As Opobo Kingdom begins celebrations to mark 150 years of its founding, a book titled, “Opobo Kingdom:150 Years After…Socio-Economic Dynamics For New Horizons”, written by Celestine Ogolo, a Director in the Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communications, would be presented to the public on Monday, December 14, 2020.
A statement by the organisers of the presentation ceremony disclosed that the book is primarily a discourse of the development challenges of the ancient Kingdom, since the period of King Jaja, up to the present, and efforts at changing the narrative, with the aim of making Opobo a model for community development.
The public presentation is expected to hold at the Nigeria Bar Association Hall, along Bank Road in Port Harcourt and would have Alabo Senator Adawari Michael Pepple as chairman, while a former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, is expected as the Special Guest of Honour.
Others expected at the presentation include, the lawmaker representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro in the House of Representatives, Hon Abiante Inombek, as the Guest of Honour, and the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, as the Special Guest, among other distinguished dignitaries.
As part of the public presentation of the book, a lecture titled, “Opobo Kingdom In The Next Half A Century”, would be delivered by the Chairman of Opobo Kingdom Title Holders Association, Amaopusenibo Bobo Sofiri Brown.
Thereafter, a former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, Professor Alafuro Epelle would review the book.
The Amanyanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, who is also the Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers is expected as the Royal Father of the Day.
Tai LGA Boss Applauds Light Up Nigeria Project
The light up Nigeria Project has carried its campaign of empowerment initiatives to Tai Local Government Area in Rivers State, at the weekend.
Speaking at the event Chairman of Tai local Government area, Hon, Mbakpone Friday Okpe, has applauded the Light Up Nigeria Project Team for its initiative to eliminate poverty in the country.
He stated that the project was commendable hence it has come to the grassroots to provide small and medium scale investment to grow businesses and improve the economy of the country.
Hon. Okpe said this while receiving the team of Light up Nigeria project at the council headquarters, saying that the initiative to the grassroots was a good means of providing subsidy, minor investment platforms for the people to grow their finances and that of the economy.
” I urge the team and the banks to create an enabling environment that will make the process seamless for my people to access all the provisions of the initiative, I observed that my people are ready as confirmed from their massive attendance” He said.
Earlier the national focal person of the project and managing director of Odioku Sky Limited Comr. Prince Amezhinm Atuma said the group is partnering with banks to fund the growth of small and medium scale enterprises, traders, farmers, through soft loans with very low interest rates.
He revealed that with the project, agricultural hubs, mini factories, processing centers will be built in various LGAs in the country for the purpose of processing, preserving and exportation of products within and outside Nigeria.
According to him, people can stay in their homes and earn in hard currencies,
as crops like plantain, cassava, yams amongst others are in high demand in America and other countries.
“The light up Nigeria Project has come to enable the rural dwellers and hardworking citizens to better their lives and reduce social vices ravaging the society.
The initiative will also employ and empower Nigerians in the transportation sector like keke Nepap, mini buses, POS service providers amongst others to access loans in growing their businesses”, he stated.
The team visited the palace of his Royal Highness Dr Samuel Nlebara Nne, the Gbenemene of Tai and paramount ruler of Kpite Tai.
The royal majesty said the people of Tai are known for their peaceful and Harding disposition.
He further assured them that the growth of the project will be rapid as they will ensure people key in into the project and take advantage of the investment.
Chief Elijah Ndorbu, who represented His majesty appealed to the team to send personnels to various communities and match actions with words.
By: Tonye Orabere
HYPREP Interfaces With Ogoni Youths
Ogoni youths, on Wednesday turned out in their hundreds at the expansive auditorium of Golden Tulip Hotel in Port Harcourt and had fruitful engagements with the management of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) with the Project Coordinator, Prof Denibarini Zabbey effectively in charge of proceedings.
The HYPREP’s interactive session with youths came on the heels of recent protests by some Ogoni youths at its office in Port Harcourt.
HYPREP’s Head of Communications, Dr Enuolare Mba-Nwigor, who functioned as the compere and anchor of the occasion, actually set the tone of what was to come as he described the agency’s projects as human-centric and youth-centric as well as community centred to put smiles on the faces of the Ogoni people, noting that the agency in turn needs all the support from the people.
But before then, effervescent comedian and Ogoni-born Mr Teenager had put the youths in the right mood for the day’s event with rib-cracking jokes.
Underscoring the importance of the interactive session, Prof Zabbey in his opening remarks, hinted that the frequency of such interfaces with the youths would be scaled up and announced that it would now come up quarterly to enable HYPREP to feel the pulse of the people and in the process regularly get feed-backs on its numerous projects and programmes in Ogoniland.
While thanking the youths for their support and for the massive turnout, the Project Coordinator noted that projects being executed in Ogoniland by the agency are human-centric and youth-centric, stressing that it was against this backdrop that he had appointed a Technical Assistant on Youth and Women Development to the Project Coordinator for the first time.
He emphasised the need for the Project Office and the youths to always come together and work collectively to drive all the projects and programmes being carried out.
The keynote speaker and senior lecturer at the Department of Management of the Rivers State University, Dr. Sorberikor Lebura advised Ogoni people to tread with caution and not allow the ugly chapters of the Ogoni struggle to repeat themselves, “ We cannot pull down the house because we are angry,” he said, stressing that, doing so would not serve anybody’s interest.
He listed the strategies for effective management of conflicts, to include competition, avoidance, accommodation and collaboration, and stressed the need for Ogoni people to judiciously manage what HYPREP is currently offering them in their communities because as he put it, “it will take a long time for this thing to come back to us if we destroy it”.
Lebura underscored the importance of effective information management in driving the ongoing projects in Ogoniland, contending that disinformation, misinformation and insufficient information constitute the greatest drawbacks in any organisation and the management and execution of projects.
He, therefore, advised the current HYPREP management team and the Ogoni people to properly distill and investigate every information that comes their way, and decried a situation where some persons appointed to midwife the project in the past ran HYPREP as their private empire.
According to him, “the present Project Coordinator is doing his best. What he is doing may not be sufficient. This is because you cannot satisfy everybody”.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ogoni Television, Mr Ndume Green, who equally anchored the programme advised Ogoni people not to continue to fight themselves but to always support their own to succeed, describing Prof Zabbey as a competent Project Coordinator.
“Let us protect what we have so that history will not repeat itself,” he said.
Also speaking, the head of the Livelihood Unit of HYPREP, Mrs. Josephine Nzidee said HYPREP has this year trained 29 Ogonis in the aviation industry to work as cabin crew members in airlines, adding that Dana Airlines had already offered 10 slots to the agency while it is currently engaging other airlines for more slots, lamenting that before now, nobody from Ogoniland was in the aviation industry.
She said 5, 0000 Ogoni youths are currently being trained to position them in the oil and gas sector, among other sectors of the economy, and urged all those being trained to take the exercise seriously.
The Head of the Centre of Excellence, Mr. Lekue Ebenezer and other heads of the various units also briefed the audience on the activities of their units.
The Director of Technical Services, Prof Philip Shekwolo while describing the Project Coordinator as a core professional, enjoined Ogoi people to be supportive and always wear the solution caps to ensure that the projects and programmes being carried out succeed.
The leadership of the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) apparently passed a vote of confidence on the Project Coordinator at the event and declared its unflinching support to HYPREP.
The President of NYCOP, Mr. Barinaazor Emmanuel who read a communiqué containing the positon of the entire Ogoni youths at the event, said the youths are totally in support of the projects and programmes being carried out by HYPREP in Ogoniland.
The NYCOP President had earlier in his presentation called for more women participation and inclusion in the projects and for more youths to be included in the current 5,0000 youth training programme and described the protest against HYPREP by some youths recently as a show of shame. He equally said the transport allowance for trainees was too poor.
The leader of Ogoni Peoples Assembly, Rev Probel Williams urged the Ogoni people to give the Project Coordinator time to work and prove his mettle, saying there is no need to fidget and fret, going by his pedigree in the ecosystem.
He, however, urged the Project Coordinator to review the employment and livelihood programme module to make it more realistic.
The Acting President of the Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), Mr Emmanuel Bie apologised to the Project Coordinator over the recent protest that paralysed HYPREP’s activities in Port Harcourt, saying the protest was intended to draw the agency’s attention to some anomalies in its project sites and not to serve some selfish and vested interests, and called for more local and community content in projects executed by HYPREP.
He disclosed to The Tide that the President General of OYF, Mr Legbosi Yaamabaana who led the protest had been suspended.
Some of the youths who spoke stressed the need for them to be carried along in the scheme of affairs and not for only those who protest against HYPREP to be considered for contracts.
At the end of the day, Prof Zabbey assured the youths that all grey areas concerning transport allowances being paid to Ogonis working at the Centre of Excellence site as well as the N40,000 transport allowance for trainees were being handled, and appealed for patience.
By: Donatus Ebi
ACOMIN Urges Govt To Commit To HIV, Others
In order for Nigeria to ensure progress in the control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and Malaria (ATM) in the country there is the need for government at all levels, and other stakeholders to adopt combined measures.
The Rivers State Chairman, of the Association of Civil Societies in Malaria Control, Immunisation, and Nutrition (ACOMIN), Pastor John Ihua-Maduenyi, made this disclosure, midweek, at a media meeting in ACOMIN’s office in Port Harcourt.
Ihua-Maduenyi said the combination of measures should include “prevention and treatment, health education and promotion, and community partnership”.
Towards this end, the State ACOMIN boss urged governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to commit to ensuring that funding and financing for primary health delivery should be carefully mapped out and sanctioned against any misappropriation or mismanagement, to enable a robust public health programme at all award levels in the Local Government Areas.
He listed other measures, saying, “ the National Health Insurance programme enjoyed by the formal sector should be extended to other citizens of Nigeria, particularly the poor and most vulnerable.
“The poor often are less educated and unemployed, and consequently lack ability to pay out-of-pocket for high costs associated with frequent illnesses.
“Communication and education programmes can raise knowledge and awareness, and, in turn, improve testing and care-seeking. There’s a great need to educate, engage, and empower the communities to embrace any behaviour change relevant to achieving success in Malaria, HIV, and TB control in Nigeria.
“Every Ward should commit to health promotion and education programmes to increase awareness of prevention measures, and promote community participation and adherence to evidence-based strategies.
“Commit adequate resources through advocacy and partnerships, for the full and effective implementation of all planned interventions, including through involving of the private sector, and community participatory approaches.
“Community members should actively support and advocate for their local Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs). Community involvement is crucial in ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of these centres.
“Additionally, community support can manifest through volunteering, donating resources, or participating in advocacy efforts to secure increased funding and resources for PHCs”.
To further enhance instilling the importance of effectively instituting the listed measures, Ihua-Maduenyi emphasized the urgent need for “strengthening health systems, providing needed financial resources, renewing political leadership, and fostering collaborations”.
According to him, “evidence-based cost-effective interventions such as community-led monitoring need to be scaled up and include community-based differentiated service delivery models, less frequent visits to a health facility with less frequent and an improved focus on people-centred care.
“Finally, innovations in service delivery and technology adaptations remain critical as countries aim to limit disruptions to routine services”.
On factors debilitating effective service delivery in some Local Government Areas, raised by some stakeholders at the meeting, the HIV Desk Officer, Rivers State Health Care Management Board (RSPHCMB), Dr. Mekele Igwe, assured that the issues will be excallated with a view to resolving them.
By: Soibi Max-Alalibo