- As state intensifies family planning campaign
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has congratulated Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers and Obi of Owa Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Obi (Dr) Emmanuel Efeizomor II, on the 61st anniversary of his coronation today. Okowa, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, on Saturday in Asaba, described Efeizomor as a man of peace and extraordinary humility, who had impacted positively on his people and Delta State. He said the monarch’s reign had brought immeasurable transformation and peace to Owa kingdom and beyond.
In another development, the state stepped up its family planning awareness drive, with a one-day train-the-trainer workshop at Model Primary Health Centre, Asaba, in Oshimili South Local Government Area. The training workshop came on the heels of recent concerns expressed by the governor about the negative consequences of a fast growing population without a corresponding level of growth in the economy.
While thanking God Almighty for the life of Efeizomor, who is one of the longest serving kings in the world, Okowa said, “It is under your reign that Owa Kingdom produced the Primate of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria and the Governor of Delta.
“You have done your best to positively impact the development of your kingdom and the state; your humility and friendliness have made you a role model that is loved by all. Through dint of hard work and focus, you have continued to grow Owa-land as well as ensured that peace continues to prevail across the kingdom and its neighbours.
“As Chairman of Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers, we watch with satisfaction how, as a peace-builder par excellence, you masterfully galvanise your colleagues toward peace, security and support to the government of our dear state. And, as a government, we appreciate your good counsel at all times and all you and your colleagues are doing at the grassroots to make governance easier.”
The governor prayed God to grant the monarch many more years on the ancient throne of his forefathers.
Meanwhile, the state held a family planning enlightenment campaign in Asaba, where the Family Planning Officer in charge of the area, Mrs Odegala Eseoghene, and Chief Nursing Officers, Mrs Mary-Ann Okwechime and Mrs Gillian Ogude, spoke on family planning services and challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Okowa had recently lamented the consequences of population explosion without corresponding economic growth. He observed at an event in Asaba to mark the 29th anniversary of Delta State that it was only through the adoption of modern family planning methods that the country could keep its population growth at a manageable pace.
Okowa said, “We have a lot of natural resources in the country, but when the level of economic growth is less than the growth in our population, then we cannot move forward.
“I am not saying people should not give birth, but there is the need to educate the people to give birth to the number of children they can comfortably care for.
“If we continue the way we are going and, incidentally, we hit 500 million in population by the year 2050, I wonder what the situation will look like in Nigeria.”
Similarly, Bishop of Asaba Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Right Rev. Justus Mogekwu, advised the people to change with the times, saying the country’s economy, financial and social status of people should be taken into consideration in deciding on the number of children parents or families should have.
Mogekwu said, “We believe that children are like the arrows in the quiver of a mighty man…
“As you know, there are many kinds of quivers; there are quivers that can take five arrows, there are quivers that can take 10 and there are those that can take only three arrows, depending on its capacity.
“It is foolish to equip quiver for three arrows with 20 arrows, you will tear it. So our stand is, let’s accept that children are gift from God but we must also accept that God demands discipline. God says, let your moderation be known unto all men. So it is not proper if you continue breeding without self-control, because self-control is also God’s demand on His people. You must exercise self-control; we must take cognizance of our quiver as conscribed by the ability to hold arrows.
“Economically, financially, and socially, you cannot give birth to five children when you have no capacity to look after one child.
“So, family planning in the sense of not committing abortion, but in the sense of preventing excessive breeding of children, this is something that must be taken into consideration.”