An evening of tributes was held last Wednesday for Chief Okoma Kio Isokariari, a foremost indigenous contractor in Rivers State who built monumental complexes that include the current modern edifice of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation (The Tide).
At an evening service of songs held in his honour at St. Cyprain’s Anglican Church, Port Harcourt, many spoke glowingly about the Ijaw- Kalabari born building contractor cum community leader.
Late Chief Isokariari rose from humble beginning as a railway worker, but resigned his civil service position and started building jobs shortly after the Nigerian civil war.
From a modest renovation and maintenance jobs, the former railway worker rose to become a colossus in construction works as he took jobs that included the Braithwaite Nursing Home and completed it.
It is believed that it was this feat that opened way for him to make his mark as he single-handedly completed the Buguma General Hospital in 1975 during the Commander Diete Spiff era.
In his memoirs, he recalled that, “The happiest day of my life follows the completion of the Buguma General Hospital as it was ceremoniously commissioned and opened by the Federal Commissioner for Health.”
Chief Isokariari’s legacies in the building and construction sector were numerous, and they include iconic buildings like the Pan African Bank headquarters at Azikiwe Road, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation zonal headquarters at Moscow Road in Port Harcourt.
Others were the NAFCON and Agip quarters, including construction of drain and storm water channels in parts of the city.
He wrote in his autobiography that, “The next major project which till this day has its stamp of modernity in the city of Port Harcourt and which I secured…was the Pan African Bank complex on Azikiwe Road.”
During the service of songs attended by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, legal luminary, Onueze (OCJ) Okocha, and former Commissioner for Works in old Rivers State, Arch. Harcourt Aduke, former and serving commissioners, eulogies were poured on Isokariari and his contributions to the development of Rivers State.
Sir. Gogo Dienye, President of Niger Delta Council of Knights, an organisation Chief Isokariari led for two terms, described the building colossus as an accomplished businessman and Christian.
Sir Dienye said, “He (Isokariari) was so distinguished in the service at the vineyard.”
The president of Niger Delta Council of Knights narrated how late Chief Isokariari contributed to the church buildings, adding that, “there is so much to be learnt from him. The life of our late brother can’t be summarized on a sheet of paper.”
His first son, Engr. Obelema Isokariari said his father was selfless and humane and as such his shoes was too big to be filled.
Obelema Isokariari said the family plans to sustain his legacy by ensuring that the new proposed parish building is erected in their father’s name.
Late Chief Isokariari lived for 87 years and would be laid to rest in his country home, Buguma in Asari Toru Local Government Area on the 5th of August after Christian obsequies.
Excitement In Isiopko As Wigwe University Commences
Plans are now in advanced stages ahead the take of a private university, Wigwe University, in Isiokpo Town, headquarters of Ikwerre Local Government Area.
The Tide Metro gathered that various families whose lands are expected to house the private university are excited over the dividends that will accrue to the community as the school takes off next year.
In a meeting between representatives of Wigwe University, led by its founder, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, and all major families representatives in Isiokpo, plans were announced for the siting of a hospital and power gas turbine for electric provision the ancient town.
Founder of Wigwe University and Chairman of Access Group, Dr. Wigwe, used the opportunity to inform the community that the university will ensure the involvement of all the families in employment for the university.
But before the projects will commence, a memoranda of understanding (MOU) will be signed between the university and the community.
Representative of Nye Nwe Ali Isiokpo, Chief Charles Nsirim and members of Isiokpo Community Development Committee (CDC), the leadership of Ikoro Isiokpo, youths and other stakeholders were excited over the plans.
Academic activities in the university is expected to commence in September next year and is expected to attract some of the best university administrators and lecturers in the world.
Wigwe appealed to the members of the community especially the youths to shun social vices and embrace several benefits that will accrue from the university.
He assured them that Isiokpo Kingdom and the entire Ikwerre Local Government and indeed Rivers State will never be the same again once the university starts operations next year.
The Nye Nwe Ali Isiokpo and the community development committee members, youths and other stakeholders all pledged their total support and cooperation for the growth and development of the university.
They assured the founder of the university that they would give maximum support to see the institution come to stream.
By: King Onunwor
Rivers NSCDC, NDLEA Seek Collaboration To Check Drug Abuse
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Rivers Command, have pledged to work in collaboration to tackle illicit drug use in the state.
State Commandant of NSCDC, Basil Igwebueze, while playing host to the Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Rivers State, made the plans public at the state headquarters of the civil defence corps in Port Harcourt.
Commandant Basil noted that research has shown that most heinous crimes are committed after inducement of drugs and substance abuse; and that one way to rid the nation of crime is to forge a common front against drugs.
The NSCDC Commandant said some young people are exposed early to drugs from the environment they live.
He opined that the fight against the use of prohibited drugs should be a collective responsibility to achieve a crime free society.
Said he, It’s highly disturbing that drug abuse has now eaten deep into the fabrics of our society. It has destroyed our youths especially and for us to protect the tomorrow which our youth are going to be leaders we need to be in unity towards fighting the course”
“The campaign against drugs and substance abuse should not be done only in schools and neighborhood, the fighters of this crime which includes all Security personnel are also not excluded; officers and men on duty must see the need to firmly abhor the intake of drugs and inducers while on duty as well” he stated
Earlier, the Rivers NDLEA Commander, who led a team of senior officers on the visit hinted that a lot of campaigns are ongoing in various communities across the state.
The State NDLEA commander affirmed that in curtailing sales and consumption of illicit drugs, the NDLEA has been organising reorientation and awareness programmes across communities, churches, mosques and schools and this informed the need for NDLEA, NSCDC and other security agencies to partner and strengthen ties in order to fight to stand still the spate of drug abuse across board.
“My visit today is premised on the need to collaborate with your agency so that we can join hands together to rid Rivers State from the hand of criminal minded persons and one of the ways to do this is to vehemently combat the circulation and intakes of illicit drugs in our environment,” he declared.
Promising full support to the sister agency, he stressed need for training of officers to be fully equipped with necessary skills on how to identify prohibited drugs, effects of intake, arrests and rehabilitation methods for victims.
The highpoint of the courtesy visit were presentation of materials and souvenir graced with group photographs.
World Peace Day: Rotary, Peace Corps Walk for Peace In PH
Members of the Peace Corps of Nigeria and Rotary International conducted a peace walk campaign round the city of Port Harcourt yesterday to commemorate the World Peace Day.
About 17 Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt joined the campaign together with the Relief International Africa with the call for a collective action by all stakeholders and citizens to foster peace, especially in Rivers State.
The Peace Walk Campaign which took off from Garrison Junction in Port Harcourt terminated near the Port Harcourt Mall, with stops at the Police Headquarters, State House of Assembly and Government House, to call on the authorities to take steps to build peace and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Commandant of the Peace Corps Nigeria, Rivers State Command,Dr. Michael Obiora, said the PCN will continue to carry out its core mandate of facilitating peace through volunteerism community services and nation-building.
He said, “Government must be intentional in building sustainable peace through human capacity development”.
Coordinating leader of the seventeen Rotary Clubs and President of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, Rebisi Kingdom, Kris Ugo, said “the Rotary clubs in Rivers State will raise its peace drive and campaign across its catchment areas to maintain existing peace and foster more development in the state”.
On her part, Initiator of the Peace Walk Project and Assistant Peace Coordinator, Rotary Nigeria National Peace building and Conflict Prevention Committee, Rivers State Chapter, Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie, said the committee will “influence the optimal function of state institutions and create an environment that nurtures communities and supports enterprise by activating positive Peace in Nigeria”. Rivers State Coordinator of the Universal Federation of Peace, Arinze Akupue and State Coordinator of Relief International Africa, Isaac Green, also spoke on the theme of the 2023 World Peace Day “Action For Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals.”
The Rotary Clubs partners include, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, Rebisi Kingdom, South, City Valley, Seaport, GRA, Cosmopolitan, Metropolitan, Creek View, Spring Gardens, Orbit, Gateway, Rumuigbo, Port Harcourt, Atlantic City, New City, Esara City and Rotary Club of Onne.
By: Kevin Nengia
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