Connect with us

Opinion

My Lockdown Lessons

Published

on

Nigerians have always been known as very social people who know how to enjoy themselves. Birthdays, child-naming ceremonies, marriages and other social activities present opportunities for such enjoyment, most times exotically. Some even go borrowing to organize such events. Let’s not talk about our exorbitant ways of burial, particularly in this part of the country, all in the name of giving our beloved, departed ones “befitting burials”.
However, with the on-going lockdown in almost all the country, occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, ravaging the world, there seems to be a deviation from the flamboyant ceremonies to simple, inexpensive ones. A few days ago, a video of a couple who had their wedding right inside their living room with a handful of persons, apparently the officiating minister and their parents, in attendance went viral on the social media.
The same goes with birthday ceremonies. Many whose birthdays fall within this forced stay-at-home period have shared beautiful, amazing pictures and videos of their birthday celebrations in their homes, with just their immediate families. They didn’t have to empty their bank accounts so as to organise the best party of the year. Some of them did not have cakes and expensive wine. There was no wow hall decoration, no hired musician, comedian and all those side attractions that we believe make such occasions thick. But evidently, they were memorable events or should I say, the best birthday party ever.
From these lockdown parties I was able to draw some lessons. One is that true happiness does not come from flamboyant lifestyle or all the exotic possessions of ours. Yes, they are important as they help in making life easy, but true joy comes from a happy home and many little things of life. Another is that we can be happy if we choose to, regardless of the difficulties or challenges facing us. Amid all the sorrows, sadness, hardship and uncertainties all over the world this trying season, it would have been justified if the birthday celebrants chose not to mark their days. But despite all the travails, they chose to be merry.
Such positive attitude is needed as long as the Coronavirus pandemic lasts. Of course, the lockdown has taken a toll on us and Federal Government has failed woefully in her promise of sending relief materials to the poor to cushion the effect of the action, but we can still decide to make ourselves happy. In the advice of an unknown author: “Eat well, read books, study yourself, expand your mind, do better and get better. Last but not the least; remember you are your greatest investment”.
Perhaps the most important lesson is that with little, we can achieve a lot if only we can eliminate the unnecessary things. Only the important things should matter. This attitude will help us greatly both as individuals and a nation both during and after the pandemic. With the havoc being wrecked by the virus globally, turning the world upside down, economic experts have warned of very tough years ahead. Already millions of jobs have been lost in the United States of America and other countries in the past one month and we will be deceiving ourselves if we think Nigeria will come out of the pandemic unhurt economically and otherwise. The continued dwindling of oil price in the international market (the mainstay of our economy) should be a pointer to the magnitude of hardship that awaits us.
To navigate through the inevitable murky waters, one has to be wise in his spending. Apparently, this is not the time for frivolous expenditures individually and more as a government. Even if you are so rich and may want to continue with your pre-COVID-19 extravagant lifestyle, don’t forget that there are millions of poor people around you whose lives you can impact through a little cut down in your spending.
As a government, both federal, state and local government, it is time to reduce cost of governance to the barest minimum. Some political and economic analysts have advocated that not too important items in the 2020 budget like the N37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly, entertainment allowance and other such items be expunged from the budget and the money be diverted to the manufacturing sector which is the peg of any development.
Other prominent Nigerians like the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, have made similar calls, asking that the 2020 budget be revisited in view of the current pandemic. He said, “Our oil benchmark is way off the mark. And we are certainly no longer in a position to budget N100bn plus for our legislatures and almost N50bn for the Presidency”. Continuing he said, “We cannot be looking to borrow huge sums at the same time our officials are taking delivery of foreign made luxury cars. We cannot be considered a serious country when we refuse to cut down on profligacy and, instead, seek outside help to fund our inefficiencies”.
Though Atiku’s comment had since been dismissed by one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aides as the rant of a political opponent, one thinks if we can separate the message from the messenger and look critically at the points raised, it will help the nation greatly in dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19. The jumbo pays and allowances of lawmakers, ministers, their aides and cronies must be slashed to reflect the present economic realities of the nation.
The same goes with the state governors. The seeming innate tendency to always depend on federal allocation and even pocket greater percentage of the money must stop. This is a period to look inwards and seek ways of increasing their Internally Generated Revenues which should be spent on economic development ventures such as education, health, provision of infrastructural facilities, among others.
At this critical moment, the anti-graft gospel being preached for donkey years by virtually all administrations, both past and present, must be sincerely intensified with more culpable heads rolling, irrespective of their statues, tribe, religion or political affiliation. No doubt, the looming hardship is massive, but with the right steps taken and every citizen ready to make sacrifices, we will be able to get our economy in shape.

 

Calista Ezeaku

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Opinion

The Tomfoolery of RIVLEAF

Published

on

There indeed seems to be no end, as far as nay sayers are concerned, in the quest to frustrate the efforts being made by the Rivers State Government to ensure that the spread of the coronavirus in Rivers State is reasonably checked.
On a daily basis, this becomes more apparent to the chagrin of genuinely concerned people of the State.
Although it is not a surprise that RIVLEAF, supposedly a pressure group has always announced itself as a purveyor of ill-contrived negative information, its latest attempt to dismiss a genuine alarm raised by the Rivers State Government regarding a foreseen build-up to a declaration of State of emergency in the State, has further exposed the membership of the organisation as persons with cowardly and sychophantic intentions.
At a time like this, when the whole world is still baffled over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not only exposed even the hitherto world super powers in all spheres of their existence, but has so made it clear that everyone must be involved in order to check the pandemic, all RIVLEAF has to offer is an attempt to discredit the world acclaimed efforts of the Rivers State

Government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike to ensure that the coronavirus does not get to the stage of Community transmission in the State.
It is indeed an irony of faith, that people who say they’re a pressure group do not actually know what it means to be a pressure group. They do not know, for instance, that one key role of a pressure group in the development of a society is to provide specialised and expert information to the government and explain government policies to the understanding and benefit of the general public. Thus they are an important link between the government and the people.
This explains their choice of caption, “Governor Wike Needs Help”, and the fact that rather than address in cogent terms the issue at stake, all they could do is to seek to raise irrelevant issues to cause rife between the President and the Governor, and with his Deputy.
What is really “funny and disturbing” about a clear statement that there is “a plan to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State? And, rather than categorically state what makes it funny and disturbing, all Onyeche Nnatah Peters could say is that Governor Wike “boasted that he was beyond the reproach of the Federal Government and, could do and undo as he so wishes”.
This statement in itself is a confirmation of the Governor’s proclamation of a plot to declare a state of emergency in the State, for reasons that have to do with Wike being seen as somebody who must be dealt with. The question is, for what reason?.
The most clear answer to this question is that from the point he started preparing to be the Governor of Rivers State, through his first tenure, and about a year into his second tenure, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had had to accept the peculiarities of Rivers State in the present State of affairs in the country, and had adjusted to the point of being able to provide good governance to Rivers people as minimally as possible in the face of unrelenting and determined efforts to frustrate him.
This is why every step of governance he has taken has turned out to be timely, and lauded in the given circumstance it is taken by all well-meaning public globally, especially as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the world knows is a new virus, hence decisions to combat it are mostly taken based on the exigencies of the moment. This is, of course, knowing the peculiarity of the virus as it relates to Nigeria, and Rivers State in healthcare delivery.
To say the least, Governor Wike has been setting the pace in steps taken to contain the coronavirus across Nigeria: amongst others, he was the first to set up an Interministarial COVID-19 Committee, the first to set up a palliatives committee, first to declare border lockdown, etc.
Even in the face of clear attempts to sabotage his efforts, Wike had been undeterred towards ensuring that the State does not get to Community transmission of the virus as is the case with some States. Beyond this determination to give good and transparent leadership to a people who understand his every step, and so are fully behind him, what else can the likes of RIVLEAF blame Wike of?
If the membership of RIVLEAF are truly of Rivers origin, and have the State at heart, they should be in a better position to appreciate the kind of development the State has recorded in the last five years.
Therefore, seeking to forment trouble where there’s none, such as between the Governor and his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, is a wasteful venture. This is because Rivers people have come to know what the interest of RIVLEAF is, and it has nothing to do with the overall interest of Rivers people.
Soibi Max-Alalibo
SA on Media to the Hon Commissioner for Information and Communications
Rivers State
May 21, 2020.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Opinion

Dakuku Should Stop Playing To The Gallery

Published

on

Sociologists have what they call “Looking Glass Theory”. The crux of this theory is that people are prone to naming others, or something, by what they truly are, or what they have in store as experience.
For someone whose dream to be governor had been scuttled severally because of his unpopularity ,one can easily understand where Dakuku Peterside is coming from.
In his veiled attempt to be one of those who “came out openly to oppose Governor Nyesom Wike” at this point in time he exposed himself as a political toddler.
 All over the world today, well-meaning people are joining hands with their governments to check the spread of the pandemic.
Unfortunately, it is in this context that Dr Dakuku Peterside has displayed his lack of knowledge of the key ingredients of governance at crisis periods.
The need for law and order at all times, more so in crisis periods as the COVID-19 pandemic has instituted globally, compels governments  to take painful but necessary actions to save lives.
Thank God Dakuku Peterside supports “the Governor to ensure that the state is free from Coronavirus”, but how he expects this to come to fruition if people disobey directives put in place at will, raises a huge question mark.
In the light of  his latest condemnation of the Governor’s order to demolish two hotels found to have flouted a lockdown directive, Dakuku has again displayed his penchant for grandstanding.
Maybe he should learn some lessons from the role played by the  Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva who attracted Federal presence  to Bayelsa State during this period eventhough he belonged to the opposition in home State.
Dakuku’s stance in the face of an affront on an Executive Order which resulted in the demolition of two hotels in Eleme yesterday, without  considering the true circumstances that led to the demolition questions his citizenship as a Rivers son.
He should know what it means  to attack people authorised to perform legitimate duties under an  Executive Order.  Dakuku would not have declared genuine people-oriented actions by Governor Wike as “destructive” if he was well informed.
Rivers people are not foolish enough not to know that but for the stringent proactive measures put in place to check the spread of the virus by Governor Wike, the State would have entered community transmission like some other States in the Country.
Dakuku Peterside should therefore desist from the temptation of endangering the lives of the people he pontificates to care for, knowing that every act has its day of reckoning.
Soibi Max-Alalibo,
SA on Media to the Hon Commissioner
Ministry of Information and Communications
Rivers State.
May 11, 2020
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Opinion

Austin Tam-George: An Intellectual Prostitute Let Loose

Published

on

Austin Tam-George has consistently been biting the finger that fed him because he is an intellectual prostitute.
He looks for every available opportunity to lampoon Governor Nyesom Wike in order to impress his paymasters as a paid hack without conscience.
Someone like Austin Tam-George does not have the moral standing to discuss governance because his tenure as Commissioner for Information in Rivers State was a monumental failure.
A man who used his first month in office as Commissioner to throw 2O Rivers indigenes who were earning a living in the Ministry as casual workers into the unemployment market surely loves Rivers State.
Perhaps Austin Tam-George’s patriotism also led him to seize the monthly imprests meant for Departments in the Ministry.
Maybe he should explain to Rivers people and the those he is serving why a Commissioner should arm twist Heads of Parastatals under him to make monthly returns to quench his voracious appetite for money.
Was it not his kinsman in one of the parastatals that engaged him in a verbal warfare along William Jumbo Street in Port Harcourt that helped to tame his unquenchable taste for money?
His grouse with Governor Wike is because the over inflated and bogus proposals he made under the guise of upgrading the State Media Houses without recourse to the Bureau for Public Procurement were turned down by the governor who insisted on due process.
Austin Tam-George was quoted as saying that he will never forgive Governor Wike for not allowing him dupe the government.
The likes of Austin Tam-George are always available for the highest bidder that is why his recent outburst should not be taken seriously.
When he was looting the money generated by parastatals under him he never remembered United Nations and European Union.
As the proverbial dog that eats the bone hung on his neck, he milked the media houses dry before he was sacked from the State Executive Council.
He should know that the record of monies siphoned from the Media houses are still in the archives and will be released if he dares to make any more noise.
If Governor Wike did not retain him in his cabinet because he lacked character is it enough to look for any slightest opportunity to impugn his integrity?
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. A word is enough for the wise.
Paulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State
May 11,2020.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending