Mary Ekah writes on how HRH Appolus Chu, The Egbere Emere Okori, Eleme, is changing the twisted narratives sold out against Rivers State
The growing quest for economic superiority and developmental interests has remained key factors that control the wind of information among competitors in business in every sphere of human activity. Deliberate misinformation and negative narratives are strategies employed in this struggle for economic dominance and control. This is the strategy being employed by regions in this country to keep other regions and states in those regions underdeveloped and economically static. Those who have the media, political and economic power always turn the wind of information in their favour by projecting a positive and wonderful image of their states and region while attacking and harming the image of other states and their regions just to attract investors and tourist to their states.
The Niger Delta region is one region that has suffered the brunt of this strategy, despite her huge economic potentials. Media reports and narratives about her richly blessed states, especially Rivers State, are often designed to run down these huge economic potentials and scare prospective investors and tourists.
It is in view of this situation that HRH, (Dr.) Appolus Chu, The Egbere Emere Okori, Eleme, has stood both in words and action, against all odds, to change these twisted narratives sold out against the Niger Delta region and Rivers State in particular.
Rivers State is the industrial hub of Nigeria and a home of peace, hospitality and prosperity. Any twisted narrative against it is a deliberate attack on the economic strength of the nation. It is good to note here that in less than one year, Rivers State has played host to three major national events. First, was the Traditional Rulers Day during the Rivers at 50 Golden Jubilee Celebration, held on the 3rd of May 2017. Traditional rulers like the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Etsu Nupe, Dr. Yahaya Abubakar and so many high class traditional rulers and dignitaries in the country graced the occasion. The second significant event was the official opening of the palace of HRH, Dr. Appolus Chu on the 16th of December 2017. It attracted great kings from different parts of the country and personalities like the former military Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon; public office holders and captains of industries. That event was also an umbrella for national unity.
And in January 2018, the state hosted the 9th General Assembly of The National Council of Traditional Rulers from 30th-31st, at the prestigious Hotel Presidential Port Harcourt, which had the Sultan of Sokoto, Ooni of Ife, Etsu Nupe and other traditional rulers across the 36 states in attendance. President Muhammadu Buhari was well represented by the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau. And the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and other stakeholders were also in attendance.
These events were huge successes, during which, nobody was attacked. Everywhere was peaceful. They moved freely. The warm reception and hospitality of Rivers State enveloped them. These kings also saw that their subjects living in Rivers State are living their day to day lives and going about their normal businesses without any fear or perturbation, panic or intimidation from any angle. They encountered the daily traffic in the state which shows how busy the state usually is during business hours. A lot of other events go on in Rivers State and visitors also come into Rivers State on daily bases for one good reason or the other. If Rivers State were as hostile as it had been projected, would any kingdom allow their king and elites to take the risk of visiting such place? If Rivers State were a war torn zone as it had been painted, why would the multinational companies still operate there?
“Rivers State is not a war zone as people have been made to believe. That is a lie told and sponsored by those who chose to overlook our values and industriousness for their own personal economic interests. The fact remains that you can still find in their states all these things they attack Rivers State for. We cannot rule out shortcomings or crimes in human societies. There is not any state in the country without a shortcoming. Nowhere is hundred per cent safe. That is a fact. But when such situations become the object of focus and are emphasized or twisted in the media, it betrays the intention of the person or group of persons behind such focus, emphasis or twist. They build mountains where there are no hills just to reduce our prospect of attracting investors over them but we know their antics and strategies and we are rising above them. The Rivers State Government and security agencies are really on top to see that the state is safe for everybody, that’s why you see people go about their daily businesses without fear or intimidation. Life goes on normal. Multinationals, small scare and large scale industries are still running their businesses in Rivers state. Neither markets nor school is shut down or closed out because of any crises or conflict. Their pull down syndrome has not stopped Rivers State from being the fastest growing industrial hub in Nigeria. We are a great and hospitable people. We have proven that to the nation and the world. And this is the story we will continue to tell the world,” Chu noted.
He encouraged that Rivers State should see other states in the country as their competitors and try to stay strongly in business and even arise above these competitors by sustaining and attracting investors and tourists. To achieve this smoothly, Chu noted that a governor has to see himself as a businessman with a strong business character. “Investors are integral part of the economic growth of a state. Hence, the governor has to do everything to sustain them and attract more of them and tourists,” he added.
The royal father warned that politicians in Rivers State should mind how they attack themselves so that they don’t fall into the gallery of the state’s competitors. “With such attacks, they give out material of blackmail, sabotage and attack to our competitors who are lurking around for anything to use against us. Also, the hazard of such attacks is that it scares our current investors, potential investors and tourists away. These investors will certainly relocate to where they feel their investments will be safe. The potential investors will look elsewhere they also feel is safe. Our competitors key into this hazard to attract these investors, potential investors and tourists with open arms and warm smile. And that brings down our GDP. Politicians should be our brand marketers and hence should promote our state,” Chu said.