By Pastor Barasin Amangi
Growing up as a young boy in Port Harcourt after the war, I saw a beautiful Garden City, a peaceful and prospering environment, a place of pleasure where people from the neighbouring states within the South-South and South East trouped in to ease their stress and enjoyed themselves every weekend, an upcoming vicinity also catching the fancy of investors entering with different business ideas to develop and a place shining like a light that attracted great attention within the nation of Nigeria.
As a teenager being raised in such an enabling environment with great prospects, it was blissful and safe and I went to a good public school and had good drinking water installed in our house with almost constant electricity supply. When I travelled to stay with my uncle or aunt in any other state during the holidays, it was easy to observe the respect and envy accorded me from friends I met who heard that I came from Rivers State. All these actually trilled me, gave me a sense of belonging and made me feel proud of my place of origin. It was also bruit abroad then in some circles that Rivers State was the pride of the South-South and South-East people. However, soon after then this glory and reputation began to peter out. The State started losing marks in her rating among the well industrialized states. The pipe born water we had suddenly disappeared from our house and in that of our neighbours. The electricity supply became more and more epileptic until it is where it is now. Challenges like sporadic shootings, periodical cult wars in our towns and villages, kidnapping of both company workers, small and medium scale industrialists, unnecessary tax impositions on companies by community youths, etc. became the order of the day.
As a result, the weekend social trips from the surrounding neighbouring States seized, companies began mass exodus to big cities like Lagos, Abuja, etc; as the case may be, and the pace at which new industries came in to exist in Rivers State automatically slowed down.
Having seen the Rivers State immediately after the war and the Rivers State today, in my view as an individual, I am convinced that something went wrong somewhere. I kept thinking and praying as a pastor, wondering what went wrong and at what point it did go wrong. If you were in my shoes, you would be tempted to believe that it looked like a success that came by chance to us that as a result of our unpreparedness and riotous living we squandered and wasted as the prodigal son did in the Bible or inefficient leadership predicament we encountered at a point in our life as a state that consistently mismanaged we, our resources and the environment that has brought us where we are today or even as a Christian state we just believed that God could do everything for us without we coming together to take deliberate organized steps as a people to develop our selves, resources and environment to maintain the developmental speed God carried us in to immediately after the war.
As we all know, standard development of a people that is consistent does not just come by chance. It is not also an individualistic matter, but a collective effort by serious minded people that are focused. Sincere people with great minds and capacities from the different local government areas come together to plan, set developmental goals that are not limited to social amenities provision only but industrialization of the state and value system development of the people , bring up clear strategies to use to achieve the goals and get the right resources to start implementing the strategies as to achieve the goals ; with a good management system overseeing the operations, steady development is sure to be sustained. Though such things are not just as easily done as they are said, yet I know that Rivers State is over fifty years, and within this period, lots of resource people within and outside have been raised in different fields of human endeavours who have the right capacities to handle such issues correctly which on one hand can help us move speedily forward.
On the other hand, every rivers man in his small corner should begin to contribute His or Her little quarter towards redeeming the social, economic and environmental statute of our beloved state. The time of sitting idle and waiting for government to do everything is past. It is reasonable that we individually participate in the development of our communities and give government the deserve support to move our state forward. The Americans believe that you cannot be an American dream until you have a dream for America. This is a good concept to imbibe from them. Every rivers man that is thinking of only what he or she can grab from Rivers State and not what to contribute to move us forward needs to rethink whether he or she is a true rivers man, because we are in a time when a people will remain marginalized and backward unless they make up their minds to take deliberate steps to move themselves forward, not just by shooting guns, but by making the right choices, taking the right steps and doing things the right way even if it means sacrifice. So as to get the right results and move up with the right speed
It is in view of this that I and twenty-two other pastors from the Twenty-Three Local Government Areas came together to voluntarily offer our prayer services to God for Rivers State. We feel it is unscriptural and unpleasant to fold our hands and do nothing as indigenes, but just see everything that is wrong and keep complaining; when there is something we can individually and collectively do to bring God's intervention. We started a year ago and meet monthly to pray. We also organize solemn assembly camp meeting annually, where having freed ourselves from all other engagements, we dwell in His presence and earnestly seek His face, asking Him to have mercy on Rivers state and heal our land, and give us a clear direction on how to move to our next level. It's a great work of faith that we just started sacrificially, guiding ourselves with the Holy bible that we may successfully achieve God's desire for Rivers State and the rivers man. Why not partner with us to move Rivers State forward. We need your support to succeed in this crusade.
Barasin Amangi is the pastor of Triumphant Warriors of Rivers State, a Rivers Ministers Prayer Network. Contact 07039468112.