For decades, no one says a report, around the world talked that much about the importance of a president’s first 100 days—until Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States took office in 1933. He took swift action to calm the nation’s crippling financial panic (cue the Emergency Banking Act and the “fireside chats” that became Roosevelt’s signature) and began rolling out the programs that made up his New Deal, including 15 major pieces of legislation in the first 100 days. FDR’s extraordinary productivity translated into enormous popularity, and he set a first 100-day standard against which all future U.S. presidents would (perhaps unfairly) be measured. But today, such practice has since become native among leaders across the world with Nigeria not an exception.
Given the above clarification, coupled with the fact that we are witnessing intense social, political and economic ‘revolution’ in Nigeria in which there is no time for leisurely discussion or anemic expressions, the question may be asked why this piece focuses on Dr. (Senator) Ifeanyi Ekwueme Arthur Okowa, who assumed the governorship position of Delta state on the 29th May, 2015, when he has celebrated 100 days in office a while ago? Why subjecting to scrutiny his goodwill, valuable qualities cultivated and implemented by his skillful use of power whereas he only on Friday January 1, 2021, clocked 2044 days? And when there is no concrete evidence that his promise to serve the public and to pursue the ‘public good’ have been soiled by private ambitions and the administration still has about 2years in office?
Indeed, similar to complex but conventional business environments, leaders are encouraged to develop their peculiar identities. It has also been reasonably argued that a leader’s image is an almagarm of a variety of factors, and followers must at intervals evaluate these perceived factors in order to dictate if they are in positive or negative lights.
Particularly as image is capable of saying much more about a leader than any of his long speeches and verbal declarations; and very unique is that once established, image becomes not just the leader’s picture but remains highly durable.
In line with the above argument, it may again elicit the poser; what image has Governor Okowa’s led administration carved for itself since May 29, 2015, when it was inaugurated? Within this period under review, could the image be described as positive or negative? Finding answers to these questions is the objective of this piece.
Beginning with the positive actions so far taken in the last 2044 days, it will not be characterized as out of place to, on the one hand, describe the Governors performance as historic. The facts are there and speak for it. Certainly, in the estimation of this piece, the administration has scored some good points in certain areas of life-infrastructure, security and sports development.
Analysts believe that right from May 29, 1999, when democracy re-emerged in the state, Okowa has constructed more roads in the state than his predecessors put together, trained more youths in the state in different skills, paid civil servants salaries and pensions as promptly, recently inaugurated “Operation Delta Hawk”, a new security outfit floated by the State Government to enhance security of lives and property, can fittingly be described as welcoming. And most importantly taken development to the ones abandoned coastal dwellers in the state.
Okowa, says a commentator, is God sent. For a very long time, all we have heard from past leaders is that the coastal region is marshy and road construction will be difficult if not impossible. But Okowa’s administration has since sent that arguments/logic to the dustbin of history as the coastal region is now blessed with an appreciable level of good internal road networks’. However, even as these achievements are spotlighted and celebrated, it is important to underline that deafening complaints, disappointmen, frustration fueled by economic plights and uneven.spread of projects in the state daily resonate from some deltans. They are particularly not happy that in the then Mid-West and Bendel state of old, there existed government owned companies of which Governor Okowa witnessed, established by ex- leaders. These corporations, they argued, were established to among other aims create employment while bringing revenue to government coffers. Examples of such companies include but not limited to; MidWest Lines, Bendel Hotel, Bendel Insurance, Bendel Glass among others.
What stopped the governor from resuscitating some of these organizations the state inherited from the old Bendel state considering the volume of money the state has received as federal allocation in the last five years? Or established new ones under public-private partnership (PPP) to tackle youth unemployment and generate income for the state? What is the wisdom behind teaching a man to fish (referring to the state’s youths skill training programmes) in an environment where there is no river to fish? Or train a man without a job creation plan? How will Okowa’s administration explain the fact that his skill acquisition initiative which was programmed to empower the youths of the state via employment, have finally left the large army of deltans without a job? They queried.
Without doubt, it is obvious that the future of the state is full of promises as it is fraught with uncertainty. And the keys to victory lay in allowing actions to be guided by reason and reality, re-investment in education, infrastructural development particularly in the coastal areas of the state, employment generation and injection of young Deltans who have integrity, intellect, energy and drive into your administration as the success of any group or nation depends on the quality of people in charge.
Apart from creating jobs for the youths in the state, finishing with strong/positive image will require the realization that with sound educational institutions and infrastructure, a state is as good as made, as the institutions will turn out all rounded manpower to continue with the development of the state driven by well-thought ideas, policies projects and programmes. In the same vein, rededication of energy to the plight of deltans living in the coastal part of the state and tackling other youths’ challenges such as unemployment should be the best way to start. Utomi is the Programme Cordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), A Lagos-Based Non Governmental Organization.He could be reached via; (email@example.com.
Minster of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has disclosed that about 52 projects executed by the ministry are ready to be handed over to stakeholders in the region.
Akpabio, who described 2020 as a turbulent year for the ministry, said a work plan had been developed to drive completion of projects in 2021.
The minister made the comments, yesterday, in Abuja while giving a rundown of the 52 projects in the nine Niger Delta states ready for opening, with emphasis on the Skills Acquisition Centre (SAC) at Agadagba in Ondo State with 38 buildings.
He said the project would be handed over to Federal Polytechnic, Ile Oluji, subject to presidential approval.
Akpabio said the ministry was undertaking pre-emptive steps rather than being reactive to development concerns in the Niger Delta.
“Therefore, the management considered plethora of issues bordering on the region, including development and underdevelopment, minimising corruption in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ogoni clean-up, peace and security, completion of East-West road, encouraging foreign direct investment, engaging public private partnership to complete some ongoing projects and alternative source of funding,” the minister said.
He disclosed that 75 NDDC contractors who abandoned projects in the region have voluntarily returned to site due to the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akpabio listed some of the completed projects ready for handover as Cassava Processing Plant at Usugbene Irrua, Edo State; Health Centre at Amauzari community, Isiala Mbano Council, Imo State; Health Centre at Odi, Kolokuma/Opokuma Council, Bayelsa State; Land Reclamation/Erosion Control Works at Nsit Attai Council, Akwa Ibom State; Health Centre at Eworkpe, Emede, Isoko South Council, Delta State; Umudike-Umueze-Umuoyere Road Project (Phase 1), Rivers State; Mini Water Works at Ikot Effiong, Effiong Village, Akasoko Clan (Idundu/Anyanganse Ward) Akpabuyo Council, Cross River and boreholes and reticulation in Ndulu-Amaoba, Oboro Water Project, Ikwuano Council, Abia State.
Daily killings and kidnap in Bonny, Rivers State, have caused a huge uproar as citizens have risen in protest, claiming they have been condemned to uncertainty and death.
Marauding sea pirates attacked two boats ferrying passengers to Bonny at about 8 pm on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, killing two – Macdonald Ibifubara Banigo and Kingsley Tamunodienye Allison – after flogging them mercilessly on the head with paddles and butchering their bodies with knives and other dangerous weapons, while ordering the rest into the chilling water to drown.
This was coming two days short of four months since the kidnap of five members of the community – Thompson Allison, Sunny Hart, Daniel Hart, Theophilus Ibiama, and Dagogo Jackmay – by sea pirates at a funeral at Banigo Community on September 12, 2020.
This triggered a round of agitation among residents who vowed to protest the failure of the relevant authorities to checkmate the continued onslaught on the waterways around Bonny LGA by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums.
For a start, the citizens began a protest march around the island expected to cripple operations in the place. They began at the jetties to ensure no movement was possible. Next, some individuals have made out protest letters to President Muhammadu Buhari asking for immediate intervention.
The citizens reminded the federal and state governments about Bonny being an economic nerve centre and oil/gas hub. They condemned the multinational corporations, the monarchy, and the governments for not stirring one bit in the killings that go on daily.
For most of Monday, January 11, 2021, the island went into lockdown as residents massed up at the Coal Beach to protest the incessant attacks on travellers along the Bonny-Port Harcourt sea route by daredevil sea pirates who rob, maim, kill or kidnap their victims.
According to the organisers, the peaceful protest tagged #EndSeaPiracy took off by 7 am at the Coal Beach, from where they marched through the streets to the King Perekule Palace, close to Ikuba Square in the Madupolo precinct of the town.
From there the protesting party was to march through the Mission Road and then through Hospital Road to the Secretariat of the Bonny Local Government Council.
From information gleaned from posts on the Facebook walls of some of the agitators, the protesters raised a five-point demand to the Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of Bonny Kingdom and the chairman of Bonny Local Government Area.
The demands include that security houseboats and gunboats with an ambulance should be set up and maintained at strategic points along the Port Harcourt-Bonny sea route, and that the Federal Government, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Rivers State Government should look into the Bonny Ring Road project to aid security in the island villages in Bonny and set up community surveillance team for our sea routes.
Others are ensuring boats and all travelling facilities or equipment (life jacket, engine, etc.) are in good condition and adequate for operations; public profiling of all boat drivers and owners including those plying the village routes; and create a compensation fund for victims of sea piracy.
Some residents who spoke to newsmen said the protest was necessary due to the incessant attacks on travellers on the Bonny-Port Harcourt sea route, noting that the recent one on travellers returning to Bonny Town from Dema Abbey Community on Tuesday, January 5 was the height of terror being witnessed by the people of the area.
The Interim administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Effiong Akwa, is currently meeting with elder statesman, Pa Edwin Clark.
Akwa who arrived the Asokoro, Abuja residence of Chief Clark at 12PM local time alongside his entourage, was welcomed by prominent Niger Delta personalities including Ambassador Godsknow Igali, former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power.
The courtesy call which witnessed the tradition of kolanut presentation from the host, attracted journalists from the print, electronic and online genres.
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The funeral rites of a foremost Ijaw historian and Amaokusuwei of Benikrukru community in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Pa John Akunojuya Ogio-Okirika, have been fixed for January 29 and 30.
A statement by the family and community, signed by Chief (Dr.) Wellington Okirika (CON), Bolouwei of Gbaramatu Kingdom/Pioneer Chairman of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and Mr. Solomon Eris, Chairman, Benikrukru community, said the late Ijaw elder statesman, would be buried in Benikrukru town, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Pa Ogio-Okirika died on Monday July 13, 2020 after a brief illness in Warri at the age of 91.
The statement read, “With spiritual grief but with total submission to the will of God, the families of Okirika of Gbazor Quarters, Benikrukru community, Gbaramatu Kingdom and Eri-bokwo of Olaja-ori, Ugborodo town, both in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, announce the death of our father, grand father, great grandfather, brother, cousin and uncle, Late Bro. Pa. John Akunojuya Ogio-Okirika, the Amaokusuwei of Benikrukru community, which sad event occurred on Monday July 13, 2020, aged 91.
“The family wishes to announce that the burial will hold on Friday January 29, 2021 at his country home, Benikrukru, Gbaramatu kingdom.”
“The nonagenarian was survived by wife, 10 children, 32 grand children, nine great grand children and relatives.
“Pa. Ogio-Okirika was a chief custodian of Ijaw and Itsekiri cultures, most versatile, lover of peace and widely known by all for his strong advocacy for peaceful co-existence between Ijaws and Itsekiris.
“His indelible impacts and peace-loving nature will forever be missed by all and may his gentle soul rest in peace,” the statement further read.
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Our attention has been drawn to the existence of certain Facebook Account to be the Executive Director of Fenog Nigeria Limited, Mr. Matthew Tonlagha, created for the purpose of impersonating him with masked intentions of defrauding unsuspecting people online.
We wish to state that Mr. Matthew Tonlagha, neither owns a Facebook Account nor maintains any personal or business profiles on Facebook. He does not operate any account bearing his name or using his picture.
We hereby denounce the fraudulent, nefarious and unscrupulous impersonation and hereby alert the public that he has never solicited for, and will never solicit for funds as being propagated by these impostors.
We are utilising this medium in urging the public to be perpetually conscious of such ‘Facebook Account’ (s), and desist from following the impersonators and similar accounts. We further ask that you contribute in exposing and reporting them till they are arrested.
The General Public is warned that anyone who engages in any business or transactions with the said impostor(s) does so at his/her own risk.
Please be guided accordingly.
Signed: Chief Dennis Otuaro Ibe-uyadonwei of Gbaramatu kingdom
There is pandemonium in Tebujor community, Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State, following the invasion of the community by armed men believed to be personnel of the Nigerian Army.
It was gathered that security personnel alleged to be operatives of the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, stormed the community with gunboats, on Tuesday evening around 6:00pm and arrested two fishermen from the community, while others ran into the forest for safety.
A member of the community, Kaduna Aboh who spoke to GbaramatuVoice on phone, that the residents have moved to nearby communities to take refuge following harassment from the military personnel, who invaded the area yesterday.
Although, the reason for the invasion was yet to be ascertained at the time of filing this report.
The people of the Niger Delta are set to celebrate the 50th birthday celebration of Niger Delta former warlord, High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, on Monday April 12, 2021 at the Warri Township Stadium, Delta State.
Tompolo, who was the leader of disbanded MEND which were agitating against the insensitivity of the Federal Government and the international oil companies towards to exploitation and degradation of the Niger Delta.
He was one of the key figures in the implementation of the Niger Delta amnesty programme under the Goodluck Jonathan administration and is currently peace advocate in the Niger Delta region.
The aggrieved people of Gbarain Kingdom in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have threatened a showdown with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company following a prolonged power outage in the area which started in the last quarter of 2020.
It was gathered that a technical glitch had caused a fire incident at the Gbarain power station which threw the area into total blackout.
The NDPHC management was said to have taken notice of the incident initially, but its inability to fix the problem after several months had caused fear among residents that the company was not concerned about their plight.
There are also concerns that if left to linger, the power problem could hamper the state government’s response to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as the state-owned Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, which is the state’s major isolation centre, is supplied electricity from the 60MVA transformer.
Expressing dismay over the development, the President of Gbarain Youth Federation, Okponipre Iweribakumo, said the angry residents were ‘only being restrained by the state government’s intervention in the issue’.
He said they were worried that even if the government succeeded in sorting out the prescribed scope, the management of NDPHC had yet to make any move to resolve the problem.
There were also reports that the diesel needed to power the generator to carry out basic functional test after the completion of the state government intervention could not be provided by NDPHC.
It was further learnt that cables supplying the outgoing feeder to the Ogboloma sub-station and the NDUTH had been allegedly vandalised and this had worsened the situation.
The intermediary between the state government and the NDPHC, Olice Kemenanabo, confirmed that Governor Douye Diri had approved the intervention just as he did during the climax of the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020.
He also confirmed that work had begun and assured that it would be completed in a few days’ time.
Kemenanabo said he was in touch with the management of NDPHC over the issue, but cautioned that the firm must be alive to its obligations to avoid imminent showdown.
…as Ayakoromo youths visit, extol his virtues on birthday
By Tare Clement
The former Vice chairman of Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Hon. Prince Sunday Feke has stressed that there is need for unity of purpose amongst the People of Ayakoromo community, as it is the only way for rapid development for the Communities.
Hon. Feke, the Chief Executive Officer of Dabski Dredging and Construction (W/A) Limited, made the assertion at his residence in Ekpan, Delta State when Some Youths of the Ayakoromo Community led by Comrade Asiayei Enaibo and Anthony Demebide visited to celebrate his birthday with him. The youths expressed satisfaction on his leadership style as a business man-cum-politician.
According to the youths the politician has been able to touch lives, mostly the elderly in the community, especially in the area of the provisions providing for the needy and his flair for Community development which they explained is worthy of appreciation.
They offered prayers to God to bless him with long life and wisdom to do more.
The former Vice Chairman who was visibly elated by the initiative of his community youths on the occasion of his birthday promised to do more for the community.
He said; “Today is my birthday, but I have never celebrated my birthday before. Although, I was hoping for a good time to do so as a man from Ayakoromo in NGBILEBIRI kingdom, there are actions to be taken by us to obtain good development. Thus, If we live as one we will have more development, if we put our heads together as a community, have collective sense of purpose, definitely our communities will achieve meaningful development.
“In other words, as we commit our connections and widespread friendships across, those things that we achieve those things we lack and plan accordingly”.
He added that there is poverty, and hunger in the land and that leaders of the community need to come together and plan for the future of the people.
“Be it political, economic, and religious leaders, we all have roles to play in the development process of Ayakoromo community. Just like it is always said;” charity begins at home”.
“Human capital and infrastructural development are the major ingredients of development we need to commit to respective of our different political, economic and religious dispositions.
“We can through our various connections help to change the narrative of Ayakoromo Community.
“We are blessed with leaders and as leaders our role is to put a smile on the faces of our people.Therefore, we cannot pretend not to be unaware of the hunger, lack of employment of the youths, sexual abuses, lack of farming implements and fishing materials.
He pleaded; “Please let’s come together to improve on our various aspect of underdevelopment by aiming to build a better society” he stated.
Still speaking on the development of the community, Hon. Fake explained that; “Before now, we have Ayakoromo Urban Warri branch where we plan on how we can move our Community forward, it was a very formidable group”.
He added that all hands must be on deck for the groups to succeed.
He spoke further; “we should be humble because division is killing our collective dreams.
“Its time for Ayakoromo Warri Urban to come together again and make plans progressively. The truth is, we can’t just fold our hands this 2021, the time is now, and we the sons and daughters of the community should plan in unity”.
There was an explosion of joy when the philanthropist, heaped praises on the Ayakoromo Community Youths in Diaspora for their one-day youth summit.
He said that it was a step in the right direction.
“All my regards goes to the organizers, Comrade Miens Brialade and his team. I hope you won’t be weary because unity is the key to drive home peace and development”. he said.
With the recent shortlisting of 161 indigenous companies to advance to the next and final stage of the bid round process for 57 marginal oilfields in the country, the Nigerian oil and gas industry is expected to witness tremendous growth in no distant time.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) made this known in a statement on Monday while highlighting major reasons for awarding marginal fields and saying the 161 successful companies were selected from the over 600 that applied for pre-qualification, again showing that the Federal Government is creating an enabling environment for investment.
A marginal oil field is any field that has reserves booked and reported annually to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and has remained undeveloped for over 10 years.
These fields are oil fields that have been discovered by major international oil companies (IOCs) in Nigeria in the course of exploring larger acreages.
The President, by the provisions of the Petroleum (Amendment) Act of 1996 has the power to declare a field as a marginal field where a discovery has been made but has been left unattended for 10 years.
The major reasons for awarding marginal fields are to create new and diverse investment and boost reserves. Marginal fields in Nigeria are located onshore and in the shallow waters.
There are about 178 marginal oil fields.
The last bid round conducted in 2003 was fraught with litigations and other challenges which hampered the development of some of the awarded 24 marginal oilfields to the detriment of the nation.
A similar exercise was attempted in 2013/2014 but it was suspended for myriads of reasons including lack of transparency in the bidding processes.
Thus, when the DPR announced on June 1, 2020, that it has opened bid rounds for 57 marginal oilfields in the country, some sceptics believed that the process would go the way previous exercises had gone in the past.
For instance, statistics show that nine out of the 24 marginal oilfields awarded in 2003 are productive while the others are under-utilised.
They also show that 67 per cent of marginal fields have not produced a single barrel of oil since they were issued licenses.
Faced with these daunting challenges, the DPR management under the able leadership of Mr Sarki Auwalu was determined to adopt a different and strategic approach for the 2020 marginal oilfield bid rounds.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crash in global crude oil prices left the regulatory agency with no option than to ensure that the exercise is successfully conducted in line with the anti-corruption mantra of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and for the benefit of the country.
Auwalu says: “This time around the process will be automated unlike in the past. Our awardees will be credible investors with technical and financial capability.
“There is also the Post-General Award Conditions. This deals with the transfer of interest post-award. It means awardees cannot transfer more than 49 per cent interest to another party post-award.
“It also includes termination of rights of interest holder which gives the minister power to withdraw the interest of a party who fail to meet its obligations in terms of joint awardees.”
Auwalu says the conditions protect the interest of all investors, stressing that any disagreement arising among awardees and their partners post-award will first be referred to the Nigeria Oil and Gas Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre in DPR.
According to him, this will reduce the years spent in courts over disputes which usually lead to non-performance of the marginal fields, adding that such awards will henceforth be withdrawn by the government.
Commenting on the ongoing process, Mr Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, a former Chairman of Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), says he is impressed with the way DPR has handled the bid rounds.
“I have to be honest with you. The way I have seen the exercise is that it went very well. It was transparent and apart from being transparent, it was detailed.
“There was, first of all, a pre-qualification stage where all the companies had to show technical and financial capacity. After that, those that were successful were now able to bid for the assets.
“And for once, there was no leakage. I think the DPR managed to keep the process very secret,” Okoroafor says.
Despite the shortcomings of previous exercises, awarding of marginal oilfield bid licenses remains a positive move for the nation’s oil and gas industry.
The DPR says the objective of the 2020 marginal field bid round is to deepen the participation of indigenous companies in the upstream segment of the industry and provide opportunities for technical and financial partnerships for investors.
According to the agency, the existing 16 marginal oilfields contribute two per cent to the national and gas reserves and their operations have brought peace and development to their host communities in the Niger Delta.
The agency says it will also expand the government’s revenue, which has dwindled due to the crash of crude oil prices at the international market and create jobs through Exploration and Production activities.
This will in turn expand the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is only about 10 per cent.
It is also interesting to note that indigenous companies such as Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources all emerged from previous marginal oilfield bid rounds.
These companies have grown over the years to become key players in the oil and gas space and it is expected that the 2020 marginal oilfield bid rounds would produce similar companies who would help Nigeria to become a petroleum products refining hub in future.
The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has narrated his Covid -19 experience and expressed gratitude to God, the state Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the first family and Deltans for their support and prayers, saying Covid-19 is real and advised that people should not joke with it.
Narrating his experience in a Press Statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Dennis Otu, Hon. Oborevwori who is also the Deputy Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, said he has been down with Covid-19, but now back on his feet, hale and hearty.
According to the Speaker; “Weeks ago, I experienced overt Covid 19 related symptoms and promptly self isolated before opting for Covid 19 test. The test result came out positive and medical officials began treatment. After some weeks and days of treatment, subsequent tests were ran on me. I’m grateful to God to announce that the last results came out NEGATIVE”.
“As it is, the symptoms are gone and I am now hale and hearty. I want to specially thank God Almighty for restoring my health through the medical personel who are doing a great job”, he said.
The Speaker added that; “I also want to salute His Excellency the Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the first family and Deltans for their prayers, support and the unflinching demonstration of love to me in this trying time. Thank you all”.
Rt Hon Oborevwori used the opportunity to reaffirm that Covid 19 is real, saying that; I am a living testimony. I advise Deltans and all residents in the state to diligently observe the prescribed protocols by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); the Presidential Taskforce on Covid 19 and the state guidelines”.
He also said; “Avoid mass gatherings as much as possible; wash your hands regularly with soap and running water; wear face mask in public and keep social distancing. Once again, I emphasise that Covid 19 is real. Don’t joke about it please. Thank you all and God bless you. Stay safe”.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, Rt Hon Abubakar Suleiman, has felicitated with the Deputy Chairman of the Conference and Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori for surviving Covid -19.
He wrote in a message to his Colleagues entitled ” Mixture of Sorrow and Joy” that; “We wish to sadly inform Rt Hon Speakers that the Deputy Chairman of the Conference and Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly; Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori has been down with Covid-19. He tested positive some weeks ago and went for admission in a hospital in the State”.
“Accordingly, we are glad to announce that he has fully recovered from the Virus”, he added.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has released the details of how the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses will be distributed across states.
This was disclosed during a webinar organised by NHPCDA tagged “Sensitisation Meeting with Media Gatekeepers on COVID-19 Vaccine Introduction”.
Faisal Shuaib, executive director of the NPHCDA, had said the country will receive 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at the end of January.
Bassey Okposen, programme manager, national emergency routine immunisation coordination centre, NPHCDA, during his presentation at the webinar on Friday, said the vaccines would be administered around the last week of January or early February.
According to Okposen, states with higher percentage of confirmed cases would be given additional doses.
He also noted that frontline health workers would be prioritised, while other batches would be administered to the elderly and vulnerable persons with co-morbidities based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
“We have other sources of vaccine that are non-mRNA like the COVAX vaccine. The country and other stakeholders are working towards how they can get additional vaccines from the other countries like Russia and USA,” Okposen said.
“We want to assure all Nigerians that the vaccine is safe and effective. The vaccine will be introduced in four phases and this is due to the availability and quantity of the vaccine that will come in at any given time.
“When the vaccine arrives, in the plan, there’s going to be the prioritisation of persons to be given the vaccination so as to optimise the available resources and vaccines that will be received and this will be based on global best practices.
“In the first priority, when the limited doses first come in towards the end of this month and early February, will be the frontline health workers like immigration, airport, police and military on essential duties, those working in the labs and other medical practitioners.
“Those states with higher number of cases will be given additional doses. We’ve mapped out the health workers in each state and locations where these vaccines will be deployed as soon as we receive them. All the states in the country have cases and we need to get the vaccine to them all if we want to achieve herd immunity.”
According to the data shared by NPHCDA, Kano, Lagos, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi and Oyo will receive more doses for health workers.
He also stated that the federal government intends to administer the vaccine to at least 40 per cent of Nigerians in 2021, and another 30 percent in 2022.
FG GIVES CONDITION FOR RELEASE OF VACCINES TO STATES
Also speaking, Kubura Daradara, director, logistics and health commodities, NHPCDA, said the federal government will not release the vaccine to states until facilities such as cold chains are in place.
Daradara said the vaccine must be administered within five days of receipt for it to remain potent, and only the states that show commitment would receive the doses when available.
She added that the 100,000 doses would be administered to 50,000 people, because each person has to take a second dose 21 days after taking the first.
His Royal Highness, Henry Ekebilegha Binidodogha, the Ojuaga 1 of Egbema Clan in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State, has appealed for peaceful coexistence in his domain.
He made the appeal while reacting to alleged plans by some elements from Delta State to instigate the peace loving people of his domain to resort to violence and make the state ungovernable as a result of his ascendancy of the kingship position of his clan.
Binidodogha disclosed that his ascendancy of the traditional stool of his clan since March 25th, 2018, was endorsed by the elders, chiefs and leaders of the seven major Egbema communities in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State namely – Ofunama, Jamagie 1 and 2, Ugbolukanga, Abere, Gbeoba and Ajakurama.
He stated that he is just waiting for the royal blessings of the Benin monarch, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare 11, N’Ogidigan. Binidodogha said that his insistence on peaceful coexistent of his people with their neighbours is not going down well with some elements who continually blackmail and try to instigate him to engage in causing mayhem in Edo State which he always disagrees.
He affirmed that his loyalty to the Oba of Benin is never in doubt, adding that it is only by living in peace with their neighbours that would enable his people to enjoy growth and development. Adding their voices in support of Binidodogha, some chiefs from Egbema Clan led by Chief Thomas Atigbi Abel(JP), a prominent chief from Ofunama, affirmed that more than anything else, the Egbema Clan is desirous of development which can only be achieved in a peaceful atmosphere.
He charged the security agencies to checkmate the activities of some elements from Delta State, led by some Chiefs who have been instigating the people of Egbema Clan and also their kith and kin in Delta to cause mayhem in Edo State.
“We are peace loving people. The security agencies should get to the root of this evil plot emanating from Delta State to cause mayhem in Edo State.
“These agents of violence should be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land,” Chief Atigbi submitted.
The members of staff of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) have embarked on an indefinite strike as thousands of applicants have been locked outside of their offices nationwide.
The notice for the strike action was contained in a statement signed by the President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC branch, Lucky Michael and its Secretary, Odia Victor.
The communique is the aftermath of a meeting convened by the association to discuss the state of the exposure of staff members to Covid-19 and the salary structure and its representation in the annual appropriation and irregularities in the conduct of promotion exercise amongst other welfare matters.
According to some reports, members of the association decided to go on strike to demand for better welfare packages from the government, more allowances for the registration of National Identity Number (NIN), which they described as an extra duty.
They also decried the lack of protective kits at their offices, which leaves them exposed to contracting the coronavirus disease as they attend to a huge crowd of applicants daily.
The statement from the association partly reads, “Consequent upon the just concluded congress of the above-mentioned association that took place on January 6, 2020, the unit executive directs all members of grade level 12 and below in the head office and state offices to report to their respective duty posts tomorrow January 7, 2020, and do nothing.
“All members at the local government offices and special centres are advised to stay away from their various centres as a task force and implementation committees would be on parade to ensure total compliance to the directive.”
Apart from the demand for allowance, the workers also told Channels Television that the government does not care about their safety.
They decried the lack of personal protective equipment at the office, saying they could get infected with COVID-19 as they attend to hundreds of residents daily.
The association also noted that staff members were infected with Covid-19 and adequate measures have not been taken to curtail its spread.
What you should know It can be recalled that the Federal Government, on 15 December 2020, directed all telecom operators to block all phone lines that do not register on their networks with a valid National Identification Number.
Following a public outcry against the length of time of the sudden policy, the government gave 3 weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to 19 January 2021, and also gave 6 weeks extension for subscribers without NIN from 30 December 2020 to 9 February 2021.
However, it is yet to be seen how this can be achieved within the stipulated time, considering a large number of Nigerians that are yet to have the NIN and the existing measures being implemented by the government due to the surge in the number of coronavirus cases across the country.
Currently, over 100 million Nigerians are yet to be registered which has caused huge crowds to gather at the various offices of NIMC in breach of the COVID-19 protocol.
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has congratulated Effiong Akwa on his appointment as the Sole Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The council’s Akpakip Oro Special Chapter, Eastern Zone, described Akwa’s appointment as well deserved and commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving such responsibility to a member of the council.
The zone in a statement signed by its Vice-Chairman, Christian Okponung and Secretary, Samuel Edem, said Akwa’s appointment was in recognition of his dedication and meritorious service to the country.
The statement said: “In respect of this great appointment, we, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Akpakip Oro Special Chapter, Eastern Zone, do hereby officially wish to congratulate our own son and member of the council, Effiong Akwa Okon, as the Sole Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission.
“We also endlessly thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the well-deserved appointment.”
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has disclosed that a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may be inaugurated by April 2021 after the forensic audit of the commission.
Akpabio gave the hint yesterday in Abuja while receiving the interim report of the commission from the forensic auditors.
Insisting that the Federal Government did not appoint a Sole Administrator for the NDDC, the minister noted that the government only obeyed a court order, which he said, directed that the most senior officer in the agency should assume its management.
He said that the youths who protested recently at the ministry against the headship of the NDDC were misled, adding that they have returned to the ministry to beg for forgiveness.
“I don’t think the Federal Government appointed a Sole Administrator for the NDDC willy-nilly. What it did was to obey a court order restraining the interim management committee (IMC).
“The court ordered that the headship of the commission be handed over to the most senior director pending the conclusion of the forensic audit.
“By April this year, when we are done with the forensic audit, we will inaugurate a board for the and the report of the forensic audit will be given to those agitating for it so that we can have a new management,” he said.
Akpabio explained that the ministry was working to ensure that the NDDC headquarters was ready for commissioning by January ending, adding that the passing of the National Assembly’s passage of the ministry’s budget had secured a workable plan for it and the NDDC.
Warri business tycoon and the Chairman/CEO, KFT Conglomerate, High Chief Komieyefa Uduboh on Tuesday morning surprised his wife, Chief Funere Uduboh with a brand new Range Rover for her birthday as she burst into tears of joy.
It was such a spectacular sight that business owners, passersby had to stop to share in the excitement at their Warri residence in Ugboroke.
Komieyefa Uduboh and his wife Uduboh are the founder of the thriving company KFT Conglomerate and and the popular multi-purpose event centre, the KFT Place in Warri, Delta State.
The two have seen the company grow into a multi-million company.
A leading Councillorship Aspirant on the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC) for Oporoza ward in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta state, Comrade Moses Zibinmoghan, has promised effective representation and better welfare package for residents of the area if elected.
According to him, he has all what it takes to turn the Ward around, noting that the present administration of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has failed in the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people of the ward.
“Our people have been neglected by the present government. I am coming out not because of my popularity, but I want to serve my people and give them quality services,” the aspirant, Comrade Moses stated.
He promised to Improve on women and youth development, insisting that the time for the people to have democracy at their doorsteps is now.
He called for support of the people of Oporoza ward, assuring that he would not misplace the opportunity and confidence if elected.
It was celebration galore in Warri as indigenes and non-indigenes, one after the other besieged the home of Niger Delta philanthropist, Entrepreneur and business mogul, Mr. Brown Odeworitse Tesigimoje in Ugbuwangue, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, to collect their food items in the spirit of Christmas and New Year celebration.
No fewer than 5,000 families benefited from the foodstuff distribution exercise by the philanthropist to eradicate hunger during and after the yuletide season.
GbaramatuVoice reports that Mr. Brown is a typical phenomenon, who would easily be described as charity begins from home icon, and indeed has been putting smile on the faces in his family, kindred, village, town, state, Niger Delta and indeed Nigeria at large.
The Chairman/CEO of Gimbrowns Marine Security Oil and Gas Limited popularly called Gimbrown by his numerous admirers thought it wise to reach out to his people and community at this critical moment in the history of the world as we battle the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Brown who has always been in the forefront of empowering the youths, widows and the less privilege for the past 10 years rose to the occasion on the eve of the new year to complement government efforts by distributing food items such as 300 bags of rice, cartons of Indomie and gallons of groundnut oil.
Odeworitse has always added value to his people and making life better for them not for political gain because he’s not contesting for any post but just to give back to the society and put smile on their faces.
In an exclusive chat with GbaramatuVoice, the philanthropist, Mr. Odeworitse, said that he was moved to remember the less privileged, old women, widows and physically challenged this yuletide because it is a season of giving and showing love as he loves giving back to society.
Some of the beneficiaries thanked the donor for his kind heart and prayed that God will continue to enrich his pocket.
Thanks to Gimbrown for his large heart and timely Philanthropist interventions.
Idongesit Nkanga, the chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and a former military governor of Akwa Ibom State, is dead.
Mr Nkanga passed on in an undisclosed hospital in Uyo on Christmas Eve, his political associate and a family member told PREMIUM TIMES, Friday morning.
There are speculations that Mr Nkanga died of COVID-19. GbaramatuVoice is yet to independently verify this.
He was 68.
The late Mr Nkanga was Akwa Ibom governor from September 1990 to January during Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime. Ufot Ekaette, who later became the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was his deputy.
He retired as an air commodore in the Nigerian Airforce.
As the chairman of PANDEF, Mr Nkanga was very vocal in the campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria and the development of the country’s Niger Delta region.
ThisDay published on December 24 an interview it had with Mr Nkanga where he talked about non-completion of the East-West Road which is meant to link together the states in the Niger Delta.
He also talked about the refusal of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to relocate their head office to the region.
“You see this East-West Road that people have been dying, for how many years? It was later that I found out that even when I was Governor, in my address when General Babangida came to Ikot Abasi because I took him to that bridge linking Rivers State, that bridge was not there, that road was not constructed by the way it is now.
“The road that was there from Port Harcourt was constructed by the Shagari administration. There was no bridge, people used to go by boat. When he came to commission ASCON, I took him there and I said if we can have this bridge, it will help us. In my speech close to 30 years ago, I spoke about East-West Road. You can imagine how long ago we have been talking about that road. Till today that road is not complete,” he had said in the interview.
I write from what I know and have experienced, not from mere sentiment, because I was born in Ugborodo eight decades ago. I have watched, helplessly, my village being swept into the sea. I envy my colleagues who speak joyfully about their homes in their villages because the house where I was born is now about half a kilometer into the Atlantic Ocean. But this article is neither about the loss of my birth-house nor the gradual disappearance of my birth-village by erosion, it is about something more sinister and more ominous, it is about the loss of the name of my village, “Ugborodo.”
Ugborodo enclave existed before the Europeans arrived. There are several villages: Ugborodo, Ogidigben, Madangho, Ajudaibo and others, that exist around this estuary of the tributary of the Niger as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The area is called Ugborodo, after the largest and oldest village. The Portuguese, the first Europeans to visit the area in the 16th and 17th centuries, named the estuary and the river discharging into it, Escravos, which means “Slaves” in Portuguese, because it is alleged that they obtained two slaves in the area. The Portuguese also named the Forcados River, which probably comes from the Portuguese “biforkado” which describes a fork in the river. As other Europeans came, the Germans, the French and, finally, our colonial masters, the British, they continued to use the names, Escravos and Forcados, respectively, for the rivers. However, invidiously and surreptitiously, Ugborodo is now being called Escravos – Slaves! THIS MUST STOP.
I have raised the alarm before in an article I wrote about two decades ago, titled “CRY MY BELOVED UGBORODO.” Let me recall parts of that article.
“The title is not new nor is the sentiment. But the humiliation is excruciating and continuous. Ugborodo and its communities are being reduced to Escravos, the SLAVES.
Brief history of Ugborodo
But Ugborodo has a rich history. It was alleged to have been founded by Ijebu fishermen who came down the Niger River. Two brothers and their five sons fanned out to form the various communities of Ugborodo. Hence, we refer to ourselves as “Ikpere ale meje – Ikpere (Ugborodo) of seven sections”. Ugborodo was a thriving community with its own ruler, Olaja-ori, before the famed movement of the Iwere (Itsekiri) royal family from the Benin royal family over 500 years ago; but Ugborodo has now accepted the hegemony of the Olu of Warri. The Portuguese had a settlement both at Warri and in the island of Ugborodo around 1588. In late 19th century, the French built a salt factory in Ugborodo. When the British arrived and learnt about this, they threw a party for all the people and during that party the factory was mysteriously blown up and so was the French presence in what became Nigeria.
Ugborodo literally means “Dry land in the Sea” and it was a huge island. I recall my grandmother describing how dangerous it was to move from the village to the beach after dark because large cats (probably leopards) and dangerous animals prowled at night. If they had to, they moved in a large group. I remember the Ugborodo I grew up in 1940’s, with a large silk cotton tree (Egungun) in its center, towering over all other trees and its huge buttress roots serving as gathering place for village elders especially during the secret masquerading season. We had to walk a long distance to get to the beach where canoes were loaded with conical nets used to catch crayfish. The village had mango trees that, to the joy of the youth, fruited abundantly annually. Edible fruits were everywhere in the bushes and palm fruits were harvested from there to prepare our delicious fresh crayfish “banga” soups. These are all gone now along with my childhood house and neighborhood, which are about half a kilometer in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ugborodo – Entrance to Delta Ports and the Oil Exploration
The estuary by Ugborodo was (and is) the entrance to the Delta ports. Ships had to change pilots here before they crossed the bar. The Nigerian pilots were ferried from Ogidigben to the ships anchored at sea. These skillful pilots took the ships across the bar. Even then one or two ran aground especially if they tried to maneuver in the deep fog.
Thus, in the 1950’s and 60’s, the lighthouse and the breakwater were built on the Ogidigben side of the estuary to facilitate navigation. That was the beginning of the end of Ugborodo island. The breakwater turned the fury of the sea into the erosion of Ugborodo, which continues to date unabated. Ugborodo is less than a quarter of the land I remember.
The 1950’s brought another set of people, seismic exploration teams of the Shell-BP Company. I recalled in 1954, my second year in secondary school, Government College Ughelli, a Shell-BP helicopter landed on Ugborodo beach before my awe-struck people. I tried to approach the helicopter but was stopped for safety reasons. These explorers set off explosives; houses in the village shook and vibrated. It was the beginning of the pollution, initially just noise pollution (later excessive oil and environmental pollution). The people did not know what was going on. In their superstition, they believed these foreigners were after huge reptiles that were said to protect diamonds and other precious metals. Little did they realize how correct they were. It was, indeed, something precious they found, it was liquid and black, “OIL”. The whole area sits on oil and gas whether on land or on sea. Billions of barrels of oil have been exported yielding trillions of naira to the Nigerian coffer.”
Let me continue with the brief history. Once Shell-BP found oil in the Nigerian delta, the oil rush began. Italian, French and American oil companies all followed. By early 1960’s when I was attending university abroad, the American company, Gulf (now Chevron), had found large deposits of oil off the shores of Ugborodo. In 1964, they leased land from us, the Ugborodo people, to build their oil terminal and airstrip. My people had to evacuate their land, including my grand uncle Pa Egbetse Ereku, whom we fondly called Baba Arunton because his property was at Arunton. Arunton, which means the mouth of the creek, became the beachhead of the Gulf property on Ugborodo land.
Shockingly, the Oil Company called this property on Ugborodo land, Escravos Terminal and Airstrip instead of Ugborodo Terminal and Airstrip. That was the beginning of the Ugborodo being called Escravos, “Slaves.” Over the past half a century, Chevron has leased more land and expanded. Ugborodo not only sits on oil, it also sits on gas. Two gas extraction plants have been built and they are called Escravos Gas to Liquid (EGTL) phases 1 and 2, respectively. Concomitant with these expansions, Chevron built a modern headquarters, similar to that at their head office in San Ramon, California, with offices and senior staff living quarters in Lekki, the most luxurious section of Lagos metropolis. Strangely, the oil company, in these over 50 years, did not develop any property in Ugborodo area where its operations are located. Most amazing, its policies encouraged its workers from the Ugborodo area to move to larger towns like Warri and Sapele. Consequently, their employees are ferried in by air or sea to their fenced-off property, where they work for a fortnight or a month and are then ferried back home. Thus, there is no contact with the host community, which now derives minimal economic benefit from the presence of these humongous operations.
Chevron Oil Company has shown an iconic picture of a fisherman sailing in his canoe peacefully on the Ugborodo estuary. Yes, we lived happily and peacefully in our fishing community before oil was discovered in our land; just like the people of Dubai were sailing their dhows all day diving for a few pearls until oil was discovered in their land. But there is a big difference. Dubai became a tourist Mecca; Ugborodo, the island in the sea, became a neglected blight. But that is not the point of this article. Posterity will decide what went wrong with us, the Black people of Nigeria.
Ugborodo is not Escravos, Slaves! Restore our name now!
Our problem here is immediate and much larger. It is an existential problem. Our name Ugborodo is being replaced by Escravos – “Slaves.” I am always shocked whenever I hear Chevron employees who were either born in Ugborodo or whose parents were born there, shamelessly, or is it ignorantly, say with pride that they work in Escravos instead of Ugborodo. Even the almighty Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) uses Escravos in all its reports on the activities in the Ugborodo axis. Now that we all know that Escravos means Slaves, what should we do?
First, sons and daughters of Ugborodo must stop using the word Escravos and replace it with Ugborodo in all communications in which they encounter that derogatory word.
Additionally, they should correct anybody who uses the word, whether he or she is their superior, equal or subordinate.
Second, Nigerians in the oil sector, especially NNPC and similar organizations, must avoid the use of Escravos and replace it with Ugborodo.
Third, and this is the most important, Chevron should immediately restore the name of the land leased from us to Ugborodo, not Escravos by renaming its operations appropriately: Ugborodo Airstrip, Ugborodo Terminal.
Ugborodo Gas to Liquid Phases I & II
Given all the destruction and non-development of our land, this is the least Chevron can do as its immediate corporate obligation to our people. Otherwise, Chevron dooms us to extinction when our name, Ugborodo, disappears from human existence and is replaced by Escravos, “Slaves.”
Fellow Nigerians and citizens of the world, you will recall that the Nigerian coast was disdainfully called the “Slave Coast.” We no longer use the term for our Coast. You will also recall that it was the Portuguese, realizing that we, the Africans, were hard workers that took our people from their colonies in Africa to labour in their plantations in South America. That started the dehumanizing transatlantic Slave Trade in which over twelve million of our strongest and healthiest people were shipped, chained together as cargo to the Americas, many of whom died in transit and were thrown into the seas. We became commodities traded and sold and deprived of humanity and looked down upon, even now. I hope the Portuguese regret the part they played in this ignominious history of our continent. Why then should Nigeria, the largest Black nation, have one of its rivers named by the demeaning Portuguese word Escravos – Slaves? This should be an outrage to all of us.Therefore, I appeal to fellow Nigerians, to all peoples of African descent wherever they are, and to all progressive peoples of the world to plead with the giant oil company, Chevron, to stop humiliating and degrading my people and immediately name all their operations in our land correctly, Ugborodo instead of Escravos – “Slaves.”
Nigerians in governments, local, state and federal, must pressure Chevron to change the name immediately. This is not too much to ask for, considering all the humiliations we have endured over these decades, even centuries.
Prof. Omatete, a member or fellow of several Nigerian and international professional associations, is passionate about his home and is pleading with Nigerians and the world to stop calling his home, Ugborodo, Escravos “Slaves.”
This article was first published on Guardian in 2019.
Multi–millionaire business mogul, Mr. Brown Odeworitse Tesigimoje, Chairman/CEO of Gimbrowns Marine Security Oil and Gas Limited, on Sunday, December 20, 2020 rewarded hardworking staff of the company with luxury cars and over N100 million to assist his workers during the 2020 End of Year Party of the company.
According to the oil magnate, there is no better way to celebrate the season than to appreciate those who keep his business going.
See photos from event that was organised at GMB House, Ugbuwangue in Warri, Delta State.
The Delta State Ministry of Oil and Gas on Monday December 21, 2020 held a workshop that aimed to sensitize stakeholders on safety for operators of Domestic Gas Retail Outlets in Delta State at the Government House Annex, Warri.
The 1-day event was themed “Towards Achieving Sustainable Safe Utilization of LPG in Delta State” and had 5 presentations that were deemed critical to underlying the importance of Safety regulations so as to protect citizens and properties from gas explosion.
Warri Kingdom in Delta State has debunked the news that the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli, had died.
Reports emerged yesterday that the monarch died on Monday.
He was said to have died from COVID-19 related illness after his health allegedly deteriorated on Sunday evening.
But a statement from the monarch’s palace signed by Chief Clement Maleghemi, Director of Palace administration, said the Olu is still receiving treatment at the moment.
Maleghemi said the office of the traditional prime minister would inform the general public of any other development in the Warri Kingdom.
Read Full statement:
“The attention of the Palace of His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, the Olu of Warri has been drawn to news/social media speculations announcing the sudden demise of His Majesty.
“We wish to notify the General Public that His Majis indisposed and currently receiving medical attention by team of qualified medical specialist.
“Any further information on the subject would be made known to the general public by the office of the Traditional Prime Minister of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayirimi Emami, the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom.
Over 1000 Youths of Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom on Tuesday blocked the entrance to the Delta State Government House in Asaba, protesting against the new electoral wards created by Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC).
A 17-year-old boy, Stephen Itima, has drowned Wednesday while swimming with friends in Oporoza creek in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The deceased, a Junior Secondary School 2 student of Gbaraun Secondary School, Oporoza, left his grandmother’s home, Wednesday morning in company of his friends.
His apprehensive grandmother had raised the alarm over his absence. A search party conducted round the community, yielded no luck, before a member of the community informed them that they saw some clothes at the bank of the creek.
The body of the deceased was found floating on the Oporoza creek on Thursday morning, at approximately 9:20am.
Elder statesman and leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark has described the Niger Delta region as the most oppressed people in the country, despite its role in sustaining the country, has to take permission before benefitting from the resources it produces, is an indication that its peoples are oppressed and that the region ‘will soon take our destiny in our own hands.’
According to him, with the level of marginalization and dehumanization of the zone, despite the role they play in sustaining Nigeria as a country, a time will soon come when the people will take their destiny in their own hands.
Clark said that there cannot be unity in the country where some see themselves as superior to others.
Speaking Tuesday night in his Asokoro residence when he received the newly inaugurated Senator representing Bayelsa West, former governor Seriake Dickson, Elder Statesman regretted that despite producing the resources, in order to make use of them, the Ijaw people have to seek permission from others.
The Ijaw leader who wondered what kind of country runs like that, however expressed delight that the former Bayelsa governor was elected as a senator and will be an authentic voice of the Ijaws in the Senate.
Clark said, “We are an oppressed people, I have always said that we will soon take our destiny in our own hands.
“People do do not appreciate what we are doing for Nigeria, what we are providing for Nigeria. They control our resources in our backyard, they manage it and at the end of it, they benefit from it and now make us second class citizens in our country. They use our very money to control us.
“What type of country to do we belong to? We produce all the resources in this country and for me to benefit from it, I have to travel to Daura in Katsina State to ask for approval for me to benefit from what is being produced in my backyard. And if I am lucky they will give it to me with some conditions.
“So, I am happy that you have been elected. As I said when you were coming, I said I’m still mourning, I don’t want to talk about politics yet. But politics is in my vein, I cannot see my Senator being inaugurated and for him to come and see me without saying that this is what you are going to do in that place. Time will come after my mourning period, I will speak.
“This country we are is a country for all Nigerians. No one owns it more than the other. We are equal citizens in Nigeria.
“Unity does not mean you must be superior to the other. Then you won’t have a country. So, you have a duty to perform.”
Speaking on the election of Dickson, the Ijaw leader who noted that he supported the former governor for the position because of his qualities, said, “You have all the qualities to become a senator. I have been one before, I was a senator in the second republic and I was a very important one for that matter. I was a member of a select committee which was the most important one in the senate, we were responsible for appointing members of the various committees.
“So, I am happy that you have become the elected senator. I know the duties of a senator if you really want to work for your people.
“It is not enough to be a senator, you must distinguish yourself at all times. That’s why you are called a distinguished senator. I know you will be the voice of an Ijaw man in the senate.
“When I wrote that letter about you, I know the area…I was the senator of the whole Ijaw nationality, for the Isokos and Ishekiris. Since then, I have been asking myself when shall we have a senator that will really represent us, speak the mind of the Ijaw man. It is not enough to say that I am senator. So, you can be sure that when I made that recommendation about you, I knew what I was talking about…I knew I was not going to back someone who will not represent us.
“When the election was postponed, I know God had a way of doing everything and today, you have been elected. I pray the Lord will protect you, give you the courage and wisdom and good health to perform your functions, to speak on behalf of Ijaw people.”
Clark, a former Senator said to Dickson: “I know I will be around to watch your performances in the Senate.
“A situation where you have 18 senators representing us and you pass laws/bills that are against us without any opposition, some of us believe we have not got the right people in the Senate or the National Assembly. So, I am very proud that you have been elected as senator and I wish you the best of luck.”
Earlier in his remarks, Senator Dickson who explained that his visit was to thank the Ijaw Leader for his support in his quest for the senate office and to intimate him that he had been elected and finally sworn into office as Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District.
According to Dickson, he would constantly call on the elder statesman for advice and guidance on how to continue to address the issues facing the Ijaw people.
Commiserating with Chief Clark over the death of his younger brother, Professor John Pepper Clark, Senator Dickson noted that the Ijaw nation had lost a big name, whose impact went beyond just his immediate home nation.
He described the elder statesmen as not just an Ijaw or Niger Delta icon, but a rallying point for all the leaders who mean well for Nigeria, adding that he had over the years transformed to represent the demand for a just and equitable Nigerian union.
Dickson said, “We know that in this COVID-19 lockdown, calamities, flood, the Ijaw nation lost one of one of our best, another father and leader, a pathfinder in his own right but your younger brother, Prof. J P Clark. Today’s visit primarily is to formally condole with you and your family.
“The other reason for the visit is to thank you for your support. You have come to symbolise the Ijaw struggle, the Niger Delta struggle and you have gone even beyond the Niger Delta, you have become the rallying point for all those leaders who mean well in this country for a just Nigeria, an equitable Nigeria, a Nigeria for all Nigerians.
“We’ll be coming continually for consultation and advice because the issues that matter to us, which are the same issues you have been managing and dealing with, from pre-independent Nigeria to independent Nigeria and till now.
“You are a living encyclopedia, it’s only a fool who won’t want to continually tap from this available pool of wisdom and knowledge.”
Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) says it has contributed over N7 billion, under NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, to the Egbema and Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation (EGCDF) since its creation in 2005.
Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA) of CNL, made this known on Tuesday at the 10th Annual General Meeting of EGCDF in Effurun near Warri.
Brikinn, represented by Mr Sam Daibo, the Area Manager, Field Operations, said the company was committed to the terms of the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) between it and the foundation.
“Since inception in 2005, the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture has contributed over N7 billion to the EGCDF.
“Successive Regional Development Committee (RDC) leadership had used the fund for the implementation of various infrastructure and non infrastructure projects.
“Chevron will continue to provide support to ensure that we achieved sustainable development for the people.
“This is a tough time for the Oil and Gas industry globally.
“Nevertheless, Chevron takes its role as a corporate citizen in Nigeria seriously and remain active in many projects that promote health, education and economic development.
“We seek more cooperation from all stakeholders as the company takes steps to ensure the sustainability of the business in the face of the current business challenges,” Brikinn said.
He said the benefits of GMoU could only be sustained in an atmosphere of peace conducive for business activities, imploring people of the areas to embrace dialogue in resolving issues.
The CNL general manager then thanked the Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, for creating the enabling environment for the GMoU to succeed.
He also thanked the various traditional rulers, community leaders and members of EGCDF for their hard work, dedication and support toward actualising objectives of the GMoU.
Also, Comrade Jude Ukori, the Chairman of EGCDF, said that in spite of the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation was able to make remarkable progress and achievements in 2020.
“Under the 2019/2020 New Project Circle, the foundation awarded a total of 17 projects to contractors nominated by the communities after a competitively bidding process.
“This is apart from our infrastructure projects, which indeed have dynamically transformed the architectural outlook and aesthetics of our communities.
“The foundation also runs chains of non-infrastructure programmes designed to build the capacity of the indigenes. This programmes include scholarship, skill acquisition and micro-credit scheme,” Ukori said.
In his remarks, the Delta Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, urged people of the areas to continue to embrace peace and dialogue.
“When the issue is beyond you, you can meet the government and we will intervene,” Otuaro, represented by Hon. Emman Amgbaduba, the Commissioner for Oil and Gas, said.
The ceremony was attended by High Chief Godspower Gbenekama JP, Fiyewei of Gbaramatu kingdom (Representative of the Pere of Gbaramatu kingdom), Chief Sule Akpasibewei (Representative of Agadagba of Egbema Kingdom) religious leaders, sons and daughters of Ijaw, among others.
The Senate on Tuesday swore in the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bayelsa West.
Also sworn in as Senators were Moses Cleopas, PDP, Bayelsa Central; Adetokunboh Abiru, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos East and Professor Nora Dabu’t, APC, Plateau South.
The oath of office and allegiance were administered Thursday on Senator Olujimi by the Clerk of the Senate, Ibrahim El- Ladan during plenary.
The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, however, refused to swear in the Senator-elect for Cross River North Senatorial District, Stephen Odey.
Odey had arrived the National Assembly complex as early as 8am with supporters from Cross River State in anticipation for the swearing-in.
Odey who was the Senior Legislative Aide, SLA to Governor Ben Ayade as a Senator in the 7th Senator, was however disappointed when his name was not mentioned as one of those to take the oath of office.
—To unveil multi-million Naira GMB Hotel and Suites as part of activities
As part of its way of making the Christmas celebration a memorable one for its staff and the organization’s numerous stakeholders, the Gimbrowns Marine Security, Oil and Gas limited, a multinational organization that has Mr. Brown Odeworitse Tesigimoje, as the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), recently rolled out its plan for the year 2020 annual end of year party.
According to the information gathered by GbaramatuVoice correspondent who visited the company’s corporate headquarters in Warri Delta state, reveals that this year’s elaborate celebration will have the official opening of the newly built multi-million naira magnificent GMB Hotels and Suites in Warri,Delta state, as part of activities.
The information as released among other things added that this year’s celebration will span for three consecutive days. It will commence on Friday 18th December, 2020 with the traditional Olokun dance at the company’s head office GMB House, Ugbuwangue, New World City, Off NPA Express Way, Warri, Delta state.
This will be followed by a live band performance slated for 19th December while Sunday 20th December is been set aside for the official opening of the newly built multi-million magnificent GMB Hotels and Suite as well as the epoch party/appreciation of staff member, stakeholders and all those that have positively impacted on the company in one way or the other.
Aside from the live band, food and drinks that will be available for both staff and non staff members to dance, eat and drink respectively within this three days, a staff of the organization told our correspondent that one ingrained happening that makes this celebration newsworthy is that the management of the organization as it is in their tradition, will use the occasion to put smile on the faces of the less privileged people in the community.
Going further, this staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity, explained that Mr. Brown Odeworitse Tesigimoje, the Chairman/Chief Executive (CEO) of the organization, has become reputed for using the end of year party to reward hard working staff members that have contributed relevantly in helping the organization achieve its set objectives. He also has a Midas way of encouraging staff members with not too impressive performance to up their games.
GbaramatuVoice further learnt that this reward for deserving staff members comes in the forms of cash gifts, cars, refrigerators/deep freezer and televisions among others.
Still on the benevolence nature of Mr. Brown Odeworitse Tesigimoje, another staff and beneficiary of the organization’s kindness in recent past, narrated to the newspaper how Odeworitse, during the Corona-Virus induced lockdown, made periodic distribution of food items to both the staff and the less privilege within the host community a point of duty.
The Chairman of the Patani Local Government Area of Delta State, Mr.
Perez Omoun, has been arrested by men of the state police command.
He was said to be in custody at the GRA Police Division in Asaba, the state capital.
GbaramatuVoice gathered on Sunday that the council boss was nabbed for allegedly breaking into the compound of a serving commissioner in the state, destroying vehicles and also injuring one of his drivers.
Sources said that trouble started in the early hours of Sunday when the council chairman reportedly forced his way to gain access into the GRA, Asaba residence of the commissioner.
He allegedly pulled down the commissioner’s gate after ramming into the iron gate with his Lexus SUV.
Cars belonging to the commissioner and his wife and other vehicles parked inside the premises were allegedly vandalised.
He could not, however, reach the said commissioner who was said to be in his bedroom.
The motive behind Omoun’s action could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
But sources hinted that it might not be unconnected with the forthcoming local government election in the state.
Omoun was said to have allegedly got fillers that his second-term bid might be frustrated by some powerful forces in government.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer for Delta State Command, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, confirmed the incident in a telephone chat with journalists, saying that investigation was ongoing.
A time feelingly crude, odd and unforgettable it was; a time harmattan walked boldly on the surface of the earth. The sun itself had to wait for a long time before shiveringly making its appearance because everyday the morning in its dawn dance often woke up fogbound. When the sun eventually came after a frustrating wait, it was always furious as if it had piled up all the vengeance in the world to descend on the fog and gloatingly demonstrate dominance over it. Even with the chastisement from the harmattan, fog and the seemingly vengeful sun, they waited patiently for Otuaro, the Deputy Governor of Delta State.
Within the few years of Otuaro’s journey on earth clarity in communication has become his second nature. Characteristically, in a telephone conversation that was not communicatively jinxed on account of its racist undertone, undertow, undercurrent, unlike Soyinka’s ‘Telephone Conversation’, Otuaro had told them in lucid language that he would definitely come however the official inhibitions. So they believed his words and waited for him, their minds many miles away from the thought of waiting for Godot like Viladimir and Estragon in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
One view tenaciously held like a morning furiously colonised and hegemonized by fog in the harmattan season was that Otuaro had tentacles theologically, ecclesiastically, politically, philosophically and epistemologically prehensile and sensitive. Comparatively, in a lesser degree, Otuaro’s tentacles were said to be culturally and sociologically prehensile. Over his cultural credentials a threatening mist, an unfailing twilight, hangs; yet the people waited for Otuaro without grimaces and vengefully twisted faces even where there was no certitude to guarantee his coming beyond their individual theoretical wanderings built around the existing ‘Otuaroism’ and ‘Otuaro-culturalism’ seasonally parroted by the village boy/village story-teller in every available space.
A brobdignagian uncertainty hangs on their waiting for Otuaro because while the wait lasted, no emissary came from Otuaro to give them double assurance about his coming. That they were waiting for him was based on their belief in ‘Otuaroism’ and ‘Otuaro-culturalism’ and the conceived characterizations likely to slake or asuage the waiting thirst of the believers.There was no day better suited to know Otuaro’s cultural inclinations/dispositions than the day referentially focused here because it was the day different masquerade cultural carnivals in the named communities came full circle like either a full tide or a full moon!
Over the years, Ayakoromo town, historically famed for their ‘Olorogun Cultural Carnival’ and ‘Ayakoromowaibode Cultural Carnival’, Obotebe for their ‘Agula and Awouziowu cultural’ ‘carnivals’, Akparemogbene for their ‘Eselekere Cultural Fiesta’, Oyangbene for their ‘Agoropomu Cultural Carnival’, Gbekebor for their ‘Pelekoro Cultural Carnival’ and Torugbene for their famous ‘Okeleke Cultural Carnival’ were among the communities in Burutu Local Government that waited for Otuaro though there were many other enthusiastic waiting believers from other Local Government Areas of Delta State. Also visible among the waiters was Ekameta town in Bomadi Council famous for their ‘Ekerekagodo Cultural Carnival.’ The resolve of the waiters was to see His Excellency Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro on that very day. Admittedly, a communal war could be triggered off immediately if Otuaro went to see one particular community and ignored the other waiting communities.
Stirringly, in all the communities waiting for Otuaro’s arrival, they had well-organized cultural festivals to match Otuaro’s famed ‘Otuaro-culturalism’, and interestingly so because it was that season of masquerade cultural carnivals. Drumming, singing and dancing ruled the entire universe in all the towns eagerly awaiting his arrival. As a specially counterpointed choral arrangement, the rhythms and lyrics were made danceable to ‘Owigiri’ dance steps because Otuaro had a designated passion for the Ijaw ‘Owigiri’ dance encapsulated in the theory of ‘Otuaro-culturalism’ which sees culture as one of the centres of human engagement.
In every waiting community there were aesthetically attired masquerades choreographically programmed to entertain Otuaro. In terms of culture and tourism it was a hypnotizing kaleidoscope of sights that imprisoned the eyes startlingly. However, while the wait lasted, Otuaro had a baptism of dilemma. Otuaro’s dilemma was how to reach all the communities and culturally justify the confidence reposed in him and the seminal ‘Otuaro-culturalism’ theory now journeying across the world like the moon dancing seasonally in the firmament.
In a gale of applause and approbation Otuaro visited all the waiting communities and gave them a delicious dish of his cultural deep-rootedness without ditheistic inclinations, yet without any gaudy and sanctimonious dramatization of his immaculate godliness. Who says religion and culture are implacable enemies? Who says Otuaro is not an enemy of ditheism? Who says ‘Otuaro-culturalism’ and ditheism are compatible ideological allies?
With approximation cast as a mathematical accuracy, Otuaro spent one hour in each of the communities – Gbekebor, Ekameta, Obotebe, Akparemogbene, Oyangbene and Torugbene. Ayakoromo was the last community visited by Otuaro where the beautifully carved head-pieces cast after fishes and animals in the forest in artistic approximations, and the beautifully attired masquerades coupled with their nimble kaleidoscopic dance steps dramatically varied here and there to entertain Otuaro were a great tourist attraction. In vain the waiters never waited for Otuaro. Otuaro actually came to them at last in veneration of his released words. This is an indication that the Ijaw culture will never die with Otuaro and the cultural theories conceptually built around Otuaro.
Seated on a designated chair meant for him during his visit to Ayakoromo as the last community in the visiting itinerary, Otuaro was so captivated by the cultural carnivals that he was occasionally seen humming and nodding his head to the counterpointed choral rhythms and lyrics packaged for his entertainment.Amazing appreciative nods and hums from Otuaro!
Moved rhythmically and lyrically, as the drums and the songs strikingly rose to a crescendo, Otuaro abandoned the occasional appreciatory nods and hums and energetically broke into steps of ‘agene’, fluidly throwing his hands here and there, his white handkerchief joyously held aloft, and when some fatigue crept in unannounced, he skillfully changed into slow steps of Owigiri and dramatically cleared the surging space back into his seat as if he had been a professional dancer over a century!
Established, firmly established, is the fact that Otuaro is a lover and promoter of Ijaw culture stored in the theory of ‘Otuaro-culturalism’; however, that His Excellency Otuaro visited Ayakoromo, Akparemogbene, Gbekebor, Oyangbene, Torugbene and Ekameta and partook of their cultural carnivals is an imaginative creation, an imaginative approximation of Otuaro’s pragmatic passion for culture and tourism.
Yes, it is an imaginative journey by the village boy _ nay the village story-teller now that Timiebi Maika is dead awaiting final funeral journey at Oyangbene! Though Otuaro’s love for culture is imaginatively foregrounded here, culture can never die as long as Otuaro and ‘Otuaro-culturalism’ remain as comrades in cultural companionship. This is why His Excellency Kingsley Burutu Otuaro should be waited for patiently because his arrival is the benevolent radiance of the sun, the benevolent radiance of the moon for the germination of the planted cultural seeds in Delta State and beyond.
Enewaridideke Writes from Akparemogbene, Delta State