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Ika Weekly Newspaper and a Catalyst for New Order



Ika Weekly Newspaper

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

In the words of Ben Carson, a retired Director of Pediatrics Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital and now a Washington Times Columnist and Fox News contributor, many people use the terms wisdom and knowledge interchangeably.

They are, however, quite different, and have in no way confers the other. Knowledge is familiarity with facts. The more knowledge one has, the more things one is capable of doing, but only with wisdom is one able to discern which of the many things they are capable of doing should be pursued and in what order.

Certainly, the above words/description fittingly captures the clarity of vision and singleness of purpose that set the stage for the advent of Ika Weekly Newspaper, a weekly tabloid published at Agbor in Delta State.

Established in 1989, the Ika Weekly Newspaper which currently operates both print and online, is, for the purpose of clarity, a community newspaper based in Agbor, owned by the Ewuru, Ika South Local Government Area, born publisher, Steven Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien, a former newspaper vendor/bookseller.

Among other objectives, the newspaper was birthed to disseminate across the world news/ information that is Ika nation-specific, act as a vehicle for the propagation and promotion of Ika culture and tradition while recognizing/celebrating Ika sons and daughters that demonstrate uncommon talent in their various fields of endeavours. The newspaper’s interest/attention/focus was neither at war nor in conflict with any state, regional/provisional, or nationally owned newspapers.

While the above information is important as it provides relevant direction for understanding the origin of the newspaper, readers with critical minds may be tempted to put forward the following question; what is the kernel of this piece/ intervention?

Why is the author fixated with a community newspaper and not even a national one, at this critical time when Nigeria as a country is going through the pangs of insecurity and the masses weakened by economic crunch?

One possible answer to the above questions is that aside from the fact that the newspaper’s progress is a reflection of a leader’s search for new fields to increase the wealth, culture and socioeconomic wellbeing of his people, Ika Weekly Newspaper’s odyssey is laced with profound lessons to draw by the generality of mankind.

Media professionals/industry on their part has enough insight to gain from how Ashien’s grappled with the problems of self-reinvention in order to keep the news organization afloat.

Most superficially, similar to the knowledge of history which is useful to the scientist, the economist, or the student of literature or philosophy on the grounds that no science or art is static, the piece in a synoptic manner x-rays the account of problems faced by the publisher in his resolve to build the newspaper house and how he set about solving those problems after pondering on them and the limited options available. To ignore or misstate this account could lead one to wonder in a dilemma.

Let’s take a detailed look at the particulars of the above claim.

Very fundamental is Ashien’s early consciousness/understanding that economic principles of wealth development is very important for the oppressed communities and will go a very long way towards liberating them from the influence of the elite class, even more, is education, he set out to use the media as a vehicle to educate, enlighten and socially influence his people.

Now, this is the first lesson arising from the ‘self-inflicted responsibility’ of educating the people. The task came in double folds. As he (the publisher) bothers to educate the people, he seizes the opportunity to educate himself and exit being educationally disadvantaged.

Says a commentator, the amazing contradiction is that, with little formal education, the man now embodies what it means to be educated. He has read more than the self-acclaimed educated people. His fascination with philosophy has guided his reading habit well. You can be forgiven for doubting his claim of lack of proper education when you consider his proven editing skill and publishing track records. For a man who claims as I remember it, to have started his career as a newspaper vendor in Warri, he has totally reinvented himself and has made his mark in the world of letters.

Ika Weekly Newspaper1

Before you hastily conclude that things became rosy from this point, wait till you cast a glance at the next paragraph.

But as it is a trademark of many media organizations across the world, 16 weeks of initial publications the newspaper left the newsstand- a factor attributable to macro and uncontrollable reasons.

With the collapse of this effort which Mr Ashien had invested heavily, life again started to become very rough for him. Like many Nigerians at that time, the more he tried his hands on other ventures, the worst it became.

However, as a determined man who always thinks positively coupled with his love for education, he fell back on selling second-hand books, to the extent that he started travelling to Ghana to buy second-hand books which he was hawking from one higher institution in Nigeria to another.

The harder he tried, the more difficult things became.

At this time, Mr Steve Ashien became virtually housebound, lonely, and desolate because finding money to travel out of Agbor became extremely difficult.

But as someone that understands that courage faces fear and masters it while cowardice represses fear, and is thereby mastered by it, he neither allowed himself to be overwhelmed by the uncertainties of life nor lost the will to live.

Rather, on one particular day in 2007, he did something theatrical.

He suddenly decided to go back to Ika Weekly Newspaper publishing. The surprising things about this decision were that at that time, Mr Steve Ashien did not have any money to invest in his dream newspaper publishing.

Though a faith-based man who always put God first in all he does and whose habit of giving/generosity, many characterized as legendary. That notwithstanding, people who knew about his intention gave him neither the needed support nor a chance to succeed. They were sceptical about how possible it would be for him to do magic this time around.

But as native wisdom proclaims, ‘the protestation of the innocent chick does not prevent or stall the sacrifice. If anything, the protestations enriched the sacrifice and hasten its value and efficacy.

Likewise, the flood of oppositions did not stop Mr Steve Ashien from plunging into Ika Weekly Newspaper publication.

Rather, such doubt and oppositions acted as a tonic.  He prayed to God for direction and held on to honesty as his hardest currency while working night and day, sleeping on the floor of his office in order to ensure that the Newspaper hits the newsstand.

As luck will have it, help however came from a few people who were ready to report, highlight, and analyse the current affairs/events and topical issues happening in Ika land that was of interest to the people, especially in the political and community leadership.

He promoted citizens/community journalism.

Clearly, a bracing account particularly as the newspaper has since then, remained uninterrupted at the newsstand for over years with workers’ salaries promptly and dutifully paid. Not even the dreaded outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which disrupted millions of businesses across the world could halt its publication.

Also alluring is the awareness that the organization has grown into other areas of interest. For example, it established the St. Steven’s Library of congress- a resource centre for research and documentation of critical information, and study of Ika history, people, culture, and tradition. However, this library is no longer functional but the knowledge impacted on the general public is still cherished to date.

Despite these achievements, Ashien has refused to be seen. Instead, he opts to function like a cameraman who records events/successes without getting noticed.

But there exists a difference, and that is the fact that even in his ‘hiding’, he remains not just a shining star but a source of inspiration to the youths, a good ambassador of the Ika nation, and most importantly, a Catalyst for New Order. For its part, the newspaper has become a leading light reputed for filling the information gap in Ika Land.

Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via

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Lagos State Executive Governor Commissions Babajide Sanwo-Olu International Market Ikosi 



Lagos State Executive Governor Commissions Babajide Sanwo-Olu International Market Ikosi 

By Adedapo Adesanya

***Constructed By Total Value Integrated Services

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, recently commissioned the third phase of the Ikosi International Model Market and the Ikosi International Fruits Market Phase 2, delivering on a promise made to the people of the community.

The Governor speaking at the commissioning, which was held amid fanfare and jubilation on Thursday, May 25, stated that commercial activities in markets have had a great impact on the state’s economy.

He added that building a befitting environment for traders remained a noble initiative to drive grassroots democracy and socio-economic growth.

The Governor said, “I commend the vision and leadership which facilitated the delivery of these two ultra-modern markets befitting the status of our state and resonate with the vision of a Greater Lagos.

“The impact the markets have had on the economy of Lagos is invaluable, as they serve as focal points of economic activities in the State. These are the real examples of initiatives of grassroots democracy and socio-economic growth.”

On his part, Mr Chris Onyekachi, the Managing Director (MD) of Total Value Integrated Services, a conglomerate involved in real estate development, construction, and civil engineering contracting works and the brain behind the construction of the ultra-modern markets with structures named after notable personalities including the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mr Obafemi Hamzat, Mr Busura Alebiosu, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, et al. revealed that it wasn’t easy building a market of the magnitude of the third phase of the Ikosi International Model Market and the Ikosi International Fruits Market Phase 2.

He revealed that the journey to where the market is today began almost two and half years ago when his company came to reconstruct the market, which started from phase one to the third phase.

He said, “It wasn’t an easy journey because convincing market traders that we had good plans for them wasn’t an easy one. In their minds, they thought we wanted to chase them away. Some people felt that we wanted to use the place to build an estate, but we were lucky to have the leaders in the environment intervene. To the glory of God, we completed the first phase, we allocated it, then we started the second phase, and we also completed and allocated that. This is the third phase, and to the glory of God, we are here today. I thank God for His grace and mercy.”

Stating that the shops are affordable, Mr Onyekachi said that Total Value Integrated Services has a timeline for payment for those who can’t afford to finish their payment once, noting that once 60 per cent of the first deposit is paid, the remaining balance can be spread as agreed.

“We have our management team that is going to be on the ground to manage all the facilities here. I can assure you that in the next 10 years, whatever you have seen today is going to be in the same condition because we are going to manage them properly. Everything is properly designed, the landscape included. You can see our car parks. We have about 500 car parks here, and it makes it convenient for every person that is coming to buy and trade.

“We have a 300 KVA generator, a fire hydrant in case of fire; definitely we don’t pray for that, but we have made provision. All of the shops will be metered; we also have our security house here. We have six mobile policemen that are going to be here day and night, and we also have members of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC)/that are also going to be here to provide security.”

Adding her voice to the narrative, the chairman, Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, Mrs Bada, noted that the markets were built in the quest to improve the standard of trading and to serve as an alternative to the existing markets.

“The markets were built in phases. The first phase was commissioned last year by Mr Governor, which consisted of key-clamp shops (fruit section) where all old occupants and fruit-market shop owners were conveniently relocated, with more than 3,000 units of spacious key clamps.

“Today, I am delighted that the second phase has been completed and is being commissioned by Mr Governor and will be allocated to old users,” she concluded.

The event attracted several notable personalities, including the Chairman of Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, Mrs Samiat Bada; Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Mrs Rabiat Arobieke; Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, and Mr Aramide Adeyoye, among others.

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FG Declares May 29 Public Holiday



May 29

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Monday, May 29, 2023, has been declared a public holiday by the federal government to commemorate the inauguration of Mr Bola Tinubu as the President of Nigeria.

Several dignitaries from across the world, including the United States and some African countries, are expected to grace the swearing-in of the country’s 16th democratically elected President.

In a statement on Friday, the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, commended the citizens for their strident efforts at achieving an unbroken civilian rule and successful change of governments since 1999, appealing for support and cooperation with the coming administration.

“Democracy anywhere is an unfinished business, and the only way it can keep developing and serve its end of being the vehicle to good governance and the welfare of all the people is by adhering to its tenets of the rule of law, support for democratic institutions, promotion of free and responsible press and advancement of the frontiers of freedom for all the people,” he said.

The Minister commended Nigerians for their faith in democracy as expressed in the nationwide elections that produced the President and his Deputy being inaugurated and indeed in all elections across the nation, enjoining Nigerians to continue to support and promote democracy through adherence to the rule of law and uphold all democratic institutions.

In the statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Shuaib Belgore, the Minister urged Nigerians also to continue to promote ideals of peaceful coexistence and love for our neighbours, noting that we can only practice democracy and enjoy its dividends in a peaceful environment.

Mr Aregbesola charged Nigerians to shun any form of violence and other untoward acts, saying all hands should be on the deck for the brightness of the future of Nigeria.

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Schneider Electric Reinforces Support to Partners in Achieving Energy Management Goals



Schneider Electric energy management

By Adedapo Adesanya

Schneider Electric, a global leader in digital energy management solutions, recently held an event for its valued partners with a focus on industry trends, challenges, and the future of energy management.

The event provided a platform for attendees to network and share critical insights, including the latest market trends and Schneider Electric’s newest offerings in energy management.

Present at the event were the Country President, Schneider Electric, West Africa, Mr Ajibola Akindele, official distributors, retail partners, panel builders, Marketing and Communications Manager, Schneider Electric, Omobolanle Omotayo, Channel Sales Director, Schneider Electric, Nurudeen Oyedeji, amongst others.

It featured engaging discussions and presentations that explored the current and future trends in the industry, as well as how Schneider Electric can better serve its customers’ evolving needs while showcasing the company’s latest products and services.

Expressing his gratitude to their partners, Mr Akindele said, “Our partners’ satisfaction is crucial to enhancing our individual efforts, and we are thankful for their unwavering support. Their partnership has been instrumental in our success as an organization, and we remain committed to working collaboratively to achieve our shared goals.”

Speaking further on working collaboratively with partners, he mentioned that Schneider Electric had developed a programme targeted at empowering electricians for the safe installation of energy management solutions.

“At the core of Schneider Electric is a passion for people. To guarantee the safety of our customers, an initiative has been created to equip electricians with products and technical skills for safe installation.”

On his part, Channel Sales Director, Nurudeen Oyedeji highlighted a few of Schneider Electric’s latest offerings in energy management, “We have Electrical Vehicle (EV) Chargers, flexible design switches, circuit breakers, switchboards, Building Management Systems (BMS) and other energy solutions designed for residential and small businesses, buildings, data centres, and industries.

“We look forward to a continuous collaboration with our partners to drive innovation and create sustainable energy solutions for the future.”

Schneider Electric is driving digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, endpoint to cloud connecting products, controls, software, and services across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management for homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure, and industries.

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