After the creation of
Rivers State in 1967, the state under the leadership of Navy Commander Alfred Diete Spiff, the then Military Governor, who is now His Royal Majesty of Twon Brass, was ranked as educationally disadvantaged. This was as a result of few tertiary and secondary schools that existed before the Nigeria civil war of 1967-1970.
The quest to uplift the state from its doldrum of great academic retrogression occasioned by the effects of the Nigerian civil war and few schools then made successive governments in the state to establish more secondary schools in the state. This led to the birth of what we have today as Government Secondary Schools across the state. The new government policy on education saw the building of schools like Government Secondary School, Eneka, Government Secondary School, Okehi, Government Girls Secondary School, Ndashi, Government Technical College, Port Harcourt, to mention but a few across the state. The schools were officially commissioned and academic activities started in 1977.
Government Secondary School, Eneka, situated at Rumuesara in Eneka Kingdom in Obio/Akpor Local Government was one of those schools. This institution today is ranked as one of the glorious point of reference, a citadel of learning that is referenced in the academic records of the state education gazette as the school has to its credit produced people like the current Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike (CON), who has also held political positions in the past as a two-time chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area in Rivers State, Chief of Staff in the state and Minister of Education in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, before becoming the Governor of Rivers State on May 29th, 2016. Apart from him, the school has also produced people like Professor Okey Onuchuku, a renowned economist at the University of Port Harcourt. What about Mr Collins Orji of the Mobile Telecommunication Nigeria (MTN), an old student as well who also occupies a very good position in the company. The list of the old boys of Government Secondary School, Eneka, who are doing well speaks in volume, as the school has recorded her graduands in medicine, enginerring, law and other professions.
As the school is well remembered for producing responsible Nigerian citizens, some of its graduands still have the school in mind despite their exalted positions they found themselves today in Nigeria.
His Excellency, Chief Barrister Nyesom Wike, is one of such intelligent and humble old students of Government Secondary School, Eneka, who has paid back his alma-mater with goodwill and support. History has it that right from when he became the Executive Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, he impacted on the school by providing portable drinking water, financial and moral supports to the school.
This political amazon, a legal luminary, a born administrator, continues to encourage his alma-mater from time to time as God continues to bless him in all life endeavours. In a flash back, one notices that when he became the minister of education under the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, he looked backwards and felt that his alma-mater -GSS Eneka needs to be improved.
The Rumuepirikom born son of Ikwerre ethnic nationality, immediately penciled down the school for the construction of a new administrative block for the Principal, Vice-Principals, the staff and Computer/Internet Centre for the Universal Basic Education section of the school. A gigantic bore-hole tank with a heavy duty generating set was built for the supply of water to the teachers and students. He did not stop there, he also ordered the renovation of the dilapidated classrooms which were installed with facilities to make teaching and learning to be effective.
No wonder, as Government Secondary School, Eneka, celebrates her 27th Annual Inter-House Sports on the 4th March 2016, encomiums were poured on the Governor for his care for the school. On that occasion, the school decided to honour him by making him the patron of the Purple House popularly known as Governor Wike’s House.
On that day, the Executive Chairman of the Rivers Senior Secondary Schools Board, Port Harcourt, Hon (Dr) David Briggs, who was the special guest of honour commended the governor for providing a Computer/Internet Centers for the school when he was a Minister of Education. The chairman who spoke through his representative, Mr Uche Fred Owho, the director administration, at the Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools Board, Port Harcourt, also called on parents and other philanthropists to encourage sporting activities in schools by donating sporting equipment and facilities to schools. This he said will boost the morals of students in track and field events. He maintained that sports was part of the learning process that falls under the psycho-motor domain.
The director called on the teachers to be punctual to their duties and that students should desist from examination malpractice as the forth coming May/June 2015 West African Examination Council (WAEC) is about to commence.
The chairman of the occasion for the 27th Annual Inter-House Sports 2016, Hon. Chris Nnanna Ogbonna, in his speech commended the school for the peaceful co-existence that has existed between the school and Eneka community. He also commended the Rivers State Governor for all the good works he has initiated in Rivers State and prayed God to continue to strengthen him to actualise his dreams to reality.
In her welcome address, the principal of the school, Mrs Rose Ego Odum, said that Governor Nyesom Wike’s House was created as a thank you gift and to immortalize his name in the school for his care and improvement of his alma-mater, especially on the renovations so far done in the school.
The principal called on other old boys to emulate the kind gesture of Governor Wike ensuring that his alma-mater comes of age.
According to her, it is not yet uhuru, as the school still needs to be fenced and the hostels and staff quarters need attention. The fencing of the school is very paramount because of the several issues of encroachment by the villagers on the school premises.
Mrs. Odum also said that landscaping of the school leaves the football field with water logs whenever it rains heavily. This she said disrupts football activities and therefore needs urgent attention. Commenting on the school laboratories, she said they also needs urgent attention to enable the present crop of our future scientists have a good sense of the world of engineers, doctors by the provision of audio-visual materials in the laboratories to enable them compete globally.
The school administrator said seven houses participated in this year’s sports competition. The Governor’s House took the first position in the march past, while Yellow House took first position in the overall field and track events with 471 points, seconded by the Blue House with 466 points and the Red House took the third position with 342 points.
Also recollecting what the Governor has done for Government Secondary School, Eneka, the Principal for the Universal Basic Education (UBE), Dr (Mrs) Anthonia Kabiri, was also grateful for what the Governor did in his alma-mater, especially the building of the new administrative block for the staff and a computer centre for the students including a 15KVA generator for light.
According to her, Wike has become “The spirit that inspires and the light of hope to our young generations in the school. His care for the school has proved that a determined student can pass through the four walls of our educational steps and rise to the pinnacle.
Dr Kabari feels that the Governor’s philanthropic nature and Christian life must have been the brain behind his success at the Supreme Court.
The UBE principal said that the Junior Secondary section has decided to also appreciate the Governor Chief (Barr) Nyesom Wike (CON) , the Executive Governor of Rivers State, by dedicating the 2016 inter-house sports competition of the Universal Basic Education to him as an old student and father to the school.
The school administrator complained that hoodlums come into the school premises to steal and extort money from both the teachers and students because of absence of school fence.
However, she maintained that through the efforts of the Parents/Teachers Association of the school, they have improvised seats for the students.
Samuel Nwagwu, is a Port Harcourt-based journalist.
What Do Nigerians Expect In 2022?
As the year 2021 was winding up with all its ups and downs, it was natural for people to state some of their expectations in the coming year, 2022. And what are some of these prospects?
Joseph Omeje, is an economist and lecturer with the Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT). He believes that human beings are usually very optimistic. Hear him: Yes, the economy of the country and globally is very bad but I expect that 2022 will be better than 2021 only that we have to plead with the political leaders to play the game of electioneering very gently. Let there be human face in whatever they are doing. We wouldn’t like to hear that the youths are being used to kill or to commit all evil in a bid for some people to realise their political ambitions. Our leaders should do their best so that we do not incur much human losses anymore. We have suffered a lot in the hands of these religious extremists and those who are pursuing their personal goals.
Economically, Nigeria will do better once there is security. The insecurity problem in the country is something that government can tackle if they want. Once the security situation in the country is improved so as to allow farmers go back to their farms and Nigerians go about their businesses freely, then the nation wouldn’t be as bad as it was in the last year. Government should dialogue with agitating groups. Whatever is the problem let them discuss it so that there will be peace in the country. When there is peace, the economy will improve. I believe that political solution is much better than judicial solution.
I also expect that government should take a second look at the idea of giving out money in the name of allowances. What is N5000.00 for a household or even an individual in a month? Instead of all these handouts, government should create an environment where people can get employment. When we were growing up I know that some states had stakes in businesses. In my own state, Enugu, we had cashew industry, aluminium roofing sheet industry and all that. All these are moribund now. If all these can be revived and new ones added, you will see that there will be a lot of jobs. And once you have job opportunities for the youth, you will see that even the problem of insecurity will reduce and per capita income will increase and the economy will improve.
It is also my expectation that the excessive borrowings will stop. We have borrowed enough. It’s true that no country can do without borrowing but when we keep borrowing and we are not putting it into real investment portfolio or productive sector so that it helps the economy to grow, then there is a big problem. And how do we intend to pay back these loans? We heard what happened in Uganda recently. The Chinese government has taken over the only international airport they have because of their indebtedness to China. What if the same thing should happen to Nigeria?
For Mrs Dorathy Mayford, a civil servant, the experiences of the previous years have taught her not to have any expectations from the government, the society or individuals as doing so affects her health negatively. “I have learned that the best way to live is without having any expectations from life. Expecting good from our leaders in Nigeria will end up getting you disappointed. For some years now workers in the state and the nation have expected that their salaries will be increased to enable them cope with the prevailing harsh economic realities in the country. Civil servants in the state have expected that they will be promoted but these expectations were never met. So, I have decided that in order to stay healthy and happy, I will not expect anything. I only put my trust and hope in God because only He will not disappoint or fail me.”
A technician, Mr Malachy Amadi, expects that there will be plenty of money in circulation in the country in 2022. In his words, “2022 is a year preceding an election year. It will be a period of campaigns and the politicians will bring out all the money they have been stealing from government’s coffers and saving. So, there will be a lot of money in circulation and that will make life better and easier for the masses.”
Joel Ogwuche, a stock broker, projects that Nigeria will be a better society, a well-planned environment where people can begin to make plans for the future. “As it is, presently, nobody can plan for tomorrow in this country because of several policy summersaults. Those in authority change the existing policies at any time and introduce new ones without even notifying the citizens. Nobody can make a sustainable plan in this type of environment. So, I expect that in the coming year, our leaders will begin to do the right thing for the benefit of the entire citizens and not for a few individuals”, he said.
Miss Grace Moses, a housekeeper, is of the hope that in 2022, security would be a major concern for those in the authority both at the federal and state levels. Grace, an indigene of Kaduna State, working in Port Harcourt, narrated that many people from her state have been forced out of their state and into other major cities around the country where they engage in all kinds of menial jobs to survive. According to her, the prices of food and other commodities are rising daily in the country because farmers have been driven away from villages by Boko Haram militants disguised as Fulani herdsmen and other criminals. She, therefore, expects that in 2022, the problem of insecurity will be given a sincere, adequate attention so that people can go back to their villages.
Jake Baridon, a legal practitioner expects the national and state assemblies to be on the side of the masses and make laws that will benefit the generality of the people instead of being “rubber stamps”. He continued, “I personally will expect the National Assembly to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on electoral bill. The bill, as far as I know, represents the desire of the electorates in the country and it is wrong of Mr President with withhold his assent for the second time for some flimsy reasons. The year 2020 should be a period for us to start seeing vibrant law making, practical separation of power and checks and balances in our nation. These people have been dormant for a long time and it is high time they showed that they can not only bark but that they can also bite.”
He also expects the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government, the police, the EFCC and others bodies to play their respective roles in fighting corruption in Nigeria, adding that the high rate of corruption in the country is disturbing and if nothing is done to check it, the future of the country will be very bleak.
Arinola Moyo, a youth corps member, says she wants to see true leadership in the country, especially at the federal level. In her words: it’s been as if we don’t have a true leader since the current government came on board. Every time you hear the Presidency said this, the Attorney General of the Federation said that, Lai Mohammed said that. You hardly hear from the President, making it seem as if these people are the ones ruling the nation. So, I want to see more effective leadership in the country.
“Government should also do something about the high unemployment rate in the country. Thousands of graduates come out from schools every year without jobs for them. That is why some of them join Internet fraudsters and other bad gangs.
“I also expect federal and state governments to implement the recommendations of the various judicial panels on #EndSARS. This issue is so delicate to be swept under the carpet.” Moyo said.
Christian Chidi is a businessman. He expects that with the issue of COVID-19 being curtailed, life will come back to the business sector in the country. According to him, since the advent of the pandemic two years ago, business has been dull with many oil companies working from home and many private companies folding up.
A housewife, Lady Pep Iroh, is projecting that, come year 2022, adequate attention will be paid to the problem of soot in Port Harcourt which she alleges is causing serious health issues for the residents of the city.
Pastor Godswill Abalagha envisions that the grace of God will be abundant for the nation and the citizens in 2022 to help see them through all difficulties and challenges. He, however, advised Nigerians to turn away from their wicked ways, including stealing government’s money, shedding of blood, kidnapping, corrupt practices and rather seek the face of God.
By: Calista Ezeaku
…Creates Two New Offices In Govt House
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced the creation of two new executive offices to guarantee efficiency and effectiveness of activities at the Government House, in Port Harcourt.
The governor’s action was made known in a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State Governor, Kelvin Ebiri in Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday.
The terse statement reads, “To ensure activities are functioning efficiently and effectively, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced the creation of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt.
“The Deputy Chief of Staff will be in charge of the Logistics, Correspondence of the Governor and Legal Matters.
“Similarly, he has also announced the creation of the Office of the Special Adviser on Aviation”.
Accelerating Gender Parity In Nigeria
In virtually all societies, women are in an inferior position to men. Sex or gender determines more rights and dignity for men in legal, social and cultural situations, These are reflected on unequal access to or enjoyment of rights in favour of men.
There are also the assumption of stereotype social and cultural roles.
In Nigeria, gender inequality has been for decades in spite of modernization and the fact that many females have done better than men in many spheres.
Analysts are convinced that gender inequality is largely influenced by religious and cultural beliefs, as some cultures and religions still hold strongly that women are the weaker vessels created mainly to be home keepers and child bearers.
Analysts are also worried that gender inequality negatively affects status in all areas of life in society, whether public or private, in the family or labour market.
Although the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows some progress amongst the 149 countries that were indexed, the progress toward closing the gender gap is slow, because it will take 108 years to close the gender gap and another 202 years to achieve parity in the workforce, according to the report.
The report benchmarks the 149 countries on their progress toward gender parity across four dimensions – economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
A number of initiatives have been made by corporate organisations and governmental and non-governmental organisations to address gender imbalance in Nigeria.
One of the latest is the launch of First Women Network (FWN) by the First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., in commemoration of the 2019 International Women’s Day (IWD).
IWD is celebrated globally every March 8 to recognise social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The celebration is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The global theme for the 2019 celebration is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” while the theme for the social media campaign is “#BalanceforBetter”.
According to the bank, the FWN initiative is an avenue for career management and mentoring for women to enable them to balance their career with private endeavours.
The aim, according to the bank, is to address gender gap and increase women representation in its senior and executive levels, as well as encourage women to tap into opportunities and contribute to nation-building.
The bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Adesola Adeduntan, explains that First Women Network is targeted at the banks’ staff and customers, among others.
He believes that women can achieve more if given the necessary strategic support, hoping that the initiative
will increase the bank’s productivity and profitability.
Adeduntan notes that the initiative is also a demonstration of First Bank’s adherence to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Sustainable Development Goals which mandate increased women representation in all banks.
The sustainable goals require that the financial services sector should adopt a quota system to increase women representation on boards to 30 per cent and that of senior management level to 40 per cent by 2014.
Adeduntan is optimistic that the FWN will address six key area – career management, personal branding, mentoring, welfare, financial planning and empowerment.
He is convinced that the initiative will address gender disparity at the workplace.
“It is commonly agreed that gender parity is an essential factor influencing the advancement of institutions, economies and societies.
“Studies have shown that gender parity in corporations promotes increased performance and returns on investment.
“The need to invest in composite women empowerment and enhance their contributions at senior management levels to achieve organisational goals cannot be over-emphasised,” the CEO says.
For him, it is paradoxical that the presence of women in paid employments continues to increase, yet the progression of professional women to positions of leadership and management remains slow.
“Gender gaps persist in economic opportunities and political participation in many countries.
“This is part of the reasons for this women network initiative,” he notes.
The chief executive officer wants employers of labour and the entire society to encourage women to advance, excel and contribute optimally in workplaces and communities.
Mr Abiodun Famuyiwa, group head, Products and Marketing Support, promises that First Bank will continue to promote female entrepreneurship for national growth and development.
“We recognise that promoting female entrepreneurship and independence is key to economic viability of every home in the country,” he says.
According to him, FWN is a further demonstration of the bank’s commitment to women empowerment after the launch of FirstGem in 2016.
He is satisfied that FirstGem is providing opportunities for women to achieve their financial goals and aspirations through with access to support funds, free business advice, specialised trainings on business development and insight on business development.
For Mr Lampe Omoyele, managing director, Nitro 121, an integrated marketing communications agency, points out that courage is important in addressing gender imbalance.
“For gender imbalance to be resolved, there has to be courage, vision, values and character,” he says.
He is convinced that women should have courage and confidence in taking risks within organisations.
Omoyele advises that women must not play the victims.
“Ultimately, whether you are a female or male, what is going to sustain you is your character and values.
“You need to have values; character is important in the balance that we live to, and it sustains you as you move into the future,” he adds.
The Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs Bola Adesola, wants women to take advantage of FWN to make their lives better.
She urges women to aspire to grow in their endeavours and refuse be limited because of their gender, stressing that they should use all resources at their disposal to grow.
For the bank chief, FWN is not a silver bullet to creating the first female chief executive officer of First Bank, but about opportunity.
“So, it is important that as women, we take advantage of it,” she urges.
Ms Cecilia Akintomide, independent non-executive director, FBN Holdings Plc, is dissatisfied that Nigeria is still far in gender balancing.
Akintomide says Nigerian women are still being restricted from working in some places and owning some property.
According to her, restrictions are rendering 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population – mainly women – economically unviable.
A First Bank customer, Mrs Ifeyinwa Okoye, lauds the FWN, and urges the bank to ensure that its customers – the secondary target of FWN – benefit from it.
Okoye describes women as critical to economic growth and development but regrets that many women were lagging behind in their endeavours because of gender inequality.
She wants the banks to enlighten its customers on FWN for maximum results.
“If you empower a woman, you empower a nation.
“Empowering women is especially effective because the benefits are felt throughout the whole community,” she argues.
Analysts call for more strategic support for Nigerian women to enhance gender parity.
By: Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
Joel-Nwokeoma is of the News Agency of Nigeria.
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