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INTERVIEW: Why I’m Staking My Hard Earned Integrity To Save Delta From Further PDP Strangulation -Gbagi

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INTERVIEW: Why I'm Staking My Hard Earned Integrity To Save Delta From Further PDP Strangulation -Gbagi

…Proffers Solution To ASUU Strike

…Clears Air On Alleged ‘Strip Naked’ Allegation

Former Minister of State Education and Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for 2023 governorship election in Delta state, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, in this no holds barred interaction with Arise TV, proves why there is no doubt he is the real deal Deltans need to be emancipated from the choking PDP misrule of arrested development.

ARTV: If I may ask you, an entrepreneur want to become governor of a state such as Delta, why?

Gbagi: Eh! As we know when things in Delta state as part of the country take the dimension that is expected of in any nation, I would have been the last person to want to run for governorship. Unfortunately, all the trials, the support we have had as a state are ones that have left us with more sorrow, more backwardness, lack of opportunities and hopelessness, the singular reason I have decided to put myself forward to govern the people, come 2023.

ARTV: Alright! that’s quite interesting to note, as a leading industralist in Delta state, you said, you will address the issue of industrialisation in Delta state within one year and that sounds like magic to me. How will you achieve that if you become governor?

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Gbagi: The honest truth about it is that it is achievable, what is lacking largely in Delta state before now is honesty. The people do not believe anymore in governance. The issue is this, take what I have done in Delta state as an industrialist, as a private investor. I have removed people from poverty to, at least, source of livelihood.

Put it this way, if you take Sapele for instance, Sapele has major industries that are synonymous to them. We have the flour mill in Sapele, the shoe factory, betamin in Sapele, cement factory in Sapele too, all of these businesses have died. And what we need to do is to bring partners and then you ask yourself how are my going to do it?

I resonate as the only black man in the entire world to an AKS member of Rotary club just the fact that everybody knows that Kenneth Gbagi is honest, will not play wrong or do it wrongly. The singular fact that everybody knows Kenneth Gbagi will not do it wrongly is the hope and that is what we need.

Just that fact that everybody knows I will bring security about within the first one week of my being a governor, things will change for better. It is all about the personality involved, what you have done before not what you will do now. I have done it in my private life and I believe strongly given the opportunity Delta state have had and been confronted with, It will be a win-win situation and I have over six sea ports to use.

Take issue of cucumber, if I were to just take one Local government area and give cucumber to them to produce in millions and then we sell to our people, our country then we export, take cocoa, cocoa port is rottening away, we have one of the best cocoa port in the country.

The entire port business, when the ports were been created it was divided that things which were to come to the Southern part of Nigeria will definitely come through Warri and all of that, the reason the Lagos sea port have all destroyed the roads because the volume of traffic cannot have be controlled and not prepared for but that wouldn’t ve been the case.

So it is knowing what to do, you must have entrepreneur mindset. In the last how many years of this government, particularly in the last 7 years, no single proper industry has come to play. We are even doing plantation, what is your plan, every year for instance just from collecting mangoes, oranges, pineapples which are now been destroyed, I will count them and put them into use, processed and send them all over the world.

Look at rice, if you go to Isoko area of the state, it is one that is good to produce one of the best and finest uncle Ben’s rice in the world, we know what to do and we can turn it around.

ARTV: Well! They will say talk is cheap, Mr. Gbagi, you talked about industrialising Delta, give you one year and you will turn the state around. In practical terms in numbers, how many youths unemployed do you hope to employ gainfully in that one year you talk about. What are the numbers you are reading out to the populace to even look at your manifesto in the first place?

Gbagi: Put it this way, one of the plans I have, I will gainfully engage all the youths in Delta state by paying them a token of N30,000 each whilst this money is been paid within 3 months.

We will gainfully engage them into industries, cottage businesses and then start getting them ready to be released from the payment of N30,000 which we will start them with because people have been driven into hunger and poverty.

Look at the glass factory, if you take Ughelli South alone we can build 25 massive industries to produce, glass, bottles, screen of cars, flower vases, plates which have clay. We have enough in Delta if any state is endowed is ours, all we need to do is to segment all the LGA to produce one major industry or the other in the first one year of my government.

We have started already with the plan, we have started talking to people on our plan, we have come for survey because we don’t want to get into government and start making plans because we know the state very well so we will start engaging people to look at what is best per Local Government Area.

Initially, I didn’t want to release my part of plan but as it is now nobody can do anything with it. I can tell you for sure that way, let the 25 Local Government Area in the state be gainfully engaged, my youths will be out of the street.

Once I properly engage my youths, I can tell you that this will be the beginning of the greatness for the state. The state has been completely misused, people has not been giving the right opportunity and we are saying we can do it.

ARTV: Hopefully you can, I mean forty (40) points and thirty-eight (38) points of some percent, unemployment in Delta state I would like to hear exactly how you will turn that around, hopefully your industralization plan can achieve that. You talked about your track record earlier, of course you are the former Minister of State Education, just move away a little from what you plan to do in Delta state.

This ASUU strike that just refuses to go away, you have been as former Minister of State Education. It seems they were not able to address the perennial issues that ASUU continues to fight over, what exactly is the solution to the ASUU problem, if you are in a position to resolve it?

Gbagi: Put it this way, all the time I was Minister of State Education, there was no ASUU strike and what we did was very simple, if you recall I created 13 universities, 8 secondary education for girl children and what have you. The government is been dishonest, we need not to go into all of this acrimony with ASUU.

You cannot get people to do the job of teaching or moulding your children future without giving them what they requires. I don’t think in all honesty that ASUU is asking for more than they deserve, I believe the government is irresponsible to the extent that the funds were misused. ASUU did not only ask for this money and this progressive arrangement to industralize or keep our schools alive but all that money was been collected everyday, the government stole the money, went into the money without the arrangement, that money were suppose to carter for this ASUU problem.

When we were in government as a Minister and I was incharge of education, nothing of that sort happened. We never tampered with their money because the money belongs to them, first of all they are the ones that looked for the money, they are the ones who brought the plans to put the money in place.

So let the government refund their money, all the money that have been drawn from the fund that was made to cater for the universities and we will not have ASUU strike because the professors are responsible, they themselves are parents of their own right then we must he honest as a people unless we do it honestly or else we will have problems.

Nigerians are living under deceitful atmosphere as we speak unless we change the narratives, parents, civil society, youths they should all come together and fight the menace of government toying with their lives because we don’t have another place to go.

ARTV: You seem to be of the opinion that, there are lots of deceit in Nigeria, whether you are speaking about Delta state or generally as a country who is responsible for that or who is deceiving who?

Gbagi: Put it this way, whilst I have serve at the ministerial level which is the country, I am particular today about what I want to do in Delta state. I have rejected three ministerial positions one from president Obasanjo, Abacha and one from Jonathan which I deeply did not want to do. I was talked into it even the president before today had attempted to make me a minister but that’s not what am looking for, I believe it is time, my home is in shambles and not well put together.

Let us go back and set Delta right! If am able to set Delta right as everybody will know, I believe it will be a win-win situation, the deceit, the greatest problem is deceit, improper conduct for instance, if you were to block all loopholes of misappropriation, misuse of funds, irresponsible investments, the state can pay its pensioners.

Take your pensioners for instance how will people work, your father, my father after so many years of 36 years of hardwork and people don’t get their retirement benefits and they die. It is because of planlessness, I believe. Let us be honest and hold people accountable especially people they made leaders, people that govern them, people that are at their Local government Area so at least we can have a source of livelihood.

The entire state in Nigeria can do well, they should charge them, this whole idea of coming to collect money at the end of the month as a toll, I don’t think it’s going to work for us for so long.

I made a proposal which regards to the universities when I was a Minister, if you recall I said, let us give the universities to the owners.

ARTV: You are talking about what to do and the schools should be given back to the owners, you seems to be the only governorship candidate that picked a woman as a running mate back there in the state, of course but there is this issue around of the alleged torture of the female employees in your hotel, maybe you want to clear the air on that and you are choosing a female running mate. Is it to make up for the public perception that may have followed the alleged torture of the female staff at your hotel and exactly what is the story around that?

Gbagi: Quite honestly, I thank you for this opportunity, there is no need to waste our time very quickly. The gentleman who was taunted to say they will make him a governor but that he has come from the same Local government area as I have come from which is Ughelli South and that the only way he would’ve made progress was that, he was able to demarket me and the gentleman today talks to me, he is my friend, there was nothing of sort. It was all a mischief attempt, only an attempt to bring somebody who in their own perception was the man to do the job.

I was close to Okowa for 7 years, Okowa made all his promises on earth but the fact is that there is a problem, they said I cannot be controlled, I cannot eat human beings, I cannot participate in things that are ungodly, the major problem we have is that there is nothing like that you will recall that, at some point in life.

They have said that, I have lion in my house, I have never seen a lion in my life, that I don’t pay salaries which means I had a company and was good enough to establish a company but I was not paying salary which is untrue.

And I went on air to say, if there were anybody in this country that have worked with me or worked for us, in any of the group 18 companies for instance and have an issue. If he can prove that point, I will pay him N10 million naira and since then nobody has been able to come, no woman was stripped naked in my hotel, we take responsibility if they can prove that case.

The good thing is that my friend and my younger brother Peter Mrakpor who was induced to say they were going to give a governorship, if he was able to demarket me, had come back to say, Oh! It was a deceitful game and I regretted it, he has come to apologies to me and I had let it go.

ARTV: When you said it was an attempt to demarket you, the court actually fine you one million naira according to the court for taking the laws into your own hands, did you pay that one million?

Gbagi: God forbid! I never will do any such thing. The fact here is that four courts of competent jurisdiction cleared me of no wrong doing that this are gold diggers who wanted to make money and charge me three billion each so four (4)courts; Federal High Court, three(3) other competent courts in Delta state has cleared me but surprisingly the young lady who went to say she got a judgement that I should pay one million naira was a lady that I put as a judge last year by notice Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa wanted to drive home.

ARTV:Because we are running out of time, thank you for that clarification Mr. Gbagi. Let’s go back to industrialisation, there are some people who are already reacting to what you said. They said you own one of the biggest hotel in Delta state and one of your hotel has been taking over by weeds so how will you react to that and what type of investment do you intend to bring to Delta state should you become governor next year?

Gbagi: First of all, we are all alive, I have an Italian General Manager in the hotel in Delta state, there is no weed anywhere. I was there a day before and the place is partly filled up and there was no weed anywhere if you go back to check, is all gimmick and political staunt.

We do not have hotel only in Delta state even though Delta has suffered a lot of setback because of this type of attitude of driving away investors from the state which is regrettable, if people take their time to do investment, if it were possible they would have driven except that market is a very serious business. I own the biggest shopping mall with about 6,000 people trading day in and out of the market and the hotel is doing very well.

We have the biggest beverage factory, we close down because the quantity of production was not good enough to cater for the expenditure, we have brought new equipments and we are starting any moment from now.

Put it this way, would you ever visit Delta state to findout the decay, the rot that nothing is happening because of their attitude. If I have chested out to bring my investment not borrowed money, not stolen fund, not money traceable to tax payers loot and people are doing what they are doing now.

Where are they? What have they done with their private life?

What have they done for the state? That is why the state is being treated the way it is treated!

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