AMBASSADOR Ike Oligbo, a British trained lawyer and a businessman, is making a spirited bid for the number one job in Anambra State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He has been moving to various communities in Anambra State, holding consultations to convince them that he has the experience and right frame of mind and exposure to lift the State to lofty heights and tackle its developmental challenges. A native of Umuoji in Idemili North local government area of Anambra State, Oligbo, is the first child of Amaechi Oligbo and Clarice Ebele Oligbo. Born and brought up in Aba, Abia state, where he attended both primary and secondary education, he studied Law at the University of East London, Longbridge Road, London, United Kingdom.
He is the chairman of Foxtons Security Ltd, Emergency UK Security Ltd, Orchard Fries Fast Food Chain, Amabel International.
Oligbo is a philanthropist, the founder, and chairman of Hon Amb Ike Oligbo Foundation, an institution through which scholarships are awarded to the fewer privilege children and medical outreaches are yearly organized. As a man, who has a passion for community development, he is the founder and chairman of the community-based organization, CBO, called Aba Brought Up Worldwide, ABUW. ABUW is a platform through which individuals who at one time or another lived or had some association with Aba give back to the society that natured them.
Popularly known in his home town as Ichie Ike Edeke, Oligbo is a recipient of many international awards that include but not limited to the following – Binney Memorial Awards (2007), Governor of Conway School (2008), United Nations Ambassador of Peace (2014), Rotary Club of Maryland (2015)
In this exclusive interview with Realnews, Oligbo although a political neophyte outlines his strategy to become the preferred candidate of the PDP and emerge victorious in the Anambra guber race in 2021. His views on tackling insecurity, youth unemployment, ending perennial communal clashes in Anambra East Senatorial zone, and exploiting huge gas deposits in the State among others are thought-provoking. Excerpts
Realnews: How do you intend to clinch your party’s ticket and make a successful bid to become the governor of Anambra State?
Oligbo: I declared to serve Anambra people under the platform of my party, PDP, as the next governor of the state after Governor Willie Obiano of APGA on the 27th of March, 2019. Before the declaration, I have been monitoring governance in my dear State and discovered that governance under Chief Willie Obiano led APGA government has derailed from the leadership standard established by his predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi and I decided to come and rescue the situation, to bring Anambra on the path of the renaissance. In other to clinch my party’s ticket, I am reaching out to all the stakeholders of our great party from the grassroots to the national and diaspora as well. Anambra people in general are not left out. Consultation is extensively being carried out at both parties and citizenship levels. Our consultation is horizontally and vertically oriented.
Realnews: For more than 10 years Anambra has been ruled by APGA. It appears that the people of the State are emotionally attached to APGA because of the Ojukwu factor and the fact that it’s seen as the party for the South East. Does this bother you and how do you plan to work on the psyche of the people to vote for you and not the party they are emotionally attached to?
Oligbo: No it doesn’t bother me at all because the legacy of Late Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu (Ikemba of Nnewi, Eze Igbo Gburugburu) has been distorted by the current APGA leadership. The estrangement of Chief Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, the wife of late Ikemba Nnewi, can testify to this. Anambra people are already fed up with APGA and they want a new lease of life. PDP and I as the flag bearer will ensure that the anticipated new lease of life is a reality.
Realnews: The PDP has a lot of stalwarts supporting different factions who will like to be appeased in other to get their support. How are you going to overcome this challenge?
Oligbo: Let me clarify that PDP under the leadership of Hon. Sir Ndubisi Nwobi has no faction. It’s a united family. Nevertheless, different stalwarts of the party support their different choices of aspirants and that support for different aspirants ends after the primary election during which a flag bearer must have emerged. It’s expected that after the primary election everybody will support the party and her candidate to ensure electoral success. So there is no cause for alarm.
Realnews: You are new in party politics in Nigeria without much political baggage. This could be an advantage as well as disadvantage. How can you optimise your newness in politics to your advantage and prevent it from working against you especially when you are contesting against some tried and tested politicians? Also, why would it be wrong to describe you as a novice in politics?
Oligbo: You’re absolutely right but that won’t be a problem. People are aware of this and they are actually rooting for new entrants with integrity and acumen in governance and Ndi Anambra both the delegates and the general voters know that I’m the real deal, the real man to bring about the expected good governance that will deliver democratic dividends to the citizenry. I may be a “novice in political office contest” but not a in political activism so my “novitiate” is not a handicap at all.
Realnews: What are your plans for developing Anambra state? Which critical areas are you going to focus on to achieve results within the shortest possible time?
Oligbo: My plan for developing Anambra State is contained in my declaration manifesto titled “My Social Contract with Ndi Anambra”. It was built on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015. Consequently, my administration plans to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, to develop Anambra State. The document, “My Social Contract With Ndi Anambra” contains nine developmental point agendas amongst which are the two most important Human Development Index, HDI, factors – Education, and Health. I tend to make Anambra the hub of Medical Tourism not only in Nigeria but Africa at-large. Other areas are infrastructures – roads, electricity, job creation, civil service reform, environmental /ecological management, security, rescue /emergency services, etc. Moreover, agricultural development is critical to my administration because COVID – 19 has proven the need to work for food sufficiency. These are some of the critical areas to be given immediate attention in both short and long term measures.
Realnews: We have communal clashes in Anambra which has been intractable especially in Umuleri and Umuoba Anam where many lives were lost recently. What can you do to bring lasting peace in the area if you are elected governor?
Oligbo: The communal crisis in Anambra is regretted because it has brought about unnecessary loss of lives and properties resulting in the derailment of development. It’s really anti-development. To tackle the problem, I intend to first establish an organ of experts in conflict resolution. They will be given broad terms of reference that will unearth the historical causes of the conflict and come up with a lasting solution that will abate the communal crisis in Anambra State at-large.
Realnews: Insecurity is a serious challenge in the country. There has been reports of the menace of killer herdsmen and jihadists raping women, girls, and killing farmers. What programme do you have to protect lives and property in the state?
Oligbo: I am a strong advocate of State police. The bundled security system in the country is a very big challenge to the management of security in the country. State police will enable each constituent State in Nigeria to tackle their security challenges as it suits their culture and environment. In the absence of State security, local vigilante will be constantly mobilised, trained, and retrained to meet up with the contemporary security challenges like herdsmen menace. Raping of women and girls will be a serious punishable offence that culprits and intending ones will not like to face such laws. For example, the business of every such culprit whether high or low will be legally emasculated.
Realnews: Are you bothered about the incessant killings in the country and the takeover of communal land arbitrarily by armed herdsmen?
Oligbo: I’m really bothered. Like I said earlier the bundled security system in Nigeria is the cause. Unbundle the 1999 constitution, restructure the country, and security challenges will be decimated in the country. Unfortunately, Nigeria is shying away from these two important measures for sustainable security and unless they are done sustainable security will remain a mirage in the country.
Realnews: Unemployment in the country, especially that of jobless youth is a threat to the security and well-being of our country. How will you tackle youth unemployment in Anambra State if you are elected?
Oligbo: The function of the government is to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and once that is done the issue of youth unemployment will be brought to a minimal level. So to solve youth unemployment in Anambra State, I will engage in massive infrastructural development that will attract foreign direct investment, FDI, and at the same time encourage local businesses. There will be strong public and private partnership, PPP, where necessary. Simply creating an enabling business environment will take care of youth unemployment in Anambra State and that is will be the focus of my administration.
Realnews: Erosion poses a serious threat to the state. How will you tackle it?
Oligbo: There are about 1000 documented erosion sites in Anambra State and the state cannot do it alone. My administration will continue to collaborate with Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP. It is a World Bank assisted project aimed at addressing the Nigerian gully erosion crisis in Southeastern Nigeria and land degradation in Northern Nigeria on a multi-dimensional scale. Furthermore, ecological funds when accessed will be judiciously managed.
Realnews: Closely allied to the above is the issue of environment and sanitation. Effective refuse disposal is a problem in the state and it defaces the environment.
Oligbo: The first thing to be done is institutional reform. The body legally bound to carry out waste management in Anambra State is Anambra State Waste Management Authority, ASWAMA. ASWAMA will be reformed to meet up with contemporary waste management challenges. The first will be on the enforcement of environmental laws. As it stands environmental laws exist but they are not enforced. Again, we will look into waste to wealth approach where waste scavengers will be organized and coordinated.
Realnews: What is your appraisal of the state of education in Anambra State. How can you improve and sustain education in the State?
Oligbo: Anambra state is still doing good in education but if you compare the present performance and performance during the administration of Mr. Peter Obi, you will agree with me that there is a drop in performance. Unfortunately, this drop isn’t supposed to be witnessed at all. It implies that there is a relapse in policy implementation. Such a policy relapse must be identified and checkmated. Again, institutional reform becomes necessary. Moreover, as I said during my official declaration, I made it clear that I will establish nine years of compulsory free education so as to set the right education foundation in Anambra State. Furthermore, funding of education will be a priority in my administration. I will make an effort to implement the UN’s budgetary benchmark for education.
Realnews: What is your assessment of the handling of the coronavirus pandemic at various levels of government in Nigeria? Any suggestions on how its management can be improved?
Oligbo: The handling of the pandemic was very poor. States were not allowed to take their own initiative. It’s wrong to centralize the activities of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC. Again, the issue of ignoring the homegrown approach was nonsensical. Madagascar gave support to the homegrown management approach and they were successful. Our local scientists should be encouraged to come up with solutions instead of searching for solutions from the Western world. The mechanism for the distribution of palliatives was equally wrong. Covid-19 has taught us to be proactive rather than reactionary.
Realnews: Anambra State has a huge gas deposit. If you are elected, what can you do to ensure the State benefits from this huge natural resource?
Oligbo: Again the issue of the 1999 Constitution and restructuring arise here. The bundled 1999 Constitution makes it difficult for any state to harness her natural resources, so it’s a big challenge. Right now, the gas deposit is kept on strategic reserve by the federal government and it is so because natural resources are in the exclusive list in the constitution. So the State needs to be constitutionally empowered to harness her natural resources and once that is done, exploration of gas for both domestic use and export will be activated during my administration with state-of-the-art in oil and gas technology coupled with environmental best practices will be embarked on.
Realnews: What can you do to make the economy of Anambra State the best in the country?
Oligbo: Simply to create enabling business environment by massive infrastructural development and discouraging unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks. It’s likely that I will declare a state of emergency in the electrical energy sector because once this sector is okay 50% of business challenges are gone. It’s my dream to make Anambra State the business hub of Africa with the highest foreign direct investment, FDI, destination.
Realnews: Please provide any other information you would like us to have.
Oligbo: I want Ndi Anambra and in particular PDP delegates to know that I’m not just one of the stereotype politicians rather I’m a politician that will walk my talk and honour my promises. I want to use my wealth of knowledge acquired over the years at both local and international levels to develop Anambra State to an enviable height. I humbly request for the support of PDP delegates and Ndi Anambra in general.
– Jun. 26, 2020 @ 17:25 GMT |