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Promoting Girl Child Education

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The Agbonchia
Community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State is now in a joyous mood following steps by some of its indigenes towards giving indigent students of the area greater educational opportunities.
The occasion was the inauguration of foundation for the promotion of University and Technical Education in the community. The foundation christened after late Chief (Sir) John Okparaji Obele(JP), which has all his thirteen (13) children as trustees, also gave maximum advantage to female members of the community in their educational pursuit.
Late Chief (Sir) John Okparaji Obele(JP) was the paramount ruler of Agbonchia before his death in 2010. He was an educationist and a promoter of girl-child education not only in Agbonchia his immediate community, but the entire Eleme Local Government Area.
His avowed commitment to the Girl-Child Education, it was gathered, was responsible for the quality education given to all his daughters among who is the current c airman of the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) Onene Osila Obele-Oshoko.
A copy of the biography made available to The Tide indicates that the late chief taught for 16 years in both primary and secondary schools before being absorbed into the mainstream civil service.
While in the civil service, he was said to have held positions such as administrative officer housing matters, Secretary to Departmental Selection Board, Executive Secretary Rivers State Tourism Board, Pioneer Executive Secretary and Deputy Rivers State and Stadium Authority and later as Principal of the Staff Development Centre Port Harcourt.
Children of the late John Okparaji Obele, in recognition of their father’s great strides, especially in the education sector were of the view that time has come for a foundation that will promote the core values of their father, especially, in the promotion of the girl-child education in Agbonchia . At a meeting in Port Harcourt recently the children of the late Chief reeled out objectives of the foundation to include an annual scholarship for indigent students of Agbonchia; five students for University and two for technical training.
According to them, the areas of emphasis would be law, medicine, engineering, accountancy and economics; for the technical field, the foundation would give more emphasis to indigenes of the community wishing to go into pipe-fitting and welding.
It was also revealed that out of the five undergraduate scholarships to be awarded by the foundation, three are for female candidates.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen during the meeting the chairman of the foundation, Dr Princewili Olungeonwi Suny Obele said that apart from keeping the memories of their father alive, the Foundation is to give back to the society what the family has received.
Dr. Obele also said that the situation would make the Agbonchia Community and the entire Eleme to continue to feel the impact of their father even though he is no more physically present with them. By this, the late educationist would continue to train Agbonchia sons and daughters for a very long time to come.
He explained that beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme who must be indigent students of Agbonchia must study in Nigerian public universities. According to him “they must be people of strong character and must not be found wanting in any way. They must not be found to be members of any secret cult. They will constantly be monitored to ensure that they keep to the tenets for which the scholarship was awarded to them”.
He also ruled out favouritism during the selection process, noting that the process would be conducted in a transparent manner that would be devoid of sectionalism, as every candidate will be subjected to the same clear terms for selection.
Dr Obele also said that the success of the scheme in the next few years will determine its extension to cover other communities in Eleme.
Osila said that as the first female graduate in Agbonchia and first female chartered accountant in Eleme Local Government Area, her father has set a record in the community as far as Girl-Child Education is concerned. She said that the family would continue on that line through the encouragement of women education in the community.
The children listed-some benefits the programme would bring to the community to include boosting education with a view to increasing development through skilled labour and reducing poverty in the area. The widow of Late Chief John Obele, Lady Beatrice Ochen Obele who is the grand- matron of the Foundation described the charity as a necessary ingredient for the promotion of quality education in the community.
Lady Obele who herself is an educationist said that gone are the days when a woman’s place is only in the kitchen, stressing that her husband during his life time was a promoter of Girl-Child Education.
The Sir (Chief) John OkparajiObele(JP) Foundation is a good one and must be supported to achieve set objective especially if others sharing same aspiration join hands to broaden the scope  for more impact.
Also speaking, vice chairman of the foundation, Engr Abey –Obele said that the programme which takes off from the next academic session will be carried out by a panel that would comprise of all personalities in the area.
Engr Abey-Obele said that the family would ensure that the scheme is properly funded with a view to achieving its set target.
On the benefits of the scheme to the area, he said that it would improve education and the socio-economic standard of Agbonchia and other Eleme communities.
According to him, the beneficiaries who must be indigent students of Akpajo will be thoroughly screened to ensure that they are people who are good both in academic and in character.
Engr. Abey-Obele further said that apart form promoting academic excellence, the scheme would also check youth restiveness as more youths in the area will acquire useful skills that will improve their condition.
He further explained that the foundation will set a high standard both in the scholarships and the technical field and advised would be beneficiaries to take their learning seriously.
Some indigenes of the community who spoke to The Tide on the issue thanked the siblings of late Chief John Okparaji Obele for inaugurating a scholarship in memory of their fathers in the community.
According to elder Sunday Jah, the scheme will enable the people of Agbonchia to acquire the necessary skills that will improve the conditions of the community.
Elder Jah described the late paramount ruler as a great man whose influenced has touched every families of Agbonchia and commended the children for following in the foot steps of their father.
He also advised the youths of the community by law abiding, noting that success does not just fall from his area as everyone has to work for it.
Across section of the people who also spoke on the issue described the foundation as a good one that must be supported to achieve set objective especially if others sharing same aspiration join hands to broaden the scope for more impact.

The Dean of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Bonny, the Very Revd Richard I. Hart with other dignitaries presenting the first position trophy to the winning school - Spring Foundation College, Bonny.

The Dean of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Bonny, the Very Revd Richard I. Hart with other dignitaries presenting the first position trophy to the winning school – Spring Foundation College, Bonny.

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Women

Sustaining The Juice In Your Marriage 

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Almost every marriage starts out as a huge celebration. With family and friends around them, every couple  steps into marriage relationship full of hopes and dreams for their future life together. However, beyond the euphoria that greets the initial coming together, how many makes it to the end, has remained a puzzle, not many could solve probably because the road to a happy marriage is one far from being easy.  Going by  today’s divorce statistics , many couples opt not to complete the journey.
Behind every lasting relationship, love is not excluded. They also do things each day to show their love. Showing your partner that you care does not require anything special or out of the ordinary. It can be as simple as doing a thoughtful act of service or really listening when they have something important to say. Keeping a relationship going for a long time is about so much more than just being compatible. At some point, conflicts will arise and you will have to make a decision between working through it or calling it a day.
However, for Chief and Chief (Mrs) Ikechukwu  Okonkwo Ogabu, they owe their happy relationship of 30 years to boundless love.. It seems like such a simple step. “Unconditional” indeed. This means that no matter how big the argument, or how huge the disagreement, love makes the bond what while. And navigating through thick and thin is made possible.
As they marked their 30th marriage anniversary a few days back,  one could but congratulate the couple for their resilience against failure.  Certainly, such feat in marriage relationship could not have been without obvious challenges purported to frustrate partners but the ability to surmount such distractions calls for celebration.
Chief (Mrs) Okonkwo Ogabu, a former chairman of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Rivers State, and currently, the Deputy National President of the same body, recounts that marriage is never a bed of roses.  It is a very challenging venture especially in Africa where marriage goes beyond the nuclear family to include extended family members.  And the husband and most importantly wife must have to put up with these extended family members.
Married  at very young age without  a grasp of  the intricacies of marriage,  she did not only realize with time that  marriage was not only sweet but was also tasking especially with the arrival of children.
Love she confessed was the reason she could remain resolute to her vow, stating that “When you love, you can forgive. Love is the greatest!, Love makes it easy to let go errors”. For her challenges come in diverse ways, hence the need to persevere
This  mother of 4 and  grandmother of 1, who anchored her strength in God and family love, (the will to protect my children too),  advises younger couples to love and cherish their  partner, by so doing they can easily tolerate flaws, avoid going into relationship based on material things, as this stands the risk of back firing at the long run. She did not forget the place of forgiveness in marriage relationship.
Mrs Okonkwo-Ogabu remains eternally appreciative to her Husband, Chief Ikechukwu Ogabu for being supportive of her career and life’s endeavour. She enjoins all men to emulate him
According to marriage counsellors, a marriage lasts better when partners are ready to work and walk through conflict. It would be unfair to say that couples who have been together for a long time don’t argue. They do, but they just have a better way of dealing with it.
It would be easy to blame our high rate of marital failure on things like not spending enough quality time together, allowing bitterness and resentment to build in our hearts and failing to keep communication lines open. There’s no end to books, articles and seminars that tell you how to improve these and many other aspects of your relationship. But while quality time, forgiveness and communication are vitally important to creating a happy marriage, if such things aren’t happening, it’s usually a sign of a much deeper problem. And until this problem is addressed, no amount of external behavior modification will work.
Some couples would say It’s great when your partner respects your time and lets you do your thing, but at some point, you need to make the effort to protect your time together. If you keep cancelling plans, you might soon discover that you are living with a housemate rather than a partner. Make time for date night every now and then, no matter how busy your lives get.
Experiencing new things together is one of the best things you can do to keep a relationship alive. Push yourself out of your comfort zone to discover new things. It could be travelling to a new place, or exploring new territory in the bedroom. Pick up a new couple friendly sex toy from Pleasure Delights and discover a new side of your partner.
After watching Olu Jacob’s receiving his prestigious award, three things came on my mind:
Sex alone does not keep marriage going. Friendship and companionship keeps marriage going. The body will eventually get old and you won’t have the urge for it. The children you train will eventually, leave and build their home It will get to a stage, It will just be you and your partner. What will make it fun is the friendship. You gist together, play together, pray together and many more.

By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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Women

‘It Is Time To End Violence Against Women’

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While pervasive, gender-based violence may seem to appear inevitable in our own clime, African Women Lawyers, Rivers State Chapter, believe that it can and must be prevented. To them, stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transforming harmful social norms, and empowers women and girls.
With women and girls living in danger around the world owing to conflict, climate-related natural disasters, food insecurity and human rights violations, which in turn exacerbate violence against women, this great body of women lawyers have decided to raise their voice against all shades of violence against women whether it be domestic or official
In pursuant of their aims and objectives, AWLA commemorate land mark dates set by the African Union and United Nations to raise awareness about the plight of women and children.
As the world engages in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the body avails itself the opportunity to highlight some violent and of course harmful practices Nigerian women are continually subjected to, as well as condemn such and create the awareness among the populace that perpetrators of such inhumane acts on a folk that deserves and desires protection in all spheres, will receive a bang of the law.
This year, AwLA is using the window provided by the United Nations via the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, to contribute their own quota especially as it relates to condemning in concrete terms, societal practices that run foul to the healthy development of the women.
Activities outlined in commemorate of the 2021 version of the 16 days of activisms against gender based violence include; advocacy and sensitization visits to Khana Local Government and Oginigba in  Obio/Akpor Local Government on 26th and 30th November respectively while free legal clinic takes place in Port Harcourt Local Government on 29th of November.
While the program lasts, stakeholders are expected to brainstorm on how to solve the challenges faced by women, while women will be enlightened on their right as well as be sensitized on how to seek redress.
In a chat with The Tide woman Editor, Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi, the Coordinator of the African Women Lawyers Association, Hilda Desmond-Ihekaire, said her association is quite proactive on issues that bother on women and children’s rights.
She encouraged women to speak out against injustice meted on them by people who are supposed to protect their interest, stating that the era of accepting every awkward treatment against them is over. She enjoined them to avail themselves the opportunity of the free legal clinic provided at this season to vent out their grievances.
The AWLA coordinator revealed that her association is already handling matters of gender based violence in court at the moment and would stop at nothing until the public comes to appreciate that women are also human that should not be treated unjustly.
AWLA is a group of women lawyers with the aim and objective of protecting the right and interest of women and children in Africa. They do this through multi facetted approach, using advocacy, sensitization campaign and probono litigation services on women and children’s issues
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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Women

NAWOJ Moves To Check Violence Against Women, Girls … Seeks More Action, Resources

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Chairman, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Rivers State Chapter, Susan Serekara-Nwikhana, has called for strengthened actions and resources to address violence against women and girls in the society.
Speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday, November 25, 2021 to commemorate this year’s 16-Days of Activism, with the theme: ‘Orange the world: End Violence Against Women Now’, the Chairman, NAWOJ, Rivers State Chapter stated that violence against women and girls reached pandemic proportion especially during the COVID-19 hit that resulted to lockdown.
Serekara stressed that as lockdown measures were implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women, domestic violence intensified as school closures and economic strains left women and girls poorer, out of school and out of jobs, making them more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, forced marriage, and harassment.
“We believe  that ending violence against women will require strengthened actions by the government through more investment in women and girls,” she said, regretting that formal reports of domestic violence have decreased, yet survivors find it harder to seek help and access support through the regular channels. She further noted that the 16 days of activism is an expression that gender-based violence though not inevitable, can and must be prevented.
“While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls  and teenage girls who are employed as house helps . Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights,” Serekara added.

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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