– Promises Massive Development If Voted In As Governor
Dr. John Akwara is the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Delta State.
Oasis Magazine (OM) had an exclusive chat with the tough-speaking politician in Sapele recently.
Dr. Akwara is optimistic that his party will unseat the incumbent Governor of the state, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
According to him, Delta State is in a sorry state because of PDP misrule, adding that from inception of democracy in the state, kleptomanias have occupied the office of governor of the state till date and this has led to much looting of her resources and consequently the underdevelopment of the state.
He promised to pursue the development of the state as a priority, amongst other things if he is voted in.
Akwara aspired in 2011 under the umbrella of PDP for the Federal House of Representatives, Ethiope Constituency and in 2014 he also ran for the governorship position in the same party, but later left the party for what he considers as the party not been straightforward in the way they do things.
We bring you excerpts of this exciting discuss.
Why are you in the race to become governor of Delta State?
I am a grassroot politician in Delta State. I have been in this state and I have seen the gross underdevelopment that has taken place for almost 20 years of PDP’s misrule of the state and I am not comfortable with it. So, if you ask me, what I am coming in with as a gubernatorial candidate, my answer is that I want to develop Delta State in all areas such as human capital development, upgrade agricultural sector, good health care and just name it. If Deltans give me their mandate, I will do things differently.
Does SDP count in the political equation in the state; will this not be a stumbling block to your ambition?
To the best of my knowledge, SDP is also a party in Delta State. We are on ground in the state. Also, I have a structure that I used to campaign when I ran on the platform of the PDP as a guber aspirant. I have brought these structures now into SDP and will merge it with SDP’s structure across Delta State. Mind you, some persons in APC and PDP are not happy with their party and we are synergizing with these people to chat a new cause for the state. We are reaching out to people even outside our party who are not happy with the way the state is run. SDP will be the number one party in Delta State very soon. The SDP project is a divine one. For those that know me in PDP before, I am not a soft nut. We are prepared to match APC and PDP strength for strength in all ramifications. Whatsoever we do, we do it with the fear of God in mind. Deltans are just waiting for us, come March 2 governorship election and I am ensuring Deltans that if they join hands with us, May 29, 2019, I, Dr. John Akwara will be sworn in as the next Governor of Delta State. I am also speaking for other candidates of the party in the state that they also would emerge victorious. At least 20 seats in the State House of Assembly will fall down for SDP.
You speak so confidently. What is this confidence based on?
I have been very confident even in my days in PDP. My confidence is in God. I do not have a political godfather and do not intend to have one.
You just spoke about underdevelopment in Delta State. What is your blue print for the development of the state?
I know you would ask me and I also want to ask you as a journalist; you have been in the state for so long, are you satisfied with what is on ground? If you calculate the money that has come into the state you would see that little or nothing is happening here. In short, let us take it from the time of our former governor, Chief James Ibori and compare with the present administration and you would see that in Okowa’s government you would agree with me that they are not doing anything, but are just collecting money. In fact, I can be bold to say it anywhere that kleptomanias have been ruling us. When I say kleptomania as a medical doctor, a klep is one that is suffering from an ailment that makes people steal. Why do I say so? Assuming someone steals N2, 000000000, and decides to place it in a fixed deposit, if such negotiates very well with the bank, he can be receiving N150, 000000 per annum. How many houses do you want to build; how many cars can you drive and what do you want to eat? Even if N1, 000000000 is given to you now and you start spending Fifty Thousand Naira daily in 50 years the money will not finish. It is sad that nobody can account for the trillions coming into the state. People are looting in the state and just getting away with it. We thank God for EFCC. But, if you ask me what new idea you are bringing on board, I would tell you that my commitment to Delta State is development, development and development in all ramifications. I am grateful to God for the opportunities that PDP gave me which resulted in me traveling far and wide and made me get lots of contacts. Today, I can categorically tell you that apart from being a medical doctor, I am also into real estate. I am a consultant to a company and singlehandedly we have been able to bring in funds for 19, 500 units with three phases of it with USD1.5 Billion. So, as I am walking into government, the housing issue in the state would be tackled. I do not see myself sitting down in Asaba as just the governor. I am not interested in occupying a seat without doing anything. I will relinquish most of the state duties to my deputy. My interest is to see that the gap between Sapele and Warri… and the place will be opened up with meaningful projects, housing estates and then look at the stretch between Sapele and Agbor towns. We will invite people and all local government will have something to show that they are doing. In terms of Agric, give my administration a year or a maximum of two years and we will transform Delta Sate. If I become governor today, if the minimum wage at the federal level is N30, 000 I am not looking at N30, 000, but looking at giving my workers a minimum wage of at least Sixty Thousand Naira. And the next question you are going to ask me is how do you want to perform the magic? I will not be a governor that will go to Abuja and be collecting money to come and develop the state; no way! State money will be used to develop the state but am looking at offshore funds. Remember, I told you that I am into real estate and the number one thing that I am going to do or I have even started doing is that my company that I am consulting for singlehandedly will bring in four shopping malls (Shoprite) to Delta State which will be located in Sapele, Agbor, Abraka, Ughelli and they will start the same time and each of those our shopping mall will be given out at the price of USD Fifty Million. I am not mincing words. We have awarded the contracts. All these are what I am going to bring into governance and already I told you about the mass housing, 19, 500 units. Our government is not going to be one of kleps. They are all kleptomanias. Both from the local government down to the grassroots, these people are only interested in what they are going eat. I am from Delta State and that is why I am pained. Also, it is the pain of my people that is making me to come out. I have stayed in Delta State and I have been to other states. States that are not even getting one tenth allocation of what Delta is getting are doing far better. Take Edo State for instance. How much is Edo State receiving? Show me the development in Delta State compared to Edo State. Is it our roads? It is just now that NDDC is beginning to pour tars and they will say they are constructing roads. What roads are they constructing? Roads that will not last two raining seasons. I want to borrow the words of Pat Utomi who in one of the interviews he granted to one of the national newspapers said that Delta State is like a farm that has been ravaged by locusts and when I read that interview and saw what the man was saying about our state, each time I go outside of this state, I start weeping when I come back. What are you looking at in Delta State? In terms of security, Delta State has become the headquarters of kidnappers, even in Sapele where I am based. At a time, Sapele became the headquarters of kidnapping. Our boys are all roaming the place doing ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ business because they do not have jobs. But, by the time I come in with this massive development, I will remove them from the street because they are going to have much work to do.
Are you bothered about the claims by PDP that Okowa should be allowed to complete his second term because it is the turn of Delta North?
Well, I do not buy that idea. Ask me why… I am a pan-Deltan; paternally, I am from Delta central and maternally from Delta north, Agbor. Also, my marital bond links me to Delta south, Isoko. And if they say it is Delta north’s turn how did Obama become the president of America? His father is from Kenya, not America. So, when people are talking and bringing tribes into consideration when they are trying to… ok let us even take it this way; PDP has that agenda but it is not written in their constitution. During the 2014 primaries of PDP, everybody was allowed to participate. I aspired too. Six candidates came from Delta Central and the then sitting governor threw his weight behind a Delta Central candidate. So, who is the person now preaching power orientation? Is it possible? Okowa becoming the governor of Delta State is by chance. You can quote me anywhere. I was inside that place and at the venue for the primaries and every one of us know what transpired. So, the governor then did not support Okowa. He had his own candidate. So who is now fooling who? They wanted to deceive APC people too. In APC, aspirants that come from Delta North, when they come to Delta Central say they just want to do one term and then I started laughing. I told them that look, supposing someone like Victor Ochie now becomes the governor of Delta State, after his first 4 years what are you going to tell him? Who is he signing the paper with? Which law prevents him from not doing his 8 years? But, as it is now, that thing has made APC to divide into two. They said they have settled, but I do not know because I am not in APC. My body, spirit and soul is in SDP and that is the party I am going to use their platform to become the governor of Delta State. SDP means progress. I want to use this platform to urge all Deltans to join hands with us to carry out the operation I call ‘Operation Restore Delta; the Akwara Phenomenon.’ I tell people to take PDP money. Take it, but do not vote for them. They have stolen our wealth. Calculate the whole money that has come to the state in the past 20 years. Show me one meaningful thing the immediate past governor of Delta State, Uduaghan, did. I was listening to the interview that he had on Channels TV ‘Hard Core’ programme. I am talking of a medical doctor of so many years. He is my senior in the medical field. I watched him talk and they were asking him about the legacy that he left behind that he will be remembered for in the state? He said that the legacy he left behind was that people delivering in traditional birth places are now accessing the government hospital. I worked in the Central hospital for over 20 years. How free is the free maternal service? It was a conduit pipe for stealing money. He said that was the legacy that he left behind. Of course yes, he is telling them the truth and I told the people that were blasting him that this man did not do anything for Delta State. Let us call a spade a spade. The only meaningful thing I can see that he did during his time… He is my oga in Medicine ooo. He built a fly over bridge in Effurun and one in Asaba. And the flyover bridge that we are talking about, trailers cannot even climb it. The bridge is even collapsing. How much did he use to construct the airport? Think about a similar airport that was constructed in Akwa Ibom and how much they used to construct it. Go and find out how much he used for the one in Asaba. They said that he used 7billion naira to level an ant field where the Asaba airport is located now. Tax payers money; your hard earned money? We have come to the stage in this state when we will call a spade, a spade. And this same man wants to become a Senator and people are clapping for him? The time has come that our government people should push them down and ask them questions. Or is it Okowa; what has he really done for the people? They said that they dualised Warri-Sapele Road. I remember even before they came and said that they want to dualise it, that road had already been expanded by NDDC so all they needed to do was just to partition the road into two. I do not know what and what they spent but I am hearing that mere partition of road that is not up to 5 killometers that they spent billions. When will Deltans wake up? SDP stands for progress and progress we must make. Anyway, like I told you, I do not have to wait for federal money to develop this state. I am not going to become a governor that will sit at Asaba and be waiting for money to come and for me to be putting it elsewhere. God has given me enough to feed myself and family. I am not a kleptomania. After my first tenure I will not go out to campaign. Okowa is campaigning vigorously because he has not done well. When he came in he was telling everybody there is no money. Salaries were been owed 7 to 15 months. Because politics is coming, he brought money from nowhere and paid arrears. What about the people that died when they denied them their salary? He should tell us. When he came in, he said that the state is indebted to N666 Billion and everybody screamed. The debt profile of Delta State even generations unborn will not be able to pay it. People are calling him road master. Which road? NDDC did many of the roads he is claiming. Ibori tried, but those that came after him did nothing. I am like an Elijah that is coming to rescue Delta with the ‘Operation Rescue Delta Mandate; the Akwara Phenomenon.’