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Day Ayade Became “Igwe”

Resplendent in "Ishiagu" (Igbo traditional wear) top and milk coloured trousers, with a red cap sitting beautifully on his head and a medium size white elephant tusk in his right hand, he looked every inch an "Ozo" title holder taking his dignifed place in the gathering of umunna ( fellow kindreds).

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Keniebi Okoko’s Example In Philanthropy

It was Joya Rose who once said that "when you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence". Similarly, Melinda Gates said "philanthropy is not about money, it's about feeling the pains of others and caring enough about their needs to help".

The above best captures the person and nature of a young and successful businessman, Pastor Keniebi Okoko. An indigene of Obunagha community in Gbarain Clan in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, Okoko resides in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. He is one of the few rich men in Nigeria who love to share their riches with the downtrodden.

Due to his large appetite for humanitarian services, the philanthropist established a foundation named Keniebi Okoko Movement. The movement does nothing but to put smiles on the faces of the distressed. It has rendered help to several Bayelsans and people from other parts of the country. Okoko, through the foundation, has awarded scholarships to countless pupils and students up to university level.

Apart from award of scholarships to students of indigent parents, he has also been helping society in the area of providing free medical services to communities. This he does periodically by distributing free drugs and administering free medical tests through paid medical experts in different communities in Bayelsa state and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, the 2018 flood victims in Bayelsa state will forever be grateful to Okoko for the role he played during the flood palaver. He did not spare his time and hard earned resources but released them lavishly to provide succour for those who lost their all to the destructive flood. Without expecting any reward from anyone, the businessman doled out funds and relief items to help cushion the harsh effects of the water disaster on its victims. From community to community, Okoko went about ameliorating the plight of the victims of the flood. Mattresses and pillows, bags of rice, cartons of noodles, bags of sachet water, detergents  and toiletries were ubiquitous, courtesy of the Keniebi Okoko Movement.

Only penultimate week, the Keniebi Okoko Movement also stormed the secretariat of the Bayelsa State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB in Yenagoa to distribute note books to primary and junior secondary schools across the state. A total of 15,000 pieces of exercise books were donated by Okoko to complement the government of Bayelsa state in the area of education. Indeed, this is highly commendable.

Overwhelmed by the gesture, state chairman of SUBEB,  Pius Jonah, while receiving the books could not hold back his joy and appreciation.  The SUBEB boss aptly described Okoko as a role model whose philanthropic services were worthy of emulation. The chairman called on all well meaning and well to do Bayelsans to borrow a leaf from the Keniebi Okoko Movement.

While we commend Okoko for his large heart, we join Jonah to call on all those whom God has blessed to give back to society as Okoko has always done. Society should not respect or regard any man or woman as rich if they fail to add meaning to the lives of the poor. Riches are not measured by how much one has in his bank account. Neither is it calculated by how many landed properties one acquires around the globe. What is paramount is how many lives one can touch positively.

Therefore, the act of individuals amassing so much wealth for selfish reasons should be jettisoned. Political office holders who use their positions to stash public funds abroad or hide them from public use should desist forthwith. It will profit them nothing to gain the whole world while the needy keep wailing. No wonder, Gamaliel Bailey once posited that we should not “respect men for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy, we do not value the sun for its height but for its use".

Like Okoko, privileged persons in the society should learn to touch the life of the common man who may not even require too much to be satisfied in thier own way. The truth about life is that you become happier when you make others happy. This must be the singular philosophy that drives Okoko. That is why he does not see fellow men as trees. The plight of the common man is always his primary concern.

The more Okokos we can have around, the better our society will be

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Reason Onya: The Commissioner, His Principles And The Collapsed 7-Storey Building

Those who know him very well were not surprised at his decision to step aside as commissioner for urban development and physical planning in Rivers State, to allow for investigations into the collapse of the 7-storey building on Woji Road, GRA, Port Harcourt.

Tragedy had struck on Friday, November 23 and Port Harcourt stood still. It was a black Friday, that is. Scores of residents besieged Woji Road in the Government Reserved Area to either weep for those who lost loved ones to the collapsed building, or to assist in rescuing those who were trapped there, or to steal.

But while all that was going on, Dr Reason Onya, the commissioner in charge of the ministry was in sombre mood. He had reasons to be in that mood. It was his ministry that approved the documents leading to the construction of the ill-fated building. However, he was not in office in 2014 when that approval was given.

Somehow, the file on the approved building was nowhere to be found in the ministry. Another file was presented to him by those who should know about the history of the building. He validated the approval. And less than two months after, the building caved in. People died. Many were injured. Rescue activities are still going on. and the state government is ready to investigate the processes that led to the approval and all that.

Under this circumstance, a typical Nigerian office holder would stay on in the office and even shift blames. But not Onya. He chose to step aside so that the investigators can have an unfettered access to every information they require from his office for the investigations. It looked strange. But Onya did it, to keep his integrity.

Flip back to 1998. Onya used to be an environment rights activist. He almost lost his life in the struggle for a better deal for the Niger Delta people. He put his life on the line as he resisted governments in power whenever he felt that their activities were not in the interest of the people. From then till when he decided to go into the academic world, where he studied to become a doctoral degree holder, he did not change.

It was expected that he could change after he became commissioner. He did not. In fact, in the early days of his assumption of office, he went into the streets to warn street traders not to make any attempt at bribing anybody in his office to enable them continue to sell their wares on the roads. He did not waste any time in telling them that as a lecturer, he was satisfied with what he had achieved in life and was not ready to trade his integrity for anything.

So, it was not surprising that he decided to do what nobody had done-quit his duty as commissioner just because a building which approval was given by his ministry had collapsed, even if he was not the one who gave the approval.

In a post he made on facebook, Onya wrote: “My dear good people of Rivers State, after due consultation with my family on the collapsed seven story hotel building that was under construction at Plot 119, Woji Road, GRA Phase 2 Port Harcourt on Friday 23/11/2018, I decided to “step aside” as the Honourable Commissioner for Urban Development & Physical Planning on 28/11/2018 during the State Executive Council Meeting. Historicism: The building plan was approved on 18/7/2014 and revalidated by me on 14/9/2018 because the file was missing. To those that lost their loved ones, I am pained, so pained that each time I visit the site my heart bleeds, each time, I hear news on it, I am perturbed, thus, the decision of “stepping aside”. I am sincerely sorry for all the pains, you all have gone through in the cause of this that my official assignment is involved. To His Excellency and the State Executive Council Members, I am extremely grateful for the acceptance and may the Good Lord guide our parts for better political economy and developmentalism of our beloved Rivers State, nay  Nigeria.”

The post generated reactions from scores of people. This is how some people reacted:

Eric O Sharpillo Agwenitani You earn further respect from me sir

Hope Uwoh Ha! This is too much to tk. Nonetheless Sir, i respect your decision. The good lord will intervene for all the victims trapped in the building. You're a good man. Kai! The lord is your strength.

Mandy Duru You are a rare gem. Humility in and out. Its well with all those that are affected. May God grant u the grace to bear this loss. Amen

Adi Chukwuemeka First in the history of this nation. Sir you have shown a good example to our political office holders. My dear brother I now honour and respect you more than before for this singular decision. God bless you

Simon Amaechi Ufomba A great man indeed, a very different breed.

Samuel Emeka Your type is rare in our world. Hard to see a man who values people's lives more than money and affluence.

John Femi Omonayin You are a rare gem

Charles Oguzor You have a good heart sir

Joy Vincent Big Uncle you did well and the good Lord will bless you for this and others. In JESUS NAME AMEN

Timi Dare Wao. A Man who has integrity God bless you sir

Soye Granville I always admire you sir. You are a decent politician and God will give you wisdom to continue to do only that which is right at all times, I was actually worried when I saw the press release to that effect but I trust your judgement sir.

Victor Solomon We are proud of you boss. God bless you boss!!

Nmegbu Wisdom You have done something rare and noble. May God strengthen you and family in this period too.

Ernest Allibrochonma This is good, only few persons will do what you have done. Only few politicians can do this too, you are one, you have shown that you have integrity.

Pepple Misa Wish we had more of your type. May our good LORD grant you grace

Heoma Michaels Wow. What a huge sacrifice... All I see here is integrity! God one sir.

Ajibike Seun Ajayi Reasonable Mr. Reason. Thumbs up sir. You are admirable

Wisdom Ukeame Ubele You are a God fearing man sir... May God blessings never lack in your life...

Wiseman Bravo The best amongst equals. God guides your steps

Nneka Nwabude You will live long sir and the joy of the lord shall remain your joy.

Utula Stanley You have made your people proud .  Ahoada, we are proud of your work sir

Bryt Nwoka You're the best public office holder I've ever seen sir

Enemuwa Peter Decision in a right direction. That makes you exceptional the boss.

Larry Nwanodi You are a true leader and indeed God fearing. In fact, it takes a man with high level of integrity to do what you have done. You have shown here that people's lives matters more to you than your job. This is how a true leader and servant of the people should react. I wish all the best in your endeavours.

Itimitang Hilton Philip-Idiok I am not surprised. This is the Reason Onya I have always known all through the years - Integrity personified and not one to shirk from responsibility. God bless you.

Meshack Ene Leading by example.

I learn from you. My mentor with integrity. Keep it on.

Chessy-micheal Okwuonu This is highly admirable Honorable. A pure show of the fear of God and love for humanity. God will continue to lift you up worthy ambassador of our great IUO. from this humble Son of Rivers State. Am personally proud of you sir. Reason has got Reason of the rite decision

Adagushimie Odueley That's d right step in d right direction, You have shown others the way. God bless you sir

Chukwudi Ehilim I am happy for your decision. It shows that you are a man of integrity. Those who sabotaged yo u will never go unpunished. May the soul of the departed, rest in peace

Lenson N. Igwe Reason is a civilized man and he is not seen his position as his last hope. Can we now see the reason why I tell people to have something doing before they come into politics Lasbry Amadi Reason my brother you are not part of the construction managers only a head of authorizing department of Government. I am not surprised that you are doing this because of your conscience and whom we know you as.

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Cultists Go Wild In Rivers, Bayelsa,C’River…Conduct ‘Stop And Search’ On Motorists…..Residents Flee Igwuruta, Isiokpo…Wike Accuses APC

The security situation in Bayelsa state has degenerated into a ridiculous dimension with hooligans mounting road blocks and robbing commuters on major roads in Yenagoa, the state capital.

This is coming on the heels of the withdrawal of the state owned security outfit codenamed Operation Doo-Akpor which was set up by the present administration.

The security situation is also worsening in some parts of Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. In Isiokpo and Igwuruta communities, suspected cultists are having a field day, terrorising the residents, some of who have fled their homes and shops.

Our correspondent observed that unlike before when the operational vehicles of the outfit were placed at entrances to the various streets in the Yenagoa metropolis, none of the hilux vans used by Doo-Akpor were seen on the streets anymore.

It was learnt that the bad boys in town may have taken advantage of the absence of men of the outfit to launch fresh deadly attacks on innocent residents.

An eye witness, who preferred anonymity for fear of being hunted, narrated that suspected bandits numbering over 10, were at the Obele axis of the Melford Okilo Expressway, stopping and dispossessing commuters of their belongings at gunpoint.

According to him, the incident occurred in the early hours of  Thursday.

He further recounted that the miscreants spent close to 30 minutes robbing their victims before leaving.

"They commanded passengers to come down at gunpoint and their focus was on collecting money and cell phones from their victims. They even commanded some people to lie on the floor.

"For close to 30 minutes, these guys were on the road before they finally left the scene unperturbed", the eye witness said.

A journalist reporting for the West African Business News newspaper, Mr. Philip Eke is also a victim of the fresh resurgence of insecurity in  the oil rich state.

Eke narrated to his colleagues in Yenagoa that he boarded a tricycle from Ekeki and was heading towards Yenagoa main town, about 8:pm, adding that with him in the tricycle was a lady sitting on his left hand side.

On getting to Ovom bus stop, the journalist said the lady told the tricycle operator to stop, indicating that she had reached her destination.

Eke recalled that he had to casually alight to enable the lady come down.

Immediately he stepped down, the journalist noted that a young man accosted him and pointed a pistol at his chest and "asked me to submit. He dipped his hand into my pocket and took my blackberry phone. I thank God that I was not hurt".

Meanwhile, there is an outcry in Bayelsa over the seeming disbandment of Operation Doo-Akpor in the state.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state had raised the alarm, accusing the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state of influencing the Inspector General of Police to disband the security outfit to make the state ungovernable.

The PDP also alleged that the incessant posting of commissioners of police to the state was a handiwork of the leader of the APC in Bayelsa, Chief Timipre Sylva with the aim of destabilizing the state.

Publicity secretary of the APC in the state, Mr. Doifie Obuokoribo has since dismissed the allegations, describing them as "jokes taken to far".

The newly posted commissioner of police to the state police command, Mr. Joseph Mukan has confirmed the withdrawal of the operational vehicles of the security outfit, an indication that the operation Doo Akpor has been disbanded.

During a phone-in programme, Rise and Shine on Glory FM 97.1 in Yenagoa on Friday morning, Mukan, however, hinted that Bayelsans should seek explanations from the federal government and the head of operation Doo- Akpor over its disbandment.

Fielding questions from callers from different parts of the state, the CP said, "the withdrawal of Doo-Akpor, I believe, will better be answered by the commander of Doo-Akpor about the withdrawal of the outfit.

"I wouldn't know why they decided to withdraw their vehicles from the road. We have been collaborating with them. If there is any withdrawal for whatever reason, I believe we should have been informed, but nobody informed us.

"Get in touch with those who are directly in charge of Doo-Akpor and I believe they will give you a better explanation".

Mukan, however, assured that the absence of the outfit would not aggravate the security challenges facing the state at the moment, adding that the state would witness a new security narrative under him.

Meanwhile, callers to the programme alleged that some political leaders in Bayelsa were playing politics with the security of the state.

One of the callers from Sagbama attributed the worsening security situation in the state to the incessant posting of police commissioners to the state as well as the recent withdrawal of the state security outfit.

Another caller said, "who will now be answering to our distressed calls? Let them give us another security outfit who will be complementing the police".

Callers also complained that most men of the Nigerian police in the state had deviated from their statutory obligation of safeguarding lives and property and were busy mounting illegal  checkpoints to extort motorists.

 Rivers: Ikwerre LG under siege as Chairman blames power mongers

Last week, there was a clash between security operatives and cultists at Igwuruta-Ali. Traffic to and from the Port Harcourt International Airport was impeded because of the clash.

Residents took to their heels when it became clear that security operatives had gone after the cultists, who did not also show signs of surrendering. One person was suspected to have been killed during the clash.

The situation in the local government has been linked to the recent attack on the chairman of the local government, Mr Samuel Nwanosike. It is not immediately clear who must have been responsible for the attack on the chairman, believed to be one of the strong supporters of the governor, Nyesom Wike.

On Monday, Nwanosike, while speaking on a live radio programme in Port Harcourt blamed the crisis in the area on the activities of a wanted criminal whom he said was operating with the tacit support of some highly placed individuals from the state.

He said the wanted cultists was being patronised and empowered by people who were bent on taking over power in the state. According to Nwanosike, the suspect was going about with a bullet proof vest, with an inscription 'police.'

He however said the PDP had the capacity to contain the cultists. He said they would not surrender to those who were battling to cease power by force.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has raised the alarm that the APC Federal Government has concluded plans to plant 800 guns in the state, with the objective of destabilising Rivers State.

 In a statement signed by Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor was quoted as saying that the APC federal government resolved to implement the plot during her last security meeting.

He stated that the intelligence came from credible sources that were privy to the ugly plot against Rivers State.

The governor called on the international community to take note of the proposed illegal action of the APC Federal Government, which is aimed at creating crisis in the state.

He regretted that the federal government has continued to work deliberately to compromise the security of Rivers State.

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