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HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR WIKE’S 2021 NEW YEAR MESSAGE

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My dear people of Rivers State

2. As usual, New Year’s Day offers us with the opportunity to reflect on the last twelve months and look forward to the challenges and opportunities of the New Year with renewed faith and optimism.
3. As individuals, we may be inclined to make our own resolutions encapsulating our desires to be closer to God and to live a more honest, healthier and happier life.
4. I sincerely pray to God to answer all your prayers and enable each and every one of us to realize the resolves we have made for ourselves, our families, our communities and our State in the New Year.
5. No doubt, the year 2020 was a very challenging year for our country.
. A mismanaged national economy in recession made worse by a brutal corona virus pandemic, escalated insecurity, corruption and socio-political tensions cast their shadows on 2020 and made life truly horrible for millions of struggling families and ordinary Nigerians.
7. What’s more, the poor state of the nation’s economy and its aftershocks of dwindling revenues, rising inflation, poverty and unemployment also affected us as a State.
8. Nevertheless, we strove and reasonably advanced our development agenda and efforts at building a financially responsible and socially equitable State.
9. Accordingly, 2020 also proved to be a very busy and eventful year for our State, especially in project execution and delivery of social services to our people.
10. As customary, we initiated and completed a record number of development projects with tremendous socio-economic impact while several others, including the multi-billion naira flyovers, received reasonable funding and construction attention in 2020.
11. As you know, some of the completed projects were inaugurated earlier this month while several more completed projects, including the Mother and Child hospital, the Real Madrid Academy new buildings, the Okoro-Nu-Odo flyover, the Sakpewa – Bori dual carriage way, the Abonnema ring road, the 10 kilometer Bolo internal roads, and the Eteo – Sime – Nowan – Kira road are due for inauguration from the 4th of January 2021.
12. Our agenda for the State has been clear from the very beginning, and far from the misguided views of some of our critics, we are not reworking old recipes in our development efforts.
13. Rather, we are surely and pragmatically addressing the critical concerns of our people, including the sustenance of peace and security, education and affordable healthcare, fixing our infrastructural deficit and driving better economic growth and social progress for our State than is generally acknowledged.
14. Today, we express our gratitude to God and our people not only for the opportunity to serve but also for the achievements we have recorded which now forms the foundations for our drive towards greater levels of development, economic growth, better life and secured future for our people.
15. But, we also concede to the fact that there’s much more to be done to realize the Rivers State of our dreams: a progressive State with fabulous infrastructures, quality education, affordable healthcare and boundless economic opportunities for all who live in it.
16. We will therefore continue in 2021 to focus on the fundamental task of creating a new Rivers State through prudent, efficient and transparent management of available resources.
17. Essentially, we shall continue to upgrade and expand educational infrastructures and services across all levels of the education system.
18. There is no better guarantee for the future progress of our State and the nation than to ensure that every child has the realistic access to the transformational light of education and skills acquisition.
19. We shall also continue to prioritize healthcare delivery and ensure that everyone has access to affordable primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services.
20. We therefore commit to completing all ongoing and new healthcare infrastructures, including the five zonal tertiary hospitals and the proposed specialist hospital for the treatment of cancer, kidney and cardiovascular diseases.
21. In the same vein, we shall continue to give focused attention to the State’s physical and economic infrastructure and ensure that we deliver fabulous roads, bridges and flyovers to connect all parts of our State to ease the movement of goods and services, enhance economic growth and accelerate the development of the State.
21. Along with quality education, affordable health care and transport infrastructures, we shall also focus on creating a more robust business environment to stimulate economic growth, empowerment and create tangible jobs for our people.
22. We also wish to restate our commitment to recruit 5000 youths into the State’s public service in 2021 to reduce the unemployment rate and give the beneficiaries a new ease of life.
23. Fellow citizens,
24. It is very important for us to sound a warning note that we are currently experiencing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Rivers State.
25. This makes it necessary to remind everyone of our responsibility to adhere strictly to the existing protocols on compulsory wearing of face masks, maintenance of social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and the regular use of hand sanitizers so that we can reasonably prevent the rate of transmission and avoid needless deaths from the disease.
26. Furthermore, I wish to express our dismay with the continuing flouting of the ban on trading, the creation of illegal motor parks, taxi ranks and mechanic workplaces as well as the erection of illegal kiosks along our streets and other public spaces.
27. Apart from constituting public nuisance, these activities and structures obstruct traffic flow and pose serious threats to public safety and security to the extent no responsible government can tolerate.
28. With the grace period over therefore, we have no other option than to order immediate clampdown and put a final stop to these illegal operations from the 4th of January 2021.
29. Finally, as we say farewell to 2020 let us also eschew the recriminations, turn a new page on the hatred that has kept us divided, forgive one another and together, work towards making our dear State the best place on earth to live, do business and bring up our children.
30. On this New Year’s Day the challenge before us remains how we can work together to overcome the road blocks to our progress and build a State that holds concrete promise of hope for the present and future generations.
31. Let us therefore start a new chapter of cooperation, togetherness and solidarity and in one accord unleash our potential on the development of our State and better the lots of our people, for there’s no goal we cannot achieve if we remain united.
32. I wish to, once again, thank our leaders, traditional rulers, elder statesmen, religious leaders, party chieftains, opinion leaders, men, women, youths and the press for your continued support, prayers and understanding and reassure all of our government’s commitment to your service as we build the future that we all desire for our State.
33. As we step into the New Year, let us recommit ourselves to the new Rivers Vision by working together under God’s guidance to make 2021 truly remarkable and fulfilling for Rivers State.
34. I wish each and every one a prosperous, blessed and happy New Year!
35. And may God continue to bless our dear Rivers State.

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Rivers

UI Alumni Want More Funding For Public Universities

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The National President (Worldwide) of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, Professor Gabriel Nyityo, has called for increased funding of public universities in the country.
Nyityo, who said this shortly after the election of Professor Emmanuel Emasealu and others as new executive of the Rivers State Chapter of the Association in Port Harcourt, said public universities need to be properly funded to enable them undertake more researches.
He observed that while some public universities are doing their best, some are set up as public infrastructures in communities.
According to him, “a university is a university, each one thriving in excellence, whether public or private, but in this tradition we first have public universities, and tradition die hard. So, we are always inclined to feeling that public universities are better because they have the capacity, both human and physical resources, and a good number of them are doing very well.
“But then, they are also public universities that are setup like social infrastructure facilities for rural dwellers. Those kind of universities, unless they upgrade, they remain social amenities for rural dwellers and so they are not global.
“However, there are also excellent private universities. Some are very small, but contributing their best and also big and they are also contributing their best.
“Though in Nigeria we do know that much of the research-based post graduate research are being done by public universities, so they are still leaders”, he said.
Nyityo also said while public universities are doing their best, their private counterparts are also doing their best, stressing the need for government to put more money in the public universities to enable them discharge their responsibilities to the society.
He said the University of Ibadan, which is the first in the country, will continue to lead the way in terms of innovation and breakthroughs in technological research, and described the Rivers State Branch as the most vibrant in the country.
Meanwhile, former Senator Andrew Uchendu, , and the former Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University (RSU), Professor Simeon Achinewhu, have hailed the emergence of Prof Emmanuel C. Emasealu as the new Chairman of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA), Rivers State Branch.
The duo, who spoke shortly after the election, said the Rivers State Chapter of the Association has chosen the right person to pilot its affairs.
They also called for support to enable the new executive succeed.
The election was observed by the President of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA) Worldwide, Prof Gabriel Nyityo, and other national officers that included the association’s 1st Assistant Secretary, Chief Uchemadu Abosi, and a former UIAA President.
It would be recalled that Prof. Emasealu, who was recently inducted into the Academy of Letters, leads a new Rivers UIAA executive team that includes, Mr. Mitayire Ajari as Vice Chairman; Barr. Goodluck M Ezikwa, Secretary; Barr. Chinedu Asuzu, Assistant Secretary; and Obiageli Egwudike Igwe as Treasurer.
The rest are, Christiana Lango Kalu, Financial Secretary; Kelechi Nwaucha, Public Relations Officer; Victoria Owoleke, Social Secretary; and Barr. Sarah Emmanuel-Apia, Legal Officer.
The new Rivers UIAA Chairman, Professor Emmanuel Emasealu, later told reporters that the association is blessed with professionals and prominent alumni, who have and are still contributing to the development of the state.
“In the first place, I would like to observe that UIAA worldwide was very much represented at this occasion.
“That is a statement, a very loud statement about the seriousness of the association.
“Two, I would like to state that we have a group of committed individuals, notable figures in society”, he stated.

By: John Bibor

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Rivers

Group Hails Fubara Over Yobana’s Appointment

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A youth body “Sor Babbe 2024” under the auspices of Ogoni Sim Vanguard (OSV), in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State has commended the State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubura, for the appointment of their Chairman, Board Of Trustee (BOT), Ambassador Marvin Yobana as the Caretaker Commitee Chairman of Khana LGA.
The commendation is contained in a statement signed by the Secretary, Comr. Inaabura Terekpa Henry and the group Coordinator, Comrade Nwigbo Emmanuel, who described the Governor as a “God-given Governor” that mean well for the development of Khana LGA and beyond.
The statement also identified Yobana as a bonafide Ken-Khana son who is truthful and represents “a pure definition of putting a round peg in a round hole”.
“Also, we want to cease this opportunity to remind His Excellency, Siminalayi Fubara, of our undeterred support for his leadership due to his developmental stride in Khana and Rivers State at large.
“We are also calling and appealing on behalf of the good and peace loving people of Babbe district, in Khana LGA, for him to look in-ward with regards to the forth-coming Local government election in Khana.
“That no Babbe son or daughter has been given an opportunity to serve the endowed and blessed people of Khana in the capacity of a democratically elected Chairman since the commencement of the present day dispensation of democracy from 1999 till date.
”What is good for the goose is also good for the gander. Babbe is a child gifted, enormously talented and prodigiously endowed with grassroot servant-hood leaders and support-based galvanisers that can contribute immensely to the growth and development of Khana and Rivers State at large in all ramification, if given the opportunity.
“As a group, we want to reiterate again that we remain resolute, focused and undeterred on the Babbe mandate, as this will serve as a justifiable unifier and thus strengthen the existence of PDP in Babbe and the local government as a whole.
“We also congratulate our BOT Chairman on his appointment as CTC Chairman, Khana LGA”, the statement stated.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Rivers

Monarch Charges Historians On History Documentation

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Eze Apara of Rebisi Kingdom and Paramount Ruler of Port Harcourt, HRM Isaiah Elekwu, has charged historians to begin earnest documentation of Rebisi people as a way to preserve their heritage.
The royal father gave the charge during the launch and public presentation of the book, “Rebisi Natives of Port Harcourt: History and Developments”, written by Arthur Kalagbor held in Port Harcourt.
He said intellectuals in the kingdom should engage more in written than oral history, as he commended Kalagbor for leading the light in documenting his people.
He described the book as the beginning of a new era in Rebisi kingdom and quest to ensure that there is cohesive and united front among the people.
Calling on elites in Rebisi to rise to the challenge of leadership, Eze Elikwu said time has come to save the future of the kingdom.
Earlier, Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Sunny Amadi, said he was elated that a new awakening has started in Rebisi Kingdom with the book.
The university don, however, advocated for a new economy for Rebisi as he advocated use of estate development to drive future growth of the people.
In his words, “Today, most parts of Rebisi have been overtaken by development and that is why I urge our people to see opportunities from the estate, and built environment to preserve the future of children”.
Reviewing the book, Dr. Chris Akani described the work as historical legacy that seeks to throw light on the ontology of the people.
He stated that the seven chapter book with 106 pages is fluid and easy to read, with special focus on the origins of Rebisi people.
Akani added that, “it’s an exciting book that has come at the right time and I think the author should be given a resounding ovation”.
In his remarks, the author, Arthur Kalagbor, disclosed that the book is an outcome of a study group set up by Rebisi Monarch in 2014.
With the completion of the assignment to collate history of the kingdom, he noted that he was compelled to expand the frontiers to cover other areas of culture and origins to educate young generation.
Kalagbor reiterated that the book is dedicated for the future generation which has little knowledge of their history, and thanked royal fathers, and local sources for support, including former President of Ogbakor Ikwerre.

By: Kevin Nengia

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