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Democracy Day: Stakeholders Brainstorm In PH

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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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Building Collapse: Tenants Escape Death In PH Township

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Occupants of an old three-storey building at 112 Bende Street, Old Port Harcourt Township are still counting their losses following the collapse of the building they lived in for many years.
The building which an expert believes was built during the colonial era was until last Wednesday morning, standing at the mercy of the authorities.
Not fewer than 20 tenants were occupying the building when a long truck in a bid to pass pulled a power cable that hung at the roof of the building which led to its final collapse.
Though no lives were lost, the occupants at the second and third floors were trapped in the building for hours as the staircase pulled off and collapsed.
In the quest to save those trapped inside, neighbours had to look for ladders to help rescue those upstairs, since the staircase had fallen off.
One of the occupants, Mrs. Hope Apiafi told The Tide Metro that she was still fast asleep on the fateful day when she heard a loud noise.
Roused by the noise she stepped out of her room to see part of the front part of the building gone down. She was in the second floor and was trapped.
With the house entrance and staircase gone, she raised alarm and neighbours came to her rescue.
She narrated how she could only save her life, while her electronics and household equipment have all gone with the rumbles.
Mrs Apiafi said, she thanked God that her four kids were in her sister’s place when the incident occurred.
While calling on government to come to her rescue, the young lady regretted that for over two years she could not afford paying rent somewhere.
She recalled that experts had four years ago warned them of the integrity of the building, but she had no money to seek new apartment elsewhere.
Claiming that she could only save few clothing and utensils, Apiafi pleaded for assistance stating that she has no job for now.
Another tenant, Boma Bobmanuel said he could only save himself as all his property were lost in the disaster.
Recalling his experience, he stated that the incident happened around 4.30am on Wednesday morning.
Trapped upstairs, since he stayed on the third floor, Mr Bobmanuel was apprehensive that the roof will soon collapse on him.
Neighbours came to his rescue as he was given a ladder to get out of the building fast.
He told The Tide Metro that he did not pick a pin from his room, as he was after his life first.
Not long after he came out from the building that the front side finally caved in.
Bobmanuel did not incur an injury, but said he was stranded and wanted public support.
He said to have lost his job, hence, has to stay in the dilapidated building to have a shelter over his head.
But a senior government official from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development told The Tide Metro that the building had been marked unsafe for the past four years.
The senior government official, who supervised the final demolition of the property last Thursday revealed that many of such buildings abound in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor metropolis.
While pleading anonymity, the high government official said, a survey carried out by the Ministry, indicates that many buildings in the city are old and need to be demolished.
He noted that in the past three years, the state has recorded many building collapse and the need to rid the state of such dangers.
Once the state executive gives orders, he revealed that the ministry will swing into action.
The official advised property owners to always do maintenance on their buildings, especially old ones.
An engineer, who spoke to The Tide Metro, Mr Amadasun George said most of the buildings in old Port Harcourt Township were built during the colonial period and therefore needed renovation or outright demolition.
Explaining what happened on the building at 112 Bende Street, the engineer stated that some years back, the property had shown signs of aging.
In 2014, for instance, Mr George recalled that the chimney of the building had fallen off.
He further explained that what saved the tenants was that the builders of the property detached the staircase and did not fortify it with pillars, and as such it fell without pulling the structure along with it.
Much before now, when the rear side of the property collapsed, Ministry officials had to mark it down for danger, and warned residents.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Asaramaija Installs Monarch Amid Fanfare

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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

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Youths March In PH For PDP Governorship Candidate

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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

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