•Says Okowa has earned himself a second tenure
By Ochuko Akuopha
Sir Ayodele Oghogho Othihiwa (fca) serves as Partner and Head, Financial Services at KPMG Professional Services, Nigeria, a member firm of KPMG International.
An accomplished chattered accountant, economist, and risk management expert, Othihiwa who is contesting for the House of Representatives seat for the Isoko Federal Constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in this interview speaks of his vision for the Isoko nation and the achievements of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State. Excerpts:
You are stepping into the political arena at a time that democratic participation is on the rise. What informed your bold step to vie for the House of Representatives position
In Isoko today, I believe the time for a change in our representation at the green chamber has come. With 2019 comes an opportunity for breaking the status quo; transitioning the current representation to a fresh hand to set the Isoko nation on a new vision of development, to build on what has been achieved thus far, and carry us further down the path of socio-economic advancement.
My ambition provides the opportunity to redefine and rejuvenate our representation. Therefore I urge that we strive to overcome the forces of inertia that will want to keep us where we are to maintain status quo. Let us collectively push for a fresh perspective, a new breadth of fresh air and a different paradigm to legislative representation.
What exactly do you want to accomplish if elected, in other words, what is your vision for the Isoko people ?
Today our needs in Isoko are many. We desire the preservation and sustenance of our people’s lives, good health care, reduction and elimination of poverty, peace, security and stability for societal progress, improving quality of life, social development, and the rights to participate in the decision-making processes that affect our lives and livelihood.
Through the platform of the House of Reps in 2019, I seek to contribute to shaping these needs and to redefine Isoko Federal Constituency’s representation, to create more positive impact on the lives of the constituents. To redefine leadership and bring out its true essence, that leadership is not about self alone but about developing others; about creating effective successors; not to keep people down but pulling up as many to create the next generation of leaders.
That empowerment requires a methodical process of helping people to stand on their feet beyond mere distribution of hand-outs. To provide the right environment that caters for and allows all to reach their individual aspirations.
Specifically I will be looking at programmes, initiatives and interventions in key areas such as commerce and industry, agricultural transformation, education and training, infrastructural development in Isoko, youth and socio-economic development of Isoko, improved healthcare service delivery and other areas.
Over the years, there has been this cry of disconnect between elected representatives and the electorate. How do you intend to bridge the gap between you and your constituents if elected?
To be truly representative, I will ensure that the constituents have access to information about parliamentary proceedings, legislation, and policy, and be able to engage in continual dialogue with me. In this regard, regular constituency briefing and town hall meetings will be a key feature of my representation.
The key principle here is inclusion and participation, ensuring that every Isoko person is able to voice his or her opinion and so contribute to the development of laws and policies thereby giving back power to the people. It will be about making laws and initiating policies that will be responsive to the values and interest of our people.
What legislative agenda do you intend to take to the National Assembly for the Isoko people?
In addition to the wider Niger Delta clamour, Isoko as an oil producing nation needs development. The bottom line is that Isoko needs federal presence. We are a peaceful nation but not stupid or foolish. We need road infrastructure network and federal government key institutions. I shall therefore use the legislative seat to attract development and road infrastructure projects, promote participation in schemes and programmes of the federal government that help alleviate poverty, create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and foster growth and development of the Isoko nation
Additionally, I believe we need a new form of engagement with the oil companies operating within our locality on how we can cooperate to improve our social infrastructure and environment beyond just giving out handouts to a few in the land. Attention will therefore be given to understanding our needs, our development priorities, our communal aspirations and codifying this into our legislative agenda through positive engagements and consultations and driving its effective implementation.
What is your assessment of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration?
My Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is a man with the midas touch and I can say without fear of contradiction that Okowa is the best that Deltans can hope for at this time as we head towards the 2019 general election.
This is a man that assumed office at a time the economy of the state was at its lowest ebb, but because of his prudent management of the lean resources accruing to the state, he has been able to demonstrate that infrastructural development, job and wealth creation, poverty eradication and sustainable economic growth and development are achievable.
At a time the Federal Government and many APC controlled states were unable to pay salaries and achieve meaningful development, Okowa took the bull by the horns by looking beyond the challenges and ensured the fulfillment of his electioneering promises as encapsulated in his SMART agenda. I believe a government is worth supporting for continuity if it meets the yearnings and aspirations of its people, and from Okowa’s superlative achievements it is crystal clear that the Governor has earned himself a second tenure in office, so I urge all Deltans to mobilize massively to support his second term bid.