RIVERS GOLDEN JUBILEE
OVERVIEW OF RIVERS STATE
Rivers state is located in the South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria. Rivers State, the treasure Base of the country was created on May 27, 1967 by the General Yakubu Gowon’s administration.
The state is presently divided into 23 local government areas with diverse ethnic nationalities, distinct languages and age-long cultural heritage.
Today, the state is known across the country and beyond as the hub of oil and gas activities and home for the second busiest seaport in Nigeria; her unique culture, peaceful co-existence and legendary hospitality stand her out among the rest of the states.
RIVERS @ 50
Rivers state celebrates her Golden Jubilee of success, peace, unity and even development under the people-oriented administration of the amiable golden Governor, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
Plans for the celebration began in January with the inauguration of the committee with Chief OCJ Okocha as the alternate chairman of the committee and the Unveiling of the logo by the Governor.
During the inauguration of the Rivers State Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike gave the committee members a lot of words to chew. One of them which I would love most Rivereans to ruminate on; “Many of us who are now enjoying the fruits of liberty may not truly appreciate what it meant to be dominated, dispossessed, deprived, exploited and oppressed in your own land by the dominant social and political tendencies of the time“.
Wow, the people of Rivers state did go through a lot. And the logo for the long awaited Jubilee was unveiled.
Chief OCJ Okocha proposed a lot of activities to keep this Golden Jubilee in the minds of Rivereans for another 50 years to come. Let’s gulp on these activities.
THE TRADITIONAL RULER’S DAY
A gathering of prominent Nigerian monarchs in Rivers was part of the activities to mark the Golden Jubilee celebration of the state which prides itself as the Treasure Base of the Nation.
Monarchs, including Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and others arrived Rivers State for the Traditional Rulers’ Day, which was hosted at the Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt. They portrayed Royalty, Class, Finesse, Pride and the unblemished spectacle of the beauty and wealth of the Rivers people.They also witnessed the foundation-laying of the new Rivers State Traditional Rulers’ Secretariat Complex. Details of these activity may bore young minds, a much more colourful activity was the..
THE BOAT REGATTA
The famous smile seen on the faces of Rivereans filled the air as the state government organized a Boat Regatta among 8 local governments to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Rivers people.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike led leaders and friends of the state to watch the best of the state aquatic culture.
The boat Regatta competition was heralded by the emergence of the Ogwein masquerade, the ancient water deity of the Bolo people of the Okirika Kingdom.
At the end of the Boat Regatta competition, Akuku-Toru emerged winner, Degema came second and Ogo/Bolo came third.
Colourful, wasn’t it?
THE WRESTLING COMPETITION
The chants of Rivereans echoed in the state as they hailed the wrestlers representing their local governments to victory.
The Wrestling competition among 15 local governments lit up various communities during the zonal elimination stage while the grand finale for the Golden Jubilee champions held at the state capital, Port Harcourt.
Presenting the trophies to the winners, the Governor said “Any wrestler who participated in the competition was a winner“, a cliche way of compensation.
The warriors that emerged winners were, Azeru from Obio/Akpor, Akari Radiant from Abua/Odual, Kingsley Nna from Tai and Kingsley Ikechi from Etche local government in Rivers state.
That’s a medal I know I would never get.
CYCLING, POLO & FOOTBALL TOURNAMENTS
Sporting activities for the less physical Rivereans included a Cycling tournament, a Polo tournament, and a Football tournament.
The cycling event had no fewer than 120 cyclists from across the country criss-crossing major landmarks in Port Harcourt before finishing at a location close to Government House.
The route for the Cycling competition ranged from Azikiwe-Aggrey road-Town-Mile 1,2,3-Agip-Adgeorge-Obiri Ikwerre-Elele-Omagwa-Rukpokwu-Aba Road-Azikiwe, a total distance of about 160km. That’s a really long distance, Science says that the presence of white muscle fibres gives them the stamina to go that long.
The famous Polo club in Rivers state displayed their wonderful relationship with Animals in the Polo tournament. The Golden jubilee Polo Tournament successfully held at the Port Harcourt Polo Club, GRA, Port Harcourt. Players across Nigeria took part in the tournament but the Rivereans showed dominance with the Equidae family, winning the tournament.
The World’s most watched sport was not left out as Rivers State Golden Jubilee Inter LGA Football competition also took place among the 23 local governments of the state. Players who have featured in the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), in organized competitions or played professional football were not allowed to take part in the competition. A good decision by the committee. The tournament entertained Rivereans as Omuma and Gokana local governments tussled for the ultimate prize at the finals of the tournament. Omuma took the day as the ultimate Football Champ of the RiversAt50 Golden Jubilee InterLGA Football Competition beating Gokana by a lone goal, with Obio Akpor coming in at a distant 3rd.
KING JAJA OF OPOBO & CONCUBINE HITS STAGE
Lovers of quality stage productions were not left out. As part of the many activities that was lined up for Rivers State at 50 celebrations, the state government through its very vibrant Ministry of Culture and Tourism decided to entertain, educate and serenade indigenes of the state with two historic works of art.
King Jaja of Opobo.
Leading the cast of the great Nationalist play, King Jaja of Opobo was multi-talented actress, TV personality and ace producer, Monalisa Chinda-Coker, a proud Ikwerre princess from Rivers State whom together with the likes of Norbert Young, Francis Duru, Bimbo Manuel, Walter Anga among several others left the stage of Upscale Hotel Presisential, Port Harcourt sizzling with creativity all over. It was not a shock though as the very creative Miesonuwa Minima wrote the play.
Written by Imo Edward, Concubine had famous faces such like Segun Arinze, Ebele Okaro, Onyeka Onwenu, Joy Ngadi and several others who did not hesitate to leave smiles on the faces of Rivereans. The dance interludes in the play were beyond electrifying. The beats and drumming brought alive the Ikwerre culture and tradition around which the plot was set.
Could hardly wait to get to this part of the post.
MISS RIVERS GOLDEN JUBILEE
The Rivers State Golden Jubilee Beauty Pageant, which according to wife of the Governor of Rivers state, Justice Eberechi Suzette Nyesom-Wike “brought out the best in Rivers women” was a beautiful pageant with 23 contestants.
12 contestants who are school certificate holders were awarded scholarships by an indigenous oil company, Belema oil, while the other 11 who are already first degree holders were also awarded scholarships by the Governor of Rivers state.
Miss Charity Ogwutum (Miss Obio/akpor) emerged Miss Rivers golden jubilee after a beautiful contest. She received the grand prize of a brand new Hyundai car and 1 million naira cash.
Other winners are; Miss Chinenye Akaya (Miss Oyigbo) as First runner up, Miss Vinna Snithers Briggs (Miss Akuku-Toru) as Second runner up, Miss Benibo Joseph (Miss Degema) as Third runner up, Miss Elizabeth Tormbarib (Miss Gokana) as Fourth runner up, Miss Onyechere Obiageri (Miss Etche) as Miss Photogenic, Best Evening gown award was won by Miss Ezekiel Pearl Biefil (Miss Khana) and Best Traditional wear award was won by Miss Gift Osaroejiji (Miss Eleme).
The Governor of Rivers state spoke with the contestants after the pageant and said with emphasis to all the 23 contestants “you are all winners and should promote the state as worthy ambassadors“. The Governor sure loves to call everyone winners, wonder if he did the same after his election.
The Hysterical laughter of the Rivers people was heard in the course of the pageant when one of the contestant representing Emohua local government in Rivers state made a huge blunder which left the audience puzzled and then roaring with laughter.
During the question and answer segment of the pageant, the Judges asked contestants which was better, “an arranged marriage or a love marriage”. This was Miss Emohua local government area reply, in her own words, “an arranged marriage is better, why I preferred an arranged marriage is that if you arrange your marriage….. I prefer arranged marriage because if you arrange yourself before going into marriage definitely you’ll not face any trouble and there will be nothing like problem. But if you don’t prepare before going into marriage, you find yourself being tired of the marriage because of the country now. You love somebody and you go into marriage and tomorrow you find out the marriage not being strong because you went to the marriage because of love”.
I just hope she is not one of the 11 contestants with a first degree but nevertheless, though she was not a winner but her answer would remain in the hearts of Rivereans for a decade or even another Golden Jubilee, to me I think that’s a good prize to go home with.
HON. AMAECHI REJECTS AWARD
The Rivers state Golden Jubilee Celebration came to a climax when the State Government honoured 127 distinguished Nigerians who served the state meritoriously in different fields of human endeavour.
The Former Governor, Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’s name was included in the list of persons who have distinguished themselves in the service of Rivers state and was supposed to be awarded during the state’s golden Jubilee celebration.
The Governor of Rivers state pointed out that the immediate past governor was indicted by a judicial committee of inquiry into the sale of the assets of the state, and hence did not merit the award but was merely included in the list because he was a past Governor.
However Hon. Amaechi who was Gov. Wike’s predecessor and current Minister of Transportation said the move contradicts the position of the state government, which has not said anything good about him and thus would not receive the award.
Once allies, Hon. Amaechi and Governor Nyesom Wike had since fallen out and have been known more for their rivalry which has seen them engage themselves in a war of words that have lasted for years. During the course of the event they entertained Nigerians with another word exchange and I wonder who did it better, well let you all be the Judge of that.
Hon. Amaechi to Governor Wike “You suffer from a grave but rare form of psychosomatic malady“.
Governor Wike to Hon. Amaechi “Mr Amaechi may be a scoundrel of history but he was once a Governor of his state, the proposed award was to serve as a sad acknowledgement of the especially dark place he occupies in our state’s otherwise illustrious history“.
Umoh Abraham is a part time blogger, a Writer, an Artist and part time Medical student who loves Politics, Art, Sleep, Social media and most importantly Food.