By Emeka Nwokocha
The Secretary of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta (P4P), Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, has commended the Bayelsa State Chapter of P4P for demonstrating commitment in building peace in Bayelsa State through impactful programmes, projects and interventions geared at promoting peaceful coexistence among the people of Bayelsa State.
Egedegbe gave the commendation Monday 12 September, 2022, in Yanagoa while carrying out an on-the-spot assessment of the activities of the Bayelsa chapter of P4P in recent years, saying, “this activity is a new innovation of the Central Working Committee in tune with the dynamics of times.”
Speaking at the meeting with members of Bayesa state chapter of P4P, Egedegbe said the purpose of the on-the-spot assessment was to deepen P4P’s activities geared at promoting peace across the nine states of Niger Delta. “We want to move further from relative peace to sustainable peace,” he stated.
He continued, “the P4P network will be 10 years old in 2023, therefore, it behoves the CWC to look towards a better performance and achievements as our network enters another phase of its operations from 2023.
He said, “I am meeting with you on a friendly gesture. It is an interactive session that offers you an opportunity to discuss your activities, including your projects, programmes, interventions and achievements, after which, we will discuss possibilities for making more progress going forward.”
Pastor Egedegbe emphasized importance of sustaining the activities of P4P which have become expanded in recent years, saying that the compelling need to augment the funding from PIND cannot be overemphasized.
His words, “P4P’s activities around peace building is becoming enlarged by the day, so the onus lies on us – members of P4P to think out of the box to be able to sustain the growing activities of P4P for the good of humanity.” He tasked the leadership of the Bayelsa chapter of P4P to leverage its numerous activities and achievements so far and attract funds from stakeholders that abound in the state, the country and globally. He said, “piece your achievements and success stories in a compendium and use the document to attract funds both in your immediate environment, within the country and globally. They are huge assets for you to attract funding beyond the confines of PIND.”
The treasurer of CWC, Mrs. Wodu Nancy, applauded Pastor Egedegbe for visiting Bayelsa state, describing it as a welcome development.
Speaking, the coordinator of Bayelsa State Chapter of P4P, Hon. Mienye Seikepagha, thanked the CWC secretary for the visit, saying that such opportunity had long been expected. Continuing, he reeled out the past and ongoing activities of the chapter, noting that the chapter had made commendable progress. He itemized the achievements to include the following:
“Both the state and the prevent team have undertaken a total of 22 Advocacy visits; more than 154 critical stakeholders have given their support to various P4P’s interventions; of the nine peace clubs to be set up in Bayelsa State, seven have been successfully inaugurated with 105 members (students) and executives; the eight local government areas of Bayelsa State have functional sub-chapters of P4P with over 120 members, including coordinators, deputy coordinators and secretaries, with due consideration for gender equity; five LGAs’ sub-chapters had engaged in different levels of interventions while three LGAs embarked on other programmes to be completed soon; approximately 75 persons in five LGAs have been trained on different intervention procedures while three LGAs have been strengthened with 45 members.”
Hon. Seikepagha further stated that a member of the Sagbama LGA sub-chapter of P4P, who was trained in soap making, during the sub-chapter’s intervention programmes had made good use of her skills in producing soap, supplying her product to customers and making good profit.
He added, “the Bayelsa state chapter of P4P holds monthly meetings regularly; our state interventions are organised in a way that active members are given opportunity to be part of the intervention teams, that way, we encourage passive members to show commitment to P4P’s activities. Our R&D officers had been trained on short story telling.
“Beyond the state and prevent team interventions, individuals have also recorded series of individual interventions and the state has also given sub-chapter coordinators a nod to carry out subchapter interventions which will be supervised by the state, and the outcome has been commendable. We have also used the broadcast media – People’s FM 93.1 to sensitize the people on how to reduce youth restiveness.”
Stating the challenges, Hon. Mienye expressed deep regret on the demise of the deputy coordinator of the Bayelsa State Chapter of P4P, saying, “it’s a big blow to the state and we are yet to recover from it.”
He added, “the no approval of transport refund for team members embarking on sub-chapter interventions is a huge challenge to project implementation teams,” even as he noted that two or three thousand naira transport refund for project team members was a huge challenge, stating that, “the money is too small for the said purpose despite being a volunteering service.”
According to Hon, Mienye, “cutting down on budgets prepared by state is also a challenge, even when it is obvious that most of our interventions take place in communities very far away from Yenagoa, the state capital.”
In the same vein, other members of Bayelsa State Chapter of P4P noted more challenges, stating that the channel of communication from the national body to the states should be properly defined and professionally managed, noting that unverified information had often times been sent purportedly from the central body, thus raising huge concern about the poor information sharing system. Also, concerns were expressed about the training of some members without the knowledge of the CWC representative, and the coordinator of the Bayelsa State Chapter of P4P.
Responding, Pastor Egedegbe described the interventions already done by the Bayelsa state chapter of P4P as very huge, even as he advised the leadership to sustain the good work while applauding the mutual relationship between the executive and the members of the chapter.
Reacting to the constraints in getting funds to execute projects as and when due, Pastor Egedegbe tasked the leadership of the Bayelsa Chapter of P4P on timely retiring of expended funds on projects and programmes, advising that proposals for next tranche of funds should be submitted alongside the retirement documents.
Continuing, he said that interns had been hired to assist the accounts, and programme officers in the day to day handling of works to meet targets.
Speaking on capacity training, he said that more capacity building training for the members of P4P will come on stream in no distant time, even as he advised that all hands must be on deck to sustain the success being made by P4P network.