By Duke Efetobore
Legal luminary, Barr. Omoefe Pela Taiga, on Sunday 17 November, was officially inaugurated as the 5th President of Warri Sapphire Lions Club for 2019/2020. The epoch making event took place at Chevron Club Event Centre, Warri, Headquarters of Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The occasion, which had the royal father of the day, the monarch of Olomu kingdom, HRM Ovie R.L Ogbon Ogoni-Oghoro I, JP, in attendance, was chaired by a seasoned industrialist and indigenous road construction guru, Olorogun John Oguma.
Presenting her speech, shortly after she took the oath of office, the visibly elated President, thanked God Almighty for making the event a reality, even as she expressed appreciation to the array of personalities whose contributions to the growth of the club have been worthy of notice.
She said, “I like to appreciate the Charter President, Lion Dcn. Shola Mese, and the entire members of Warri Sapphire Lions Club, the Region 9 Club Presidents, our District Governor, Lion Adekunle Adedipe and his entire cabinet for finding me worthy to serve as the 5th President of our great club. It is with great sense of humility that I accept this faith and trust reposed in me.” She continued, “having people who believe in true service to humanity, I believe we shall reap the fruits of genuine service to humanity.”
Omoefe added that with the help of God, she would surpass the standard already set out in the club, saying that aggressive membership drive would be prioritized in her tenure. She told the enthusiastic audience that she would embark on key humanitarian activities to enhance wellbeing of the society which would include provision of home for the less privileged in the society; provision of portable water for schools and communities; provision of modern public toilet facilities amongst other projects.
In his speech, the Chairman of the occasion, Olorogun John Oguma, who was ably represented by his son, Hon.. Ricardo Oguma, SSA to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Youth Development, congratulated Lion Omoefe Taiga on her new role as the 5th President of Warri Sapphire Lions Club, noting that her dazzling potential was an asset that would propel her to great success in her tenure, even as he urged the members of the club to support the new President to achieve her laudable goals.
Speaking on the topic, “The Relevance of Humanitarian Services To Our Society” the guest speaker, Comr. Emeka Nwokocha, identified some critical humanitarian issues bedeviling the Nigerian polity, saying that in recent past, Nigeria had assumed the ignominious status of a country in dire need of humanitarian aid, occasioned by monstrous Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast and northwest states, resulting in unimaginable number of internally displaced persons (IDP) across the country. Nwokocha noted, “but for the humanitarian aid being provided by the United Nations and Nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), the burden of catering for the welfare of the displaced persons would have been too huge for the Nigerian government to tackle.”
He continued, “the humanitarian crisis in the Northeast has put Nigeria on the spotlight of international community and earns her the appellation of a country in dire need of humanitarian aid. Therefore, since 2019, Nigeria has become a destination for humanitarian aid mostly sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and other international nongovernmental organisations, whose efforts and activities are sparingly complemented by local nongovernmental organisations,” he submitted.
Adding, Nwokocha identified other factors that trigger humanitarian aids in Nigeria to include economic stagnation and unemployment resulting in wide spread poverty and hunger across the 36 states including Abuja, the federal capital territory. He also noted that deplorable housing condition in the country, lacking basic sanitary facilities exposed Nigerians to huge health hazard resulting from open defecation. He noted that a well coordinated humanitarian aid was relevant in tackling the scourge.
He said, “according to the Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH NORM) Survey, conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria is the second among countries in the world where open dedication is prevalent. In this case, the relevance of humanitarian aid in stemming the tide of open defecation through provision of sanitary facilities cannot be overemphasized, he stated.
While identifying child labour as another factor that consigns Nigeria to the list of countries in need humanitarian aid, Nwokocha noted that continuous pillaging and mismanagement of resources by the Nigerian leaders coupled with flagrant disregard for the wellbeing of indigent Nigerians had ensured that the Nigerian state remains backward in human development index (HDI) ranking.
He said, “the falling and deplorable standard of living of the larger population has had woeful consequences on the livelihood of the citizens, thus resulting in outpouring of hurting humanitarian issues across the country demanding urgent humanitarian aid at a very large scale.”
Nwokocha, advanced that child labour could be eradicated when humanitarian aid is deployed to complement government policies tailored at addressing the menace.
Continuing, the erudite Mass Communication scholar commended Warri Sapphire Lions Club for raising the bar in humanitarian services, even as he urged Barr. Omoefe Taiga not to relent in bringing to fruition her pet humanitarian projects, saying, “the projects earmarked for execution by the newly inaugurated President of Warri Sapphire Lions Club, Lion Barr. Omoefe Taiga, are central to the wellbeing of the society, most importantly this time there is compelling need to improve water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria, to stem the rising practice of open defecation, which pollutes the environment and causes serious health problem in the country.
The occasion attracted prominent personalities from all walks of life, including Olorogun Moses Taiga, the President-General of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) Worldwide; and representatives of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly; Chief Ovuozourie Marcaulay, DG, Warri, Effurun and Environs Development Agency; and Hon. (Mrs.) Flora Alatan, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Delta State;