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Interrogating sundry oil-related issues in Niger Delta

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Book title: Oil in water: Crude Power and militancy in the Niger Delta

Authors: Ibiba Don Pedro

Publisher: Foreword Communications Limited

Pages: xxxx

Year: 2017

Reviewer: Pauline Onyibe

Oil in water: Crude Power and militancy in the Niger Delta, written by renowned Journalist Ibiba Don Pedro, is a follow-up of Chapter One of her other book, ‘Out Of A Bleak Landscape’, which exposed the dark side of crude oil found in the Niger Delta region. It is book where the author exposed the role of the military men who invaded the Rivers communities destroying buildings with dynamites.

Chapter One, titled Dark Side Of the River, is on where armed men have taken over Rivers Communities including Buguma brandishing pump action guns, rocket propellers and dynamites destroying lives and properties.

Chapter Two titled Warlords of the oil Rivers, exposes how a set of people who readily admitted to being beneficiaries of dividends of democracy of the oil to the detriment of the region.

Chapter Three is titled Fez Caps and straw men, while chapter four, Gaping Cracks in the Painted sepulcher talks about Ijaw people including minority rights activists all over the Niger Delta where they began a peace process talk in Abuja.

Chapter five is about Rivers State ‘between two new years’; while chapter six has its title, ‘Ten years on black Gold, Delta blues’. Chapter seven looks at problems that will confront Abubakar in Rivers.

Section Two of Oil in water focuses on Bayelsa State, and titled ‘Not Yet the Gory’. Issues such as Bayelsa the Pain and the Glory, Bayelsa not yet pride of the Nation, Akassa, challenges of a Sea Side Town, the fading Glory of Akassa, and Bayelsa without its ailing Administrator are what the author interrogates in this section of the book.

Section Three titled ‘Active Voices’ is on interviews the author had with some Ijaw activists. These include: T.K. Ogoriba, ‘How I was liberated from Bayelsa Government House’; Mujahid Dokubo Asari: ‘Our struggle is for self-determination’; Judith Asuni: ‘Most NGOs don’t know Niger Delta Problems’; Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, ‘We can stop oil production if…..’; Asume Osuoka, ‘PANDAC won’t create superstars who fight for personal interest; as well as ‘IYC will overcome its problems’.

Sections Four and five of the book are titled: Oil in Water. Here, various issues are brought to the fore. They include: In 20 year, Niger Delta Environment will be terrible; Dredging River Niger Without Impact Assessment is criminal; Alfred Lenre: What South- South must Demand at National Dialogue; Rowland Ekperi: Niger Delta Needs Cultural Revolution; and Sharing of Oil Welfare Destroyed Nigeria;

In section five, the author draws attention to ‘Niger Delta’s Unending Misery’, ‘Ken Saro Wiwa and the spirit of Ogoni’, ‘Fear and loathing in Warri’. There is also ‘A tale of Sorrows and Tears’, ‘Far From the Madding host Communities’, ‘Darkening Clouds over a change of names’, and ‘For Oil Companies, Imperative of Wiser Relations’.

Shadowing the Peace is the title of Section Six of this book. Here, the focus is on issues such as ‘A shaky Bridge across troubled Escravos’, ‘Dialogue As Panacea to Niger Delta Impasse’, ‘Again in search of an Acceptable Constitution’.  In this section also, the author looks at what she calls ‘For the Niger Delta. A controversial Development plan’; ‘Niger Delta: Many Hurdles to Peaceful Development’, ‘Avoiding the Niger Delta Problem in Ondo’, ‘Community involvement in Natural Resources Exploitation and Environmental Protection, imperative’, ‘Fears still over Niger Delta Dredging’, and ‘A Gathering to end the Hostage Scourge’.

‘Counting the Costs of Crisis in the Niger Delta’ is the focus of Chapter Eleven in this section. 

The book exposes the inhuman treatment meted out on the people of the Niger Delta. It is a collection of feature reports on the Niger Delta by Ibiba Don Pedro published in the Guardian, New Age, and Daily independent from 1994 to 2005.

The book ‘Oil In Water’ captures disorder, disharmony and the seemingly disruptive impact of the production of crude oil in the lives of the people of the Niger Delta.

It represents another effort to stripe off the layers of public relation of others by killing, rape, and communities captured when arms rather than opportunities are given to the youths of the Niger Delta by powerful people with their eyes on oil.

It also exposed the futility of shadow chasing in the name of search for peace in the Niger Delta without doing justice to the issues at the core of the conflict in the Niger Delta.

Without the stubborn determination of certain persons to speak out even at the risk of being targeted for repressive actions including death especially in the tense days of 2004 the pieces of journalism contained in oil in water would not have become reality.

Oil in water is a tribute to the strong women of the Niger Deta, Ankio Briggs, Fanty Wariyai, Primerose Kpokposei, Constance Meju, Mama Aluta and others who have chosen to stand stubbornly firm on the side of justice and thus miss out on the goodies enjoyed by the gele brigade.

The book Oil in the water is an effort for justice today and sustainable peace tomorrow.

In terms of justice as book, oil in water, is in class of its own as what was supposed to be a simple matter of publishing a collection of the author’s investigative report degenerated into a test case for the practice of democracy or rather its practice.

The title of the book was chosen because it operates at several levels of meaning that bear on the situation in the Niger Delta. On the other hand, the stories are steeped in hopelessness etched on a canvass of violence and bloods shed.

The articles betray at the same time an obdurate whiff of hope and defiance in the unending engagement of youthful courage against brute force that play out in most unexpected ways and situations.

It is a must read for every student of mass communication, history, geography. In fact it is a must read for all.

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Arts & Entertainments

Values, morality as panacea for unity, development

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Title: Music of the Muezzin
Author: R. Adebayo Lawal
Publisher: Kraftgriots
Year of Publication: 2014
Pages: 60
Reviewer: Mahfouz A. Adedimeji

 

Against the sorry state of our world that has lost its moorings, resulting in the Hobbesian conception of life as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” Adebayo Lawal in his second collection of poems, Music of the Muezzin, offers us a way out of the miasma. Through a blending of soulful sounds, delicious lines of pure poetry that offer us sense from the pervading nonsense beclouding our global horizons, the poet draws our attention to the need to uphold morality and promote character in our lives.

 

Basically, Music of the Muezzin is a collection of 38 poems divided into six unequal parts: “Pro-Song: Symphony of the Lonesome Lark”, “Invocation: the Cock’s Mystical Music,” “Smiles of Sorrow,” “Exhortation: Cryptic Clauses of Counsel”, “The Snail’s Courage” and “Epi-Songs: True Time is but Timelessness”. As common to most works of poetry, the themes are as diverse as the poems artistically woven in the compelling collection, but one thesis that reverberates across the work is the need for values and morality in our society. This the author does by distilling messages that tantalize or religious, moral, cultural and ethical sensibilities.

 

The first poem in the collection is the “eponymous” poem (i.e. the poem that gives the collection its title) where the poet explains the impact of the muezzin’s call to prayer on him. The rationale for putting the poem first is most likely informed by the fact that when a baby is born in Islam, the first thing he hears is the adhan or call to prayer. We then have the poet’s interpretation of the magnificence of His Creator, Whose majesty he celebrates in “The paradox of your presence” (p.12).

 

However, the first two parts are not about Islam and faith alone. There is a striking poem, “Lines for a don”, dedicated to his teacher, Prof. David William, with which the poet decries the decline in the academics, which is of interest to every lecturer or don. In his usual inter-lock of sense with sound, a major stylistic feature of the collection, our poet takes a swipe at academic shoddiness and intellectual laziness, a cankerworm that seems to have seeped, or sneaked like a thief in the night, into our ivory towers. The sense is compelling in describing various types of dons in lovely lines and repetitive sonority before upholding the standard as symbolised by the teacher: “There are dunces / And there are dons. / Dons by distinction, / Dons by connection / Dons by compassion / Dons by constipation. / The mafia don, / Done by cruel connection, / Is the Don Juan / Thriving on a code of terror.” … (p.20)

 

There are interesting poems in Part Three, which begins with “The multinational tycoon’s theory”, a witty and humorless poem that ascribes the black man’s tragedy to the accident of creation. He lampoons the archetypal politician in our era of politics without principle describing him in powerful imagery using the bat metaphor: “Bird by day/ Rat by night/ The bat vies with the vulture/ And races with the rodent.” (p.25).

In “Damsel of the ivory tower” (p.31) and “City damsel” (p.32), Lawal has urgent and pungent messages for the students who waste their present and future on illicit sexual adventures.

 

For the latter poem (i.e. “City damsel”) that exploits the computer imagery, the warning to men is that the city damsel is not more than a lovely laptop with a caveat: when you “insert a randy flash-drive / You end up with a vicious virus” (p.31).

 

The third part under consideration contains the longest poem in the collection, “Smiles of sorrow” (p.34), which drives home the need for character and morality in our society.

 

In Parts Four and Five, the author offers antidotes to our troubled and troubling times while canvassing the virtues of love (i.e. “True love”(p.38); “We are all one” (p.39)) reason (“Who are you? (p.40); “Rat race or human race? (p.41)), religious tolerance and righteousness (i.e. “The cannibals” (p.42), “The bubble shall burst” (p.48), “Blessed are they” (p.52)) and other poems of similar thematic concerns. There are also well-crafted poems in this section like “Ilorin” (p.45) which offers a food-for-thought that everyone would like to relish and “In the long run” (p.47) which gives poetic expression to the maxim, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

 

Generally, this collection is “larger than its frame” in terms of the profundity of the timeless messages that make good sense for our troubled season in a world that is going amok. It is a call to action to eschew what is morally bad, religiously sinful and ethically repugnant in our day-to-day interactions.

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Literature

Sam Dede supports PHLS Poetry Slam

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The PHLS Poetry Slam has received a major boost from acclaimed and award-winning actor, Dr. Sam Dede, with the institution of the Sam Dede Prize for Best Spoken Word Artist.

 

Dede made the announcement in Port Harcourt when he spoke with the Resident Poet of the Port Harcourt Literary Society, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi. He commended the Society for energizing literature in Port Harcourt.

 

“What you guys are doing is quite remarkable and deserves the support of every well-meaning artist and sponsor of the arts,” Dede said.

 

The actor, whose inspiring performance in Isakaba earned him Africa’s top acting honours, stated that the Prize comes with cash and a plaque.

The Sam Dede Prize is in addition to the N100,000 already set aside by the Society for the winner of the PHLS Poetry Slam. Other prizes are N75,000 for first runner-up and N50,000 for the second runner-up. A fourth prize of N25,000 will go to the best Spoken Word poet from one of the secondary schools which have benefited from the Society’s monthly PHLS Literature for Teens programme.

 

The PHLS Poetry Slam, already described as Nigeria’s biggest Poetry Slam, will be judged by award-winning poets, Efe Paul Azino, Andrew Patience, Obii Ifejika and Graciano Enwerem.

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Literature

Bwl agency awarded best public relation in Western Africa at Sabre awards

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Agency, founded by 30-year-old Ronke BamIsedun have surfaced as winners of The Gold SABRE Award for Public Relations campaigns in
Western Africa and have been awarded two certificates of excellence in two categories.

They were also shortlisted alongside some of the largest brands and agencies in the world for The Platinum SABRE Award for Best in show, the highest category of the award.

BWL is a strategic brand development company composed of a team of young, hard-working, bold communication consultants who build brands and help them deliver compelling campaigns that cut through the noise. An exclusive affiliate of top global communications
agency GRAYLING.

Their unique disruptive campaign for Jameson Connects Nigeria secured them The Gold SABRE Awards and The Platinum SABRE Award shortlist, whilst the fun curiosity led FOLLOW THE SWIFT campaign for Martell Cognac earned them certificates of excellence in the practice area categories: Marketing to consumers (new product) and Food and beverage.

The SABRE (Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation & Engagement) Awards is the world’s biggest Public Relations Awards Program, dedicated to benchmarking the best PR work from across the globe. The award ceremony took place on Thursday, May 10 th in Gaborone, Botswana. The gala dinner was part of the African Public Relations Association’s annual conference.

Present to receive the award and certificates of Excellence at the gala dinner, was Ronke Bamisedun Founder of BWL and a member of the elite 2018 class of Forbes 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa under 30 says “We are ecstatic and humbled with our Gold SABRE Award and Excellence Certificates.

This amazing accomplishment has been a great positive reinforcement for my team and I, further emphasizing BWL as a company, albeit small, that can transcend borders, disciplines and compete with the largest PR firms in the world”.

BWL have also been shortlisted as finalists for the Upcoming SABRE EMEA, nominated for The Gold SABRE AWARD under the geographical category of Africa. The 2018 EMEA SABRE Awards shortlist was selected from over 2,500 global entries. The competition recognizes “Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation and Engagement”.

The winner of this award will be announced on Saturday May 23 rd at the annual awards dinner in Amsterdam.

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