PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK WE SHOULD STOP PLAYING POLITICS OF DIVISION-Peter Egun

Peter Egun is the Managing Consultant, Asaba Hilton Hotel, Asaba, Delta State and also the secretary general, Oki Unity Forum, a tink tank group formed to cater for the welfare of the people of Oki community and Agbor in general. Mr. Egun is equally the chairman, Agbor Vanguard, a social cultural group with the primary objective of cementing the unity among Agbor people.

In this personality of the week interview he granted Ika Weekly on Friday, May 31, 2013, the soft spoken seasoned administrator cum politician said that good governance is all about developing the economy and not the pockets of a few individuals. He urged politicians to be all embracing rather than creating divisions among the people.

Excerpts:

May we meet you sir?

My name is Peter Egun. I am an Agbor man.

Can you please tell us your background?

I am from a family of six. My father, Mr. Augustine Egun was a soldier. He fought in the Second World War and the Nigerian Civil War. He was from Oki, Agbor, while my mother is from Obi-Olihe quarters, Ime-Obi, also in Agbor. My parents had six children, two boys and four girls. I am the fourth in the family and the second boy. My beginning was quite humble. I attended Army Primary School, Enugu. After my primary education, I proceeded to College of Immaculate Conception (C.I.C) Uwani, Enugu. I spent only three years in the school, before my father was transferred to Benin-City, where I made attempt to enter Benin Technical College but I was not given admission. When the attempt failed, my father suggested that I should go to Okpalami Mixed Secondary School, Okpanam, to enable me visit Agbor during the holidays because at that time, we did not know how to speak Agbor Language fluently. Quite frankly, my siblings and I, grew up in a disciplined home. When I was in the primary school, I had the privilege of going to school in a Land Rover car. Though my father did not have a car, but by the virtue of his office as a warrant officer, we had access to the Army Land Rover. I spent virtually all my youthful age outside Agbor. I grew up in the Army Barracks which is the reason why I can speak Hausa and Yoruba Languages fluently. My growing up in the barracks exposed me to people from different nationalities. I speak a little of Idoma language too.

After your secondary education what followed?

I was a footballer in the secondary school, so, when I finished, I continued with football. I played for Works Rangers Football Club. Akure for two seasons. Fortunately, I gained admission to Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti to study Accounting. So, I could not continue with fooball. Apart from gaining admission into the polytechnic, I also sustained injuries which, made me to finally quit football. During my days as a footballer, I was among my school team that won Nigeria Polytechnic Games Association (NIPOGA) in 1985. After my graduation I got employment with Central Industries Ltd, Ewuru, Agbor, manufacturers of then MASTA Toilet Paper a company owned by Mr. Steve Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien. I rose to the position of the chief accountant in the company. While there, I did a distant degree programme at Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State where I earned a degree in Accounting. I left Central Industries around 1996 and got employed at Samankwe Group of Companies as a group manager. I was in-charge of the account and sales Department. We had outlets in Onitsha, Ogwashi-Uku, Umunede and environ. When I joined Samankwe Group of Companies, it had only six trucks, but at the time I was leaving we had about sixteen to twenty trucks. Throughout my stay in the company no case of fraud was recorded contrary to what the company was faced with before I came. I was always on ground to monitor things and profer solutions where necessary. My managerial skill at Samankwe Group of Companies made Nigeria Breweries Plc to recommend me to O.A Ganiru Enterprises, Asaba, one of the company’s key distributors. Before I joined O.A Ganiru Enterprises, the company, was making a turn over of N4 million every month. But when I took over, our turn over rose to N16 million every month. The company flourished until 2006 when Nigerian Breweries dereregulated the beer business. I left the company after it wounded up and joined politics. While playing politics, I started a consultancy business in the hospitality industry because I had an experience in that area; the Giwa-Amu family who were former owners of O.A Ganiru Enterprises were into hospitality business. Prior to this time, I worked with Anthras Nigeria Ltd. a contracting firm which is into Biometrics. We built the Biometrics Centre in the University of Benin.

Were you dragged into politics or you joined out of your own volition?

I was not forced into politics, it was a personal decision. I was able to blend easily into the political class because I was close to my mentor, Chief Barr Theodora A. Giwa Amu who is a PDP chieftain. I was made the PDP youth leader in Delta North during Malam Obi’s tenure as State chairman. But after nine months, power was taken from us. The bitter experience I had in PDP made me to leave the party. I joined Nigeria Peoples Congress. Ngozi Emioma was our chairman then. It happened that the party needed somebody in Delta State that will be its chairman, so, I was called upon. I was the party chairman for close to five years. During the period, we partnered with other political parties to ensure that there was equity. We criticized government, but in a constructive manner. We formed the coalition of registered political parties which I later became the chairman. I had about twenty political parties under my leadership. I was chairman until the association was collapsed and a new one known as Association of Registered Political Parties was formed. As chairman, I made sure that there was peace in the state, particularly between the partnering political parties and government. My successor, Chief Taju Isichei is now the Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Intra-Party Affairs. Today, most of the political parties that were members of the association have been de-registered by INEC. Only a few ones were allowed to continue. Some of us who were affected by the de-registration are still considering whether to join PDP or not. However, I really have to commend Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for the relative peace in Delta State. The recent development we are witnessing in the State is because there is peace in the state. Outside that, I want to advise the government to develop the economy first before any other thing. If the economy is developed, many people will benefit. But when the government develops a few individuals they will become thin gods, and oppressors to others. For instance, when our schools are equipped with modern learning facilities, our children will see the need to go to school and learn. The same thing applies when there are functional infrastructure . We commend government effort on education but it should try and focus attention on the already existing polytechnics in state for that will benefit Deltans more. If polytechnics are scattered everywhere in the state, the standard of education will be reduced and sub-standard graduates will be produced.

You are the chairman, Agbor Vanguard, what gave rise to the formation of the group?

Agbor Vanguard was formed to foster peace in Agbor. I took a holistic view of our people after the last general elections where the Agbor man lost out in the State Hosue of Assembly and discovered that they are yet to understand the dynamics and intrigues of politics. I discovered too that the political class in Agbor are not united. If you are in Mr. A group, Mr. B will see you as an enemy. Politics is not like that. We felt we can unite our people by using Agbor Vanguard to reach out to them. We started with football tournament involving all communities that make Agbor kingdom. We want to use football to unite our people and to let them know that we are one. Though we have limited resources, but we are going to make sure we achieve our aim. We want Agbor and Ika land in general to be united as before. Politics has divided our people but we will not remain disunited. We are all brothers because our coming together is by God’s divine’s plan. God did not bring us together so that we can fight ourselves. We did not beg God before he created us to be indigenes of Ika. God has a purpose for doing what he did. He blessed us to bless others and not to destroy them.. If we are able to work as one and speak with one voice Ika nation will be the head in Delta State. Presently, Ika nation is highly respected in Delta State politics. We should not spill blood because we want to be on top, no, it is uncalled for. Agbor Vanguard is not going to relent on until our people start speaking with one voice. I want to use this opportunity to thank the Dein of Agbor, His Royal Majesty Dr. Benjamin Keagborkuzi I, for making the maiden Agbor Vanguard Football Tournament a huge success. I appreciate all those who contributed in one way or the other particularly the likes of Engr. Nuel Omodon, Mr. Tony Obuh, Paul Ebede, Moses Ebede, and the entire Ebede family. They gave their total support during the football tournament and they are still giving, they have not relented. Outside football, Agbor Vanguard has plans to organize seminars and workshops. We are also working in collaboration with Agbor Community, which is our umbrella group, just to make sure our community moves forward.

Any regret about the things you have done in the past and what you are doing now?

No regret. God has been very merciful to me. Though I had some challenges in the past, but God restored me. My first daughter is in the University. The other of my children are doing very well at school. My late father lived up to ninety five years before he died, while my mother is still alive and bubbling. My sisters and brothers are doing well in their chosen professions. We have a great and wonderful family.

I remain grateful to God Almighty.

What is your message to the people of Ika Federal Constituency?

My message to our people in Agbor and environ is that we should remove the Pull Him Down Syndrome character in us. We should stop castigating people. What is killing us as a people is the Pull Him Down Syndrome that we have given ourselves. When we see somebody succeeding we should support the person rather then pull him or her down. Everyman has his own fault, so, we must look at life from that angle. We should support our brothers and sisters who are in government and also those who are vying for political offices. We should support the business class also. If at all, we are to criticize their activities let it be objective.

Another problem we are having in Ika land is that our people complain a lot. They complain without thinking of how to profer solution. Let us learn how to profer solutions instead of complaining. This is not the time to sit back, fold your hands and be saying don’t mind them. This is the time for action.

Our next personality of the week is Mr. Festus Ojikwe Suame, a Self willed man who overcame despite all odds. A man who did not allow difficulties to push him down.

In this exclusive personality interview, he granted Ika Weekly in his shop at Agbor he spoke on his broken dreams, huddles and how he conquered. It is a must read.

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