Comrade Chika Onuegbu, former Rivers State Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) says the Golden Jubilee celebration of Rivers State calls for sober reflection and a time to celebrate Rivers men and women who have contributed to the development of the State.
I think the Golden Jubilee celebration of Rivers State is something that is heartening. Any time you are marking a milestone in your existence, it is something that is heartening. It is not easy to be 50 years. But it also gives you an opportunity to review that your existence, in terms of what you have done right and the areas of improvement and how to close those gaps. I think the 50 years celebration should be rather a time for sober reflection than a time for a jamboree. It should be a time to actually recognise the contributions of Rivers men and women, past and present to the development of Rivers State. For instance, the government should also recognise those in the labour circle. It is very painful that people like Chief Milton Tabibi, who with Frank Kokori and their comrades of those years were the ones who fought for democracy. Tabibi is a Rivers man. I want to see the Rivers State Government celebrate him. It is in celebrating people like that that you would encourage labour leaders to go the extra mile. When you don’t celebrate people who have sacrificed their all, their career and their everything for the democracy that we enjoy today, and rather celebrate people because they won elections, because that is what we often see most often in Nigeria, then, you are basically telling everybody that the only thing that matters is for you to win elections, and that whatever areas you are succeeding or you contribute to the development of the State does not matter. But I want to think that the Government, in what they are doing, will also look at celebrating people who have contributed to the development of Rivers State. In the music area, we have the likes of Rex Lawson. In education, you have people like Senator (Dr,) Obi Wali, Late Eze Oriji and the rest of them.
I think the recognition should be sectoral as well as grand, so that no sector will be lost. And as much as possible, politics should be removed in recognising the efforts of these people, otherwise, it won’t be valid. If it is politicized, it will have no meaning.
Stories by Donatus Ebi