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    Monday, August 13, 2018

    I'll Bring Vibrancy to State Assembly, Mbo People -Assembly Aspirant, Goddie Ofose

    Goddie Ofose, a journalist, is contesting for the Mbo State Constituency seat under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. Ofose speaks on developments in Akwa Ibom State, his aspirations, how the Dakkada philosophy of Governor Udom Emmanuel is motivating citizens of the state to a radically different height and why journalists should participate in politics and governance. WALE AJETUNMOBI met him.

    As a journalist and indigene of Akwa Ibom state what are your views on the style and administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel?
    I must really commend the foresight and purposefulness of the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel. In the last three years, in line with his government 5 point agenda with the three focal points- Industrialization, Tourism and Agriculture, he has been focusing on driving sustainable development projects that will outlive his administration. If you look at industrialization, before now we had industries in the states set up and run as an extended arm of parastatals, so mortality rate was high, especially if an incoming administration does not buy into it. But what he is doing now is to anchor and bench mark things with international best practices.

    The Udom led government has provides an enabling environment, security, provide infrastructures, good governance and economic policies that will draw investors. One key factor that has been lacking even across the country and Africa but it is now in Akwa Ibom proudly, that is integrity of leadership. So in the last three years or we can proudly talk about at least four world class new industries- syringe factory, metering solutions industries, pencil & toothpick factory, and the paints factory.

    This means business has been created and investment made in areas where there is market, so sustainability is assured. Take the syringe factory for instance Nigeria spends over N30b to imports syringe, so the market for them is readily there. We cannot even meet demands for Nigeria so it will expand with time. The metering factory meets the needs of Nigerians moving massively to pre-pay metering.  It is same with the paint and toothpick factories. So many other moribund industries in various sectors have been resuscitated.

    Governor Udom was recently endorsed by Key sections of the state for a second term, do you think he is worthy of such endorsement?
    Any sincere observer will agree that he is worthy. I am not sure if there is any other state of Nigeria, in this intervening period has been able to do as much as Akwa Ibom State.  The Udom led administration is focusing on the route of diversifying the economy in the area of industrialization to create wealth. The dream is that by the time this administration exits, the economy will have a 360 degree turnaround with the private sector taking over the driving seat of the state economy. Four years cannot be enough to fix everything, a second tenure is key to consolidate this laudable masterplan.

    In many states of the federation, governors have been accused of focusing mainly on state capitals. Is Udom’s approach different?
    It would be highly uncharitable to accuse Governor Udom Emmanuel of concentrating on the State capital. Let us even start with the civil service in every local government with Udom’s continued efforts in oiling the machinery of the government structure which is the public sector. He pays salaries of civil servants promptly. For illustration purposes, any civil servant in the state whose wife is pregnant is guaranteed full welfare attention from government from birth till the child finishes his or her WAEC exams. All through the 9 months of pregnancy, the mother is guaranteed free health services from any state hospital.
    The first five years of the child also attract free health care, and there is free compulsory primary and secondary education including free WAEC exams for everyone in the state. The state government spends over N600m as payment for WAEC registration exams for all indigenes of the state. On roads, the Akwa Ibom state government has constructed cumulatively over 2700 kilometres of roads benchmarking international standards. This is in just 3 years. These are roads designed and built to last for at least 25years.  These good road network the cut across the state will enhance our agricultural and industrialization drive.

    You are from the Oron ethnic group and we know that your people have been agitating for position of governor. What advice will you give to your people now that Governor Udom is seeking a second term?
    Definitely it is the right of every individual or group to aspire to any leadership role in any political setting. So the desire of the Oron nation is not out of place. However every aspiration must be juxtaposed with realities on ground and what is best for the generality of millions of Akwa Ibom people. Gov Udom is one of us from our Senatorial district. He has as enviable master plan he needs to complete. Our discussions and negotiations should continue in house. The good thing is that in the state, all elites have come to agree that the governorship should rotate among the three senatorial districts every eight years.

    With Good negotiation, the Ibibio ethnic group in the senatorial district will agree that it is the turn of the Oron nation when it comes round next time. Fighting and bickering will not help any group. Discussions, negotiations and concessions on this issue will be very helpful and ensure peaceful development. It will definitely be in the interest of the Oron people to support Udom and that is what I will advise strongly. It is affirm believe that Mbo support governor’s reelection and Oron nation in general.

    It is currently trending in the social media pages of your large group of friends that you are planning to take active part in politics. Why did you take this decision? Is it because you lead a media group? Don’t you feel being away from home, in Lagos is a disadvantage?
    Yes I have decided to through my hat into the political ring this dispensation. It is always a tough task to resist the call of your people. The fact is that it has become the turn of the people of Ebughu/Udesi to pick the slot for the Mbo House of Assembly seat.  We are highly organised and we have our agreed political arrangement in Mbo.

    Yes, I am a journalist. My people have seen clearly that my experience in my profession will add value to governance and ensure quality governance. If there is a profession that can train people in law making and vibrant politicking, it is journalism. We are by nature very engaging, analytical and vibrant. I will bring vibrancy to the state assembly and Mbo people. I also feel vibrant law-making will guarantee growth in Akwa Ibom. I also believe strongly that. My media experience will help deepen legislation and Good Governance in Akwa Ibom. You spoke about being away in Lagos being a disadvantage.

    That would have been so if I did not keep a strong connection with my people. Do not forget that I was invited to come home and represent them. I have been a very loyal party man. I have and still willing to work tirelessly with great Stakeholders in my area like Hon Victor Antai and RT Hon Nse Bassey Ekpeyong to elevate the philosophies the state government and that of our party the PDP.  If there is one thing that is firmly established, I am fully on ground will my people and by God’s grace I am on my way to the state house of assembly come 2019.
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