Okey Waka is a former vice chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ward 14. He is among those who believe that the current chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Solomon Eke has performed poorly and does not deserve a second term. In this interview with EDITH CHUKU, Waka who rated the chairman’s performance as 30 per cent said that Eke will not win the election if a proper election takes place.
You have been one of the supporters of Solomon Eke as Obio/Akpor chairman. What changed?
No, I wasn’t. I was never his supporter. I supported the one I knew would deliver the dividends of democracy to Obio/Akpor people. I didn’t support him.
If you were to assess his performance, how will you rate him?
I cannot rate Solomon Eke’s performance in office more than 30 per cent.
Some party faithful are hyping his performance, while you are rating him just 30 per cent.
Like you rightly said, hyping. What facilities did he put on ground? Eke has never done anything; he has done nothing compared to the revenue we have, revenues generated. The federal government cash flows, he has done nothing.
But there are facilities that…
(cuts in) facilities? Look at Samuel Nwanosike of Ikwerre Local Government, go and see for yourself what that young man is doing, that is service. If you talk of facilities on ground, go and see what he has done, see what he is doing. Those are facilities on ground, facilities on ground means projects that have impact on humans, positively contributes, impacts in the lives of the masses, the grassroots.
Some party members are saying the opposite.
(cuts in) I debunk that, nobody.
It’s everywhere, on social media, some PDP members are applauding him and championing his return?
Like I said, nobody. Go to Obio/Akpor, seek people’s opinion, go out, carry out a vox pop, forget what I am saying now. As a journalist, go and ask questions, you will know for yourself. 75 per cent will tell you no.
During the lock down, Eke shared palliatives- rice, yam, onions, tomatoes, indomie, people received it. He organized JAMB lectures and training, health insurance scheme, health centre.
(cuts in) which of the health centres in Obio/Akpor? Come on, in church they sing, “there is no place for argument,” everyone knows what I am saying, everyone.
What of the empowerment programmes, Obio/Akpor ICT centres, the OBALGA fire service and…?
(cuts in) laughs, speaking of the fire service, nothing has been done. Is it not the one he called the other day that Rivers State government should come to rehabilitate the fire service?
Just recently, fire gutted Adro, there was fire outbreak at Adro gas station, yet nothing happened, where is Adro located, where? Yet nothing happened, nothing was put in place because there is no facility. People were crying, calling fire service, where did you see facility, did they come to rescue?
How did he win, why was he supported from the onset if you are saying he has not performed well. How did he emerge?
This is what we are telling you, he came through a back door, just a single candidate, people came up, aspirants came up, but at last they were not allowed to go into primaries, they were not allowed to go for primaries for people to choose their choice and he was a popular man, for me, I was hoping he will utilize this opportunity and show true leadership for his political future sake, deliver the dividends of democracy with this opportunity, but I was wrong.
Are you saying if election were held and it was free and fair that he wouldn’t have emerged?
(cuts in) He wouldn’t have been there. There is no way, people know, there are men before him who can do much better, more than he can do.
How did Eke fail, through what areas can he impact in the lives of people in Obio/Akpor?
Fine. That’s a good one. Let me still go back to Samuel Nwanosike because he is a man in the picture. You know, if you go to Ikwerre Local Government, almost all the wards, they have about 13 or 14 wards in Ikwerre Local Government. All these wards have at least one project, if it’s not market, it’s road, or maybe school related, things that will impact the grassroots, not personal, not individual, those things that will impact the public, facilities people can make use of generally, these are the things. How many in Obio/Akpor? Rather, he was going about, completing projects that an individual is doing, does that make a project, considering huge amount of money, revenue generation from government.
See, if you go to all the wards, some places lack market, if you build markets in those wards, I mean construct good market structure in those wards you have impacted in the masses there, women that are idle will grab the opportunity, you have provided work, they will support their husbands in many ways, not personal gain but the masses.
If it’s a market with 50 stores, you have liberated 50 families. What did he do in the schools, what did he provide for them? I don’t think that is his business, the state government has been handling all those projects. Is he giving us electricity, no. So, why not do these simple things?
Look at some roads, internal roads in Obio/Akpor. He can do that, everybody will use road, he also will use it, every Tom, Dick, Harry use road. So these are the things everyone will benefit. It’s the dividends of democracy. Everybody is crying, deplorable roads everywhere in Obio/Akpor, small, small roads, that’s project and those things impact. They are useful to everyone in our daily activities; he can do those ones.
Till tomorrow, he should have done more than what Samuel Nwanosike is doing, because Obio/Akpor receives more than that LGA.
With all you have said, do you think he deserves a second term?
He doesn’t deserve.
As commonly said, a child that failed should be allowed to repeat the class. Don’t you agree he should be allowed to…
(cuts in) That is their slogan but remember that a very good market starts in the morning, if any child will do well in future, it starts from his beginning, from his footstep, you will know.
Don’t expect much second tenure. Our governor is one person that has broken the record, utilizing his second tenure to impact lives, to put structures, facilities, things on ground, if not, generally, don’t expect much during second term.
Solomon Eke is not going again, because this second tenure even if he goes back, he will relax, he may even say I am not going to do anything because I don’t think I will be coming back for third term. It’s a point.
What if he gets handpicked by the governor?
Except that. But if he is allowed, I mean they should be allowed, they should give way for participants, aspirants who want to contest. People should be allowed to choose so that they will choose somebody who has confidence on the people and people will have confidence in him. So nobody will brag, after all they didn’t vote for me, they didn’t choose me but when elected by the people. That confidence placed on them by the masses must be returned to the people at the end of the day.
What’s your advice to Hon. Solomon Eke ahead of the forth coming election?
The advice may be too late for him. Giving him advice now may be too late, because he has nothing on ground to justify his coming back. I am still telling you, from beginning, Nwanosike took it right, the hand writing, the structures on ground, you can feel it, you can touch it, it’s there and you will know that if this man is given a second chance, he will perform more, added to what he has done, and he is building a political future, that is why he is starting from beginning. You must not be waiting until when you come for second term then you begin to do what you are supposed to do. When somebody doesn’t know what he is doing or does the wrong things, you tell him the truth, tell him you have failed like this, like that, not covering up, that is not love.
For his future political career, I will advise that when he enters an office he should look inward and consider the needs of the people, he can call for a town hall meeting, visit the wards, know their problem. You can’t sit in the office and decide without knowing what the basic needs of the people are.