Vanguard Newspaper 03 February 2018
18—SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018 Garlands for Governor Okowa BY JULIUS OWEH Hard work and appreciation are part of human existence at the individual level or governmental level. Appreciation for deeds well done is one form of motivation to spur the person so appreciated to do more. And this was demonstrated recently at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos where the governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa was honoured by the Independent newspaper as Man of the Year 2017. It was a well attended occasion that saw the presence of the mighty and high from Delta State and friends of the governor from other parts of the country. Two former governors of the state – Chief James Ibori and Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan were present affirming the unity of the PDP family in the state and putting to shame the views of skeptics about the rumoured division in the party. The award was presented to the governor by Alhaji Ismalia Isa Funtu, appreciating the developmental efforts of Okowa and other award winners. Funtu explained the reasons behind the award: ‘When you look at the list of people this paper is honouring, you will discover that they are Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of life. I will like to appeal to the media to do her utmost to promote the unity of this country. The media should try and unite Nigerians and stop fanning the embers of disunity‘. A highly elated Okowa thanked the Independent newspaper for the award and promised to do more for the electorate in the state. The governor also used the occasion to comment on national issues like unemployment and insecurity currently plaguing the nation. He appealed to those in authority at federal and state levels: ‘Government at all levels should begin to pay more attention to our youths; we must make consistent efforts to empower them. We need to strengthen technical education and the polytechnics in the country so that the youths will be well equipped with relevant skills to become self reliant rather than going about with certificates seeking jobs that are not available. Until we do that, we may not have a great country that we seek today. We must also look at the family planning because the level of insecurity that we have in the country is borne out of the joblessness of our youths, we must find a way to control our population growth‘. The governor also commended the newspaper for the award, paid tribute to his predecessors for working with him to ensure that dividends of democracy get to all Deltans. The Independent newspaper award is the third award the governor •Gov Ifeanyi Okowa receiving an award has received so far in recent times. It would be recalled that during the Delta State Products Exhibition and Business Fair in Asaba, last year, the World Bank commended the efforts of the government in job creation. Tunde Adekola, senior Education Specialist in the bank in that occasion spoke glowingly of the state: ‘Delta is the only state that has demonstrated its commitment to skills development in practical terms.... the World Bank will continue to support the Delta State government in the area of skills and technical development and will work with the job creation office of the state government to strengthen their labour market observatory system in order to make Governor Okowa dream of re-creating the middle class a reality‘. The third award came from the University of Ibadan where he trained as a medical doctor. Okowa bagged the highest national award of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, The Alumni of the Year Award. The national president of University of Ibadan Alumni Association, Dr Kemi Emina observed that the award was given to Okowa to celebrate excellence, maintaining that Governor Okowa bagged the award as a result of effective delivery especially in the areas of empowerment, provision of infrastructure and the contributory health insurance scheme. Okowa was in his elements while receiving the award from the university that had played prominent role in molding his education and career. Okowa described the award thus: ‘I feel very elated coming back to my roots and be honoured with the award. We should take research in our universities serious, individuals and organizations should support government by sponsoring research in the fields that will encourage us. ‘ Many prominent Deltans who spoke on the relevance and essence of The Man of the Year Award were the deputy speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honourable Friday Osanebi, the Information Commissioner, Hon Patrick Ukah, Honourable Michael Tidi, chairman of Warri South local government area and Mr Nnamdi Ezechi, the DESPOADEC Commissioner. Hon Friday Osanebi described the award as a reward for hard work, dexterity and prudence. Listen to the deputy speaker‘s sentiments: ‘Your Excellency, through diligence and prudent management of resources, you have practically demonstrated that you are a leader with strong abilities. The award today is indeed a reward for excellence – that the governor was so honoured for the uncommon wealth creation and infrastructure in the state, has demonstrated rare virtues of frugality and industry in the discharge of his duty as a governor‘. Ukah, the state Information Commissioner maintained that the award to the governor was well deserved given to the fact Okowa as man is not one that jumps at awards and that the award could not have come at a better time. He observed that the developmental projects of the governor were visible in all parts of the state and that sceptics were very free to verify them. He said that his boss was a workaholic who ensured that those working with him were always on their toes until the set goals are achieved. Ukah argued that the Independent newspaper award was a further justification of the 2nd position ranking of Delta State by the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria on its first sub-national competitive Index. Hon Michael Tidi, the chairman of Warri South local government area saw the award as the resourcefulness of the governor in managing the affairs of the state. Tidi puts it this way :‘It is recognition of Dr Okowa‘s remarkable resourcefulness, resilience and strong managerial acumen as reflected in his spread of infrastructural projects across the three senatorial districts in Delta State amid the difficult economic situation experienced in the country between 2015 and 2017. The award will make him to work harder in wealth creation for the people and the educational sector‘. Mr Nnamdi Ezechi, the DESOPADEC commissioner applauded the award on the governor for his passion and commitment towards holistic development of the state, noting that the award has shut the mouth of his critics. Hear Him: ‘Within the space of two years, Governor Okowa has demonstrated an unparalleled passion and zeal to the holistic development of Delta State and SMART prosperity of Deltans across board‘. The mass media apart from informing, educating and entertaining people (of which The Independent newspaper is a critical member) should be able to offer praises where necessary and single out individuals and corporate organizations for commendation for extra ordinary feats and achievements. It is against this backdrop that the award given to the governor of Delta State could be situated and this is one of the fine grains of developmental journalism, helping the government to grow by offering constructive criticism and applauding elected officials should they be faithful to their electoral promises and minister to the people, democratic dividends.
Segun (surname withheld) is an ardent follower of this column. Touched by the article of January 13 titled: “What will kill you is before you,” he decided to share his recent health challenges: It is as if you had me in mind when you were writing your column. Since age 32, I have been on blood pressure medication, so I do not need any reminders to be conscious of my BP. But my family has no issues with diabetes, so blood sugar level is something I never paid attention to, at least not until recently. One Saturday in November last year, I went for a high society wedding where champagne flowed freely. I took a reasonable quantity. Shortly after I got home, I became very feverish; I treated malaria over the weekend to no avail. By the next Tuesday, I went to see my doctor. When the results of the tests came out, I had malaria alright, but the sugar level in my blood was 179! The normal sugar level, according to my doctor, is below 100 when you wake up in the morning and not more than 140 at all times. Anything below 70 is also not good. Another test that was conducted showed it has been the pattern for the past three months or more. Then I understood the dizziness, uneasy feelings and occasional blurred vision I had been experiencing for some time. I went into depression immediately. Even when the doctor was consoling me that diabetes is not a death sentence and can easily be managed, I had gone deaf to his counsel. All the memories of people with sores that refused to heal; those whose limbs were amputated and those who died because they rejected amputation came flooding back. I was put on diabetes medication (Gremax, Mepiryl, Alphatic, etc), but my spirit rejected them. When I started taking them, sometimes my sugar level will drop below 70, I will take a bottle of coke to bring it up. Most times I felt dizzy and disoriented. I stopped driving long Blood sugar, abere to the rescue? distances. One of the drugs, Mepiryl, which I took 30 minutes before breakfast always left me disorientated. My productivity level dropped. I was seeing my doctor everyday for review. I also saw a dietician to guide me in my transition to a new diet. But I also listened to my body, as you rightly observed in your column. Once the diagnosis came out, I alerted all my siblings so that they too will become more conscious of their sugar level and not take it for granted like I did. Since a problem shared I now take my health seriously the way a man of almost 50 years should. I check my blood sugar, BP and pulse at least once a day and record them to know the trend over time is half solved, they started helping out with information and remedies. One of them, Femi, helped me to get the seed of a local plant, called abere in Yoruba (sorry I do not know what it is called in English), which they said brings down blood sugar levels effectively. The seed is hard so I break it into pieces and put in a cup SATURD TURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018 — 19 malt drinks that have sugar; red wine, champagne, beer, brandy, whiskey and cognac also do, so I have obediently reduced my intake of red wine and champagne to an occasional glass and at ceremonies. But I still take plenty of water which is good. As you also rightly observed in your article, the “saying that you can never be wrong with fruits” is not true. In my personal review, my huge consumption of fruits like banana, pineapple and watermelon contributed to my condition, because sometimes, I took them in large quantity instead of real meals. For now, I am off all “sweet” fruits like bananas, oranges, pineapple, etc., till further notice, even though the dietician said I could take a little of them. Garden eggs are what I snack on now. I now take my health seriously the way a man of almost 50 years should. I check my blood sugar, BP and pulse at least once a day and record them to know the trend over time. I exercise more regularly now, albeit walking. I have noticed some trends over the last three months. The exercise is good both for my blood sugar and blood pressure. Eating late at night increases my blood sugar level beyond 100 the next morning; fried meals also increase my blood sugar. Strict discipline is important. It is still early days though and too early to jump to conclusions, but I feel very normal. I now know that what and when we eat are even more important than medication. For now, the abere seed is holding forth well. But the challenges of traditional African medicine are also there. For instance, what are the side effects? I do not know and feel none for now. What about the dosage and frequency? For me, these depend on my sugar level. I also just heard that some people actually chew the seed, a very bitter and “bruising” exercise, but what sacrifices will one not make to have good health? of water and leave it for at least five hours before drinking. This seed has not only brought down my sugar under 100 when I wake up (it only goes beyond 100 when I eat certain meals or late the night before) and under 140 at all times, but I now feel very normal again. For now, I am off all conventional pre-diabetes and diabetes drugs. I was already on a strict diet before this development, but I have made further adjustments. The quantity of food I take has reduced. I now take mainly unripe plantain, plantain flour (amala), rice for people with diabetes and plenty of vegetables. No more cornflakes, sugar, garri, full cream milk and oh, I miss my favourite meal, ewa and dodo (beans and fried plantain) sorely. The last time I ate fried plantain for dinner, my blood sugar went way beyond the 140 limit. Beans meal is good for people with diabetic tendencies, but I cannot take it without dodo. I also miss my other favourites like akara and bread, moi moi and “soaked garri,” but what can I do? Only the living eats. I have also let go of my daily Coffee with cream and honey; I now take coffee with a little portion of skimmed milk, but no more honey. It is not only soft drinks and (Text Only) Some stretches to gain strength The double vertical leg raise Technique: Sit on the floor with the legs outstretched in front of you and the hands placed behind you with fingers facing forward. Breathe in deeply and raise the legs vertically. Retain the posture for 5 to 7 seconds and breathing out lower the legs to the floor. Repeat this three or four times. Benefits: The leg raise strengthens the quadriceps—the muscles of the front of the thighs. The abdominal wall gets toughened. The digestive organs are stimulated. The shoulders and neck also get a good workout. The Triangle Technique: Stand with the feet wide apart. Lower the trunk to the left with the left hand placed on the left foot. Turn the right hand to the back and place the right hand on the left buttock. Now, breathe out and twisting from the navel, turn up the chest to align Double vertical leg raise Head-to-Knee pose the shoulders. Change sides and repeat Benefits: The Triangle gives gentle but effective literal stretch to the entire length of the spinal column. It also strengthens the chest and shoulder muscles. The Head-to- Knee pose Technique: Sit down, breathe in deeply as you raise both hands overhead and till slightly backward. Now exhale and lower the trunk and hands down till you can make a ring around your big toes with the thumbs and forfingers. Rest the forehead on your knee with the elbow touching the floor. The Head-to-Knee pose tones the hamstrings,and the spinal column becomes flexible, the abdominal organ gets massaged leading to their better functioning. Constipation is banished and painful periods in the womenfolk becomes a thing of the past. Benefits: This exercise stretches your back muscles and ensures free movement. Double vertical Leg -raise&Triangle pose C M Y K