For a better understanding of this editorial comment, it is important to state that those close to Mr. Steve Ashien, the Publisher/Chairman of the Ika Weekly Newspaper will attest to the fact that it was his love for, and believe in the notion that government alone cannot solve the challenges of community development, that propelled his establishment of Ika Weekly newspaper over a decade ago and has sustained its growth to the extent that today, the weekly tabloid has arguably become to many a ‘canon of knowledge, to some the most authoritative source of information about Ika Land and to the rest, a Saturday morning breakfast.
This guiding principle of daily pursuit of excellence and contribution towards nation building by Mr. Steve Ashien has since transcended to become both the Newspaper’s corporate image and identity. This has in turn at different times and places earned him and his news organization a flood of awards.
Some of these awards include but not limited to; Global Media Award (In Recognition of Outstanding Print Media Contributions And Services to Ika Land in 2016 by the Onu Ika, the mouthpiece and most influential socio cultural organization in Ika nation. Distinguished Service Award (In Recognition of Unprecedented Contribution to Developments in Ika Land, Nation Especially In the Areas of Information And News), by Ika Association, Baltimore Washington Metro Area, USA, in 2015. Merit Award In Recognition of Patriotism, Outstanding Positive Contributions to Humanity, Ika Land, by Ika Progressive Union, Abuja Branch. 2008, and Award by Prime League among other awards from the State Government and corporate organizations.
Bearing in mind the above reality, and recognizing the age long saying that to whom much is given, much is expected, the newspaper in its enlightened national interest has made it a point of duty to discover, recognize and sincerely celebrate other illustrious sons and daughters of Ika origin contributing towards sustained human capital and infrastructural development of the Ika land and people.
And it germane at this point to underline that since that decision was made some years ago, the newspaper has met with and celebrated many outstanding Ika personalities while providing a gateway of opportunities for young talents.
Today, after a thought about those breaking new grounds in Ika nation, it dawned on the Editorial Board that when it comes to giving hope to the hopeless, supporting the youth with financial need to continue with their education, its Dr. Donald Peterson, a philanthropist and a business man that probably comes to mind. As he presently teaches other wealthy Ika sons and daughters and the rest of us the throw meaning of giving back to the society.
Born on December 28, 1971 in Lagos to the family of Mr. Peter Onyibe and Mrs. Comfort Onyibe, Donald holds a PhD in Economics. And currently functions as the President/ Founder, D-Peterson Foundation. A foundation that he has tremendously used to demonstrate to the world that the greatest gift to a community would be when one contributes to making lives better; when one touches lives by the dint of donations or charity, spreading light to the neediest and enlightening souls in the process.
Talking about what propels him during a recent interview with the Ika Weekly Newspaper, Donald has this to say; “I feel accomplished and very happy whenever I put a smile on people’s faces and bring joy to their lives.
“I looked at the level of infrastructural development our Governor has done for us, especially in terms of roads. So I feel it’s only natural for us to maintain them. I grew up here in Agbor and there were lots of streets that were never tarred, but are all tarred now, thanks to our Governor, that’s why we decided to go clean up the drains, put up street lights and employ women (about about 27 of them) who sweep the streets. I am only responding to how I met Ika when I came in 1980 with street lights and in my own way appreciate the Governor for what he has done for us and also letting us know that there is need for us to take care of those things that are in place.
“We also provided refuse bins for the roads, the houses have their bins so we felt it wise to place refuse bins at different spots on the streets, from the expressway down to the end of Orikeze Avenue. They are labeled Orikeze Avenue and brown in colour. Yes, we financed this project and we pay the women who sweep the streets. The street lights are always lighted up, powered by the generator in my compound. The reason for this street light project is to beef up security and help businesses strive on Orikeze Avenue. The street light makes businesses thrive better at night and it has resuscitated the economic position of business in Orikeze Avenue at night as it has boosted commerce and trading and people have extended business hours. All these give me joy’.
“Apart from Orikeze Avenue, Edike Street had a dangerous pothole that took a life last year. Now it has been fixed, flooding around Ogbe-isogban area and Palace Junction was also fixed by digging two very large borrow pits in Ogbe-isogban and behind the dispensary. We have cleaned up the drains from the express down to obi palace junction. We have also offered scholarships to quite a number of students through Donald Peterson Foundation across schools in Ika Land. Quite a number of the students are in Ideal school in Uromi Junction.
“We also came up with an idea to encourage graduates who have no jobs to see how they can apply for the Express Entry Programme for Professionals into Canada. Each applicant would have to write an exam. The exam fee is Eighty Six Thousand Naira (#86,000) and we have given ten persons Ninety Thousand Naira (#90,000) each to enroll for the exam. More are still applying and we encourage others to apply as well. Our target is to get at least two hundred people to enroll for the exam with the hope that at least ten percent of them would pass. The exam is such that if one is a professional here with a degree, he/she would write the exam and when he/she passes the exam at least with a score of 8.0 or above, the Canadian government would give him or her work permit to work in Canada right from here in Nigeria. One would not go as a visitor to Canada but as someone who already has a job over there.”
More specifically, Dr. Donald Peterson goodness cannot be said to exists in frame as one of our very own here at the Ika Weekly Newspaper, Precious Egilewe, a web developer, who hails from Alifekede in Ika South L.G.A. of Delta State, was equally awarded a scholarship that will cover from his first degree to PhD level with immediate employment after NYSC, including Industrial Training offer to any country of the world.
Aside wanting to be remembered as “one who added values to lives, Dr. Peterson is of the belief that good legacy bequeathed is better than a million dollars, left in the bank. ‘A good legacy is worthy much more than currency. When you leave so much money in the bank without a good legacy, you are only creating problems for your kids since they never worked for it, they would squander it. People would talk about you after you have gone. People would therefore make references to what you have done which would also rob off on your children’