Columns

November 17, 2023

Tribute to youthful brilliance, By Donu Kogbara

Tribute to youthful brilliance, By Donu Kogbara

AT a time when there is more bad news than good coming out of Nigeria, I’d like to lighten the mood by mentioning someone who is doing us proud in a highly competitive foreign environment.

Onimitein (Nimi) Georgewill is the exceptionally clever daughter of my dear friends, Emmanuel and Amie, who are also from Rivers State.

An alumna of the Social and Behavioral Interventions programme at John Hopkins University in Maryland USA, she is currently a project coordinator at the International Vaccine Access Centre for the Supporting, Mobilizing and Accelerating Research for Tuberculosis Elimination Project.

Nimi is passionate about her work, which revolves around strengthening immunization programmes in sub-Saharan Africa and on creating equitable and sustainable vaccine coverage and access.

During her time at her university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, Nimi was selected to be a Programme in Applied Vaccine Experiences, PAVE, Scholar for the 2022 – 2023 cohort where she spent time in Geneva, contributing to the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme with the World Health Organisation.

Upon completion of the programme, she was invited to continue her work as a Malaria Vaccine Uptake Task Team intern in Washington D.C. She has also worked in Nigeria, with the Wellbeing Foundation.

Nimi also served as a Global Health Advocacy and Policy Research Intern in Nigeria with The Wellbeing Foundation.

In 2022, she was awarded the Social and Behavioral Interventions Alumni Award for her continued academic excellence.

When she isn’t studying and researching, Nimi – a model member of any community she’s part of – volunteers at organisations such as the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, the American Diabetes Association and the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital.

A bright future clearly beckons. May she continue to go from strength to strength…and to enhance this country’s ailing reputation.

Hate and prejudice as clogs in the wheels of national development

A thought-provoking viewpoint from my Uncle, Jonas Odocha

THERE are some issues and utterances that prop up in this country that remind me of the interview Adolf Hitler granted to a journalist as the Holocaust was raging. Hitler was asked why he hated the Jews so passionately, and his response: “I do not hate the Jews individually, but collectively.” What an instructive response.

Nigerians may have preferred to gloss over a recent statement credited to Ijaw elder statesman, Chief E.K. Clark, in which he called for the exclusion of Imo, Abia and Ondo states from the established  nine Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, states. It should also be recalled that during the Obasanjo regime, there was the mooted idea to rename the NDDC states as COASTAL STATES, with the exclusion of Imo and Abia states.

It was the succeeding government of the late President Yar’Adua that foreclosed that idea in 2007, after an editorial in the Vanguard newspapers titled: “WHY IMO AND ABIA OUT”? Let us also recollect that the NDDC was rechristened from the original OMPADEC [Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission].

You then begin to wonder: is the letter and spirit of such commission not to address the negative impact of the consequences of petroleum exploration and exploitation in the environmental degradation of such areas? But why the mindset and interest in this exclusion of some oil and gas producing states, ever coming up periodically? This is why I will emphatically refuse to join all those who do not bother to interrogate injustice, and who continue to play the proverbial ostrich.

Let me ask, after taking a look at the map of Nigeria, is Edo State more coastal than Imo and Abia states, not even to talk of Ondo State? Is Delta formation or “Deltation” no longer the process of rivers carrying sediments in their channels to river mouths for deposition and accumulation over millions of years? These ancient sediments, located both onshore and offshore, are the sites where oil and gas have accumulated from the remains of plants and animals [Fossils], cooked up under extreme heat and super-incumbent pressure, to generate petroleum. Mother Nature has emplaced these organic remains there, it therefore has not used a ruler to demarcate their occurrence. Neither is it out of wishful thinking or desire that some areas will be enriched or denied. Period!!!

I sincerely believe that it is even more appropriate for Nigerians to worry about how the humongous funds approved for the development of these areas is spent and utilized, instead of calling for the unjustifiable exclusion of some other deserving states from such a commission. I also think that it even makes more sense to revert to these impacted states for development as the OIL AND GAS MINERAL PRODUCING AREAS DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION, OIGAMPADEC. It is the consequence of environmental degradation caused by petroleum activities that is being addressed, and definitely not the polluted mindset of haters and cowards.

MY PODCAST

Vanguard readers who are into podcasts should please kindly check mine out on Apple, Spotify or Acast. It is anchored by Martine Dennis, a former Al Jazeera presenter. And I am a regular panellist, alongside Patrick Smith, the editor of the Africa Confidential newsletter and editor in chief of The Africa Report magazine.

Topics covered so far include the Liberian elections, the commercial value of sport, the most expensive Nollywood’s movie to date, King Charles’s visit to Kenya, South Africa’s interest in the Israeli conflict and an interview with Dr Kayode Fayemi.

Fayemi, the former Minister of Solid Minerals, former Governor of Ekiti and former Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum is now lecturing at London University’s Kings College and calling for a Marshall Plan for the Sahel. Trust me, he is worth listening to.

RESPONSES TO  donzol2002@yahoo.co.uk  or to 0805 404 6887. PLEASE KINDLY NOTE THAT UNLESS YOU REQUEST ANONYMITY, YOUR EMAIL OR TEXT MAY BE PUBLISHED WITH YOUR NAME AND CONTACT DETAILS ATTACHED.

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