The celebration of two years in office of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was eventful and the city of Port Harcourt literally stood still for the performing governor. The celebration apparently started last Saturday when the governor with stakeholders and other august visitors traversed the state, inspecting landmark projects executed by his administration within the past two years. While some of the projects have been completed, several of them are still ongoing. Those that have been completed were commissioned while those at various stages of completion were merely showcased to the stakeholders and members of the public. The second anniversary of the governor’s administration got to a resounding climax last Monday morning at the prestigious Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre along Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, when the governor gave his account of stewardship to the good people of the state as well as to residents of the state and some august visitors who were in the state to celebrate the excellent performance in office and good governance. It was at the event that the Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs literally stood to a stand still for the governor, as he dazzled and shone like a million stars. The mainbowl of the Civic Centre was filled to capacity as people started thronging the venue of the accountability forum as early as 8a.m. Even before the scheduled time of 9a.m when the event was expected to commence, the governor and his entourage including respected dignitaries drawn from far and wide had already taken their seats. Those outside the gates of the mainbowl were in their thousands, and security men had a hectic time controlling them. The crowd at the civic centre was as if all residents of the state, both men and women, young and old had turned up to listen to the governor and probably catch a glimpse of him, because in the past two years he has been on the saddle, he has been making a lot of waves, either for good or for ill. A mid way into the event when the governor ordered security men at the venue to allow those outside the mainbowl to move in, the tone of the event was clearly set, as that action in no unmistakable terms, proved succinctly that his administration was serving the ordinary people. It also proved beyond words that the Accountability Forum was targeted at the ordinary people in keeping with the tenets of democracy. Questions from these ordinary people including those from a young boxer who claimed that boxers from the state who won their championship bouts at a national contest were yet to be paid their entitlements, and a poor widow residing at one of the waterfronts in the city with her six children, marked the beauty of the Accountability forum. Their questions got instant response and attention from the governor. The young boxer in particular left the civic centre happier than when he came. Again, though the governor did not particularly address the concern of the widow and her six children, the administration’s stance on the planned demolition of the waterfronts was re-echoed, that such waterfronts must fall and the houses therein bought back by the government at their present commercial rates. Speaking with The Tide On Sunday shortly after the event, Hon. Augustine Ngo, the Special Adviser to the Governor on projects said the secret behind the success story of the present administration was the fact that it has remained focus. He further stated that in the coming months, the administration would be on the neck of contractors handling various projects across the state to ensure that they execute quality jobs, stressing that the administration would also ensure that all ongoing projects were completed next year. According to him, as a Rivers man, he was today proud of the achievements of the present administration. The Special Adviser also indicated that the remarkable achievements of the present administration would be clear to all Rivers people at the end of three years, as the government would intensify the supervision and monitoring of contractors handling various projects. Also commenting, Alhaji Ahmed Okiri, a Muslim leader in the state said going by the administration’s remarkable achievements, the governor deserves a second term mandate, but advised him to tread a middle course in the planned demolition of waterfronts in Port Harcourt. He explained that the Accountability Forum and various bold initiatives adopted by the present administration were novel to the state, and likened the achievements of Governor Amaechi to the achievements of Alfred Diete-Spiff. He, however, called on the government to concentrate on link roads across the state in the coming years to completely decongest traffic in Port Harcourt. Indeed, the Accountability Forum was a remarkable success as people came from all walks of life to grace it but the maiden edition of the NUJ platform which the governor featured as a special guest on Tuesday took the two years anniversary celebration of his administration to a different level. The event brought the governor face to face with media practitioners selected from different media organisations in the state. The fact that there were four panelists and a moderator at raised platforms, with the governor seated in the middle facing an audience which comprised senior journalists, made the NUJ platform different from a traditional press conference in which a public officer addresses members of the fourth Estate of the realm. From the blast of the whistle, starting with the moderator, our own, Editor of The Tide Newspapers, Mr. Soye Jamabo, the governor was asked a barrage of questions which he fielded without batting an eyelid. No doubt the general manager of the rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Mr. Celestine Ogolo who incidentally was one of the panelists actually gave a good account of himself, going by the quality of questions he threw to the governor. In all, the governor’s bluntness and his characteristic jokes and simplicity were not lost to the respected media practitioners. His comments on his Information Commissioner who apparently signalled him to adjust his posture while answering one of the questions, elicited laughter from the journalists. The point was clear. The governor has his own mannerisms, his idiosyncrasies if you like. Then, can you beat this? After the journalists finished firing from all cylinders, and the governor seemingly taking them to the cleaners, the amiable governor walked down the staircase, moved straight to the NUJ canteen and sat down with some media men sipping bottles of beer with which they were washing down plates of pepper soup. The governor ordered for a bottle of coke and gulped it down his throat before departing the Ernest Ikoli Press centre. Hold your breath because the gist has not ended. When he got to where his unmarked jeep was parked, he simply slided into the steering wheel and drove himself out of the press centre. He was also decked in a simple jacket with an ash-coloured shirt and a white pair of trousers to match, gestures from a governor out to demystify the office of governor. The platform was truly the journalist’s encounter with the governor, and it was truly remarkable. During the celebrations to mark the governor’s two years in office, Port Harcourt literally stood still for him. The city wore a festive hue. Pavements of roads particularly along the busy Aba Road were painted. The Rowland Cookey-Gam Drive, leading to the new Government House was adorned with colourful banners, eulogizing the governor. The terraces of the civic Centre revibrated with the echoes of his remarkable achievements and the hallowed chambers of the Evans osi hall ruptured with his principled stance on issues.
NGO Leads Onslaught To Curb Violence Against Women
As the two week advocacy campaign against violence on women gathers momentum, a non-governmental organisation labeled Mother of Good Counsel Initiative (MOGCI ) has organised a stakeholders meeting to address the societal malaise.
It carried out sensitisation campaigns to churches, communities, women, and adolescent groups across the State.
At a workshop held in Port Harcourt, Executive Director of MOGCI, Dr. Doris Onyeneke while speaking on the topic, “The Role of Women in Eliminating Gender-Based Violence” regretted that women are both victims and perpetrators of gender-based violence.
Onyeneke submitted that violence against women goes against the fifth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which harps on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.
In her words, “These abuses most often result in death of the victim. It goes as far as denying her economic rights and most married women are denied employment due to their status.”
She listed cultural , economic, and political factors, including war, and conflict as major causes of Gender-based violence.
For her, women are more susceptible and prone to gender-based violence and should speak out against factors that encourage gender-based violence, while recommending measures that will nip the malaise in the bud.
Similarly, Mrs. Victoria Ilochonwu while speaking on, “Empowering Women Through Family Planning: A Path to Gender Equality and Violence Prevention” identified challenges of women and girls while proferring that family planning can help curb gender-based violence.
She disclosed that one in every four girls gets pregnant before they turn 18, and that one in four girls drop out of secondary school and about 800 women and girls die from childbirth every day.
She enumerated the benefits of family planning in checking gender-based violence as it enhances child and maternal health, while helping the women to have control over their bodies and the ability to pursue their career.
She stressed the need for men to be incorporated in any family planning, to avert violence and physical abuse in the home.
Another speaker, Miss Sarah Iroha on the topic, “Gender mainstreaming,” stressed need for public policy to incorporate legislations and programmes that will empower women.
She argued that projects and programmes are key mechanisms that will enhance mainstreaming of women in the polity.
For her, goal setting goals prioritisation, engagement of women and men, empowering mothers, stopping child marriage, and getting women into political offices are ways to engender gender equality.
On her part, Mrs Michael Peace spoke on “Ways to Mitigate The Impact of Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women,” and sought more increase in funding to end violence against women and girls through economic empowerment.
Mrs Uzoechi Stella Onyinyechi in her paper, “Putting Gender on The Agenda And the Examination Of Practices That Violate The Rights of Women In Nigeria,” stressed that over the years, most societal anomalies the women face in Nigeria had been seen as normal even though it was bad.
The origin of some of these practices and the effects she explained have been overlooked, and as such have become traditions, while most of them are everyday experiences they encounter simply as being “feminine” in nature and therefore, appear helpless when they experience such.
The event included road shows, visits and workshop and paper presentation on burning issues relating to girls and women rights.
Stories by Kevin Nengia
300 Women Get ICT Training In PH
A non-governmental body, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) has graduated about 300 young ladies in information technology.
The programme which held in Port Harcourt yesterday was held in partnership with the European Union (EU), and is aimed at empowering women in the use of ICT to leverage and improve their businesses.
Programme Coordinator of the scheme, Ifeoma Ndekwu told The Tide Metro that the training was formulated to arm young and enterprising ladies in the Niger Delta to improve on their skills as a way to improve their well being.
Participants were drawn from all over the state and included people with physical challenges as it lasted for three months.
The trainees underwent training on Coding, Computer Appreciation, Graphics and Affiliate Marketing, according to Ndekwu and those who did exceptionally well were employed by top ICT and mobile network firms in the region.
A trainee, Elizabeth Topeh told The Tide Metro that she was fulfilled after three months intense training” I feel excited and appreciate SDN for what they have done for us.”
Topeh underwent tutoring on computer appreciation and assured of utilising her new skill to improve her network.
The same view was expressed by Merit Onoge, who participated through a virtual class.
Onoge said the class was flexible and allowed her to do other things. She left graphics, adding that, “ I intend to improve my profile on LinkedIn and display my work to get jobs.”
One of the trainers and mentor for the graduands,Gloria Ojukwu of Tech Trail urged the beneficiaries to utilise the skills they have acquired.
She said,” In the tech world, opportunities abound but they continue to change and so you must be able to upgrade.”
Stressing the need for the trainees to be patient and consistent, Ojukwu recalled that she broke through after four years in the industry,” so I will urge you to be constantly motivated. You need to have patience.”
On her part, Boma Dave Bave challenged the beneficiaries to exploit their skills through many avenues,” you can succeed in the comfort of your homes,” she said, “ICT is something you can do anywhere and if I can make it, then, you can also make it.”
Also speaking, South South Coordinator of National Information Technology Development Agency(NITDA), Samuel Gambo said he was happy that women have begun to see opportunities in ICT.
He stated that over the years, computer technology has evolved and that this sixth generation is driving the world such that almost all businesses are attached to information technology.
Gambo averred that the training will reduce the gender gap in ICT since men dominate the industry over the years.
The programme which was started in 2017 has been one top empowerment scheme for SDN.
With over 3,000 trained so far, Ndekwu said the body had to change its target sometime after the COVID-19 in 2020, as the use of ICT increased.
This year was targetted for 1500 women, but about 300 participated, Ndekwu disclosed, insisting that,” our expectation is to see women basically improve in their businesses.”
Omoku Agog As Monarch Honours 29 Nigerians
Eze Ogba of Ogbaland, His Eminence Nwachukwu Nnam – Obuohna – Obi II has honoured 29 eminent Nigerians with chieftaincy titles and family chiefs in the area.
The conferment was done at the 2023 Nchaka festival among Ogba people.
The 2023 Nchaka festival which is marked annually among Ogba people also witnessed coronation of some family chiefs, and conferment of chieftaincy titles to Nigerians including leaders of the major ethnic groups residing at Omoku, aimed at promoting peace, oneness and development of Ogbaland.
The event witnessed supporters imcluding various cultural groups with their musical dance steps which were not left out as they kept all segments of the occasion lively.
The jubilant crowd of supporters could not hide their joy as they danced to the admiration of the people, while Oba of Ogbaland, Nnam – Obuohna – Obi 11 urged the newly recognised chiefs to uphold their culture and promote peace ,unity and progress of Ogbaland.
In their separate speeches, HRH Eze Enoch Achomikwu, Paramount Ruler of Ebogoro community expressed gratitude to God for making the day a dream come true, saying he is glad for being honoured by the Oba and his people, urging his subjects to embrace peace.
Eze Eluozo Vincent Eboh Ochi- Ohna Obieti 11 said he will support the Oba to protect the cultural values bequeated to them by their forebears
HRH Igwe Kingsley Amaechi, Ogena Otanima III of Ogbaland ( the King of Igoro group of families, on his part pledged to work together with everyone in truth to resolve disputes and foster unity through constant update of happenings in the domain.
Eze Henry Onyedibia promised to assist the Oba to sustain existing peace . Eze Henry assured that as an academia, he will bring his wealth of experience to bear in promoting peace, prosperity and development of Ogbaland.
He urged youths to shun cultism, anti-social behaviour as Ogba nation can only move forward if what is right is done.
Eze Christian Obi – Ochi – Ohna 1 of Ogugban community expressed aappreciation for the recognition done him by the monarch.
He described Ogba people as peace-loving and recognising those who merit it ,saying peace of Ogba is paramount, hence, working together to achieve it.
Eze Emmanuel Orike , Ochi-Ohna Ogbio OgoroOhna I of Ogbaland described the honour as the work of God and assured of his readiness to contribute to the cultural norms of his people and to assist in alleviating poverty in his community.
Prince Okechukwu Agbadugba – Omuosia in Obioho community Ogbaokata gave thanks to God.
He hinted that he will work in accordance with the Ogba-in-council to promote peace and progress of his people.
Eze Hector Woko said he is overjoyed with the honour while expressing happiness, as his dream has finally come to pass, and expressed his readiness to serve humanity based on the mandate given him, and to promised make a difference by improving lives.
Eze Ben Edoso – Odori of Ogbaland described it as a call to service, urging them to work in ensuring peace of the land , as it ushers the best especially this festive season where the people understand the timing.
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