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Punch Newspaper’s Hypocritical Declaration On Rivers

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I am surprised that it took Punch Newspaper so long to make their declaration against Rivers State Governor,  Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.  So when I saw their editorial of Sunday, December 1, 2019 taking a position on Rivers State, I took it as one of their promotional activities for those that sponsor them.
Imagine a newspaper and the day it chose to make the declaration: “Rivers State is not a Christian State, Wike.” They carefully chose a Sunday and the very beginning of the Christmas Period to make their hypocritical declaration. It is an editorial laden birthed in negativity, with virtually nothing to do with social good.
For the Punch, their courage is usually politically targeted and aimed at pleasing specific sections of the country. They are also always intent on satisfying a particular political party.
In the editorial where Punch Newspaper “boldly” lambasted the Rivers State Governor, it failed woefully to mention States that have declared Islam as their official State Religion.  They failed to mention states that officially practise Sharia as approved by their Respective State Houses of Assembly.  They merely played the Ostrich in this regard, as their goal was obvious.
Earlier this year, Punch Newspaper was compelled by public outcry to sack its daily and Saturday editors because of the Newspaper’s ugly foray into the issues of Christianity.
It strategically published on its back page a cartoon of a man desecrating the Bible with urine. All the Newspaper focused on was to denigrate an entire religion, simply because there was a scandal involving a cleric. They ate the humble pie after leaders of the Christian Faith protested vehemently.
The declaration that Rivers State is a Christian State is within the purview of Governor Wike to make as the elected leader of the state with the mandate of the people.
This declaration does not in any way take away the rights of other Rivers people and residents to practise other religions as they deem fit. On several occasions, Governor Wike personally explained this fact.
The hypocrisy of Punch Newspaper is both nauseating and provocative.  To say the least, it is unfortunate.  The intent is clear. To pitch Governor Wike against other Nigerians of other faiths, while pretending to be engaged in social advocacy.
Indeed, the Punch Newspaper’s Editorial of December 1, 2019 is in bad taste and was clearly politically motivated and orchestrated to serve ugly purposes.
When it comes to a declaration that Rivers State is a Christian State, Punch Newspaper jumps to assume a Non-Existent Jurisdiction to declare that it is not. In one breadth it quotes a section of the constitution to say that Nigeria is a secular country and in another breadth the same Newspaper declares that the Nigerian Federal Government recognises two major religions.
Embedded in the Nigerian Constitution is the right to freedom of religion. That right is promoted and protected by the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike.  It is still under this constitutional right that an overwhelming majority of Rivers people are Christians.
Punch Newspaper in its usual politically motivated bias refused to highlight that the Rivers State Government operates Rivers State Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Board to cater for the pilgrimage needs of Muslims in the State.  A Rivers Indigene, Alhaji Abdulrazak Deprieye is the Sole Administrator of Rivers State Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Board .
We are already accustomed to Punch Newspaper’s partisanship.  When the falsehood on the alleged demolition of a Non-Existent Mosque was circulated by some politicians, Punch Newspaper was one of the newspapers that celebrated the concocted and misleading report.  When the truth came to the fore, Punch Newspaper made no attempt publish declarative reports about the truth.
Whenever there are security infractions in Rivers State, Punch Newspaper celebrates as if Rivers lives don’t matter. If cultists clash in a community in Khana LGA for instance, Punch Newspaper would scream “Rivers of Blood”. If there is an issue of security breach in a village in Emohua LGA, Punch would scream “Rivers Violence “. Majority of Punch Security reports on Rivers State are geared towards de-marketing the state. Of course,  they have Rivers APC leaders as their collaborators.  Rivers reports that make front page on Punch are usually the reports deliberately placed to de-market the state.
But if similar stories break in other states of geo-political zones that are aligned with their political inclination, Punch Newspaper becomes professional.
When the developments are positive about Rivers State and the State Government, Punch Newspaper usually looks the other way. If the attention of her representatives are drawn to this ugly development, they insist that it is the paper’s policy.
It is that partisanship that has led to this misadventure by Punch Newspaper’s Editorial Board. On what premise would an editorial board declare that Rivers State is not a Christian State?
Has the Punch Editorial Board become the Rivers State Executive Council or the Rivers State House of Assembly or even the elected Council Chairmen of Rivers State? Are members of Punch Editorial Board now elected councillors of Rivers State? On what platform can they counter Governor Wike who holds the mandate of Rivers people?
So Punch Newspaper is comfortable to say that the country is a secular state where there are constitutionally recognized Grand Khadis and Sharia Courts in different parts of the country? Governor Wike’s Declaration that Rivers State is a Christian State is the REALITY.  The truth of the matter. Governor Wike is a frank politician who believes in the truth.
Personally,  I see the editorial by Punch Newspaper as a failed attempt at political correctness.
But I want to suggest to the Editorial Board of Punch Newspaper to take deliberate steps to be balanced in their coverage of all political parties and geo-political zones. For now, the newspaper is far from getting it right when it comes to balanced reporting.  You cannot shut out positives on certain political inclinations and sing the praise of others.
Most importantly, Punch Newspaper must desist from this outdated mode of profiling politicians not within their political group.  It is impossible for everyone to belong to one political movement.
In all, the ill-conceived Punch Newspaper’s Editorial of December 1, 2019 is dead on arrival.  It is a political effort that has failed like several other negative media campaigns against Governor Wike.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on electronic media

 

By: Simeon Nwakaudu

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Discovering Your Life’s Purpose

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What is Purpose?
Discovering one’s purpose is discovering what one needs in life. Discovering what you are meant to be in life. Not what you want to be but what God wants you to be in life. You can never discover your purpose without the help of God.
Ask Yourself Some Questions
You can discover your purpose when you start asking yourself some questions and give answers to such as “what do I need in life?” (Your purpose in life) by finding your purpose, you will know what you need in life and life will be easy for you. Sometimes, we want every good thing in life but what really matters is not what you want but what you need in life. People respect you when you discover your purpose and start making serious decisions. God is your creator and what he needs from you is your purpose. Discovering your purpose on time makes you more successful in life, you need to focus on the present, look forward, think big, do what you love, stay positive, be persistent, get the job done, fight for something you believe in. To be a successful being in life, you also need to manage your time effectively.
Sometimes, people find themselves doing or studying what they don’t need. Your potentials determine your purpose in life, don’t feel bad on yourself because, with the right information, your purpose is sure. You will get to a place in life and these things will be very useful to you.
Nothing happens as a mistake; they all have their purpose to fulfill in life. Spend at least one hour or thirty minutes every day to do what you have passion for.
Time Management
Time management has a very big role to play in discovering one’s purpose in life. Why most people suffer a lot in life is because they waste too much of their time doing nothing. We sleep too much; we rest too much; let’s make every moment to be useful. Sleeping too much won’t do us any good. Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. The fact that you are not where you want to be should be enough motivation.
Life without purpose is time without meaning. It is useless to keep ample time if there is no end towards which we are moving. God calls you in this world for you to discover your purpose and work towards it. Your plans cannot change God’s purpose. What God calls for, he provides for.
Sometimes people will say I want to be rich in life. If you said so, fine, then learn how to manage your time and discover your purpose in life. Most times, our parents do destroy our destiny by forcing us to study what we are not meant to just because they had a dream of studying it but were not opportuned to. Parents should ask knowledge from God so as to know what their children need in life.
Procrastination can damage you from going far in life. To be successful and fulfill your purpose in life, you need not to postpone what should be done now. Procrastination is a grave in which opportunities are buried. In life, many people have missed their chance of success because of postponement.
All the pain of yesterday can be forgotten tomorrow if we know how to manage our time effectively and discover our purpose in life. For your management of time not to be in vain, you need to concentrate on one thing such as what you love to do, because it is no good to do everything at the same time (he who is everywhere is nowhere).
Everybody wants to go to school, have their certificates, and be a hard worker in life. But is that all there is in life? Imagine if everyone in the universe goes to school, have their good certificates and work in very good places in life, then who will be the cleaner? Who will be the security guard? Who will be the house maid? How you see life is much more than you think. Purpose is only found in the mind of the creator. Only God knows the purpose for your life.
Now you can see why everybody cannot be rich in this life; neither will everyone be poor in life. The term rich would not exist if there are not poor people existing in this world. The terms rich and poor are given because people have and people lack.
You can never change how you have been created and what you have been created for no matter what. You being a cleaner is because there must always be someone dusting up the place. If there is a man to dust, there will always be a man to clean up also. If your purpose is to be a cleaner, be the best cleaner ever. Cleaning is not just ordinary, you can achieve excellence in cleaning. Excellence in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
Every product is produced by purpose, for a purpose, and all things begin and end with purpose. Your existence is an evidence that this generation needs something that your life contains.
The reason why you exist in your family is because there is something that has to be done in your family and it’s only you that can do it; no one else. If you are born into a poor family it’s not your fault, but it will only be your fault if you remain there, because you have been born in to a family to make great things happen by managing your time and discovering your purpose in life.
You can start by having a time table in your house such as time to study, time to do what you love, what you have passion for. And in the process of studying, anything you seem not to understand, you do well to ask someone that knows it more than you. Don’t feel shy to ask because no one knows everything but everyone knows something.
You can also help others to discover their purpose by changing your mindset, especially with the way you think and the way you communicate with them. Let people see you as a person that really knows your purpose in life. Let people see your good lifestyle and try to build theirs also.
Always do things at the right time. Or better do something even if it is late than not to do it at all. Conclusively, a man can’t exist without having a purpose in life, your existence is an evidence that God has a purpose in you and this purpose can be discovered with the help of God, and also by management of time. I know we can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. We can change the world by fulfilling our purpose in life. Nothing is impossible.
Osadebe wrote in from Eastern Polytechnic, Port Harcourt.

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Tackling Global Warming Effects On Nigeria

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Former United States Vice-President, Al Gore, once said that people around the world ought to take an urgent action on global warming.
Gore, who is also founder of the Climate Reality Project, believes that climate change is something that is man-made and man can play a significant role to check or eliminate it in the future.
According to scientists, climate change is a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather around longer-term average conditions.
They agree that to limit the impacts of climate change, people need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.
In addition to this, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, says there is need for government and stakeholders to tackle climate change by using renewable energy sources.
“I wish to acknowledge that we have been doing some things pertaining greening the environment and stimulating economic growth like introduction and adoption of renewable energy and re-forestation project.
“The objective is to bring to the fore, its relevance, considering the global impact of climate change with its attendant environment degradation.
“The current development in the country is no longer sustainable environmentally like gradual shrinking/drying up of Lake Chad Basin and increase in desert encroachment.
“Others are loss of our ecosystems, reduced agricultural yields and sorts, rising sea levels and floods in southern part of the country, marine erosion and landslides in south-eastern part of the country,’’ he says.
The minister explains further that there ought to be high desire to preserve the environment because urbanisation and industrialisation have come so stay.
Similarly, Mr Bitrus Bako, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, observes that environment should be sustainably managed for present and future generations.
“I am confident that when this transition was fully understood and implemented, it would help to place the nation on proper perspective to mitigate and adapt to the scourge of climate change.
“It will also re-enforce the place of science, technology and innovation as veritable tools for the economic development of the country.
“It is a business of making paradigm shift from resource-based economy to knowledge-based economy, stimulating skills to transit environment to path of greatness and sustainability through Green Growth Technology.
In his view, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke from University of Reading, UK, explains that the Governing Inclusive Green Growth in Africa (GIGGA) project is focused on Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia.
“GIGGA Network is to support interdisciplinary collaboration among UK and international African researchers, as well as non-academic stakeholders to Green Growth in Africa.
“Kenya’s Vision 2030 provides vision and policy framework for sustainable development, Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy aims to put the country’s green economy on front runner.
“But Nigeria has no stand-alone green growth plan but incorporates Green Growth in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan”.
However, the Federal Government says it will reclaim all land lost to gully erosion and assist flood-prone communities in the country, according to Mr AbdulGaniyu Aminu, the Head of Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
Aminu quoted Onu as saying that the recent inauguration of gully erosion control works at Okwohia, Obowo/Ihitte Uboma Local Government, Imo State would bring relief to the Okwohia community which had for long been devastated by ecological challenges.
“The approval of the project is a clear testimony to the present administration’s resolve to ensure that no part of the country will be allowed to suffer any neglect due to geographical location”, he quoted the minister as saying.
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office, Dr Habiba Lawal, said that the project was initiated through a request for an urgent intervention forwarded to the Ecological Fund Office.
She explained that the request was forwarded by Sen. Benjamin Uwajumobi, representing the Imo North District in the Senate.
Lawal said that the inauguration and hand-over of the project to the benefiting community would enable the people to take over and ensure maintenance and sustainability.
Further to government’s intervention such as this, a public health officer in Osun, Mrs Adenike Aluko, stressed the need for more appropriate and effective waste management system to reduce pollution to check climate change.
According to her, relevant stakeholders ought to be proactive towards sustaining system capable to reduce emission from waste generation.
She suggested the use of clean technologies in production system, pointing out that pollution emission worsened the impact of climate change.
She further called on relevant stakeholders to genuinely invest more in development of renewable energy technology to reduce the effect of climate change.
“Using alternative energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal energy was healthier than fossil fuels because of the emission of carbon monoxide to the environment.
“Investing in renewable energy technology would be the right step in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
“Scientific knowledge allows people to develop new technologies, solve practical problems and make informed decisions,’’ she observed.
Aluko also urged Nigerians to partner with government in ensuring steady funding of research on new measures to mitigate the impact of climate change.
According to her, science and technology sector cannot progress without proper funding and such funding will ultimately come from the society that will reap the benefits.
Agbeja writes for News Agency of Nigeria.

 

By: Gabriel Agbeja

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HYPREP And Ogoni Clean-Up: The Glory, The Story

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Ogoni, an oil-rich oppressed indigenous ethnic minority in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, received green-light when in 2006, the Federal Government of Nigeria commissioned the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to conduct an environmental assessment on the level of environmental degradation and ecological devastation emanating from decades of oil exploration and production in Ogoniland by Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited Joint Venture (SPDC JV) since the 1950s till the 1990s. SPDC JV in 2012, later transfered its operatorship to National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the production and exploration arm of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) . In August 2011, report of theassessment popularly known as UNEP Report was submitted to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Wide jubilation and loud cheers greeted the news across Ogoniland when accelerating implementation of the report’s recommendations was identified as one of the cardinal priorities by the PresidentMuhammadu Buhari-led government in 2015.
Buhari made good his promise in August 2016 by inaugurating the Governing Council and Board of Trustees of the Ogoni Trust Fund (OTF) as part of the governance process for UNEP report implementation in Ogoniland.
As an effort to speed implementation of the report, the Ministry of Environment and the Governing Council of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) announced the appointment of Dr. Marvin Dekil, an environmental expert of international repute who himself is an Ogoni son, as the Project Coordinator. Since then, hope has been heightened, especially as the report highlights the creation of a One Billion U.S Dollar Ogoni Trust Fund (OTF), convertibly N315.25 billion Naira as at the time of the report, to be co-funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the SPDC JV and other operators in the area. Ten Million U.S Dollars (N3.03 billion Naira) and One Hundred and Seventy Million U.S Dollars (N51.52 Billion Naira ) was reportedly contributed by the SPDC JV at various times. All of these put the hope of an average Ogoni man at an impressive height in earnest expectation of what will become of Ogoni in terms of empowerment and development when the fund would be put to use.
At present, some Ogonis who still remember the resonating pitch of One Billion Dollars on campaign podiums are aggrieved that almost half a decade is gone and yet nothing much significant is on the ground. There are speculations that HYPREP is a scam and an agent of another institutionalized genocide against the Ogoni people. Considerably, HYPREP in its thinking may have done so much to the Ogoni people but little since no one can justifiably credit HYPREP with nothing.
The Ogonis had expected to see rural electrification, road construction and other structural projects executed by HYPREP across Ogoni land. Since they have seen little or none, they have resorted to media onslaught on HYPREP, painting it black. Most Ogonis lampoon HYPREP for taking so much delight in an uncivilised habit of self-glorification of its achievements which are only visible on social and electronic media platforms. The news making the rounds has it that development by HYPREP does not conform or align with measures of development of its sister organisations the world over.
Some other Ogonis contend that the multimillion naira wasted for rentage of HYPREP office space in Port Harcourt would have acquired acres of land on Ogoni soil, built magnificent edifice for the office and even provided jobs for Ogoni youth. The rest agree that HYPREP is working, but only fault the process of selecting beneficiaries, thus arguing that it is misdirected.
In all of these, HYPREP has maintained that work is in progress at all the impacted sites. HYPREP, during one of its Tuesday’s Rhythm 93.7 programmes said it had carried out human capital development and entrepreneurship training (home and abroad) of hundreds of Ogoni youths. It has also anchored its position on the fact that cognizance was only taken of the impacted sites during assessment but promise was made to partner with other agencies, governmental and non-governmental, to ensure delivery on other important areas which were not provided for in the report but require attention.
With the position of the report, it becomes an issue of serious concern to note that concentration was, perhaps, only on the 15 sites operated by the SPDC JV without consideration that when oil spills, it permeates the soil to the under-water from where it circulates through the water channels and flows to other areas that were not directly impacted.When clean-up is carried out on the impacted sites, what happens to these areas that were not impacted directly but were affected through the circulation process beneath? Should we call for another UNEP assessment?
HYPREP should not limit public sensitisation of its policies and programmes to a select class as it did in November 2019 when it organised a summit for few stakeholders of Ogoni origin. Responses from these select Ogoni leaders during and after the forum showed that they were not informed of its programmes until after the summit. Surprisingly, it also reflected in the speech of one of the leaders who is a member of HYPREP Governing Board that she was not in the know of its programmes. It is expedient that HYPREP should, as a matter of serious concern, brace up by taking its sensitization to the grassroots groups in Ogoni, including but not limited to the market women, the commercial motorbike operators and churches, as no Ogoni man is a better Ogoni man than any other. HYPREP should gain its glory by painstakingly striking a balance in addressing these compendious issues. This will change the story.

Nnaane wrote from Port Harcourt.

 

Ken Nnaane

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