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Expectations Of Bayelsans As New Dawn Beckons

On Friday, 14 February 2020, history was made in the
oil-rich Bayelsa State, when Senator Douye Diri was sworn in as the fifth
democratically elected governor of the state.

While the outgoing Governor Henry Seriake Dickson will enjoy
the tag of being the longest serving governor under the People’s Democratic
Party (PDP), who served eight years of two terms and handed over to his
preferred candidate.

Diri’s emergence as governor, although shrouded in a
controversial Supreme Court judgment, has opened a new vista for the state. The
Supreme Court’s decision left many Bayelsans deflated and such that violent
protests almost brought Yenagoa, the state capital, to a standstill.

A young state with enormous potential yet challenges due to
maladministration and corruption, Diri has his task cut out for him on how to
change the narrative of failure of past administrations. There are huge
expectations from Bayelsans and other stakeholders given Diri’s antecedents as
one of the founding fathers of one of the most vibrant youth organizations in
Nigeria, Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC).

Bayelsa State has one of the lowest populations in the
country. But in terms of revenue accruals from the Federation Account, it
receives relatively large chunk of funds, including the 13 per cent due to its
oil producing status. The state is richly endowed with the black gold. So, Diri
will have no excuse if he failed to develop Bayelsa State.

One of the major challenges Diri would face and which he
would need to tackle fast may come from his party, the Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) in the state and the expected overbearing influence his predecessor, Mr.
Henry Seriake Dickson, who foisted him on the people.

There is also the issue of settling the party’s faithful.
Many will soon start jostling for the different positions and opportunities.

Bayelsa with eight local government areas, is perhaps the
least developed among states created same year, economically and
infrastructurally despite the huge accruals from the federal allocation. With
high level of insecurity, epileptic power supply (even in the state capital in the
last six years), hunger, poverty, cultism and other problems, Bayelsans first
expectation from Diri, will be power supply. The lack of power supply has
crippled the state’s economy as many businesses left the state in the last four
years.

According to a human rights activist, Comrade Tabowei
Oyintarila, the expectations from the incoming administration of Diri by
Bayelsans are very high, “considering the huge gap between the needs of the
people and what has been given to them so far”.

“There is no need crying over spilt milk, Diri should learn
from the reactions of Bayelsans in the latter days of Dickson as governor. I
have just gone to the Garrison Area of Port Harcourt to take a look at the
flyover project ongoing there. Yesterday as I got into Port Harcourt, l saw
same thing at Rumuokoro – a flyover. This is a testament to the fact that
development is a continuum. In as much as Dickson has done his best, it isn’t
good enough as the basic amenities such as light (power), water, functional
health and educational facilities are still a far cry for Bayelsans”,
Oyintarila said.

Re-echoing the advice of Oyintarila, a social commentator,
Mr. Ernest Uzevie, said, “the expectations of Bayelsans from the incoming
administration are very high. Let him fix electricity because light is life;
let him tackle insecurity that has become a monster and a great source of worry
to all. We want industrialization. Our great state needs to move away from her
present civil service status”.

“Let him complete the 5-star hotel, which has become an
embarrassment to the state. He should complete the Glory Drive from Igbogene
down to Yenagoa, complete Bayelsa Palm Road, Isaac Boro Expressway,
Opolo-Elebele Road, Yenagoa-Oporoma Road, and Sagbama-Ekeremor Road. Building
of Agge Seaport, payment of student bursary, prompt payment of gratuity,
development of the Bayelsa Palm that will generate billions of naira for the
state, and provision of water and canalization of Epie Creek. These should also
be some of his priorities if he must succeed and gain the people’s trust.”

Despite the huge investment in education by Dickson’s
administration, the new governor still needs to do a lot more in this sector,
especially as regards school enrollment in the rural communities. In most of
the rural communities, school attendance in both primary and secondary schools
ranks among the lowest in country as the previous government failed to do the
needful.

Also, the quality of education needs improvement while
school fees for higher education is beyond the reach of common Bayelsans. Diri
needs to provide bursary for students in tertiary institutions and not the loan
scheme Dickson introduced at the end of his tenure. Bayelsans are canvassing
that this should be one of Diri’s priorities so as to help students who are not
from rich homes acquire decent education.

Perhaps, one of the many “sins” of Dickson is his
unfulfilled promise. He would be remembered as the governor with the highest
number of initiated but unfinished infrastructural projects, including roads
and many others.

Many businesses closed down in the state capital. As
businesses closed for lack of patronage, families left the city with their
businesses. Suddenly, houses became vacant leading to general inactivity in the
economic sector.

In his second term, Dickson travelled around the world
looking for foreign investors after shutting out local investors. Ironically,
these investors came to a state capital that has no power supply with a high
level of insecurity.

These investors simply left and never came back.

Dickson was a passionate governor who was desirous to work
and provide basic infrastructure for the state. But he was consumed by his
ambition, to be the ‘generalissimo’ of Bayelsa politics. Dickson and PDP nearly
paid for this ambition but for the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Just like Oyintarila said, Diri should learn from the
mistakes of Dickson and listen to the voice of the people and critical
stakeholders and provide amenities for the state.

Notwithstanding the herculean task before him, Diri, the 60
years old Senator has rich credentials that put him in great stead to excel if
political gladiators in the state allow him to work.

Before joining active politics, he taught in several
government schools in the rural areas of old Rivers State and was the first
National Organizing Secretary of Ijaw National Congress (INC). He was also the
Executive Secretary, Centre for Youth Development in Bayelsa State between 2000
to 2002 and later Commissioner for Youth and Sports (2005-2006) before his
appointment as Council member, University of Maiduguri (2008-2012). 

He was also the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s
(PDP) Disciplinary Council, Bayelsa State (2012). In 2012, when Dickson emerged
as the governor of the state, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff,
Government House in 2012, and then Principal Executive Secretary (2013-2014).

Diri won election to the House of Representatives to
represent Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa Federal Constituency in 2015, and later
a Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District before he won the
primaries of PDP, albeit in controversial circumstances. Besides all these,
Diri has a good track record to his credit in terms administrative performance.

At his swearing-in ceremony, Diri was emphatic on the need
for reconciliation and uniting all Bayelsans across political divides and
called for calm and peace.

In an inauguration address, Diri declared that he would
always work to achieve peace, love and prosperity for the people.

He described the swearing in day as “a day made by God and
marvelous in the eye of the people of Bayelsa.

“I have been sworn in today as your new governor; my advice
is that we have to be magnanimous in victory. We have to forget the bitterness,
and the acrimony, because if we kill ourselves, who are we going to lead? Of
course, we are not going to lead animals. I, therefore, bring to you message of
love, hope and prosperity for Bayelsa. Let us eschew all the bitterness and
acrimony and learn to love ourselves irrespective of political parties.”

Diri also declared that he would run an all-inclusive
government, hence the need for the cooperation and support of all leaders of
the state, including former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The new governor, urged the Minister of Petroleum Resources,
Chief Timipre Sylva, APC governorship candidate in the last election, Chief
David Lyon, and other opposition parties to join hands with him in building the
state.

He also reemphasized the need for peace and reconciliation.

With the Supreme Court finally bringing the anxious moments
of the judicial review to an end, the time is now for Governor Douye Diri to
hit the ground running for Bayelsa to see fruitful actions.

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Featured

“Betting Requires Analytic Ability”

Bettors stake money or other items on a game of chance aiming
to win a fortune. For those who are lucky, betting has offered them a means of
surviving the harsh economic climate in the country.

The Vortex correspondent, Manasseh F. Paul-Worika speaks
with Mr. Okon Edidiong an automobile engineer from Abak in Akwa Ibom State.
Edidiong, on his experience with sports betting.

What’s your view on
Sports betting?

I believe it’s a game of chance that offers individuals an
opportunity to survive when times are hard. Beyond the game, betting is one way
of providing an alternative means of income to people who have huge
responsibilities with low income. It’s simply an investment like Forex trading
and the likes.

How long have you
been in the game?

 I started betting in
2015. It was with Nairabet but I never won so I decided to try other options I
believed could favor me.

Which betting outfit
is the best for you?

I’ve tried Nairabet, Winners Golden Bet and Access Bet. The
best for me is Bet9ja. Bet9ja offers many options to choose from. It’s easier
to win with Bet9ja because the options provided are so comfortable that one
wouldn’t need to struggle to win. The bonus on winnings are enormous and
attractive, reason you find people trooping in to Bet9ja shops anywhere they
are located. Bet9ja is accessible and close to customers. In a street, for
instance, you can find two or more Bet9ja shops strategically positioned to
serve customers. And there’s no delay in paying a winning. Bet9ja wins it for
me.

Have you won on any
bet?

Severally! Most recent of my winning came two weeks ago when
I won two slips #15,000 and #27,000 with just #200. I can’t count how many
times I’ve emerged victorious but I know God has been on my side.

How has Betting
helped you?

In July 2019, my house rent was due and I tried every way I
could to raise the money #150,000. A week to the end of my quit notice, I got 5
correct predictions in my dream which I believe came from God. I woke up the
next morning, wrote out the games and prediction and staked it with #300. I was
praying in the shop that day when somebody told me that the last team in my
ticket won their match. I was startled because I couldn’t believe that my
fortune had adjusted. I won exactly #150,000 needed for my house rent and I was
saved from that embarrassing situation. This is no story, it happened live.
There were other times when business wasn’t working, I resorted in staking
games and I emerged victorious. Betting has helped me in ways I can’t begin to
expain.

Has it been always
winning for you?

Like I said earlier, it’s a game of chance. There are
uncertainties in the game. There are times I’ve lost heavily and fell sick as a
result. I remember on one occasion, I lost a ticket worth #10million to just
one match. I took ill for almost a month because I knew what that amount would
have done for me, my business and family. It hasn’t been always winning; I’ve
lost on several occasions too.

How do you manage
gambling as a Christian?

I try as much as I can to create a limit and not let
gambling affect my spiritual life and relationship with God. I can’t be in a
bet shop when it’s time for church service or fellowship. I don’t place betting
above God and that’s what has helped me. Each time I win, I pay my tithe, give
offerings and contribute to church projects. I don’t use winnings for any
illegal, immoral or fraudulent activity.

Effects of betting?

Everything has both good and bad side. I know it has the
negative effect of being addictive, brain draining and depressing especially
when you lose. Some persons even starve just to play a slip and that’s bad in
all totality. We’ve heard of people who committed suicide because they lost a
game. My advice to people has always been for them to take the game as fun and
not a full time job.

How can you get the
best from betting?

It isn’t difficult as it appears. It only requires a lot of
brain work and analytical ability. To get the best, you have to be a high
staker. It’s easier to win when you stake high. It’s only on few occasions you
find low stakers win huge amounts. Sometimes I laugh when I see some people who
want to win #20million with just #100. It is easier to win that amount with
#5000 or #10,000. Some people have also been scammed by fraudulent individuals
who promise “sure odds”. They pay these individuals who supply fake games after
collecting huge amounts of money. To get the best, predict your games yourself,
analyze team performance and stake high.

Betting as a source
of Livelihood             

The worst thing anyone can do is to make betting a source of
livelihood. It will bring frustration and depression. I’ve always advised
people to take betting as a game of fun and chance and not as a source of
livelihood.

On betting and
criminal activities?

Most persons who would have engaged in social vices now put
in time to forecast games and those who are lucky win. Predicting takes a lot
of energy, brain work and time, and youths now channel their time into
forecasting games than engage in criminal activities.

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FeaturedSports News

Betting: A Mixture Of Fun And Risks

Various forms of betting, lotteries, pool, raffle draws, etc
are simply forms of gambling as participants stake money or other valuables on
a game of chance with the aim of winning a fortune.

A visit to a popular betting shop would reveal the diverse
views on the subject. From a distance, one could see young men huddled over
television screens and simultaneously scanning their phones hoping and praying
for that “big break”.

Daily, Nigerians who want to get rich through betting shops
wager their money in one form or the other, with the believe that such move
would give them instant financial success.

The Vortex engaged some bettors and their responses were fascinating.

Mr. Alex Enezegile a sports enthusiast said betting is not a
sin, but offers a source of livelihood.

He said, “The reason most people involved in sports betting
is simply to cater for daily needs and an alternative source of livelihood. If
some persons feel it’s a sin, I guess forex trading and other investment that
promises high returns is sin too. Although, we know any habit that takes the
place of God in our life is sin. If a person can regulate his betting habit
then I see no reason why he or she should be called a sinner. Such person feels
Bet9ja is the alternative source of making money to cater for daily needs. Las
Las Bet9ja na investment!

Engineer Chinenye Douglas explained that although betting
cannot be termed a sin, caution has to be taken to avoid getting addicted to
it.

He said, “Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
Betting is a game of chance. You forecast the outcome of an event based on past
occurrences and results. If you’re right, you win, when your predictions are
wrong you lose.

 “Forecasting and
probability is applied in many disciplines like the financial sector by
investors, etc. I don’t see why betting is different. I no steal money play am.
It’s bad when one is addicted to it or sees it as a “god”. Idolatry is what is
sin, not sports betting,” he stated.

Okon Edidiong explained that playing Bet9ja or Nairabet is
not a sin but a means of livelihood, especially in the harsh economic climate
of the country.

He said, “I dey play Bet9ja nobi today. I know how e don
help me to settle some problems I face. See now, I just win 15,000. I be
Christian and worker for my church sef. I never see wey Bible talk say to play
na sin. As I dey this shop now, if rapture happen, I go follow God go. See as
the country dey, no money anywhere, this one wey we dey take hold ourself naim
people dey call sin. God go help us.”

When asked if sports betting affects his spiritual life, he
said, “as I win this money now, I go pay my tithe, from here I go put offering
and also give for any church project. This thing no dey affect my spiritual
life. I no fit dey this shop when church service dey on, e no fit happen. Where
e fit be sin na wen person place bet pass God.”

Edidiong went on to make a revelation of how he received an
accurate bet prediction in a dream.

He said, “last year July, God give me some games as I been
dey sleep. And na dat month my house rent expire. As I wake up, I rush come
here play the game and I win N150,000 exactly the amount for my house rent.”

Branch manager of a betting shop in Port Harcourt, Philemon
Okwa, explained that people should begin to appreciate the role sports betting
plays in taking the attention of youths off criminal activities and giving
people an alternative source of income.

He said, “The advent of bet9ja like every other betting
platform is a welcome development. I see it as a means of helping unemployed
youths. If you observe critically, you’ll see that most youths who engage in
social vices like robbery, cultism etc have now diverted their attention to
sports prediction and have so much hope they come out winners.”

When asked on possible negative effects of the game, he
said, “Everything has both good and bad side. I know it has the negative effect
of being addictive, because as a manager I’ve seen persons who would rather
starve or borrow than miss playing a slip. My advice to people has always been
for them to take the game as fun and not a full time job.”

Speaking with The Vortex, manager of a Nairabet shop in Port-Harcourt, Nkechi Joseph said that irrespective of what people think about sports betting, it is empowering many Nigerians, especially the youth and helping to curb crime among them.

She said, “The issue of unemployment cannot be over
emphasized. Lots of youths are jobless and that has led to a high crime rate.
Sports betting has drastically reduced the crime rate. Most persons who would
have engaged in social vices now put in time to forecast games and those who
are lucky win. Most people think forecasting is easy, but to predict 10 odds
requires a high level of intelligence and brain work.”

A Koretbet agent, Benjamin Oghenetega said that sports
betting offered him an opportunity of being his own boss.

He said, “I graduated from the university five years ago and
was unable to get a job. One of my friends introduced me to KoretBet and even
though I was reluctant initially, this is what I want to do with my life now.
I’m a registered agent and I’m blessed to have several shops under me.”

Speaking further, he revealed that online betting has given
succor to thousands of Nigerians, predicting that “many youths will find it
difficult to survive if anything happens to these betting companies.”

Reverend Shadrach Bob-Manuel, in a chat with The Vortex explained that although the Bible does not explicitly mention gambling, money should not be wasted adding that excess money should be saved for future needs or given to the Lord’s work, not gambled away.

He said, “Many Christians wonder if sports betting is a sin
and what the Bible has to say about it. While gambling, lotteries, and other
today’s get rich quick games aren’t specifically mentioned within the Bible,
God has still warned against the temptation. Often when people gamble, it is
because they become addicted to the love of money. A simple game can become a
sin when it takes over our minds and hearts and leads us down a road of never
being satisfied.”

Rev. Bob-Manuel noted that when properly controlled, bets
could have positive aspects, such as the provision of legitimate recreation,
generation of funds for acceptable courses, and in some cases, the enhancement
of local economies.

Irrespective of the view you have about sports betting,
there seem to be an increase in sports betting outlets nationwide as a lot of
people have considered it a means to survive the harsh economic conditions in
Nigeria.

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Featured

Rebranding Nigeria’s Public School System

Behind dilapidated school buildings, gathered with my peers
during leisure period, we ransacked heaps of broken chairs and desks like
scavengers. In a school of over 1800 students, each student is responsible for
his chair and table as the available ones are insufficient for the huge number
of students. Like cavemen, we apply stone to rotten nails on damage school
furniture, crafting chairs and tables on which to sit. The unlucky one would
have to place placards and cartons on the floor when there are no more seats in
a classroom where we sit jam-packed like sardines.

Under these terrible conditions, we acquired knowledge that
scarcely managed to take root. No wonder mass failure appears inevitable in
public schools. At the ring of the bell for close of school, we burst out of
our various classes like convicts on prison break, excited that another day’s
sentence is over.

Almost every child in public school in Nigeria faces these
conditions. During the ‘’hands across the ears’’ days of education, passion
burned in the eyes of the students. Seeing the benevolent red chalk mark on a
child’s wooden slate brought immense joy to the hearts of their parents. The
biggest accomplishment of every child then was to return home from school with
that precious pass mark; knowing pretty well his good grade earns him or her
praise from a father and a jolly plate of food from the mother. This past
standard of Nigeria’s public school reflects the impact of the missionaries and
the schools they established across the country. But the value and prestige of
public schools has drastically declined; from the decrease in the quality of
learning to the dwindling education budget.

One factor responsible for the deterioration of the
country’s education sector is the inability of government at various levels to
take responsibility for public schools. For instance, primary schools are
rarely established by the Federal Government. The state government on the other
hand, places more importance on accrediting private schools which they consider
one of their major sources of revenue. Thus, the burden of public schools falls
on the local government, who also offload this burden to host communities where
these schools are situated.

Sadly, the Universal Basic Education suffers most from this
negligence because primary education is in practice not fully controlled by
Federal, State, or local government. Another factor hindering the efficacy of
public schools is overpopulation. In a country where birth rate is higher than
death rate, where majority live below poverty line, educating an average
Nigerian child becomes a heavy task to his or her parents.

Despite an increase in the establishment of private schools
across the country, due to their humongous fees, their addition cannot relieve
public schools of over population. Subsequently, over-population, results to
overuse of academic infrastructures and facilities. With resources scarcely
given to public schools, learning become a matter of survival of the fittest.
Students compete for facilities, compete for teachers’ attention, and compete
for the usage of academic materials.

Only few can navigate this jungle for knowledge acquisition.
The unfortunate students must repeat classes over and over again. After
repeating a class for three consecutive years, they will be flushed out into
the stream of out-of-school kids; resulting in more half-baked literates that
constitute nuisance and tarnish the image of the country.

Under the recommendation of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at least 15% to 20% of the
nation’s budget should be allocated to the education sector which, positively
impacts national development. However, our education sector has languished
below 10% of the national budget for several years. We treat education like a
stray dog waiting patiently for bones to drop from the rich man’s table. Thus,
the poor budgeting gives birth to poor funding which educates poor citizens in
poorly equipped schools across our poverty stricken communities.

Lack of dedicated teachers adds to the woes of public
schools in Nigeria. As the saying goes, “a hungry man is an angry man.” You
can’t expect productivity and good performance from a teacher who uses a belt
to suppress his starvation. Teachers are poorly motivated; salaries are poor
and so untimely that it is unsurprising for teachers to rally and wail into the
ears of the government before getting paid.

According to research, in 2015, of the more than 1.7 million
applications for university admission, less than 5% applied for courses in
education. The teaching profession has become one of the most “rebuked” jobs in
the country. Sadly, some of these teachers, who deserve favor, value, and
respect, must do secondary menial jobs to make ends meet. So staff rooms are
mini-markets where wares are paraded from desk to desk in what is best
described as ‘’staff room hawking’’.

However, teachers should not be held responsible for the
decadence among public school students. Charity begins at home. Thus, the first
set of people to influence a child’s personality is the parents. Unfortunately,
many children are victims of poor parenting. Some parents fail to engage their
children to ensure they are raised morally and psychologically and they unleash
their untrained wards to the school.

Truth is everyone, students, teachers, parents, and government,
see education as a burden imposed on them rather than as the path towards a
brighter future. Nothing keeps them motivated. Nothing fuels their synergy and
nothing boosts their morale. They see no reason to embrace anymore. This is a
great risk that must be addressed with urgency.

Government and other stakeholders must take responsibility
and change the poor state of the educational sector. It should be noted that
well- educated citizens foster national growth while the poorly educated will
bring about national disaster. The effort should go beyond the current policy
of registering professional teachers. Good as it is, what is required is total
rebranding to make education worth the while from the primary to tertiary level
and provide jobs thereafter.

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FeaturedFront Page

NAWOJ: Leading The Campaign Against Sexual Harassment

The plights of the womenfolk in many parts of the world
especially in third world nations have continued to elicit concern. In every
fora, seminar and talks-hops, issues relating to violence, marginalization and
sexual harassment against women have always been on the front burner to drum
support for women through awareness and sensitization campaign.

It was on this note that the United Nations General Assembly
by its Resolution 48/104 of December 20, 1993 proclaimed an International Day
to mark the struggle for the elimination of all forms of violence against women
in the world.

The 2019 campaign for the elimination of violence against
the female gender was marked in Nigeria on November 25, through organized
seminars and workshop by many groups and organizations.

In Rivers State, the National Association of Women
Journalists (NAWOJ) under the auspices of its National body and in
collaboration with the Norwegian Union of Journalists organized a two-day
workshop on “Gender Equity and Safety/Gender Sensitivity Reporting”, at the NUJ
Press Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The workshop featured two prominent and prolific women
journalists, Hajuja Rafat Salani and Mrs. Veronica Ogbole from the national
office of NAWOJ.

These women demonstrated capacity as they lectured and
drilled the participants on various topics including combating sexual
harassment in the work place, challenges in gender reporting in newsrooms and
safety in the field gendering standard operating manuals.

The importance of the event was not lost on the stakeholders
and participants who were all dressed in the beautifully designed NAWOJ T-Shirt
outfits.

In attendance were the cream of stakeholders in the media
and journalism profession including, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, Chairman, Rivers State
House of Assembly Committee on Information and Training, Hon. Ememi Alabo
George who was Special Guest of Honour, Mr. Chidi Okoroh as chairman of the
occasion, former and current State Chairmen of NUJ, Mr. Opaka Dokubo and
Stanley Job Stanley, and a Representative of the State Ministry of Women
Affairs among others.

Setting the ball rolling, the chairperson of Rivers State
Chapter of NAWOJ Chief, Mrs. Lillian Okonkwo said the workshop was organized to
build the capacity of female journalists on issues affecting the female gender
within and outside the work environment.

She said the training is to equip them to contend with
challenges of the profession, stressing that they need such to be able to speak
out on issues affecting them.

Chairman of the event, Chidi Okoroh commended the NAWOJ for
the sensitization to expose their capacity to challenge the facts that militate
against their progression and growth in the society.

Okoro regretted that gender biase has resulted in the
relegation of women in the society, emphasizing that women are as equally
capable as the menfolk.

However, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information
and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim took the confrontational approach in
his speech when he expressed disappointment that despite the various efforts of
NAWOJ in advocating for the rights of the female gender, not much can be said
to have been achieved by the Rivers chapter in its almost 30 years of
existence.

The permanent secretary also regretted that NAWOJ has
demonstrated clear weakness in projecting and sustaining burning social issues
especially those affecting the state, stressing that NAWOJ should begin to
celebrate men of honour who have initiated policies to promote the female
gender in the state.

He said NAWOJ should publicly celebrate Governor Nyesom Wike
who made it compulsory to have only women as deputy chairman of all the 23
local councils in the state.

Pastor Nsirim ended his address with a charge on the state
NAWOJ to think sincerely and act.

Sharing his experiences with the womenfolk, Hon. Enemi Alabo
George, said women including his mother had played prominent role in moulding
his profile, adding that it is the women that take the greatest responsibility
in the raising of children.

Hon. George charged the women to break barrirs rather than
complaining of being held back by the men.

He called on NAWOJ to continue to expand the horizon though
the strengthening of the capacities, adding that if they decide to take the
lead, the men will willingly follow.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs,
represented by Dr (Mrs.) Carmelita Agborubere, charged the women to eschew what
she termed the sticking thinking attitude of always operating from the position
of weakness, saying women should reinvent their identity and self esteem.

Former state chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ),
Mr. Opaka Dokubo who enjoined women to use their population advantages to key
into position of leadership rather than play second fiddle in the society.

Chairman of the state NUJ, Mr. Stanley Job Stanley,
commended NAWOJ for the initiative describing the workshop as appropriate as it
came at a time, issues of violence against women in the country is on the
increase.

The success and impact of the workshop on the members of the
association is obvious as it no doubt was timely and incisive. The issues
raised during the workshop are no doubt sensitive as they touch on the peculiar
circumstances which many of the women experience daily as media workers and
home makers.

It is also important to commend the national office of NAWOJ
for putting such programme together especially with the calibre of resource
persons that handled discussions and practical demonstrations at the workshop.
Kudos to Rivers NAWOJ and its leadership for the turn out and organization of
the event. Yes, raise the capacity of the women and the nation will be better
for it. More fluid to the pen that is mightier than the sword, as they always
say.

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#OurStateOurResponsibility:The Vortex Takes The Lead

Former Singapore minister of state Bernard Chen in his
analysis on the function of the media in any society opined that, “the media
may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it
is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about. It is from
this that the society looks different to different people, depending not only
on their personal interest, but also on the map that is drawn for them by the
writers, editors and publishers of the paper they read”.

Chen’s view clarified that the media through its
publications determines public perception on issues in the society and
determines how people react to the issues.

Efforts by the Rivers State government to showcasing a positive image of the state was among the issues discussed when the #OurStateOurResponsibility team led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim visited the management and staff of The Vortex Newspaper in Port Harcourt to endorse the campaign for responsible citizenship.

Speaking, Nsirim congratulated the management of The Vortex for maintaining professional competence in its operations at a time newspapering is becoming very challenging in the face of the onslaught by partisan politics and the new media.

Nsirim pointed out that the #OurStateOurResponsibility
initiative was a sincere desire to change the false narrative of Rivers state
by some section of the media, adding that the media and media practitioners
must partner with the state government to protect the collective interest of
the state and positively project Rivers State on the National and Global stage.

He said, “There is a calculated attempt to project a
negative image of Rivers State in the media and when we join those who
perpetrate this, it affects our families and businesses. Our responsibility
must be to protect the collective interest of the state”.

The Permanent Secretary charged The Vortex and media professionals to remain objective and ensure that they verify all information before presenting them to the public, adding that, all media programs should be geared towards reflecting public interest and the good of the state.

Nsirim said, “The time has come for the media to lay
emphasis on development journalism. In your news, features, editorial and
programs, we’ll want to see more emphasis on Our State Our Responsibility
campaign. The words, thoughts and actions of our people must reflect the interest
of the state”.

He congratulated The Vortex for being the first newspaper to identify with the campaign, and assured of the ministry’s support.

Speaking, publisher of The Vortex Newspaper, Dr. Alpheaus Paul-Worika noted that The Vortex is a patriotic and vibrant newspaper committed to making Rivers State better for all through the reportage of balanced, accurate and unbiased news.

He pointed out that the principle of democracy and civic responsibility enjoy relevance because of a vibrant newspaper culture adding that, The Vortex is determined to raise the bar in newspaper publishing and become the most authoritative newspaper in Rivers State and the South-South.

Paul-Worika said, “We all owe a responsibility to our state to make it better for ourselves and posterity. And as citizens and journalists, it is part of our responsibility to be patriotic. Our mandate in The Vortex is to do things differently in such a way that we stand out as the best newspaper in Rivers state and the South-South”.

He assured of the readiness of The Vortex to partner with the Ministry of Information and Communication it its campaign to protect the interest of Rivers State, and declared; “We are available to support every noble and worthy course. You can count on The Vortex for honesty and brutal frankness. We’ll keep showing we’re responsible in the discharge of our duty without fear or compromise’.

In his remark, Director of Publication, Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communication, Sir. Valentine Ugboma congratulated The Vortex for setting the pace in objective reportage of news and information in Rivers State.

Ugboma described The Vortex as a force to be reckoned with in newspaper publishing in Rivers state, adding that in a short time, The Vortex will be a household name in the state.

He charged the management of The Vortex to remain committed to changing the narrative of Rivers State, assuring of the ministry’s preparedness to partner with the press in ensuring that the collective interest of the state is protected.

The delegation included, Mr. Kenneth Okujagu, Director, ICT.
Mr. Fiberesima Oruwari, Director, PRS. Mr. Obu Obele Isaiah, Director of Public
Enlightenment and Sir. Valentine Ugboma, Director of Publications.

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NAWOJ: Celebrating, Protecting Women …Against Environmental Pollution

National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), in Rivers
State were in their elements as they took special stage, combining
sensitization on oil pollution in the Niger Delta with relaxation and
thanksgiving in the 2019 edition of their annual NAWOJ week

The environmental pollution inherent in the Niger Delta
region has remained a cause for concern among stakeholders in the region, and
indeed in the entire country. Since the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in 1957
and subsequently in the entire Niger Delta, the level of environmental
degradation in the region due to the activities of oil multinationals has
inflicted severe damage and disruptions in the lives of the people of the
region.

Human and aquatic lives have been affected, leading to
untold hardship and hazards in the health and safety of the communities.  

Fallout of the activities of oil drilling, exploration and refining
in the region, indicate that women and children suffer more from the pollution
in the Niger Delta.

It is on this note that one would appreciate the effort of
the Nigerian Women of Journalist (NAWOJ), Rivers Branch which used its 2019
NAWOJ Week to highlight the environmental degradation of the Niger Delta and
its impact particularly on women and children.

Chairman of Rivers State branch of NAWOJ, Lilian Okonkwo in
her opening remarks at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre said the organization is
the female arm of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) established to
encourage and build the capacity of women in the journalism profession.

She explained that the 2019 NAWOJ Week titled: Clean the
Niger Delta, save our women bordering on the environmental cleanup of the Niger
Delta particularly, the ongoing clean up in Ogoni land in a bid to understand
the measures initiated to mitigate the impact of the pollution on the women and
the children in these areas.

Explaining that women farm and fish more in the devastated
and polluted land and water, the chairman sued for concerted efforts towards
for the thorough cleanup of the Ogoni areas. She stressed that so much has been
said about the project but that not much has been achieved in the
implementation process.

Okonkwo called on the Hydrocarbon Protection and Remediation
Project (HYPREP) to ensure that it adheres to the project specifications in
accordance with the United Nations Environmental Programme report (UNEP) on the
cleanup.

Former Commissioner for Environment in the State, Professor
Roseline Konya, who delivered the key note lecture at the NAWOJ week was more
frontal in observing that the environmental degradation of the region has
inflicted on the people both psychological and individual health challenges
emphasizing that over the years, oil multinationals had paid little or no
considerable attention to mitigating the socio-economic impacts of its
activities on the people who own the resources.

The former Commissioner who was represented at the event by
Dr. Steve Yenewa described the cleanup programme in Ogoni land as a probable
political gimmick, stating that in the last six years of its implementation not
much has been achieved.

Prof. Konya while calling for review of legal frameworks for
the operation in the oil industry regretted that compensations for polluted
environments for host communities have remained insignificant. She also
lamented the neglect of women in the scheme of things, as according to her,
most communities in the region lack the basic necessities of living including
health and drinkable water.

The event also featured the presentation of awards to some
organizations that have impacted on the development of women and provided
service for public good.

The pet project of Her Excellency, Justice Suzzette Nyesom
Wike, the Rivethics, FIDA, CISLAC, and Medical Women Association of Nigeria
received recognition for their laudable support of women initiatives.

The success of the NAWOJ Week could be seen in the array of
guests and members of the body at the event. One of the important guests in
this year’s event was the wife of the Governor of the State, Justice Suzzette
Wike who was represented at the event by Mrs Adata Kio-Briggs.

The Governor’s wife described NAWOJ as a shining example of
vibrant women professionals who have used their positions to champion the
course of the plights of women in the society.

She added that the consequences of the polluted environments
in the Niger Delta region have been the various health challenges that have
been the lot of the people of the region. 

Justice Wike commended the organization for its interest in
the cleanup of the Niger Delta and advocated for concerted efforts towards
enhancing the welfare of the women and youths in polluted communities.

In line with the theme of the week, which is to promote the
health and wellbeing of the womenfolk, members of NAWOJ devoted the third day
of the event for  physical body fitness
exercises held at the State NUJ Press Centre and also undertook a visit to the
Lavinder Eye Specialist Hospital and Laser Centre along Odili road, in Port
Harcourt where Dr Alexzander Pepple and his team conducted eye checks on
members of the organization.

Speaking at the aerobics session, the General Manager of
Rivers State Television, Pastor Dafini Gogo-Abbey stated the importance of
exercise in the healthy living, noting that regular exercise was an antidote to
many diseases.

The week ended with a thanksgiving service held at the
Gateway International Church in Port Harcourt.

The General Overseer of the church, Rev George Izunwa in his
sermon charged NAWOJ to remain undaunted in its efforts of encouraging and
promoting the capacity of the women in the Journalism profession.

This year’s NAWOJ Week will remain highly rewarding especially
as the event was used to confer awards to deserving individuals and groups. It
is also epochal as the forum provided opportunities for the women in the pen
profession to interact and jointly voice out their convictions against issues
of environmental degradation and the plights of the womenfolk in the Niger
Delta.

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As IIJ Strives To Get Autonomy… Manasseh F. Paul-Worika

It was an evening of pomp and glamour as students,
management and staff of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Port
Harcourt study centre gathered for the 12th annual dinner and award night
ceremony of the institute held at the Auto-graph event centre, Sani Abacha
Road, Port Harcourt recently.

The occasion which also featured a paper presentation on;
“The Media and Nigerian Democratic Experience: A review of the2019 General
Elections, Issues and Perspectives, by Dr. Ita Ekanem a former Head Of
Department of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, offered
students, alumnus and lecturers of the institute an opportunity to interact and
exchange ideas with regards the practice of the journalism profession.

In his welcome address, Dean of student Affairs of the
Institute, Mr. Tamunobelema Ezekiel expressed delight at the institute’s
resolve of organizing the annual dinner and award ceremony despite the harsh
economic climate, stating that the occasion is peculiar to the Port Harcourt centre
of the institute as it is the only centre consistent with organizing the annual
event.

Ezekiel noted that, the event is pivotal as it offers
students of the institute an opportunity to interact with resources persons and
those who have excelled n the media industry. Adding that, the question of “Am
I in the right place?” asked by students when admitted to the institute would
be addressed when they interact with seasoned professionals who have gone
through the institute.

He said, “We have brought in resource persons for the
students to see. Also all those who are seasoned professionals in the mass
communication field and have gone through this institute have been brought
closer for the students to see, and the question of “am I in the right place”
frequently asked by new students can be addressed.

Ezekiel also noted that the event is organized to present
awards to alumnus of the institute who are excelling in their various spheres
of influence and lectures who are dedicated and committed to their duties.

He said, “There’s a reason to celebrate graduates of this
institute who are representing the institute excellently at various levels and
that’s why we are here also. And then to lecturers who have dedicated their
time to the moulding of students of the institute, we have to celebrate them”.

Presenting a paper on; “The Media and Nigeria Democratic
Experiences: a Review of the 2019 general Elections, Issues and Perspectives.
Dr. Ita Ekanem, a former Head of Department of Communication Arts, University
of Uyo, Akwa Ibom noted that the irregularities and issues recorded in the 2019
General elections is a clear indication that democracy in Nigeria is on
transition. Adding that, there was a clear disregard for the rules of the game
by all parties involved.

He said, “Part of the reason for the interest on the 2019
election was the general disregard for the rules of the game by all parties
especially the introduction of the military as a partisan and interested party.
For example, how can one explain the alleged involvement of the military in
stopping collation and declarations of results in Rivers state as well as the
killings of Nigerians who put their lives in danger to ensure that the will of
the people as expressed in the ballot count. This is why many commentators
conclude that we are not yet a functional democracy but one that is
transiting”.

Ekanem however noted that, until issues of militarisation,
“Ghana bag” money politics, godfatherism, selection of candidates by
godfathers, impunity and “winners chop” all mentality is addressed, it is
uncertain how democratic tenets can be upheld in Nigeria.

He said “Our recent elections tend to indicate widespread
apathy and non-involvement by Nigerians even though the quoted voting figures
tend to suggest the involvement of more Nigerians in the election process. The
non-involvement by Nigerians owes a lot to severe lack of confidence,
intimidation, militarization, godfatherrism, violence and intimidation by
politicians. And if necessary steps are not taken to address these issues, it
is uncertain how cherished democratic tenets and institutions can exist”.

Ekanem noted that the Nigerian democratic experience
requires more education and involvement. Adding that with more participation
and involvement, a deeper understanding of issues will begin to emerge giving
less energy to arbitrariness and corruption during elections.

“We need to vigorously pursue the good tenets of our
democracy and do away with impurity and money politics hallmarks which tend to
promote corruption and violence. Also, we need our political office seekers to
learn about how politics and organization of elections are done in other climes
and discourage such negativities as vote buying, ballot box snatching and
electoral violence”.

In his speech, Director of the institute, Dr. Ibituru
Pepplle stated that plans are on to make the institute an independent degree
awarding institute and no longer affiliated to another university.

He said, “There is an ongoing transformation in Abuja, and
in no distant time, this institute will be independent and no longer affiliated
to any institution”.

Pepple who lamented the poor state of the institute upon his
assumption as coordinator stated that there was so much decay, and all manner
of filt in the institute. He accused the leadership of the Nigerian Union of
Journalism (NUJ), Rivers State for architecting the decay by employment of
unqualified lecturers, encouraging attendance by proxy, promoting corrupt
practices, issuance of fake registration numbers etc.

He said, “I met so much decay, rot, and all manner of filt
as the union, that is, the NUJ in the state through its leadership were the
architects of the decay. Unqualified lecturers were employed, sorting was the
order of the day, etc. It is quite appalling, but the truth is, majority of
those who were students before I took over the mantle of leadership may not see
their original certificates from the University of Maiduguri except the ones
under my supervision from the 2010/2011 academic session upwards”

Pepple noted that inspite of all the challenges encountered,
the institute under his watch has witnessed a total transformation as the
standard of learning and teaching has improved.

Pepple added that although a formal letter has not been
written to the institutes head office in Abuja, the event may mark the end of
his tenure as Director of the centre as he is taking a bow out of the service
of the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja.

He said, “This speech is more like a valedictory one to me,
I may not have the privilege to talk with you again, except occasion permits. I
am taking a bow out of the service of the International Institute of
Journalism, Abuja, though I have not written a formal letter to management but
to break it first to you as individuals. Don’t get it wrong, it is better to
step aside when the ovation is loudest, than to receive a cold applause”.

In his goodwill message, Dr. Michael Ukaegbu congratulated
the management of the institute for putting up an event that aims at creating
an avenue for students, lecturers and alumnus to interest amongst themselves.
Adding that, it will be beneficial to all parties as critical issues that
borders on the right practice of the journalism profession will be discussed.

He called on students to remain focused and committed to
their studies to avoid poor grades.

In her goodwill message, miss. Ijeoma Acholonu congratulated
the institute for the feats attained in moulding journalists who not only
represent the institute in their spheres of influence but also serve as role
models to the students.

Calling on the management of the institute to maintain it’s
insistence on hardwork, discipline, professionalism and dedication, Acholonu
urged students of institute to imbibe traits that will distinguish them
whenever they find themselves.

Receiving his award as a distinguished alumni of the
institute, Executive chairman of Obio/Akpor local government area, Hon. Prince
Solomon Abel Eke expressed delight at the developmental strides witnessed in
the institute. He appreciated the management of the institute for deeming him
fit as a recipient of the coveted award, stating that he remains a proud
ambassador of the institute.

Other awardees were; Mrs. Ilanye Jumbo, Miss Dumotein Oriye,
Mr. Otaria Beregha-Apoko, Eze (Amb) Alex Ovunda. Nwokamma (Eze Owhnuritananya I
of Mgbuhie rumuekpe), and Dr. Ibituru Iwowari Pepple.

In his closing remark, Dr. Michael Ukaegbu appreciated all
those who honoured the event despite the challenging demand of time, and prayed
God bless them all.

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Parliamentary Democracy, The Change We Really Need. Manasseh F. Paul-Worika

In the wake of 2019 General elections, some members of the
8th national assembly had initiated a discourse on the relevance of the
parliamentary system of government to the Nigerian polity. As it were, the
intense pre-election anxieties of the time precluded a thoughtful examination
of that proposal. But now that the elections have virtually come and gone, and
we have a new dispensation, it is necessary to reopen the conversation on that
noble idea.

I wouldn’t know the number of people who really took time to
reflect on the preparations, campaigns and tours of the presidential candidates
of the major political parties in the 2019 elections. But I can tell that I was
almost brought to tears as I watched great Nigerians straining themselves,
moving from Sokoto to Calabar, Kano to Lagos, just to secure votes for their
parties. Incidentally, from practical observation, it is obvious that the
Nigerian masses are not really enthusiastic about a presidential candidate they
may never come across in flesh all their lives.

The interest of the electorate, in most cases, is the extent
to which the presidential candidate of a political party is impressed upon them
by the local political elites. The masses are more interested in the candidates
in their immediate environment whom they can assess with greater scrutiny;
representatives they can physically behold, if not always, at least once in a
while.

So, just for a moment imagine that we were running a
parliamentary system of government. All the expenses and labour committed to
such criss-crossing of the country by the various presidential candidates would
have been saved for some other ventures. What Buhari, Atiku, Moghalu, Sowore,
Durutoye etc needed to do was to simply campaign within their federal
constituency or Senatorial zone, as the case may be, where they have direct
relationship with the people.

Off they go to Abuja as members of the National Assembly,
where any one of them could be chosen by their fellow parliamentarians as the
Prime minister of the country. This does not only save the cost of that
expensive countrywide campaign, but more important, the nation is availed the
services of these great Nigerians.

Think of the quality of ministers that would come from such
assembly. Imagine we had in our parliament the likes of Buhari, Atiku, Moghalu,
Sowore, Charles Soludo, Donald Duke, Pat Utomi, Raji Fashola, Oby Ezekwesili,
etc. Even if the best among them do not emerge as ministers, one can be sure
that such calibre of men and women will not sit idly by and watch incompetent
persons occupy the driving seats of a parliament in which they belong.

When we put this in perspective, it stands to reason that,
in a parliamentary system, every constituency would wish to send their best
materials to the parliament. Even the most formidable godfathers would vie for
a seat in the assembly, instead of populating such positions with their
cronies. That is to say, only the best from each zone would come to compete in
our assemblies.

Indeed, if you do a critical appraisal of Nigeria’s
political history, you would realize that our best politicians, some of whom we
still adore to this day, blossomed in the parliamentary system of government;
NnamdiAzikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Michael Okpara,
Dennis Osadebay etc.

I recently watched a video 
clip on the official speeches of Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first and only
Prime Minister. Wonderful! Honestly for a while, I thought I was watching an
Oxford-trained British Statesman. His thoughts, accent and carriage were
impeccable. After seeing a Nigerian leader manifest such brilliance about sixty
years ago, I couldn’t help but wonder why we have failed to build upon the
outstanding performances of our founding fathers. Then I remembered our ill
advised recourse to a bogus presidential system of government, operating with a
unique Parliament, with all its costs and duplication of functions. A
presidential system that only concentrates power in one man, thereby
engendaring mediocrity and dictatorial proclivity.

Even in appointment of ministers, an elected office holder
would always have a greater sense of responsibility to the electorate than a
political appointee whose loyalty is first to his boss, the authority to whom
he owes his appointment. As it were, in a Parliament system, all the ministers
will come from the elected members of the Parliament. None of them will be
intimidated by the Prime Minister, being that the prime minister is simply
first among equals and can easily be replaced by his colleagues.

 Indeed, parliamentary
government fosters a spirit of give and take. Not the current “Winner takes
all”attitude that breeds a culture of desperation and fight to finish. On some
occasions in a parliamentary system, no one party may be able to secure
sufficient majority to form a government. Such situations compel an inevitable
resort to compromises and alliances.

The beauty of this arrangement comes in bold relief when you
recall that ours is a multi ethnic society where only inter-group understanding
and cooperation can guarantee true national development.On the contrary, once a
president is in power, his opponents can go to hell for all he cares. He simply
looks forward to the next cycle of elections or just sits and watches his
defeated opponent contend with the vagaries of litigation.

Political opponents are not enemies but brothers and sisters
who just have a different vision of governance. Imagine the many members of the
opposition parties since the advent of the presidential system in 1979, that
government never had the opportunity to tap from their knowledge and passion
for service: Aminu Kano, Waziri Ibrahim, Tunji Braithwaite, Olu Falae, Emeka
Odumegwu Ojukwu etc. Same is applicable at the state level. If we had a
parliamentary government when these eminent persons were contesting for
Presidency or governorship, they probably would have all ended up in the
assembly, contributing their quota to the development of their fatherland.

You can see how the presidential System of government
stifles the collective potentials of a people.Permit me to add that the variant
of parliamentary government I have in mind should be tailored to our Nigerian
reality. There should not be a bicameral legislature that would give room for
two unnecessary arms of the parliament. Nigeria does not need such luxury now.
One chamber is enough. It could be modelled in line with the Federal
constituencies or senatorial zones, or a structure that collapses both Chambers
to form just one parliament.

In the same vein, the proposed model should be without a
ceremonial president like we had With Dr.Nnamdi Azikiwe in the first Republic
of the 1960s. A Prime minister operating without a ceremonial president would
save cost and help avoid not just irreconcilable differences between the
president and the prime minister, but a situation where executive tendencies
will begin to build around the office of the ceremonial president, with
creation of subordinate offices, multiple aides and an endless coterie of
advisers.

It is reassuring to note that some of the vocal proponents
of the parliamentary government in the 8th National Assembly succeeded in their
re-election bid. Let’s hope they will, in the 9th assembly, form the vanguard
of a Nigerian movement for a comprehensive review of the current constitution.
And, by so doing, engrave their names in the chronicle of a rejuvenated
Nigerian Nation.

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Requiem To A Parsonage …Victor, Engineer, God’s Steward. Manasseh F. Paul-Worika

Saturday, April 27th 2019 was like no other day and not even
this year’s synod meeting of the Niger Delta Diocese and the state-wide sanitation
exercise could detract from its significance as people from all walks of life
trooped to Bolo Town in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State to pay
their last respect to a real man of peace and steward of God, Engineer Victor
Josiah Orisa who had answered the master’s call to return home and was laid to
rest amid lamentation and testimonies.

Late Engr. Victor Josiah Orisa, a trained professional
engineer was in the building industry for over twenty years and demonstrated
proficiency in various departments of the industry, including Project
Supervision, Project Management, Human Resource Management and Public Health
Engineering. He was a member of Nigeria Society of Engineers, Council for the
Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and Nigerian Institute of Civil
Engineering (NICE), Port Harcourt Branch .

Engr. Orisa, loved God and worked with delight in the Lord’s
Vineyard, the church.  He was nurtured by
his mother who had influenced his enrolment in St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church,
Bolo choir at a very tender age where he became the youngest chorister at the
time. He was one of the founding members of the Men Christian Association as it
was then called in St. John’s Anglican Church, Bishop Johnson Street, Port
Harcourt, alongside Late Oyibosia Ediyekio, Sir (Chief) I. N. Ohia, Late Chief
J. J, Arugu, HRH F. B. Orukari, just to mention a few.

He held several positions like Auditor, Ex-officio and in
2015, he was elected as Financial Secretary of the Association, a position he
held diligently until the association was re-christened as Christian Men
Fellowship. Thus, he became the first Financial Secretary under the new
name.  Over the years, he was financial
adviser to many Father’s Day Planning Committees.

Until his death, he was a very active member of St. John’s
Anglican Church, New-layout, Port Harcourt. His contribution to the
construction of the new church building and the body of Christ speak volume of
his commitment to God’s work. He was a proponent of personal development and
believes that the race of perfection cannot be finished.  Nurtured by his mother to love God and serve
the Church, his love for God and His work was so strong that it is beyond mere
coincidence that he died in the church on Mothering Sunday, 31st March, 2019.

Activities for the burial of the parsonage  began on Wednesday 24th April 2019, with a
service of songs held in his honour at St. John’s Anglican Church, Bishop
Johnson Street, Borokiri, Port Harcourt and climaxed on Saturday 27th April
2019 with a day vigil and funeral service at St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church,
Bolo.

Giving a testimony of late Engr Victor Orisa’s Christian
life, Sir. Engr. Nathaniel Iboroma noted that the deceased was committed and
faithful in the service of God and was also a founding member of the Men’s
Christian Association (MCA), now known as Christian Men’s Fellowship (CMF).

He said, “The CMF and indeed the church has lost a hero. He
was not just a founding member of the fellowship; he was a vibrant and active
one. His critical analysis of issues and suggesting solutions is one attribute
we will ever remember him for. He invested so much of his time and skills for
the growth and sustenance of CMF. But we take solace in the fact that heaven
has received him”.

Speaking in behalf of the in-laws, Mr. Joe Ayotamuno
described the deceased as a man of peace and honor. He noted that the late
Engr. Orisa was a blessing to the family and pointed out that his fatherly
counsel will be missed.

He said, “Words cannot describe how heavy our hearts are. Engr.
Orisa showed us immense love, gave us counsel, provided exemplary leadership
and stood by the family during her trying times. We attest to the fact he was
very disciplined, God-fearing and devoted to his creator and surely all he
showed us will live on”.

On his part, Mr. Dan Fiberisima Oruwari, speaking for the
Oruwari family described the deceased as a man of discipline and courage. He
pointed out that late Orisa held dearly the principle of timeliness which
distinguished him from others. He added that the deceased made education a
priority in the family, taking it upon himself the role of sponsoring those who
were willing to get formal education.

Speaking for the children, Engr. Mrs. Emiline Temple
described late Orisa as a worthy father who sacrificed all in his pursuit of a
better life for his children, adding that, he never looked down on anyone, but
provided a level ground for all including his female children to attain
excellence.

She said, “He was not just a father in words, but in action.
He valued education and ensured he sacrificed everything to ensure me and my
siblings got the best of education and today it is paying off. He was a great
man, a father anyone would pray to have and it is our confidence that the seeds
he has sown will continue to grow and produce great fruits”.

Reverend Friday Ogbonna, in a message titled, “What will
people say on your last day” admonished Christian faithfuls to live a life
worthy of emulation as they go about their business on earth.

Taking his reading from Acts 9:37, Ogbonma urged Christians
to emulate the life of Dorcas in the bible who dedicated her life to the
service of God and humanity and by so doing, made a good name for herself.

He further urged Christians to remain committed to the
things of God and shun sin at all times as that alone guarantees a place in
God’s kingdom and prayed for the bereaved family, asking God to comfort them
and fill the vacuum created.

In his closing remark, Elder Pius Oruwari appreciated those
who have stood by the family in their times and also honored the ceremony
irrespective of the challenging demands of the time and prayed God to reward
them all.

Late Orisa was laid to rest in
his country home with family, friends and associates all bidding farewell.    

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