By SundiataPOST, Abuja
Prof. Ibitamuno Aminigo of the University of Port Harcourt on Monday described the book as “a sensitive material that moves the society forward“.
Aminigo made the remark at the launch of a book titled “The Story of Port Harcourt 1913 – 2013“.
He described the book as a collection writing, inscriptions, illustrations, icon of cultural expression which was subjected to public survey and public criticism.
Aminigo, represented by Mr Monima Daminabo, a public servant, said that many authors had also been maimed or killed due to what they wrote which was perceived wrongly by the reader.
He commended the author of the book but reminded him that the book could be criticised positively or wrongly by the readers.
“Some will hail it; some will honour it; some will condemn it and some will burn it; the book has to go through that particular road,“ the don said.
Also speaking, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who was the guest speaker, said the book was borne out of a rigorous research of the city origin and the significant events that played out in the past 100 years.
The former head of state, who was represented by Mr Gomber Osarollor, a former Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources; Works and Housing in the old Rivers, commended the author for the work.
He said the author unveiled the early patriarchs and matriarchs of the city who were the natives that shaped it.
“Emphatically speaking, the book certainly unveils the antecedents of these men and women who paid supreme sacrifice for the development of Port Harcourt.
“I refer to them as leading lights of Port Harcourt and Rivers State at large,’’ Gowon said.
Mr Karibi George, who reviewed the book, said it was a harmonious narration of history, geography and economic values of an extended geographical expression as well as human beings.
According to him, it is an exposition of a people, the soul and spirit of the city.
“Their struggles and triumphs symbolise the struggles of the physical city as it metamorphoses from one level of development to another,’’ George said.
He, however, said that the book lacked three important names that needed to be there as the trio struggled for the survival of the city.
George also pointed out areas which the book did not treat extensively and they included the issue of abandoned property, the story of cult gang wars and the city’s representatives in Nollywood.
The author of the book, Mr Opubo Daminabo, in an interview, said that his encounter with the books, The City of New York and The City of London, in the library captured his interest.
Daminabo said his conversation with the late Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1991 to write a book about the city to showcase that the people were not lazy but excellent achievers sealed his conviction to write it.
“The late Saro-Wiwa was the one who told me that Port Harcourt would be 100 years on the 18th of May, 2013; that he would like two of us to author a book with the same title, the City of Port Harcourt, 1913 to 2013.
“The same pattern he suggested was what I finally followed; unfortunately he died in 1995 and so in the cause of writing it, I acknowledged his influence,’’ he said.