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Drivers, Travellers Groan Over Bad Road At Mbiama

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Drivers and passengers have decried the poor state of the East-West Road from Ahoada axis up to the Mbiama axis of Rivers State.
They said, Mbiama and Akinima axis is the worst hit as long vehicle fall and block the road always.
Last Tuesday, youths and indigenes from Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, protested over the dilapidated condition of the road.
The youths, who were led by the President of Igbuduya Youths Federation of Okogbe Community, Comrade Ifeanyi Madu, said they blocked the ever busy East-West Road in a peaceful protest against the Federal Government for failing to rehabilitate that portion of the road almost a year after flood swept through the area.
Travellers were trapped for several hours on Mbiama-Ahoada axis of East-West last Tuesday as youths from Ekpeye Kingdom in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State were protesting against poor state of the road
Eyewitnesses told The Tide Metro that it took several hours of negotiation and appeals before travellers were allowed to pass through the ever-busy Trunk A federal high way.
A driver, Jude Ede who spoke to The Tide Metro said their vehicles breakdown often on the road.
He said, “some parts are motorable, as Setraco graded some parts after the flooding.”
Ede lamented that many drivers avoid the route and as a result transport fare has risen. For saloon cars, passengers pay N3, 000 from Port Harcourt to Yenagoa as against N2,000 last year.
On the other hand buses charge passengers N2,500, as against N1,800 previously.
He also blames the situation to hike in price of fuel and cost of maintenance,” even the price of fuel comes down we will reduce the fare, but for now there is nothing we can do.”
The same view was expressed by Prince Olalekan who plies the route from Port Harcourt, “the road is not accessible on Tuesdays”, he said, “most of drivers avoid the route because of the market at Mbiama.”
Besides, he also decried the poor security, noting that between Emohua and Ahoada axis is danger zone as kidnappers waylay vehicles.
Olalekan recalled that last Monday, some passengers were kidnapped on the route.
Calling for the security agencies to beef up surveillance, the commercial transport dealer said poor state of the road makes it easy for vehicles to be attacked by hoodlums.
For Tonye Ekine, the axis between Okogbe and Ahoada should be fixed to reduce their challenge.
He also complained about the Mbiama market which causes traffic jam on the road, especially on Tuesdays,” most of us now use the old bridge which is not safe.”
Ekine, who is a bus driver suggested that the contractors handling repairs should ensure that the failed portions should fixed as the rains come.
“If you look at some parts of the road that were graded last year, it has started to fail. And the Mbiama market needs to be relocated as well.”

By: Kevin Nengia

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Rebisi Natives Reminisce On Heritage

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It was supposed to be a book launch but fate turned it into a day of reminiscence for natives of Rebisi in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State.
For over 113 years when their great grandfathers ceded some parts of their land to colonial masters and named it after Sir Harcourt then Secretary of Colonies in 1913, natives of Port Harcourt became part of the new metropolis now called Port Harcourt.
According to Eze Apara Rebisi, HRM Isaiah Elekwu, about 25 square miles of their land were ceded to develop the new city which included a new port and railway at the time.
Fortunately, the book launch turned to a historical forum as speaker after speaker spoke of the past and the rich heritage bequeathed by their fathers.
It was this backdrop that made the paramount ruler of Port Harcourt, HRM Elekwu to charge 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 on Wednesday in Port Harcourt.
The monarch 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 Elekwu said time has come to save the future of the Kingdom.
Part of the charge by the Rebisi monarch was to make sure that the struggles of their great grand fathers were captured.
For instance, he recalled that while the 1913 agreement made both by Okrika and some Rebisi chiefs were rejected, the colonial authorities were forced into accepting it.
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 teacher however, advocated for a new economy for Rebisi as he called for 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”.
The book reviewer noted that the book is a response to the desire of indigenes to know their roots.
Following the expansion and migration by Rebisi children which included, Okuta. Abali; Ola Ekenigbo and others.
Said he, “Rebisi had four wives, and he was a young man aching for success. And so the children did not relent to expand like Orubom and Abali who were adventurous.”
The expansion according to the university don was as a result of wars and skirmishes and this took place between 1700- 1734. And this led to the conquer of Elekahia.
While launching the book, former House of Representatives member representing Port Harcourt Constituency, Hon. Ken Chikere described history as key to the future.
He said, “if we know our history, then, we will be fully guided.”
Hon. Chikere, a former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General added,” “What is important is to know where you come from. We need to learn our history, so that no one writes our story for us.”
In his remarks, the book author, Arthur Kalagbor disclosed that the book is an outcome of a study group set up by Rebisi Monarch in 2014.
In the view of Kalagbor, the book is not a folklore, but rather a collation of oral history compiled and confirmed by various sources.
He said,” Even with the lack of reading culture, we still need to write with information that are verifiable and evidence-based.”
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 the young generation.
Kalagbor reiterated that the book is dedicated to the future generations who have little knowledge of their history, and thanked royal fathers, and local sources for support, including former President of Ogbakor Ikwerre Organisation Worldwide, Prof. Otonti Nduka for writing the forward of the book.

Kevin Nengia

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Adaka Boro Day Lights Up PH

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Stretching from the old Port Harcourt Township down to D-Line, youths under the banner of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) processed in colours of white, red and green to mark this year’s Adaka Boro Day.
By 8am yesterday morning, starting from Aggrey Road, down to Lagos Bus Stop, traffic built up to the gate of Government House, Port Harcourt, where the group took a break for a solidarity visit to the state governor, Sir. Siminalayi Fubara.
Chairman of IYC, Eastern Zone, Mr Tamuno Kpokpo, who led the procession and parade, spoke on why they visited the governor.
He said their visit is not an ethnic war but to lend support in protection of the interest and continuous development of Rivers State.
He assured that the group will stand to resist anybody or group of persons anywhere who dare to cause any distraction of governance anymore in the State, and appealed that the Governor be allowed to govern the State peacefully.
On his part, the National President of IYC, Mr Jonathan Lokpobiri, described the day as historic because Ijaw people were meeting with their governor on memorial of Major Isaac Adaka Boro.
Mr Lokpobiri said it affirms that the gods of Ijaw people are at work, and warned all detractors to retrace their steps, and allow the Governor, who has the full mandate of the people, to discharge his duties to Rivers people.
He commended Governor Fubara for his courage, bravery and commitment to good governance, insisting that his struggle and triumph resonate with the hope of all Ijaw people.
Addressing the youths, Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara acknowledged with delight the assurances of brotherly support from the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), and urged Ijaw Nation to key into the ongoing celebration of the liberation the State is enjoying now.
The solidarity walk was staged as part of activities to celebrate the heroic exploits of the late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, 56 years after his death, which is observed on 16th May every year.
Governor Fubara noted that Major Isaac Adaka Boro genuinely stood for equity, justice, and fair play, and pursued his cause to ensure liberation for the Ijaw people and their clans.
The Governor emphasised that every genuine Rivers man is a liberator, adding that he was delighted to receive them on such auspicious day to re-enact the common purpose of liberation that they shared.
Governor Fubara, who thanked the large crowd for their assurances of being available to respond to his call and stand by him, should the need arise, said there would not be any need to cause disruption of the peace, as according to him, the enemies of the State have been defeated already.
He said, “Because he stood for that unique thing, even after his death, we still celebrate him because he was a liberator.
“Every Rivers man, it doesn’t matter whether you are Ijaw or upland, the most important thing is that every genuine Rivers man must be a liberator.
“And I’m happy that you have come here today. I have also received you because we have one common purpose: to liberate our dear State. We are not going back on that.”
Governor Fubara said, “I am happy that you’ve told me this morning that when I call on you, you will respond. But there is nothing to call on you for. Because we have already defeated them.
“By the special grace of God, what they thought that they would have done to us while we were celebrating our one year in office, they are the ones sleeping with their two eyes open. It shows that we have the Ijaw blood. And what is that blood: it is the blood of action; less talk, more action.”
Governor Fubara appealed to Ijaw youths to conduct themselves peacefully as they celebrate the Major Isaac Adaka Boro Day, and also be good ambassadors of the entire Ijaw Nation.
He emphasised that it should be done in the same spirit that had enveloped the State now celebrating victory over his political detractors.
Governor Fubara promised to support the IYC Eastern Zone to have a befitting Secretariat in Rivers State.
Meanwhile, former Zonal Chairman of of IYC Western Zone, Comrade Kpemi Daubotei Eric decried the poor state of many Ijaw States in the federation.
Comrade Eric, who was part of the Boro Day procession said 56 years after, the struggle of late Major Boro has not been actualised.
He said,” We are still dancing,when we are supposed to be in sober reflection.”
The Ijaw youth leader said it was sad that after over 50 years, the vision and quest made by the late Ijaw hero have been swept aside for personal aggrandisement by those who supposed to push for the actualisation of a better Ijaw nation.
Eric insisted that” “We owe Boro a debt because the whole Niger Delta is backward.”
He condemned the activities of multinationals and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for falling short of expectations of the Ijaw people.
In the same light, Comrade Kpokpo reiterated Eric’s view, as he stressed that the legacy of the late Major Boro will not be swept away.
Kpokpo said the Boro Day is meant to draw attention to the yearnings of the people and to enliven the struggle by the Ijaws for a better polity.

Kevin Nengia

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When LG Workers Dazzled Fubara

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Members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) drawn from the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State shut down traffic along the Aba Road through Azikiwe Road to Government House Drive recently in a solidarity visit to Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
Addressing the mammoth crowd, the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Apostle Clifford Paul, told the governor that they were on a Thank-You Rally to show appreciation for his love for the workers.
Apostle Paul stated that Governor Fubara has changed their fortunes and restored hope in them when he directed the payment of N30,000.00 minimum wage to the workers, and lifted the ban on promotion, which has now placed them at par with their counterparts across the country.
On his part, the Deputy General Secretary of NULGE, Comrade Ajewole Ayedele, who represented the National President, said they were delighted with the pro-people policies of Governor Fubara, particularly for ending the stagnancy and frustration workers suffered.
Comrade Ayedele assured the governor of the continued support of the union to his administration, both at state and national level.
“At our last NEC meeting, when he (State Chairman) was reporting to us that you have done series of things to local government staff, because from history, Rivers State has been a source of mockery to other states in Nigeria when it comes to welfare of local government staff.
“When he said it, somebody from the north said, that means this new governor has tried to part ways from what he met on ground, because we have been asking how on earth is it possible that workers will be on duty for eight years without promotion?
“But for your wisdom that you have done it for us, we too are going to reciprocate. And I want to assure you, Your Excellency, that anytime you call on us, we are going to come out enmasse to associate with you, to solidarise with you, to continue to pray for you, because of your commitment to our welfare and service,” the national officer added.
On his part, the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Alex Agwanwor, said workers have resolved to stand with Governor Fubara because he has demonstrated his love, put smiles on their faces and advanced the welfare and growth of the State.
Comrade Agwanwor warned that the NLC would not hesitate to occupy anywhere used by the Rivers State House of Assembly members led by Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule, should they begin another impeachment proceeding against the governor.
He noted that in addition, organised labour would be forced to withdraw their members working with the lawmakers if they decide to throw caution to the wind.
Governor Fubara, who had received members of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) from the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State on a solidarity rally at Government House Gate, in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, said their large number further goes to prove the nature of the organic support his administration has continued to enjoy from the people of the state.
“Some days ago, somebody said we are busy renting crowd for thanksgiving. But what I have seen here today, it’s not different from what is happening at those thanksgiving rallies. People are just appreciating God and good governance.”
Governor Fubara stated that he was mindful of the legacy he would bequeath after his tenure, adding: “It should also be about the lives that have been touched genuinely; about the policies implemented without any inducement to better the lives of the people and the society.”
The governor urged the people to continue to support his administration, show understanding over actions taken, and obey the rules in a peaceful manner.
“When you are doing what is right, I will stand by you. Nobody, whether full or half is going to intimidate you. Brace up, I say brace up, because the next step, it will be fire for fire in Rivers State. Everything will be implemented.”
Governor Fubara said that already, local government workers have started receiving N30,000.00 minimum wage with promotion to be implemented beginning from April’s salary payment.
He also promised to set in motion plans to finalise modalities for the implementation of the Consolidated Salary Scale for Grade Level 17, and regular payment of benefits to the local government service retirees.
“For our people, the great and wonderful people of Rivers State, we will continue to lead you with the fear of God.
“Maturity is not about age, maturity is in the person. It is what defines the character of a person. I choose not to respond to people that I assumed are matured, but are obviously immature in attitude.
“I will continue to be mature, not minding my age, but I will not for any reason allow myself or anybody who is working with me in this administration to be messed with, maltreated or abused in the cause of administering this governance,” the Governor said.

Kevin Nengia

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