By Dr Sarah Chidiebere Joe
In December 2020, Elanhub asked about 300 Port Harcourt residents what they felt they needed to do in 2021. Now that the New Year is here, we want to share with you the key findings from our poll.
Although a vast majority of Port Harcourt residents said they needed to get involved in and/or improve their spiritual engagement, 80% of our respondents highlighted the need to Pray. Whereas many of the surveyees pinpointed the need to attend services, tithe, praise and worship, Prayer emerged the most relevant spiritual exercise. Prayer in their view, played a critical role in navigating the uncertainties of 2020 and dealing with the fear of COVID-19 and as such is an important arsenal for traversing 2021. Prayer focuses in the New Year range from personal goals to praying for others and the country at large.
Wear A Mask
Making a habit of wearing masks emerged as the second most important need in the 2021 checklist. Two reasons account for this. The first is the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Rivers State, in what many have described as the second wave of the virus. Although our respondents are aware of the existence of at least three approved vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca respectively, they also understand that the vaccines are not necessarily a cure.
The second reason is linked to the state government’s threat to introduce another round of lockdown. This is especially if Port Harcourt residents fail to adhere strictly to COVID-19 prevention measures. These measures include the wearing of masks and is consistent with recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Although the Rivers State Government was well within its rights to restrict movements into the state in early 2020, this came at a great cost to citizens. Food prices soared, schools were shut down and many recall the mental challenges associated with the lockdown. To forestall the strong arm of the state, about 70% of our respondents said they are determined to make the wearing of masks both a Sense and Fashion statement in 2021.
Another issue of high relevance to the residents of Port Harcourt is the management of scarce resources. Although we had projected that finance would be on the checklist, we were, however, surprised at some of the reasons people cited for wanting to save. For instance, a majority of persons who identified as employed said they needed to save in order to raise capital to invest in Forex trade. The city is practically littered with many Forex investment platforms where people invest money and get paid as much as 15-20% of their capital on a monthly basis. When asked whether they are concerned about issues related to fraud, which is associated with get-rich-quick schemes, many were quick to respond that they are fully aware of the risk associated with the business.
A smaller percentage consisting of mostly women/girls between the ages of 20 and 45 years, said they needed to save to buy Bone Straight hair. For the unconverted, Bone Straight hair is the a la mode hair piece in Nigeria. Bone straight hair as the name implies is made up of tiny sleek straight hair of very fine quality. It comes in different lengths, and costs between N70,000 and N500,000. Bone Straight hair also comes in different strengths and is distinguished by their thickness, length of the strands and origin. Three main types exist, Single, Double and Super Double Drawn.
A majority of Port Harcourt residents in 2021 say they need to not just eat well but also explore other types of food. There seems to be a consensus around the need to move away from Garri, Rice, Yam, Plantain and Beans to other types of food or at least try preparing these foods in new ways. Newer residents of the city say they want to incorporate Rivers staples including sea foods like Isam, Ofingo, Oporo, and Ngolo into their diets. Eating local, according to these surveyees is not only less expensive, but a celebration of the rich culture and tradition of Rivers State, the Nigerian seafood capital.
Fifty percent of our population identified exercise as a healthy life choice and thus, a need in 2021. Although many admitted that exercising has always been a priority on their resolutions each year, they are now more determined to make it a lifestyle for themselves and members of their family. Exercise options for the surveyees include in- and outdoor forms, at home and at the gym. Some respondents who identified as parents said they feel the need to register their children for Martial Arts classes, owing to the spate of sexual abuse, bullying and crime in the city.
Fight For A Cause
Sixty percent the respondents highlighted the need to identify and fight for a cause, a practice which they linked to their involvement in the ENDSARS protests. While some see the need to get more involved in state politics, others want to speak up against discrimination of women/girls, rape, sexual abuse and forced marriage.
Lastly, Port Harcourt residents said they do not want to sit idly by and watch things happen. They say they feel the need to do something, in fact, anything to better their lot in life. For many of these respondents, seeking refuge outside the shores of Nigeria is not an option owing primarily to lack of funds. On the list of things that require their action are curbing bad governance, holding leaders and politicians accountable, advancing their education, reading, and acquiring new skills.
Do you live in Port Harcourt? Are any of these 7 things on your to do list in 2021? If not, what is missing? Do let us know in the comment section.
NewYear: 7 Things Port Harcourt Residents Think They Need To Do in 2021