The city of Port Harcourt is still in a mourning mood after last week’s stampede at Polo Club which claimed over 30 lives.
The sad incident was as a result of a charity and free gift items event organised by Kings Assembly, a church in Port Harcourt.
The Tide Metro learnt that this is not the first time the church was organising the event, but this year’s attracted huge crowd that was beyond the control of the event planners.
The Tide Metro learnt that figures of deaths may have risen within the week, as more victims die after hospitalisation.
Already, the state government has issued a statement commiserating with families and those who lost their loved ones at the incident.
A young father who gave his name as Ikem Orji narrated how he lost his son to stampede on that fateful day.
“All of a sudden, people started coming more and more. They had to open the smaller gate. People started forcing themselves in through the small gate.
“As they were forcing themselves in, they immediately opened the big gate. People were entering in through the big gate, some were falling down. Those people that fell down, others were stepping on them,” he said.
Although he was able to rescue his daughter with his wife carrying the smaller daughter, his son was however not so fortunate.
He added, “I managed to rescue my first and second daughter. Only my son I couldn’t rescue because there was no way.
“The stampede was too much. I even broke my hand. I can’t raise my shoulder up because they matched me, I collapsed in short. I didn’t even know where I was.”
Orji also asked the police authorities to step up their investigations into the death of Delight to allow him claim the corpse of his son for burial.
Meanwhile, some residents who spoke to The Tide Metro had blamed hunger as major cause of the stampede.
Oribim Ibama said hunger and poverty may have led some people to risk their lives.
She also blamed poor security and lack of good crowd control.
For Theresa Ebizimo, greed may be responsible, as she narrated how her mum left the scene of the incident before the stampede occurred.
She disclosed that her mum left the house very early, but was lucky when she sensed that danger was ahead with the huge crowd that came for the free gift items.
In the same light, Ngozi Amadi narrated that her cousin narrowly escaped being trampled upon by the crowd.
She stated that her cousin, who went to pick the free gift items on reaching the entrance had to leave when pushing and dragging began in the frenzy to get into the Polo field.
It was gathered that immediately the gate of the event centre fell down, people started trampling on one another to push through, it was in the process that many died.
Asaramaija Installs Monarch Amid Fanfare
The colourful cultural displays that ushered in the coronation of Okangh Ama of Asaramaija Community in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State will for a long time stay green in the minds of the indigenes.
The ancient coastal community was alive for almost a week with various masquerade and cultural displays as part of the coronation ceremony.
The Tide Metro gathered that the salt making community picked one of its son, His Royal Highness (Dr) Inwon Joseph Isaac Urang for the unique stool of his fathers.
Urang is a medical doctor by training and is under the services of the Rivers State Primary Health Care Management Board.
Investigations revealed that the community is one of the oldest Andoni settlements known for salt-making before the advent of Europeans.
Highpoint of the ceremony was done last Tuesday when the new king severed the head of a life bull and presented it to the people.
In the culture of the community, once the king-to-be successfully cuts the head of a bull smoothly that means he has been accepted by the ancestors.
Shortly after the ceremony, Dr Urang promised to work assiduously to ensure peace, love, unity and progress of the community.
On his part, Secretary General of Asarama Divisional Council of Traditional Rulers (ADCTR), Chief Ubokikwan Gabriel Ogbologwung, said the emergence of the new monarch was a welcome development.
Ogbologwung urged the people to embark on a fresh journey to promote peace, love and unity among themselves.
“All the subjects of the new King of Asaramaija should love and work in unison with their monarch.
“The elders and kingmakers should rally round him to provide wise counsels to the new king with which the community and kingdom would make progress,” Chief Ogbologwung stressed.
By: Kevin Nengia
Youths March In PH For PDP Governorship Candidate
As part of the build up to the 2023 governorship election, millions of youths marched through some streets of Port Harcourt to sensitise the public, while crusading for a violence- free election.
The youths were made up of a coalition of various groups including Rivers Equity Group and the National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN) forming part of the majority of the participants
Clad in white T-shirts and blue jeans, the youths took off from Christmas Village Hotel in Eagle Island and marched through Illoabuchi to Ikwerre and Azikiwe Roads.
The acting state coordinator of the “Two Million Youth For SIM”, Ibim Daminabo said Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Siminialayi Fubara is generally accepted by the youths, hence, they are drumming support for him as a young man who wants to govern Rivers State.
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers, Siminialayi Fubara had earlier assured that he would be a governor for all the people of the state if elected into office in 2023.
Aside the youths, the rally also witnessed the presence of party stalwarts and statesmen who joined in the walk round parts of the city.
Some of the eminent Rivers indigenes under the aegis of “Rivers Equity for 2million Youths for SIM” include former Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Sir Clapton Ogolo; Alabo Pawariso Horsfall, two former Permanent Secretaries, Sir J. P. Nalley and Sir Hart.
Others are Sir Emeka Ichoku and Mrs Tari Ningi Wari.
Speaking to newsmen, Sir Ogolo told newsmen that the event was to sensitise youths in the state to abstain from violence during the 2023 elections.
Ogolo, who was one of the conveners of the event, said violence was not only destructive but limits development and progress.
He said at this time, Rivers State needed a youthful governor to continue with the developmental aspirations of the present administration.
Ogolo warned those throwing stones to desist as the days of ignorance were over, “Peace is development and it gives joy”, he said.
The former commissioner said the rally would be taken round the 23 local government areas of the state.
Also speaking, Alabo Pawariso Samuel Horsfall said the Rivers Equity for 2million Youths For SIM, has come to join forces with Rivers youths to say no to violence during the 2023 general elections.
According to him, Rivers youths have always set the pace in the country, adding that such enviable position must be sustained in next year’s election.
Counselling youths to take the message round the state, Horsfall said Rivers youths were lucky that Sir Fubara was one of them.
He described the PDP guber candidate as peace-loving, a character he exhibits in all his activities.
The keynote speaker, Sir Emeka Ichoku, who spoke on the “Role of Youths on Violence In Free Election”, said the Peoples Democratic Party guber candidate knows what empowerment is all about.
Ichoku urged the youths to join the moving train by fully participating in the electoral process by getting their permanent voters’ cards and abstaining from violence during the elections.
For Hon. Norman Iboroma, the time for youths to take over has come, as he canvassed for a violence-free election in 2023.
By: Kevin Nengia
Democracy Day: Stakeholders Brainstorm In PH
This year’s Democracy Day celebration in Port Harcourt witnessed a gathering of religious and public-spirited individuals on a one-day forum to chart course for the nation’s leadership in next year elections.
The event was organised by the Men’s League of Christ Church, Port Harcourt tagged, “What Do Nigerians Want?” as stakeholders drawn from all walks of life in the metropolis brainstormed on the kind of leadership the country needs.
Speakers and experts drawn from the academia, church and the general public all shared views on how to pull the country out of its current debacle.
President of the Men’s League of Christ Church Port Harcourt, Barrister Sotonye Inyeinengi-Etomi set the tone of the forum, when he spoke on the need for a new leadership paradigm shift considering the state of the nation.
He stated that the church as key player in both spiritual and social needs of the nation has risen to the challenge to sensitise and to awaken the citizenry on the need to make the nation better.
Worried by the worsening insecurity and economic challenges, Inyeinnengi-Etomi submitted that the forum was put together by the men in the church as their contribution to nation building.
The Christ Church Men’s League Chairman stressed the need for participatory citizenship and improving governance.
In his paper titled, “The President Nigeria Needs”, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo harped on the need for leadership change.
He argued that what the country needs now are leaders who have vision and are ready to sacrifice for the common man, saying” things must be done differently”.
Pastor Ighodalo was of the opinion that leadership remain the bane of Nigeria’s transformation, stressing that once we get good leadership other things will fall in place.
Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo while speaking on the topic “Restructuring and True Federalism” was of the view that some responsibilities need to be decentralised like the police, power provision and railway.
Once there is decentralisation, he believes that the state will have less dependence on the centre, “rebalancing of the constitution in terms of power and security. So, there is reason for state police.”
Oyewo maintained that regions are closer to the people, thus it will boost security, the economy and sense of belonging by the populace.
He also identified data and planning as key factors in ensuring that programmes are tailored towards the people.
The state of insecurity in Nigeria was addressed by Dr. Victoria Ekhomu, a security expert, who narrated how her husband was killed by kidnappers years back.
Dr. Ekhomu blamed security challenges on poor leadership in the country, as she warned that if the current insecurity in parts of the country persists then next year’s elections may be hampered.
Chairman of the forum’s Organising Committee, Engr Stanford Tasie said this year’s forum was a success and assured that the communique will be forwarded to appropriate authorities as a way to support national development.
He recalled that this year’s forum was the second in the series and that by next year when another one will be organised, the country must have concluded its elections.
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