reason, kick-started the advocacy with the media.
Interestingly, too, the ministry recognises the importance of other stakeholders including traditional rulers, market women, petty traders, the political class, among other stakeholder groups in the advocacy which, according to the ministry’s arrow-head, would be taken in phases to make it all-encompassing and comprehensive.
No doubt, Rivers brand is one in a million which no matter how much the insignificant minority may strive to de-market, will continue to remain a factor in the historical, economic and socio-cultural relevance of the Nigerian State.
As Nigeria’s hydrocarbon hub, richly endowed with oil and gas resources, the State’s potentialities in agriculture and tourism cannot be wished away, no matter how much the detractors try. Moreover, the hospitable nature of the typical Rivers person is exemplary and second to none in the country. These facts are incontrovertible.
Perhaps, that is why most visitors feel much at home whenever they find themselves in Rivers soil. Truly, Rivers State is a microcosm of Nigeria, where virtually people from every tribe or ethnic group find comfort or solace.
Thus, the campaign must be holistic and should embrace all aspects of our life as a people with common destiny. So, we have to key into the vision of the Wike’s administration of making the state an investors’ haven and a tourism destination.
We, therefore, implore enemies of the State to desist from their negative narratives by looking beyond current political differences, as such destructive tendencies will be detrimental to the same people they are meant to protect. No doubt, such vices disparage the State and the consequences are grave and unimaginable.
It is our appeal therefore, that rather than paint the State black, we must collectively promote the potentials and opportunities that abound in the State and drive the milestones recorded by the Wike-led administration.
It is on record that the State has successfully hosted over 20 local, national and international events cutting across sports, media, law, tourism, art, politics, real estate, banking, science and technology, education, religion, among others, without any security breach or untoward incidents recorded. All these events attracted national and international personalities and attest to the fact that the State is safe and secure.
Rivers State is rated the second strongest economy in Nigeria after Lagos and no matter how much enemies of the State try to de-market it, the State will continue to grow from strength to strength, especially with a visionary leader like Nyesom Wike on the driver’s seat.
To deride the State which is naturally and humanly blessed is simply ridiculous and the meanest display of unpatriotism, contempt of the people and ingratitude to the State. Such detractors of Rivers State and her people have the moral responsibility and obligation to respect the feelings and aspirations of her people.
Our elders and well-meaning individuals have a major stake in the Rivers project and, therefore, must always strive to call such vicious critics to order in the interest and well-being of all.
This is our charge.
Eid-El-Kabir: Call For Sacrifice
Yesterday, Muslims all over the world celebrated Eid al-Adha otherwise known as the Feast of Sacrifice. It is one of the two most important celebrations in the Muslim calendar after the Eid al-Fitri which marks the end of Muslim fasting (Ramadan).
Eid al-Adha is observed by Muslims to commemorate the trial faced by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, Ishmael, as an act of obedience to God.
God, however, bestowed His mercies on Ibrahim by giving him a lamb to sacrifice in the stead of his son, hence, the beginning of making sheep as a sacrifice to God by Muslims during the Eid al-Adha festival which always falls on the 10th day of the Lunar month of Dhul al-Hijjah.
The day also marks the height of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims.
In Nigeria, a two-day public holiday is usually declared by the Federal Government to mark the celebration. This year, today and tomorrow have been declared public holidays to enable Muslims commemorate the Eid al-Adha festival.
As The Tide celebrates with Muslims all over the world, we urge Nigerians, irrespective of religion and ethnic background, to emulate the exemplary qualities shown by Prophet Ibrahim. Some of these qualities include the fear of God, total obedience to the will of God, imperative of keeping promises and the need to make personal sacrifice for the common good of humanity.
Prophet Ibrahim, fondly called the ‘father of faith’ was, indeed, a good model to humanity. His unmatched example signifies common underlying constructs namely; fear of God, honesty, sincerity, compliance, obedience and total submission to the will of God. He was also said to be extremely generous.
Sadly, all these elements appear to be diminishing with humanity in every sphere of life. This is evident in the proliferation of hedonism and individualism which eventually contribute to moral decadence, social disorder, corrupt practices, high level of intolerance, greed, selfishness, failure to keep simple promises and rising cases of bloodletting across the world.
We, therefore, encourage not just Muslims alone but all Nigerians to use the occasion of the Muslim festival to emulate the good examples of Prophet Ibrahim by cultivating the fear of God, and the habit of sacrifice, sincerity and keeping of promises.
Also in line with the significance of the Eid al-Adha is the need for Nigerian leaders to extend helping hands to the needy, sympathise with the grieved and keep promises made to the electorate.
We believe that if all mankind can internalise the philosophy behind Ibrahim’s story, the high level of corrupt practices, poverty, broken promises, kidnapping and bloodletting that pervade most parts of the world including Nigeria would reduce in the society.
Suffice to say also that there is a great lesson to learn from the trial faced by Prophet Ibrahim. His trial by God is a clear testimony to the fact that human life is full of trials and tribulations, and could take any form.
The way and manner we react and respond to each test, however, demonstrates our measure of consciousness of God and our faithfulness to Him. It is thus myopic for anybody to resort to unholy actions at every little test, frustration or disappointment.
Again, Eid al-Adha is also a harvest day. All the good works done in the service of God are rewarded and all believers reap the fruits of their good deeds as God grants His mercy and blessings abundantly without measure.
Above all, the replacement of Ibrahim’s beloved son with a lamb as the sacrificial animal is instructive. It clearly and unambiguously indicates the total forbidding of shedding of innocent blood.
We pray that with the moral lessons embedded in the philosophy behind the celebration of the Eid al-Adha, the unnecessary bloodletting by Boko Haram and herdsmen, and kidnapping of innocent Nigerians by hoodlums would stop in Nigeria, while the milk of love, kindness and generosity would begin to flow from Nigerian leaders to the ordinary masses.
Once again, we congratulate Muslims across Nigeria and beyond on this year’s celebration of Eid al-Adha.
We say Eid Mubarak.
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