By Gab Ejuwa
Delta State can chart its way to greatness through agricultural revolution, says Dr Charles Okiti, a former minority leader in Sapele LGA but now running to become the council chairman on the platform of the PDP.
WHAT informed your decision to run for chairmanship?
I intend to run for the chairmanship of Sapele Local Government and I am not leaving any stone unturned to achieve my ambition which is not a personal decision but a collective one. I intend to achieve the ambition by partnering with the same people who desire me because the dream cannot be achieved without them.
What have you got that would make you succeed?
I have been around since 1998 and served three administrations both in the executive and legislative arms and the climax of it was when I became the minority leader of the House in Sapele in the recent past. I ran for election for the third time and still won.
Based on this, I think it would be wise if I run for chairmanship because I know the flaws of the previous governments and their strengths. And based on this, I also think the women, youths will benefit if I go for the prime position. Also, I’ve been invited by my people ,and I consider it right to heed their call.
As a farmer, is it because there is hunger in the land that they want you to come and introduce agricultural concepts to them or maybe your past experience as a legislative member? How do you think they are serious by calling on you themselves?
The issue is not because I am a farmer or because of any experience. Let me also remind you that experience is not a limited concept but a concept that guides you wherever you find yourself. It was because they have seen me transform things like my personal company.
So they believe I can transform the government to take care of their interests. That is why they have been serious. And coming back to the political arena, I have seen the flaws of three governments and their strengths. So all of these put together would definitely enhance a successful outing.
What are your programmes to transform Sapele?
It is only God that can satisfy. Human beings can only do their best, but, generally speaking, the problems associated with Sapele include inadequate skill acquisition centres, insecurity of lives and property as well as cooperative societies inadequacy.
Much has been done, I must say, on youth empowerment and many people have benefited from the scheme. Only recently, we were trying to partner with Singer company in Lagos to see how they could train some youths. That is still on course and also we are trying to liase with RCC and other construction companies to sponsor the training programmes and also to see that, after the training, our youths could be self-employed.
All these are the efforts, just that most of these multinational organisation still need the right orientation, because, apart from the three organisations that tend to support us, we still have the problem of funding. The arrangements which the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as well as commercial banks are putting in place cannot be accessed. So it is in our position to make information more readily accessible to the people.
What are your contributions in terms of jobs?
Since information is essential to development, we have ensured that we disseminate essential information relating to financial empowerment, sensitization, agricultural skill acquisition. We’re encouraging the youths to form cooperative societies and ensure that those who have new and relevant information share them with their colleagues. Although we know that government jobs are generally not available, with focus and endurance, we know that we would be able to access some governmental jobs.
What is your message to the people?
Simply to make sure that Sapele recovers her lost glory in terms of youth empowerment, elders integration and women participation. And to occupy their minds with positive values like agriculture, infrastructure and security.