On the 31st of July 2019, the Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communications under the leadership of Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, then Permanent Secretary initiated an advocacy campaign with the hash-tag ‘OurStateOurResponsibility’, geared towards mobilizing majority of those living and doing business in the state to cooperate with the government and rise against the vocal divisive minority to change their unwanted negative narratives about our dear State.
The initiative aimed at promoting the giant strides of the administration of His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS POS (Africa) and showcasing the proud heritage of Rivers people and their enviable traditional hospitality attracted unprecedented attention.
It is indeed gratifying to note and appreciate the overwhelming and massive buy-in by people from all walks of life resident in Rivers State in the first phase of OurStateOurResponsibility campaign. Worthy of mention is the reception by Religious groups, the Civil Society, the Paramilitary, the Military, the Police, the House of Assembly and the Non indigenes who reside and do business in Rivers State defying torrential rainfall and assuming ownership of the message of the advocacy initiative. Two years after the launch of the advocacy campaign, the Ministry is gratified by the high level encompass and demand for further steps to plant the message in the citizens hearts, both young and old, as major stakeholders in the Rivers project aimed at portraying the state in its true positive image.
To this end, the Commissioner for Information and communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, commenced the second phase of the campaign on September 1, 2021 with a press briefing, charging residents of the State to prioritize and imbibe the shared responsibility of a progressive State led by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Pastor Nsirim said that as major stakeholders they should seek to change the negative narrative of the vocal minority and counter their divisive and anti-democratic tendencies.
Beyond reaching out to various groups, the second phase has engaged residents and elicited from them their comprehension of the advocacy message through essay writing, theme song, drama skits and short film competitions attracting various cash prizes.
The online essay writing competition commenced between 2nd of September and 15th September, 2021. To ensure originality and transparency, fifteen shortlisted candidates were chosen for the physical essay writing on Monday 27th September, 2021 at the Ministry of Information and Communications, with the best three aiming at the cash prize of N60,000, N40,000 and N30,000 respectively while three runners-up received the sum of N10,000 each as consolation prizes.
The following persons qualified for the essay writing: Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Ziga Paago, Sophia Oyibo, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam Kelechukwu, Deborah Adegbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Okiche Miracle, Orovwigwo Deborah, Otuka Goodluck, Jaja Chrisitian, Jasper Dorcas and Amarachi Chimezie.
However, out of the fifteen contestants, the under-listed six persons emerged winners in this order: Oyibo Sophia, Anyiam Kelechukwu, Paago Ziga, Jaja Christian, Amarachi Chimezie and Orovwigho Deborah. Meanwhile, in addition to the cash prizes the winners also received plaques and certificates just as the best became ambassador of the Ministry of Information and Communications for this quarter.
Recall that the essence of the advocacy campaign was to focus on etching into the psyche of residents in this state that Rivers State is a great state. It is therefore our shared responsibility to uphold the virtues that portray the state in the desired height, especially against the wishes of the few that are bent on demarketing the state, even as governor Wike is unrelenting in his efforts in rewriting the democratic history of Rivers State.
Indeed, governor Wike’s performance in the past six years is credence to the fact that democracy can actually work to favour the common man.
Suffice it to say, therefore, that the ministry’s OurStateOurResponsiblity advocacy campaign is worth the while and in sync with the State government’s mission and vision of leaving lasting legacies for posterity.
Ibiwari C. Clapton-Ogolo
Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communications.