Hon Pius Okeoma is a former Councillor and an Abuja-based legal practitioner who is currently aspiring to represent people of Isuikwuato Constituency at Abia State House of Assembly. In this interview with ABBANOBI- EKU ONYEKA, recently in Abuja, he explains the reason why Nigerians should be voting into political offices, people with means of livelihood and ideas. Excerpts.
Could you tell us why you have been consistently and anxiously aspiring for one political position to another
The reason is that I have the desire to serve my people and it is that service, that is at the back of my mind. I have been doing things on my own and I believe that if I am elected to represent Isuikwuato Constituency at the Abia State House of Assembly, it will be an opportunity to make democracy dividends available to my people through constituency projects. I think that in the development office, there are among others allowances for constituency projects and by my integrity and credibility, once I mark a projects out as constituency ones, I shall carry them to the latter. And it is only through government that I will be able to attract developmental projects for my people. Though I have been doing them in my own small ways, but with government’s assistance, I shall do more.
Though, once a Councillor and you have been consistently contesting for some time now without success. Does it mean that your people don’t want you to serve them again
No! It is not that my people don’t want me to serve them again. When I became a Councillor, the entire Uturu, my community had only two wards and I represented a greater part of the community and the ward I represented then has about three wards now. Not that my people don’t want me again. I want to inform you that when I came out in 2011, the present representative from Isuikwuato component argued laudably that Uturu had produced a candidate in the name of Hon Monday Ejegbu, that has represented the constituency for eight years. Then they gave him and he represented from 2011 to 2015. In that 2015, I decided not to contest, to enable him represent for eight years like his predecessor. This time around, it is the turn of Uturu and I have to come out to aspire under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as I am from that side.
But at a time, you contested for chairmanship and now, for State Assembly. What exactly do you want
I contested for chairmanship of Isuikwuato local government area in that 201. When we came out for the State House of Assembly, we gentlemanly agreed that if Isuikwuato takes up the position of State Assembly, automatically, the chairmanship position should go to Uturu. I then reached out to the people of Uturu and Isuikwuato and told them that i have interest to contest if the government would be willing to do election and all of them accepted. But when I was nominated to be transition committee chairman, issues arose and some people thwarted the effort. It is not that I am desperate to be in government, but because I am determined to serve my people and that is what always tell people.To convince your people, can you tell us the positions you have held and excelled
As a councillor, I made the Local Government to do our roads that were impassable. When the contract was awarded, all the contractors I approached demanded 60% mobilization. To ensure that I deliver, I did the contract with all my savings. But unfortunately, when Abacha died, the money was not paid due to change of government and I became stranded. As I couldn’t finance my education any longer, I had to sell my bike to continue my education. But lucky enough, when the same chairman came back to office, he paid me and I had to go to law school and I started private legal practice from year 2000.
I was the: chairman of Abuja chapter of Uturu Development Association (UDA) for about 10 years; Secretary General of UDA, Worldwide for six years; and presently the chairman of Imo-Abia-Catholic Community, Holy Rosary, Life Camp. If I didn’t do well, I wouldn’t have completed my tenures successful and my people wouldn’t have called me to be the president general of Uturu, which I rejected, by telling other people to try as I have done my beat. As the chairman of UDA, Abuja, my indelible mark is at the then Central Secondary School in Uturu. When I was in law school, I attracted bursary allowance from the then Local Government chairman for all the law students of Isuikwuato Local Government. If elected, I shall prove my zeal for adequate representation by gathering the people, finding out their needs and ensuring that we get them; ensuring that there be peaceful co-habitation between the people; between the communities and ensure that I carry all along.
Do you think that you are acceptable to the people
I think so because, I am the most credible out of the candidates that have aspired. Some people would come and before you know it, you don’t see them again. Since 1996 that I have joined politics, I have been consistently coming out and people have never objected or raised any accusation against me. So my acceptability is not in doubt.
What would be your message to your people
My message to them is not only for them to join the PDP, but also for them to get their voters cards, so as to vote-in a person of their choice as their right and civic responsibility. The only way to effect a change in a democracy is through ballot paper. There is no need to resort to fight, arm or elect in people who don’t have ideas and means of livelihood. The problem we have in Africa is that most people who have ideas are not in government and those in government have no ideas. So I advise my people to ensure that they don’t only vote in those who have ideas, but also those who have means of livelihood.