Ogoni youths, on Wednesday turned out in their hundreds at the expansive auditorium of Golden Tulip Hotel in Port Harcourt and had fruitful engagements with the management of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) with the Project Coordinator, Prof Denibarini Zabbey effectively in charge of proceedings.
The HYPREP’s interactive session with youths came on the heels of recent protests by some Ogoni youths at its office in Port Harcourt.
HYPREP’s Head of Communications, Dr Enuolare Mba-Nwigor, who functioned as the compere and anchor of the occasion, actually set the tone of what was to come as he described the agency’s projects as human-centric and youth-centric as well as community centred to put smiles on the faces of the Ogoni people, noting that the agency in turn needs all the support from the people.
But before then, effervescent comedian and Ogoni-born Mr Teenager had put the youths in the right mood for the day’s event with rib-cracking jokes.
Underscoring the importance of the interactive session, Prof Zabbey in his opening remarks, hinted that the frequency of such interfaces with the youths would be scaled up and announced that it would now come up quarterly to enable HYPREP to feel the pulse of the people and in the process regularly get feed-backs on its numerous projects and programmes in Ogoniland.
While thanking the youths for their support and for the massive turnout, the Project Coordinator noted that projects being executed in Ogoniland by the agency are human-centric and youth-centric, stressing that it was against this backdrop that he had appointed a Technical Assistant on Youth and Women Development to the Project Coordinator for the first time.
He emphasised the need for the Project Office and the youths to always come together and work collectively to drive all the projects and programmes being carried out.
The keynote speaker and senior lecturer at the Department of Management of the Rivers State University, Dr. Sorberikor Lebura advised Ogoni people to tread with caution and not allow the ugly chapters of the Ogoni struggle to repeat themselves, “ We cannot pull down the house because we are angry,” he said, stressing that, doing so would not serve anybody’s interest.
He listed the strategies for effective management of conflicts, to include competition, avoidance, accommodation and collaboration, and stressed the need for Ogoni people to judiciously manage what HYPREP is currently offering them in their communities because as he put it, “it will take a long time for this thing to come back to us if we destroy it”.
Lebura underscored the importance of effective information management in driving the ongoing projects in Ogoniland, contending that disinformation, misinformation and insufficient information constitute the greatest drawbacks in any organisation and the management and execution of projects.
He, therefore, advised the current HYPREP management team and the Ogoni people to properly distill and investigate every information that comes their way, and decried a situation where some persons appointed to midwife the project in the past ran HYPREP as their private empire.
According to him, “the present Project Coordinator is doing his best. What he is doing may not be sufficient. This is because you cannot satisfy everybody”.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ogoni Television, Mr Ndume Green, who equally anchored the programme advised Ogoni people not to continue to fight themselves but to always support their own to succeed, describing Prof Zabbey as a competent Project Coordinator.
“Let us protect what we have so that history will not repeat itself,” he said.
Also speaking, the head of the Livelihood Unit of HYPREP, Mrs. Josephine Nzidee said HYPREP has this year trained 29 Ogonis in the aviation industry to work as cabin crew members in airlines, adding that Dana Airlines had already offered 10 slots to the agency while it is currently engaging other airlines for more slots, lamenting that before now, nobody from Ogoniland was in the aviation industry.
She said 5, 0000 Ogoni youths are currently being trained to position them in the oil and gas sector, among other sectors of the economy, and urged all those being trained to take the exercise seriously.
The Head of the Centre of Excellence, Mr. Lekue Ebenezer and other heads of the various units also briefed the audience on the activities of their units.
The Director of Technical Services, Prof Philip Shekwolo while describing the Project Coordinator as a core professional, enjoined Ogoi people to be supportive and always wear the solution caps to ensure that the projects and programmes being carried out succeed.
The leadership of the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) apparently passed a vote of confidence on the Project Coordinator at the event and declared its unflinching support to HYPREP.
The President of NYCOP, Mr. Barinaazor Emmanuel who read a communiqué containing the positon of the entire Ogoni youths at the event, said the youths are totally in support of the projects and programmes being carried out by HYPREP in Ogoniland.
The NYCOP President had earlier in his presentation called for more women participation and inclusion in the projects and for more youths to be included in the current 5,0000 youth training programme and described the protest against HYPREP by some youths recently as a show of shame. He equally said the transport allowance for trainees was too poor.
The leader of Ogoni Peoples Assembly, Rev Probel Williams urged the Ogoni people to give the Project Coordinator time to work and prove his mettle, saying there is no need to fidget and fret, going by his pedigree in the ecosystem.
He, however, urged the Project Coordinator to review the employment and livelihood programme module to make it more realistic.
The Acting President of the Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), Mr Emmanuel Bie apologised to the Project Coordinator over the recent protest that paralysed HYPREP’s activities in Port Harcourt, saying the protest was intended to draw the agency’s attention to some anomalies in its project sites and not to serve some selfish and vested interests, and called for more local and community content in projects executed by HYPREP.
He disclosed to The Tide that the President General of OYF, Mr Legbosi Yaamabaana who led the protest had been suspended.
Some of the youths who spoke stressed the need for them to be carried along in the scheme of affairs and not for only those who protest against HYPREP to be considered for contracts.
At the end of the day, Prof Zabbey assured the youths that all grey areas concerning transport allowances being paid to Ogonis working at the Centre of Excellence site as well as the N40,000 transport allowance for trainees were being handled, and appealed for patience.
By: Donatus Ebi
New Book, ‘Spiritual Instructions’ Launched In Rivers Community
A new Christian book, ‘Spiritual Instructions’ was successfully launched on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem Community in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The writer of the book and Music Director of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem, Catechist Cornelius Chinedu Iroegbu used the opportunity to thank God profusely for the unveiling of the new package, which he said has the capacity of providing solutions to mankind’s numerous spiritual, financial and health problems, among others.
The book launch, which attracted people from all walks of life was chaired by an illustrious son of Etche ethnic nationality, Chief Promise Akpasobe while the chief launcher was Mr Obinna Nwachukwu.
Very articulate Sir Austin Amaechi reviewed the book while the royal father of the day was Chief Bartholomew Onwuli.
A freelance journalist, simply addressed as Mr Julius excellently anchored the programme whereas the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem, Rev Father Paul Iroulor served as the spiritual father of the day, as he ensured that everything was functionally in place for the ceremony.
Incidentally, the book got special endorsements from highly placed men of God in the State and the wider society including no less a personality than the Auxiliary Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese of the Catholic Church, Most Rev (Dr) Patrick Eluke whose imprimatur is contained in the book; Rev Father (Dr) Tochi Theo Nwosu, who wrote the foreword of the book; and Rev Father ( Dr) Sixtus Chikwe of the Port Harcourt Diocese, who artistically wrote the preface.
Speaking shortly after the book launch, the author, Catechist Cornelius Iroegbu said in an interview that God inspired him through the Holy Spirit to write the book on discovering that a lot of people were growing cold in their faith.
On discovering that, he said as somebody called by God, he had prayed more to God for a solution, particularly against the backdrop that the world also was satanically deranged.
According to him, God had equipped him through the Holy Spirit with strength, knowledge and inspiration on a daily basis to write the book.
Iroegbu, who is popularly known as Ntuoyi disclosed that it took him over three years to put together the book, which he described as a manual for people’s lives and essentially for people who want to grow spiritually and those who want to know God and get solutions for their spiritual, financial and health problems.
The Catechist of St Michael’s Catholic Church, Abara Etche further indicated that the book is capable of providing solutions to people’s spiritual, financial and health challenges, among others.
“There is no problem this book is not capable of providing solutions to”, he said, hinting that his target is to reach out to the entire world, to both Christians and non-Christians, saying, “It is good that people who do not know Christ would know Him through this book so that we all should be happy”.
He said the book is deliberately laced with Biblical quotations to demonstrate the power of God through the Scriptures and how it works.
Iroegbu expressed gratitude to the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem, Rev Father Paul Iroulor for his moral and spiritual support, particularly in ensuring that the book was successfully launched in his parish, describing him as a good father to all and a lover of all.
He also commended his father, Elder Raymond Nwairoegbu Amaechi for being physically present during the book launch, and assured that he would churn out many other books to truly make him proud.
On his part, the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem, Rev Father Paul Iroulor narrated how he first met the writer over 10 years ago at a filling station and encouraged him to start a youth devotion in the area, with the aim of evangelising Etche by being more involved and devoted to the things of God.
The cleric described Iroegbu as a hard working and committed servant of God, who is deeply involved in his spiritual life, and admonished the people of the area to toe the path of God and hold Him firmly as the writer had done.
A parishioner, Dame Benedicta Eze Nwala, who was visibly elated over the accomplishments of the writer, praised him for making his community proud, and expressed optimism that in the nearest future, the church would boast of a league of writers.
An indigene of the community, Mr Eddy Enoch described the writer as a brother, and enjoined the people to continue to support the author with their prayers.
The reviewer of the book, Sir Austin Amaechi expressed delight that the book has the imprimatur of a renowned man of God, whom he described as a friend, Most Rev(Dr) Patrick Eluke, saying, “It is to tell you that the book has gone through the crucibles of the Catholic vehemence of denouncing heresy and apostasy”.
According to him, the writer presented the materials to the world in such a way that the entire package is self-explanatory.”
“This book is simple to read, Ntuoyi made it easy for its readers in 11 Chapters, prudently presented in 62 pages as the font is sizeable to accommodate all visual shades of readers.The cover page is pictorially evident as we see the Master, minister to a rapt-attention audience. The sentence and grammatical patterns are simple and cheap. Therefore, making every chapter easily readable and understandable,” he said.
Rev Father(Dr) Sixtus Chikwe, in the preface, said the book is a momentous text for spiritual revival and re-awakening of God’s people, as the author writes for God’s spiritual revival and re-awakening of God’s pilgrim people.
He further underlined the fact that “reading through the work, one cannot but agree with the writer that the ways of the spirit are ineffable and patently inscrutable. Yet, nudged by an abiding docility to God’s ways, anchored on a healthy life of prayer and virtuous living, they are not after all, incomprehensible to the humble, faithful and desirous soul”.
This is why, he noted, the writer’s exhortation that the faithful need to adopt a more pliable, malleable disposition to the diverse manifestations of God’s ways, including in adversities or unfortunate twists in life’s ways is commendable.
According to him, “the faithful discipline is never alone through the rigors of life. Though high the billows of life’s storms or deep their reaches, the Divine is always nearby to intervene at the most divinely auspicious moment for the focused.”
Little wonder, the erudite cleric intoned, “So why quake while the master still rides closely by you in the boats of life? Enduring faithfulness to God, therefore, is vital for weathering through the fleeting storms of earthly pilgrimage”.
This, indeed, appears to be what ‘Spiritual Instructions’ is all about.
Hardship: Elder Statesman Urges Niger Deltans To Shun Protests
As hunger, poverty and hardship apparently ravage several families across the country coupled with pockets of protests going on in several parts of the country against the scourge, an elder statesman in Rivers State and minority rights activist in the Niger Delta region, Rev Sokari Soberekon, has advised the people of the Niger Delta to resist the temptation of joining the protests but should rather focus on the issues of marginalisation and oppression meted out on them by the majority ethnic groups in the country.
Soberekon, who gave the charge in an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt, said there was no need for the people of the Niger Delta to join the protests, as they have over the years been victims of marginalisation and oppression meted out on them by people he described as belonging to the majority ethnic groups in the country.
He said the three major tribes of Yoruba, Hausa/ Fulani and Igbo have continued to hold the people of the Niger Delta hostage, with government policies and programmes that tend to further enslave and impoverish them, adding that the people of the Niger Delta have not benefitted maximally from their God-given oil and gas resources.
Soberekon, therefore, urged Nigerians and other people of goodwill to rather face the realities of the embattled economically, politically and deprived people of the Niger Delta instead of cajoling them to protest against the current hardship in the country.
“We should not allow our contemporary WAZOBIA ethnic groups to cajole us to lose focus on the topical and salient issue bothering the Niger Deltans,” he pleaded.
According to him, “the majority tribes have demonstrated arrant complacency and swishy tendencies and insensitivity over the plight of the Niger Delta without demonstration of solidarity.”
He, however, enjoined the people of the Niger Delta region to support the good intentions of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and its Renewed Hope agenda, in its bid to get the country out of the woods.
Court Resolves Oro-Ogoloma Rumueme Family Matter
Some members of Oro-Ogoloma family in Rumueme Kingdom heaved some sigh of relief on Monday when a Chief Magistrate Court presided over by Promise Iroanya resolved a five year defamation matter among them.
Some members of the family had five years ago petitioned the police over a case of embezzlement labeled on some of the family members to the tune of N5.5million proceeds from their property.
The matter had dragged on and subsequently was charged to court over five counts of defamation of character, conspiracy, false information and breach of public peace.
The Chief Magistrate while delivering judgment on the matter acquitted the second defendant of the charges and awarded a compensation of N500,000 to him.
Speaking to newsmen after the judgment, Chairman of the Oro- Ogoloma Descendants Council, PromiseNduka Dickman hailed the court for vindicating him.
He said the court has shown that it is the hope of the common man, as he was wrongly accused by the petitioners for embezzling family money, even after the petitioners were partakers of the proceeds from the property.
Dickman while condemning the act of the petitioners and members of the family observed that the matter would have been settled in-house, if not for the insistence of the petitioners who sought police intervention.
On his part, the police prosecutor for Chief Magistrate Court 1, Assistant Superintendent of Police Zacheaus Mbah said he was satisfied with the outcome of the court process.
He recalled that the matter started in 2019 and has ended victoriously,” on Count 3, the court exonerated the second defendant that he did not make any publication in writing.”
Mbah said the victory stem from the evidence they provided to the court for the verdict.
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