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INTERVIEW! David Mark has never won any election in Benue South - John Agene, Ogbadibo LG chairmanship aspirant

Written By Idoma Television on Monday, February 1, 2016 | 2:40:00 AM

In this exclusive interview with IDOMA VOICE EKRE CHRIS, Mr. John Echija Agene who is gunning for the chairmanship stool of Ogbadibo Local Government Council of Benue State explains why he is the right man to take the local government to its promised land.

He also airs his views on the forthcoming rerun in Benue South, asserting that immediate past Senate President should pull out of the race on the ground that the Idoma people are tired of his leadership style.

Agene who is running on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress stated that Mark has never won any election in Benue South.

You have declared your intentions to run for Ogbadibo LG chairmanship position in Benue State, what is your plan for the Local Government?

That is a very good question, my intentions to run is not for any other thing but to go in there and correct some of the things going wrong there, also to repair some. I was born and brought up in that LG. I schooled there.

 I have seen a lot going on that I don't like. If given the opportunity I would love to bring in what I called creative governance. What do I mean? The IGR we have within the LG like the kola nuts, cocoa nuts or karnels can be used to generate revenue. The past Chairmen, have not taken cognizance of this. All they have done was to wait for the LG subvention account from the federal and state government.

When salaries are being paid, the LG have nothing left in its coffers to carry out any meaningful development. If given the privilege, I will try to look at those aspects, no matter how little and explore it to generate funds to be used to impact the local government.

I always say that my mother does not know what a LG is, but if the LG would do something that she can see, she would know that there is a government. We need some body to go there and do something that will bring about rural development, when there is rural development, the people will feel the impact of the LG, that's what I am here to do.

What have you been doing before going into politics?
After school, I worked with the Nigerian Port Authority as a fire fighter, after that I joined a clearing and forwarding business where I worked and rose to the position of the manager of the company. Today I'm still in that business. I am into maritime business, working presently at Seme border.

Under which of the parties are you running?
 I am running under the umbrella of the ruling party All Progressive Congress of which I have been a member for over 16 years. I joined politics when we were AC, then ACN and now, APC. I have been an opposition for all that time, but thank God now we are ruling now. So, I am running under the APC.

Do you think running under the ruling party is a ticket to winning?
No, not at all. But I know that the masses now want change and are clamouring for it. When a part stays there for too long and doing nothing for the people but themselves alone, the people are bound to change them. So, I am confidence that when the time comes, the people will stand solidly behind me because I represent the changes they want.

Ok. How would you rate the current government of Ortom in Benue?
Agene: You may think like every other person out there that he is not doing much. But that's because of what he met on ground. I don't want to go into that so it doesn’t look like covering home up. The truth is I don't really know him before the elections but, I can tell you how much I personally spent to make sure he wins in my unit. That's because I need change as much as every one.

 Today he might seem to be moving slow or too slow for some people. But what he needs is time. I will advice to carry along all stake holders and listen to reasoning and he should be careful not to let any one ride him. Apart from that, I believe he will do great.
Concerning the Benue South Senatorial rerun, do you think David Mark deserves a another term?
(Laughs), let me tell you something, even the Bible is against greed. Take for instance, as a family man with wife and children, do you think it would be fair to have my son Shaderack have everything in this house while there are others.

It more wrong when he uses it for his own good alone and not considering others, that is a high level of greed.
I can assure you that David Mark has never won elections in Benue State before. I was with Chief Stephen Lawani when he was persuaded to step down for David Mark. If you ask me I would tell you that that was the worst mistake the Idoma nation made in the past, taking that decision.

 Because the moment he gripped power, he never want to let go again. The most annoying is that he did not help any one nor did he bring any progress to the Idoma nation in all his over 16 year of senatorship. Even as number three person of this country, he could not bring in any good thing or any infrastructure to the Idoma land. Have you been to Otukpo his home town? You would be disappointed. No road, no water, no companies, just nothing to show that we have the number three sit.
Is Onjeh the right man for the Idoma people?
For now he is the only one we have. I raise my hands for Onjeh, he has done what no one was able to do for a very long time. He has been able to humble the "Okpokpowulu". Do you even know the meaning of that name David Mark bears? Okpokpowulu conotes that he is the only one who eats. It is a bad name. So, Onjeh is the best man now for the job, even if everyone thinks that he is a not qualified.

Even if he is " a goat or a dog", he is our candidate and far better than Mark. Who told you that Onjeh is not a vibrant man? He has been a Student Union President, He is a Comrade. Who said he has nothing to deliver? I bet you Onjeh will do far better than Mark. Rumours are going on that Akume is the one imposing Onjeh on us, that is preposterous. My question is, will Akume then leave his seat and take that of Onjeh or would Onjeh leave his for Akume's?

 It is just not possible. Even if Onjeh is nobody or can't deliver, let him go there first, by the time he misbehaves, we he Idomas will sit down and bring him back home. But for now, let him go there.

I worked with people and they keep asking me if we don't have someone else in Idoma land to represent us. In fact, anyone that has sat on that sit like Mark did, is a very greedy man. When I when I go in as chairman of the LG., I don't intend to over stay there. Just go in, do my job and let some body else to go and do. That's development. If you should do well, you don't need to want to go back, your people will be the one clamouring for continuation. You don't have to impose yourself on the people.

Many think Onjeh is too young to be a Senator, what is your take on that?
Let me tell you something, Onjeh is over 45 years of age. I don't know what their definition of too young is. If he is too young, how old was Obama when he became a senator in the United States? Today he is America's President. How old was Audu Ogbe when he went to the National Assembly? How old was Buhari before he became the head of state in this nation? What about Gowon?

 How old was Mark himself when he was in charge of Niger State? Are we the ones teaching Onjeh to eat or bath? In fact, if he is too young, even like my boy seated here (pointing to his son) let him go there. It is the young that should go there and be supported by the elders.

As long as Onjeh carries the elders along, he is never too young. The elders are behind him and have set him in front. So, if you ask, he is the best candidate. When he gets there, all he needs to do is listen to the elders behind him and be their steward and we will have good representation.
Onjeh has all it takes to represent us. He is fearless and has the voice. He will do great.

Sir, it would be nice to meet with you
My name is John Echeija Agene, I am from Ipole Ip'iga Otukpa in Ogbadibo LGA of Benue State. In conclusion, vieing for the position of the chairman of Ogbadibo does not mean I am the most qualified. I have it at the back of my mind to always help others in any way I can. Those close to me knows this about me. I need to go and fix my LG. It is a need that I have to fulfil. I have one or two ideas I know God will use me to achieve there.

Do you know each time I leave Lagos and go home, stepping into the LG gets me angry because of what I am seeing. Our structures are dilapidated, no good structures, no good roads, even staff of the LG are not happy because the people in charge then we're not making them happy. That why I want to bring in creative governance. You involve the people and let them feel the impact of what is going on.

Who told you that a LG Chairman cannot have the Chinese come and invest in the LG? I want everyone especially the youth to know that I am coming to help the youth, involve the women where necessary, even the old and elderly ones too will be involved in my plans.

 With good rapport, you can make the state government bring in health facilities to you LG. And that's what I represent and I believe God wants me to do this. I never loved politics that much, but when God wants you to do something, you do it, no questions asked.
Thank you
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