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Marlians: A Growing Band Of Deviants

Azeez Adeshina Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley has not only influenced the Nigerian music industry with his Afro beat/Afro-Pop genre, he has also influenced a new generation of youths who have called themselves Marlians.

The support he garnered from millions of Nigeria youths during his incarceration by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) is undeniably massive, as hash tags #FreeNairaMarley and other heart-rending solidarity write-ups littered the cyber space. His irate followers got their hands on the gadgets minutes after minutes to cast aspersions on his critics.

His incessant reckless tweets and public display of marijuana (weed) on his Instagram page also came under the scrutiny of moralists demanding decorum in the way he puts out his thoughts on national and personal issues. Recently he opined in one of his tweets about the higher marketability of ladies’ butts over Masters degree claiming that a lady having a big ‘backside’ is more attractive and more likely to be prosperous than a masters degree holder.

The Naira Marley fever is one that has swept across the entertainment scene like a flood, giving rise to a new generation of people called ‘Marlians’. Now the term ‘Marlians’ is used by people who are fans and followers of Naira Marley, with obvious characteristics. Shockingly, many have confessed to becoming or associating with deviants, rebellion, among other vices in order to be tagged as true ‘Marlians’.

After his breakthrough in 2019, his massive fan base was code named ‘Marlians’ with the motto ‘No Mannaz’ as one of the most used words. Marlians are alleged to be mainly fraudsters, yahoo boys, drug addicts and others who have negative behaviors and means of getting rich. A post online explains the rules for becoming a ‘Marlian’ (most of which were derived from his songs and online interactions and behaviors).

Naira Marley posted on Twitter saying, “Admit it, life would be boring without me. Having a big booty is better than having a Master’s degree.” However, the post didn’t go down well with many especially ladies who claimed to have big butts.

Following the reaction, having been tagged a bad influence to society on several levels, Marley came out to advise his fans on the use of drug and drug abuse.

Taking to his Twitter, the singer sent a note of advice to warn his fans not to do drugs, except if it was prescribed. “Marlians don’t do drugs unless it is prescribed”, he wrote.

Becoming a ‘Marlian’ sadly, has become a trending issue that is currently causing concerns for parents and the society at large. While Naira Marley may be oblivious to how ‘infectious’ his behavior, and songs have become in the society today, many are concerned that if not nipped in the bud, a generation of societal deviants may have been born unknowingly.

Parents and social critics have voiced concerns over the increasing lack of morality, and disregard for elders or authority among youths.

Love Clement, a banker, in a chat with The Vortex expressed worry over the mannerlessness exhibited by young people adding that, parents must pay critical attention to their children and what they are exposed to.

She said, “My heart bleeds every time I shop at the mall and see young boys and girls dressing roughly, smoking in car parks and even romancing themselves in dark open spaces. I understand that they want to identify with their entertainment idols but what we are having today is worrisome. Growing up I listened to music from Bobby Brown, Boyz 2 Men and some Nigerian artistes and they sang about love and all but we were sensible enough to know what we wanted for ourselves. Today, especially with the #Marlian trend, which I believe is more of a cult, youths are losing their self esteem to alcohol, drugs, sex, and get rich quick attitudes. I can only advise parents to monitor their wards more.”

Another parent on Facebook wrote about her helplessness and shock learning about the Marlian fever. She got to hear from her daughter’s school principal, that her ‘Born-Again’ daughter belonged to a female secret cult in the school.

A psychologist, Grace Jumbo, explained that peer pressure plays a big role in today’s society, especially with the influence of social media.

She said, “Youths are predisposed to all manner of information at their finger tips as granted by the internet and are easily influenced today than ever before. When they see what their peers and idols are ‘achieving’ online, they tend to desire same. Now, who these friends and idols are remain the most important question. Sadly, today, many artistes do not see themselves as role models and the regulatory bodies are also grossly failing in their duties. There is no structure or regulation within the entertainment industry in Nigeria so the society is free to gobble up whatever is fed to them, especially online. Even if Naira Marley’s songs are banned by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), how about the satellite TVs, YouTube and other stream sites. I guess this is where the monitoring of social media comes in but its intentions are also debatable”.

Mrs. Mercy Nwokocha, a socialite believes the media is largely at fault for whatever problems the society faces.

“I blame the media. They always hold all these people in high esteem. He who pays the piper dictates the tune. If the media platforms refuse to play or air certain songs and videos, entertainers will be forced to have sense. I switch on my TV and seen near naked women in various videos. Over time, if these are exposed to young children, they will be brain-washed to think it is the normal way of life. And so today, our youths are endangered species. Look around you and see how our young adults are misbehaving. Everything that we thought was bad, growing up, today, is normal; smoking in public, glorifying obscenity, sex, alcohol, name it. I am disappointed”, she said.

The Vortex engaged a self professed 21-year-old ‘Marlian’ on Whatsapp and the conversation was fascinating. According to him (names withheld) he became a ‘Marlian’ because of the ‘values’ that his rap idol stands for.

“Naira doesn’t fake it. He is so real. He does what he likes and speaks his mind. I also love his dance steps. I became his follower and fan because his songs speak freedom”, he said.

When asked on the type of freedom he speaks of, he said, “Freedom from societal values and expectations. I can dress the way I want, do whatever pleases me because I am responsible for myself. The EFCC tried to oppress him but till date, he has been triumphing. Naira Marley is a prophet”.

While it is evident that more Nigerian youths are becoming more independent and vocal against societal norms and values (Not limited to Naira Marley’s input), it is expected that individuals in positions of influence, particularly entertainers, should be ready to assist in shaping public perceptions with their craft and not encourage actions capable of instigating social deviants and immorality.

With the “Marlian” fever spreading like wild fire, the job is for parents to monitor their wards as best as they can, and for the artiste concerned to have more sense of responsibility while the media should stop glorifying mediocrity even as the regulatory bodies tighten their control.

Spreading like a virus, all hands must be on deck to correct the anomalies associated with the Marlian fever.

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His Majesty’s Visits To War-Canoe Houses

In the wee hours of Tuesday, December 18th, 2019, the chiefs and people of Ogu Kingdom in affirmation of the divine choice, rolled out the carpet of royalty, and watched in excitement at the formal coronation of Dickson Nicholas Ibiebele-Nimenibo as King Loko IX, Amanyanabo of Ogu Kingdom.

It was a new chapter in the history of Ogu Kingdom, coming nearly forty years after the coronation of late Loko VIII in 1979. The coronation of King Loko IX was reverent. With all the displays of cultural dances, gigs, songs and rallies, it was a royal carnival; but it was a solemn ceremony that reinforced the peace in the kingdom.

And in one year, the first class traditional ruler, retired civil servant, educated in the United States, but rooted in the culture and tradition of his people has established his kingdom on the pillar of God and promoted peace in his domain.

A thanksgiving anniversary is a befitting way to celebrate the giant king who went through the crucible, before taking the mantle of kingship to point the way forward for the sustenance of communal peace and the prosperity of his Kingdom.

The Amanyanabo of Ogu kingdom, His Majesty, King Nicholas Dickson Ibiebele-Nimenibo, Loko IX undertook a royal visit to the five traditional War-Canoe Houses (Wariyingise) with the maiden visit to the chiefs, elders and the people of Ofiamani Group of Houses at the Ofiamani Square.

The Monarch expressed delight over the warm reception accorded him and his entourage. Stressing that the ancestors had directed him to embark on the royal visit to begin with Ofiamani which is the largest group of houses.

In their separate speeches, the chairman of Ogu Divisional council of Chiefs, Chief Spiff Micah Taribo-Amgbara and Chief S. W. Ibisiki-Mgbeka commended King Ibiebele-Nimenibo, for his initiative as the custodian of the people, describing his visit as worthy gesture.

Earlier, Chairman of Ofiamani Group of Houses, Chief Allwell Imbu Apina-Ikuno said they are privileged as the first Group of Houses in Ogu to welcome the traditional Ruler on his maiden Royal visit.

Chief Apina-Ikuno also pledged their unalloyed support for the good governance and policies of the kingdom, praying for peace, love and unity to reign, and further assured that the long standing historical ties and friendly disposition between the Ofiamani and Loko Group of Houses be maintained for the development and administration of Ogu Kingdom.

During his visit to the people of Omodara Group of Houses, King Loko IX said with the existing peace in the community following his installation and coronation they had shown love and noted that the visit was to thank them.

The monarch further urged the people not to forget their culture and tradition so that the younger generation would know their history.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Ogu Divisional Council of Chiefs, Chief Spiff Taribo-Amgbara commended the Omodara Group of Houses for the cultural display and artifacts, and opined that the community will continue to experience rapid development and progress.

In his speech, Chief Jonah Tamuno-Furubowarifama who chronicled the history of Omodara Ancestry said as one of the founders of the town, they paved the way for its development by donating lands for the first church and schools at Tende Ama, and need special consideration in employment, and empowerment.

He said stressing that they also deserved better deal because of Ikpokiri, their old settlement were the wharf and the Navel college are located.

Earlier in their welcome address read by the chairman of Omodarani Wariyengi-se, Chief Joachin Reuben Amakiri-Abam Nyeduko felicitated with the king on his visit, coronation, elevation and recognition as a first class Amanyanabo of Ogu, and pledged their commitment to the existing cordial relationship and co-operation between Ogu kingdom and their Group of Houses.

Chief Abam Nyeduko appealed for employment opportunities for the youths, scholarships for the pupils and students and empowerment for the women to enable them engage in small scale businesses, pointing out that Tende-Ama and Ikpokiri have some satellite settlements that host majority of the development projects in the kingdom.

During his visit to Kurukuru Group of Houses the Amanyanabo said God is behind the throne and enjoined the people to maintain their peaceful disposition to fast-track more developments in the area.

  He opined that Ogu is the most peaceful community in the state because God is with them, and charged the chiefs and the people of the kingdom to forgive one another.

The Amanyanabo promised to restore electricity, water and create employment opportunities, adding that since he became the king of Ogu over 300 youths have been gainfully  employed as Community Liaison Officers (CLO’s) in various companies at the Onne/Ikpokiri Wharf.

On December 12, 2019, King Nicholas Dickson Ibiebele-Nimenibo,  visited the Loko Wariyingi-se, his war-canoe group  and thanked them for the mandate after he was appointed by God and thanked them for standing by him during the trial periods.

The monarch who gave a brief history of the five Group of Houses and the role or duties they played enjoined them to always keep to the tradition.

He called for revival of the culture and encourage the children to also follow the footsteps of their forefathers who are good drummers, dancers and orators, stressing that God loves the people of Ogu like the Israelites in the Bible.

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One Year With The Mantle…

In the wee hours of Tuesday, December 18th, 2019, the chiefs and people of Ogu Kingdom in affirmation of the divine choice, rolled out the carpet of royalty, and watched in excitement at the formal coronation of Dickson Nicholas Ibiebele-Nimenibo as King Loko IX, Amanyanabo of Ogu Kingdom.

It was a new chapter in the history of Ogu Kingdom, coming nearly forty years after the coronation of late Loko VIII in 1979. The coronation of King Loko IX was reverent. With all the displays of cultural dances, gigs, songs and rallies, it was a royal carnival; but it was a solemn ceremony that reinforced the peace in the kingdom.

And in one year, the first class traditional ruler, retired civil servant, educated in the United States, but rooted in the culture and tradition of his people has established his kingdom on the pillar of God and promoted peace in his domain.

A thanksgiving anniversary is a befitting way to celebrate the giant king who went through the crucible, before taking the mantle of kingship to point the way forward for the sustenance of communal peace and the prosperity of his Kingdom.

The Amanyanabo of Ogu kingdom, His Majesty, King Nicholas Dickson Ibiebele-Nimenibo, Loko IX undertook a royal visit to the five traditional War-Canoe Houses (Wariyingise) with the maiden visit to the chiefs, elders and the people of Ofiamani Group of Houses at the Ofiamani Square.

The Monarch expressed delight over the warm reception accorded him and his entourage. Stressing that the ancestors had directed him to embark on the royal visit to begin with Ofiamani which is the largest group of houses.

In their separate speeches, the chairman of Ogu Divisional council of Chiefs, Chief Spiff Micah Taribo-Amgbara and Chief S. W. Ibisiki-Mgbeka commended King Ibiebele-Nimenibo, for his initiative as the custodian of the people, describing his visit as worthy gesture.

Earlier, Chairman of Ofiamani Group of Houses, Chief Allwell Imbu Apina-Ikuno said they are privileged as the first Group of Houses in Ogu to welcome the traditional Ruler on his maiden Royal visit.

Chief Apina-Ikuno also pledged their unalloyed support for the good governance and policies of the kingdom, praying for peace, love and unity to reign, and further assured that the long standing historical ties and friendly disposition between the Ofiamani and Loko Group of Houses be maintained for the development and administration of Ogu Kingdom.

During his visit to the people of Omodara Group of Houses, King Loko IX said with the existing peace in the community following his installation and coronation they had shown love and noted that the visit was to thank them.

The monarch further urged the people not to forget their culture and tradition so that the younger generation would know their history.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Ogu Divisional Council of Chiefs, Chief Spiff Taribo-Amgbara commended the Omodara Group of Houses for the cultural display and artifacts, and opined that the community will continue to experience rapid development and progress.

In his speech, Chief Jonah Tamuno-Furubowarifama who chronicled the history of Omodara Ancestry said as one of the founders of the town, they paved the way for its development by donating lands for the first church and schools at Tende Ama, and need special consideration in employment, and empowerment.

He said stressing that they also deserved better deal because of Ikpokiri, their old settlement were the wharf and the Navel college are located.

Earlier in their welcome address read by the chairman of Omodarani Wariyengi-se, Chief Joachin Reuben Amakiri-Abam Nyeduko felicitated with the king on his visit, coronation, elevation and recognition as a first class Amanyanabo of Ogu, and pledged their commitment to the existing cordial relationship and co-operation between Ogu kingdom and their Group of Houses.

Chief Abam Nyeduko appealed for employment opportunities for the youths, scholarships for the pupils and students and empowerment for the women to enable them engage in small scale businesses, pointing out that Tende-Ama and Ikpokiri have some satellite settlements that host majority of the development projects in the kingdom.

During his visit to Kurukuru Group of Houses the Amanyanabo said God is behind the throne and enjoined the people to maintain their peaceful disposition to fast-track more developments in the area.

  He opined that Ogu is the most peaceful community in the state because God is with them, and charged the chiefs and the people of the kingdom to forgive one another.

The Amanyanabo promised to restore electricity, water and create employment opportunities, adding that since he became the king of Ogu over 300 youths have been gainfully  employed as Community Liaison Officers (CLO’s) in various companies at the Onne/Ikpokiri Wharf.

On December 12, 2019, King Nicholas Dickson Ibiebele-Nimenibo,  visited the Loko Wariyingi-se, his war-canoe group  and thanked them for the mandate after he was appointed by God and thanked them for standing by him during the trial periods.

The monarch who gave a brief history of the five Group of Houses and the role or duties they played enjoined them to always keep to the tradition.

He called for revival of the culture and encourage the children to also follow the footsteps of their forefathers who are good drummers, dancers and orators, stressing that God loves the people of Ogu like the Israelites in the Bible.

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The Vortex @ One: Celebrating Vision And Passion For Newspapering

One year ago, precisely on the 21st of December, 2018, when The Vortex Newspapers, a full-color weekly newspaper with a vision to change the face of newspapering hit the newsstand. It was dexterity, panache and courage at work. And as the nation endures depression and political, economic and cultural upheavals, The Vortex has survived and prospered beyond imaginations.

As it marks its 1st anniversary in the market and in the minds of men of value, The Vortex is widely becoming an influential newspaper. Its philosophy of unbiased and balanced reportage of news across Rivers State and beyond is a major strength. 

The Vortex story is a complex and paradoxical blend of steadfastness and willingness to change, with staff espousing core values of fairness, accuracy and responsibility.

With The Vortex, readers have become accustomed to a supermarket of information, a panoply of sports, business, arts, entertainment, science and other areas, from the mundane to the mysterious.

Indeed there is something for everyone, elegantly written..

Speaking on the one year of The Vortex, Publisher of The Vortex Newspapers, Dr. Alpheaus Paul-Worika recalled the inaugural presentation of “The Vortex in 2018, thus: “we are determined to establish a privately-owned newspaper that will earn the trust and confidence of the public as critical stakeholders to whom he shall be accountable. Consequently, we have designed a content that takes into consideration the various segments, sectors and interest of our public as we deem it necessary to meet the wishes and expectations of readers”.

The Vortex has become a popular choice for readers. In the last one year as it has enthralled the media space with factual reportage, insightful features and profound comments that have informed, educated, enlightened and refreshed the minds of readers, keeping them glued to newspaper stands as they anticipate new editions of its publication.

The Vortex is committed to creative journalism that upholds the sanctity of facts while providing the platform to support every noble course. Its support for the #OurStateOurResponsibility campaign initiated by the Rivers state Ministry of Information and Communication received commendation from the Ministry. It is the peoples’ voice.

The Vortex has deepened its presence in the internet by establishing a website to supply internet users with news resources. So with just a click, you can access news stories, comments and features with unique The Vortex flavor.

The Vortex is determined to establish a tradition of news evolution that does not rely on spontaneous breaks that fizzle out moments after. The focus is on deep-rooted research that interrogates government policies and programmes and motivates the citizenry to be responsible for the enthronement of a value-based society.

It’s one year of service. The journey has indeed started on a good note.

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‘PH Rehabilitation Camp Where The Insane Get Healing’

The shanties and the unkept environment may look pathetic to behold for unsuspecting visitors; but that is indeed the location of Joel Brain Solution Rehabilitation Centre, where the Proprietor, Pastor Joel Amanchukwu camps and rehabilitates mentally challenged person taken from various streets in Rivers and beyond.

The shanties located along 55b Incour Road, opposite Express concerns in Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt, has over thirty men and women within the ages of 25-50 years.

Explaining how he came into the rehabilitation of mentally challenged persons in the society, Pastor Amachukwu said when he discovered that God deposited healing powers in him he began picking mad people along the road side and streets into the camp, feeding and treating them, to bring them back to life and return them to their people without charges.

Pastor Amanchukwu who emphasized that nobody was created to go round the streets and eat from garbage and dustbin said he began his healing prowess in 2006 when he encountered a young girl name Gift Asanye.

According to him, the girl from Enugu state was instantly healed, restored and reunited with her family.

The proprietor also explained that some of the mad persons picked from the streets usually responds to prayers and get instant healing adding that some who were not yet out of their memories are referred to doctors at the State Psychiatric Hospitals and returned to the camp for further healing processes.

“We continue the rehabilitation  until they start to communicate normal with human beings”, Pastor Amanchukwu declared.

On what motivated him to the works, Pastor Amanchukwu said he was spurred by the injunctions of Christ in Matthew 25:36 to feed and clothe the needy, “since I have the talent, I don’t need to wait until I die with my talent but to use it to add value to this world. I discovered that these people have something to do with my kingdom race and other people’s kingdom race too”, he explained.

The proprietor of Joel Brain Solution Rehabilitation Centre eloquently told this reporter that he started the task with the finances he earned from his business of turning to wealth but that when he could not cope with the increasing number of persons in the camp, he decided to appeal for humanitarian assistance from churches individuals and organizations.

He said several groups including churches and individuals have been responding to their appeals and messages through donations, adding that even with the added funding from his waste to wealth returns, the camps still needs the help of public spirited persons and groups.

“I am appealing to International Donor Agencies Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the wealthy, churches, local , federal and state agencies to contribute in any manner they can to sustain the idea of NO MAD PERSONS on the Streets Our Visions is to build this rehabilitation centre in all the states in Nigeria and beyond”.`

Explaining that the organization was not one to solicit for personal enrichment, Pastor Amanchukwu called on people to partner with the centre, stating that over 20 persons have been rehabilitated and healed by the centre.

Some of these ones on the camp according to him can now be managed by their people but regretted that some of the rehabilitated persons cannot locate their homes, even as he added that their people may have also presumed them dead and forgotten about them.

Pastor Amanchukwu described the scourge of the mentally as deranged a global challenge that must be concertedly tackled.

He said it is inhuman and abomination how people created by God are allowed to walk on the street naked, feeding from drainages and dust bins, with some of them dead by the corner and decomposed on the street as a result of mental illness.

Pasto Amanchukwu attributed the possible cause of increasing rate of mental illness to multiple factors and dimensions, including frustrations drug addictions, inheritances from lineages.

Others factors he added were what he termed nemesis while some he stated are what human beings did to them.

“But whichever one it is, when the grace and mercy of the Lord comes down, they will be healed”, the pastor assured. The man of God advised parents and the society to strive to live a life of care and compassion to their fellow humanity.

Parents should start early toe advice their children and wards on the way they should grow, so that when they grow they will not depart from it. Evil doers should refrain from it because evil pays evil Depression can also lead to madness. Let everybody put his faith in God who has powers to do anything. The public should also help those depressed or stigmatized along the roads or the neighborhood with these we can reduce the number of hepatizes in our society. This centre is registered with the Rivers State social welfare Board; Pastor Joel concluded.

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Ides Of November From Bayelsa

What becomes of the common man in the unfolding scenario in Bayelsa? How do we ensure that the new regime does not follow “I Pass My Neighbour” mentality and further worsen the quality of life and human index standards of the Ijaw man, woman or child? The signs are ominous!

Someone said former President GEJ taught Governor Seriake Dickson a lesson with this November election. Really? It may be so but don’t buy this account as a solution to the challenges ahead. Yes, there was a melting point when Governor Seriake Dickson’s conduct made his former “god fathers” helpless & provoked public anger . But they had been so from the day he was sworn in to do a second term, without GEJ as President of Nigeria. The PDP, APC, APGA or any party does not control any Governor or legislator in Nigeria.

Like a true Emperor, a Governor claims the entire arena of decision- making to himself. Every seating Bayelsa Governor appears to jump into that bandwagon: Isnt that what all Governors do since 1999? They are Emperors and act it with gusto! They become gods in their own little territories.

Teaching someone a lesson suggests that you are in control. The situation unfolding in Bayelsa now in my view, appears to be a sad continuation of the classical “Crackers biscuit metaphor” . Check Odili & Amaechi, Tinubu & Ambode, Jonathan & Timipre Sylva, etc. The list is endless. The drama by GEJ  and Seriake Dickson, now is only a “narrative continuum”: When you break Crackers biscuit, it hardly comes out as neat pieces! In Nigeria it often tends to leave those around the dining table who broke the biscuit, with far less pieces than they imagined. They make do with a survival scramble for the pieces on the floor. The winner takes it all!

This happens where the winner becomes the owner of the party & government. That is what we learn from the recent US experience with Donald Trump as President. He has literally swallowed the Republican Party as Michael Bloomberg argued in Businessweek of October 14, 2019 edition titled “Trump Won’t Stop His Abuses of Power”. In my view President Buhari should file claims for the US to pay intellectual property rights on Donald Trump’s playbook. It is a stolen copy of field notes that belong to Nigerian politicians from 1999.

Like a Nigerian politician, Donald Trump simply created a Republican Party after his own image. He never plays by the rules of the party, unlike Ronald Reagan or the George Bush lineage that followed party discipline! Donald Trump is buying over the party by demolishing everything he met. He deploys freely the theory of brinkmanship in politics. He puts all Republican elected officials on a rolling barrel. And they become beholden to him.

Same story in Nigeria since 1999. Our politicians appear to be OWNERS of the party once they “win”. So the only rules they go by, are the rules of the OWNER ( the man of the moment).

 Bayelsa after Seriake Dickson, cannot be any different. The emptiness of Nigeria’s politics is driven by the hidden force of “I Pass My Neighbour” mentality since 1999. The “Winner” tends to take all, and reduces the rest of us to praise singers or an angry audience watching by the sideline. With time, the tension and struggles to play Emperor, will damage the big masquerade and he will leave the arena with a tragic limp.

And the loser? It includes the one time winner. In this Bayelsa case, the owners of PDP in the state lost the “people power” which resides in our abused electorate. Bayelsa workers were denied of a future to be proud of. Pensioners are not even on the Governor’s discussion list. The State was reduced to Yenagoa and no more! Did you see the video footage of polling activities on TV? In Amassoma & other places, people were lining up in knee-high flood water to vote. Government abandoned them all through! They sleep in canoes. 

So on election day, the people simply looked the other way. They allowed those who showed more muscle, to throw their Emperor’s government down by any means possible.

When the public tends to dislike the opposition more, they shout and throw themselves in the line of fire to chase the hungry hawks away. That was what happened in 2015 in Rivers State. Despite the power of incumbency under Governor Amaechi’s brand new APC front, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike snatched the office of Governor of Rivers State for the PDP. And in 2019 the same people put their lives on the line in different communities to fight off the hurricane of Federal might against Governor Wike.

Can the new man be the People’s Emperor to reverse the anguish they suffered under Governor Dickson? That can only happen where the people are organized as strong stakeholder groups to set the agenda of governance. Professional groups, Labour associations, Women organizations, Social platforms and Business fronts need to stand up to push a coherent public agenda that will create a high productive and decentralized economy for the state

Those who think “it is their own turn” now to benefit from the intoxication of political power, won’t let it happen. Are we prepared to fight to break the feudal system which PDP started and has passed over to APC? Or we should prepare to raise Almajiri groups in Brass, Nembe, and everywhere else that has a corridor to the Atlantic. Concluded.

Amaopusenibo Brown, veteran journalist and former National President of NIPR is the  CEO of Grain Consulting.

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Media Assistants In Democratic Space

The manner public office holders appoint assistants to handle media responsibilities is proof that proper information management is the life wire of business even in a democracy. For most of our political history, it used to be Minister for information at the federal levels and Commissioners for information at the state level. But today, exciting progress is being made in this direction; as we now have not just Minister for information, Commissioners for information and Chief Press Secretaries but Senior Special Assistant (Media), Senior Special Assistant Media (Technical), Special Assistant (Media), Special Assistant (information gathering), Special Assistant (Print Media) and Special Assistant (Electronic Media), in most of the government offices at both Federal and state levels.

In concept and reality, the shift has gained momentum and two types of reactions come into view. To some, the development looks good in words but useless in action. Aside from shooting up the cost of governance these appointments were not targeted at improving information flow between the government and the governed, but merely to settle political jobbers, many of the appointments into such office are to people who have no minimum prerequisite to function in that capacity.

it’s not surprising that the second group-which, of course, constitutes a greater number argue that a Media Assistant is but a mere robber stamp, a position used to  launder the image of public officers without recourse or adherence to the ethos of the media profession.

These so-called media assistants expose embarrassing competency when they are challenged about their principals, as they fail to perform as well-trained information managers. Rather they fall back on data that is hardly objective and generate inferences that are never explicit. And the conclusion they reach is usually self-serving. Though one can sympathize with the awkward position in which these men and women (media assistants) are placed.

Particularly, when one remembers that power, in the consideration of an average public office holder in Nigeria is usually an opportunity to protect personal interest, as against what is obtainable in developed countries where power is a vehicle for effecting political, social, economic and cultural changes in the country. Substantially, away from the fact that every society/profession needs some shared values to hold it together, an important distinction to make is that the concerns of this piece in absolute terms are whether; and to what extent the media assistants’ attitude has helped the nation; deepen information dissemination, enrich democracy and promote peace and unity among Nigerians of different culture, ethnicity, and religion?

Most importantly, how efficiently and effectively have the occupiers of these positions been in analyzing trends, predicting consequences, and counseling political office holders? Some are mere puppets dancing to the tunes of their principals, filling up media space with gossips, misinformation, malcontents and messages that are self-driven. Clearly, having seen this controversy from both sides, it is clear that there are countless reasons why media assistants position in most public offices appear both unnecessary and unproductive. But, perhaps, understandably, the major one is the fact that communication from public officials/offices are self-undermining and often always reputed for encouraging complacency.

If an effort is dedicated to understanding the why the existing system is accepted and its fundamental assumptions not challenged? More critical questions will emerge. For instance, are media assistants in the first place aware that; every decision they make while discharging their responsibility require value judgment? Are they truly aware that different decisions bring different results; that all decisions have direct and indirect consequences intended and unintended, short term and long term? Are they conscious that their decisions affect others; that those decisions may influence thousands of people on a political issue?

Finding answers to these questions will have far-reaching implications on both the public officials and the entire Nigerians. As it is laced with the capacity to compel public office holders, engineer socio-economic prosperity while propelling the masses to work together for the greater good. To get started, beginning with the last question, it is a pedestrian knowledge that most of these appointees instead of telling their principals what the real issues are, or encourage them to keep their promises, curtail the challenges confronting the people and promote consensus politics, they (media Assistants) encourage divisiveness, autocratic tendencies, and promote media trial of political opponents. In most cases, they become propagandists using radio, television and the internet as outlets to relentlessly false feed Nigerians.

The viability of democracy depends upon openness and a two-way nature of the communication environment; that democracy depends upon the regular sending and receiving of objective signals. It is through the media that the people may know freely what is going on. And to misstate or suppress the factual news is a breach of trust. One urgent skill government media handlers must internalize is that aides can intelligently criticize their bosses.

Until necessary and deliberate steps are taken to tackle the seeming upsurge in of half-baked “media practitioners” to handle media related duties by political office holders, our great politicians will hardly escape the ridicule as they invariably expose themselves to better informed public.

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Requiem For A Virtuous Woman

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 was different even unique. Not even the official activities of a work day could detract from its significance as people from all walks of life trooped to the Vault and Gardens in Port Harcourt to pay their last respect to a woman of peace and lover of humanity, Alabota Mabel Aya David-Charles (Nee Paul-Worika), as she was laid to rest amid eulogies and testimonies.

Late Mabel David-Charles, a generous woman, who lived for just 51 years, touched several lives in every remarkable ways, Known for her philanthropy, she was good to all manner of people, that came in contact with her.

Mabel’s passion for God was palpable as she served with delight in the Lord’s Vineyard. She portrayed a practical example of the Christian faith by reaching out to the less privileged, widows and needy in line with Jesus’ ministry of love and compassion. This was the testimony of Joseph in his address at the funeral service.

Born in Ogu in 1968, to the Paul-Worika family, Mabel attended the foremost Young Women Christian association (YWCA) Nursery school at Bernard Carr Street in Port Harcourt for her early year’s education and the Universal Primary Education School Abuloma, Port Harcourt. She also attended Community Secondary school, Kalio-Ama, Okrika and the Government Girls Secondary School, Umuola-Etche were she sat for the WASCE in 1986.

Mabel enrolled at the National Teacher’s Institute (NTI) to pursue a career in teaching. Her further foray saw her attend the Rivers State College of Arts and Science (Now Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic) for a national Diploma in accounting and in 2018, she bagged a B.Sc honors in Management from the University of Port Harcourt.

Speaking at the service, Rev. Daddi Jerry noted that the deceased was committed and faithful in the service of God adding that, she would be remembered for the value she added in the lives of those who came her way.

He charged Christian faithful to live an exemplary life at all times noting that the true essence of Christianity is in the value added to the lives of those they come in contact with.

Jerry said, “The Church has indeed lost a great woman. She dedicated her life to the service of God by reaching out to different persons at different times. She will be fondly remembered for the value she added to the lives of those who came in contact with her. The true essence of Christianity is in the value added to the lives of those who cross our path and Mabel demonstrated that. We take solace in the fact that heaven has received her”.

Senior Pastor of The Great Grace Ministry, Tourist beach, Port Harcourt, Prophet Joseph Somiari charged Christians to live a life worthy of emulation as they go about their business on earth.

Taking his reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1, Somiari noted that every individual has limited time to live on earth and as such should live with eternity in view, adding that, Christians should be more concerned about being at peace with God and not focus on what people have to say about them.

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.

Indeed, the heaven stood still, beaming its bright sunlight as a testament that she answered the call of her maker to return to him. Heaven took back a good woman. She will live large in the hearts of those she left behind.

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Why Hurry And Kill The Child Prodigy?

“My child is mature, big in body size, old enough to face pressure, brilliant.” These are some reasons a couple of ladies I met in a store gave for encouraging their children to skip certain classes in primary or secondary schools.

I believe a lot of parents want to be celebrated like the parents of the 14-year-old Nigerian prodigy called Joshua Beckford who graduated from the University of Oxford at a very young age, but I can’t but wonder how he would manage his educational achievements, taking into consideration his age.

Some of these young children end up being stuck in a situation they aren’t ready for or mature and experienced to handle. Some parents decisions are based on financial consideration. But for the parents, it’s just based on what I call “PARENTAL PEER PRESSURE”.  A lot just want to brag about what young age their children attained their educational achievements and are not concerned about how the children feel or if they actually understand what they are up or in for.

A single mum, who does menial jobs to cater for her two sons, shared how she was encouraged to allow her son skip a class but declined. She was told that her son was brilliant and would do well if he skipped to the next class. If a mother with little or no education and a meagre source of income could take the decision to ensure her son stayed back for the full 6 years in primary school, what’s happening to those I believe should know better.

Does anyone truly understand the pain, struggles, confusion these children have to deal with?  Is every child suddenly a prodigy or genius like Joshua Beckford?

In a bit of research on prodigies, how they grow and turn out when they eventually become adults, I took a particular interest in the violinist and conductor, Julian Rachlin. Rachlin said, “Being told you’re a genius at 11 years old can wreak havoc on a child’s mind. It’s very dangerous to be portrayed as that sort of prodigy because 99 percent of those prodigies don’t last very long. I have never been treated by my friends and family as a prodigy. I have been treated as little Julian who loves making music, so I never felt a prodigy. The life of a child prodigy can either go one way (the bad way, in which all the pressure leads to failure and a lifetime of misery) or another, in which you’re Mozart and people still buy your music 200 years after you die”

What happened to all the motherly love, instinct, affection, bond? I know a father would most times give consent to the mother when it comes to taking a decision on the child but how does a mother feel sending off a child at such tender age to face pressures that are not related to this age.

Another parent who pleaded anonymity shared her frustrations on how companies request that job applicants should not be more than 21 years with a minimum of 3-years experience. I couldn’t help but wonder at our system and policies. I encouraged the mother to positively engage her children. This they could achieve by finding out what the child is passionate about. Overtime, requisite experiences would be gained and documented.

In as much as I don’t support the age limit that some companies request, in terms of experiential requirements, I believe they are asking for individuals who can think on their own, who are solution-oriented with the tenacity and ability to function on their own with little or no supervision.

But parents need to understand that it takes time to nurture a child and by hurrying them, they are grooming half-baked children. It is important for parents to critically examine the effects of putting their kids under pressure before taking steps about pushing their children forward early; because the childhood of these children are stolen all in the name of wanting them to be competitive or to finish at a young age.

We should encourage our children to study, play and generally enjoy their childhood and grow up gradually and systematically. Those who are prodigious will stand out not one-eyed kings in the class of the blind. We should recommend, recognize, appreciate the laws and policies other countries practice and put in place. We should continue to yearn for a nation where such orderliness is observed and practiced. But with this attitude of racing the child down in education are we making or breaking the educational system in our country.

We have policies guiding and stating what age a child is supposed to start school. It is necessary for the relevant authorities in our educational system to ensure strict enforcement of those policies and punish defaulters. At the end of the day, children and their future is ours to protect. God help us to help our children and promote the greater good of our country and humanity.

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Nigeria Can Earn Big From Tourism-Alesa Monarch

His Royal Majesty, Sir Emperor J. D. Nkpe the King of Alesa Eleme in Eleme Local Government of Rivers State is a widely travelled monarch, who has savoured the allures of hospitality and tourism in various parts of the world. In this first part of interview, he shares his experiences and suggestions for the growth of the Nigerian tourism sector.

Your Majesty, you are widely travelled, how would you describe the Nigerian tourism industry?

Before we delve into the Nigerian tourism industry and its potentials, let me first of all tell you that many countries all over the world are making fortune from the tourism industry. The GNP of Kenya is derived from tourism. There is a place called the Island of Mars in London, it is attracting thousands of tourists to the country and contributing to the revenue of United Kingdom. Kenya for instance lives on tourism in revenue generation.

The wild life in Tazania, Kenya and other East African nation attract a lot of visitors from all over the world. Some of the visitors just come to see and behold animals like giraffe and pay money for it. In the United States, there are numerous places. In Dallas you have the Atlantic Forest in Denvy Dallas where you can go and see the aborigines and natural sits. They generate huge amounts of revenue for the state and country.

In Nigeria, we pay more attention to hospitality tourism, but we should also be calling for ECO tourism. We have a lot of forest here, like the one close here, the oldest forest in Nigeria which can be developed into a tourist site and it will yield money for the local government.

Nigeria is channeling a lot of its investment in tourism development only on the hospitality in the hotel industry  Even the hotels as an aspect needs to be categorised because what will attract a visitor to a place are many. No tourist will venture into a war torn, violence or criminal infested area. So the attitude of the people towards tourists matters. We must caution our people to always have broad mind on how to receive visitors into our communities and the country. People work all round the year and are looking for places around the globe to go and relax and enjoy. Therefore, the Nigerian Tourism Board must then come up with laws on how to attract tourists to the country.

You majesty, in what way do you think investment in ECO Tourism can be encourage and made beneficial to Nigerians?

ECO Tourism is a huge revenue earner in many countries. It is a place where you see nature in its natural state. In Kenya you will see where the French man who developed coffee started and where he stayed is still being maintained for people to visit and know how coffee production started and it is generating money to the government of Kenya. People go to Bahamas to have a taste of its ECO system and wild life environments. The US has a lot for taste of nature spaces where you still see the original state of when God created the earth; you are adding more value to the people as people visit there.

In Cameroon, in a place called Bulb, they are developing mega city there for people to come and spend time and money for the government.

In Nigeria, we can also have such here. In Rivers State, there is a small river around OPM Church, which flows down behind the State Government House. This river can be developed into a tourism site what we call an ECO site where you have boat ride. See what the Rivers state government has done on the pleasure pack.

It is a wonder land, comparable to what you have in the United States between Washington and Virginia Beach, and the seven sisters in Dallas. People need places to relax and heal hypertension which is one of killer diseases in Nigeria where people have little time to relax.

The government can invest in the tourism industry, in ECO system and wildlife development at least in partnership with individuals and organizations especially in the rural areas. People can move to the rural areas and relax and spend time on the local infrastructures in the areas.

Nigerian’s love good life and need local areas where they can spend their money. This is where the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and other information units of the country should do more because Nigeria image has been dented all over the world because of negative things reported against the country. But, Rivers is a happy place. The state ministry of information needs to repackage our image to show it to the international community that we are peaceful state. We have contributed a lot to the development of this country and we must not be left behind in the development of the country. I am indeed proud to be a Rivers man.

Do you think Nigeria tourism has capacity to generate as much as the oil industry?

It is important we begin to think of developing the tourism sector because one day oil will cease to flow and it will have only the agricultural and tourism sector that will remain as our source of revenue. You can imaging the total revenue Kenya made from the beautiful and attractive hotels that tourists book all year round; not that they don’t have oil. Nigeria tourism is hampered by a lot of government and individual bottlenecks. There was a time I brought in some investors to Nigeria. I know what I went through trying to have the government accept my proposals to establish and develop a hospitality industry in the state. So tourism is one of the people and earn good revenue for the country.

Your majesty, where do we place the blame in the slow development of the sector, government or the private sector?

If you quantify what the Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike has put into the development of magnificent Pleasure Park, you will know that it was a good investment well made. If he replicates these in the rural areas, it will bring peace to many local areas. You may ask how? When you take youths into such employment in the pack or they go in there to relax, they will not have the time to engage in kidnapping, cultism and other criminal acts so government should think of partnering with the private sector to develop tourism.

We have other tourist sites like the Port Harcourt Tourist beach, the Isaka games Village and others, How can government develop these?

The Port Harcourt tourists Beach should be given attention by the government so that those in the town area can have a place to relax just like the Pleasure Park. It can also be concessional to a private organization to mange and pay revenue to the government. The Isaka Games Institute can also be developed into a tourism centre but government must provide security for tourists and visitors. Security is key to tourist development. Infact every hotel in Nigeria should have a designed security system (CCTV) because a tourist who is staying in a 5-star hotel needs adequate protection.

In places like Las Vegas, everything you are doing is under surveillance and being monitored by the security technology covering the areas. Also Hotels are properly supervised and highly equipped. People in the hotels are checked and monitored by health personnel to ensure the health and safety of the people and the environment. How many hotels in Nigeria do you have health officers checking the health of staff and visitors before providing them access to the premises of the hotels, and also to ascertain the hygienic condition of the food provided by the hotels? This is done to ensure that no visitor develops health challenges after holidaying in a country and eating their food. This is why the hotel environment must be monitored. Food sold and consumed by tourists must be monitored, to avoid food poisoning and other health challenges. This is what we should be showcasing in the tourism industry and the sector will generate huge resources to the country.

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