A former member, House of Representatives, Ika Federal Constituency, Hon Engr Doris Uboh now rightly addressed as Hon Engr Doris Uboh Ogunkoya is celebrating at the moment, as she adds another year on Sunday, June 16, 2013. The soft spoken former lawmaker said she is not going to celebrate with the high and mighty in the society but rather with the orphans, physically challenged, widows and other less privileged people who need love and care.
However, the Ekuku-Agbor born Electrical Engineer cum politician spoke to Ika Weekly at her residence in Agbor on Sunday, 9 June, 2013 where she disclosed that she won the 2011 House of Representatives elections but was robbed by the opposition. She also talked about her passion for the development of Ika land, her achievements at the National Assembly and her desire to serve again if her (Ika) people gives her the mandate.
It is a pleasure meeting you madam, can you please introduce yourself?
I am Hon Engr Doris Uboh Ogunkoya, former member, House of Representatives, Ika Federal Constituency
How has it been since you left the National Assembly?
It has been peaceful and wonderful too. I am newly married and enjoying my married life.
This is the first time you are officially talking to Ika Weekly since after your last election, can you tell us exactly what happened during the 2011 House of Representatives, Ika Federal constituency election?
The election was chaotic but I thank God for everything. One thing about life is that every step you take is a learning experience. The 2011 House of Representatives, Ika Federal constituency election which I contested was a learning experience for me. It was unfortunate that the hard work of the constituents was not rewarded as their mandate was stolen by somebody who did not win.
Were you surprised with the outcome of the election despite the fact that you were the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
I was not really surprised with the result of the election because a lot of anti-party activities took place during the period. But like I said it was a learning experience.
What actually made some of the PDP leaders in Ika Federal Constituency to work for the opposition during the 2011 House of Representatives elections?
It is now two years since we finished the elections .All the issues that came up during the election period have been washed under the bridge. I have forgiven everyone and I have decided to move forward. It is really unfortunate that the opposition carried out campaigns of calumny and a lot of false information were disseminated against me. The greatest surprise was that some Ika PDP leaders allowed themselves to be used. At the end of the day we all lost. It was a loss for the party as a whole not just myself alone.
You took Hon. Victor Nwokolo to court after the 2011 elections but the litigation seemed not to end?
You would not say the litigation seemed not to end, because when things happened wrongly you take advantage of the court system, that is the reason why we have judiciary. After all, the judiciary, they say is the last hope of the common man. That was exactly what we did. We did not do anything outside the law.
They are speculations that you are using the long litigation to destract Hon. Victor Nwokolo?
Do you know that anytime I go to court I pay my lawyers? Do you know of any lawyer in Nigeria who works for free on election matters. There is absolutely no lawyer that will do that. So, those saying that I used litigation to distract Victor Nwokolo are not saying the truth. We were not in court to distract anyone but to get back our stolen mandate. When I was in the House of Representatives, my opponent took me to court, but I did not see that as a distraction.
Some persons in Ika Federal constituency believes that the election went otherwise because you are arrogant and not accessible?
That is not true. No matter how good one is, people will always find fault. Even our Lord, Jesus Christ was not able to please everyone during his days on earth let alone a mere mortal like me. Everybody cannot be my fan. Those who know me know that I am not arrogant and that my doors are open for everyone. I love everybody in my constituency and I am happy that our people are now realizing the mistakes made by some of our leaders during the past election. People who are saying that I am arrogant do not know me at all, they have not spoken to me once, they, are just talking based on assumption
You flagged off many projects during your last campaign and today many of those projects have not been completed. People are beginning to say that you flagged off those projects because you needed votes.
If they are saying that, what about the projects that I commissioned? Did I use those ones to campaign as well. I think I did my best. If the level of my performance was the same as my predecessors, the whole of Ika land would have developed. The uncompleted projects which I left behind are supposed to be completed by my successor. After all, the projects are not Doris’s projects but for the people of Ika Federal constituency .The Ika Federal. Constituency seat is not vacant, it is occupied by somebody, the person should complete the project for the development of our constituency. We should not stop contributing to community development whether we are in government or not. Though I am no longer in government, I am still working for our people. I recently brought transformers to Idumuesah and Onuwa Street. And more transformers are coming. I do whatever I know will benefit our people whether I am in government or not. Go to Ekuku-Agbor, you will see the projects I did before I became a lawmaker. I did what I felt was the right thing to do not because I wanted people to vote for me.
Don’t you think that you were criticized because you did not make public your achievements as a law maker?
I did, people chose not to hear of my achievements, instead they prefered spreading the wrong information. None of the projects I executed while in government were flagged off in my house. Many of the projects were flagged off either by the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Prof Amos Utuama or Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, when he was Secretary to Delta State Government. The flag off ceremony of my first project was chaired by Senator Okowa, the second one was chaired by Prof Amos Utuama. Both events took place in Government Field, Agbor. We distributed fertilizers, sewing machines, hair dryers, and other items. Our first water scheme was flagged off at Umunede and was chaired by Prof Amos Utuama. Almost all the projects I executed are still working today. I provided money for the maintenance and the buying of diesel to power the water boreholesall through my tenure in the House. Everything that I published about my score card was very true. We distributed essential drugs to almost eighteen health centers in Ika Federal Constituency. We distributed one thousand bags of fertilizers to farmers across the two local governments in Ika Land, we distributed sewing equipments to fourty persons and micro-credit to ten women’s groups to support them in their farm work. N250, 000 was given to each group. We assisted sixty-two Ika people to get police job, we organized free cervical cancer screening for women, donated cervical cancer screening machines to Central Hospital, Agbor. We also organized free eye test/ distribution of free eye glasses to more than one thousand people. We supplied furniture and books to primary and secondary schools in Ika land. We constructed three classroom blocks and toilets at Iroro Primary School, Owa-Alero and also renovated existing ones. We did so much just to develop our land because nobody will come here to develop it for us. The unbeaten record of my achievements are there for all to see and judge. As an Ika person, my number one priority is to see how our people can benefit from government. I do not believe in the idea of buying cars for people or sending the children of those close to me to school whereas we have children who are not privileged to go to Ogbemudein Mixed Secondary School. Today, thousands of our people are benefitting from the projects we executed. I will continue to contribute to the growth of Ika land because I am very passionate about its development. Before I became a lawmaker, I influenced the building of a sub- electricity station at Ekuku-Agbor. It was supposed to go to Ikot Ekpene but I stopped it. This was in 2002/ 2003. Today, many villages in Ika land are benefitting from the sub-station.
Madam can you tell us exactly what happened during the House of Representatives elections that made some of the PDP leaders to work against the candidate of their party?
Like I said before, the elections have come and gone, I will prefer to move forward. If I keep discussing the issue of 2011 elections I will not be able to strategize and move forward. I have forgiven everyone. A lot of people did what they did because someone gave them instruction on what to do. For now, lets live whatever that happened during the election behind us and move forward
Was it true that you quarreled and fought with almost all your colleagues when you were in the House?
Was it not better that I went to the House to fight injustice, rather than go there and my voice was not heard at all? People are never patient to hear the truth, they prefer the easy way out. I did not go to the House to fight, I only stood to correct some things that I knew were not done in the right way. Projects meant to be shared among all the members were shared by a few House members, which was wrong because no member occupies more than one seat at the National Assembly. My self and some of my colleagues in the House did our best to make sure we get back those projects. That was exactly what we did.
If you are to score yourself what percentage do you believe you will get?
If I am to score myself I will say that I did quite well. I am glad my report cards are everywhere for people to see.
There are arguments in some quarters that you took the chance of Ika North East Local Government as it was the turn of the local government to produce House of Representatives member and that was one of the reason why many people from the local government voted against you?
I do not know anything about zoning. I said earlier I have put the past behind me and I am marching forward. If by 2015 our people call upon me, I am very willing to serve again.
Has your successor, Hon Victor Nwokolo lived up to expectations?
It is up to you the constituents to judge him, whether he has lived up to expectations or not.
What is your take on the Old Lagos/ Asaba road?
Some parts of the road are really in a deplorable state, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s government still has two years. I believe it will be able to fix the road before the end of his tenure. We will not blame the governor because sometime? he will be too busy to attend to some issues that is why we have representatives in government .What are our House of Assembly members doing, Are they not seeing the road?
Are you aware of the APC merger opposition political party with the primary aim of unseating the PDP in 2015?
I am aware of the ACN, ANPP, CPC and APGA merger but I will not leave PDP. I will remain in PDP. I believe in the PDP and I believe we are in the right course. As for the merger, let the opposition go ahead. We are not afraid, we will meet them on the battle field. PDP is bigger than all the political parties put together. With God on our side, we will always win.
Ika South Local Government seemed not to be united politically,. What are the political leaders doing to achieve unity before 2015?
I am a woman, I see things from a different point of view. We may disagree but will always forge ahead despite our past mistakes.
Why are you optimistic that PDP will win subsequent elections in Ika Land?
I am optimistic because my party, the PDP is a party for millions of Nigerians. It is the biggest and most powerful party in Ika Land. When the time for elections comes, we will meet and choose those who will serve us better.
You got married recently and your new name is not too known to many people?
Cuts in, my new name is Doris Uboh Ogunkoya.
Do you still have the intension of contesting in 2015 ?
2015 is fast approaching but it is still far away. I am not the one to decide. It is our people. If they call upon me, I am available to serve in whatever capacity they want me to serve. I am not quiting politics, , I still attend PDP meetings at local government, state and federal levels. I am very much available and ready to serve.
What are you doing now?
I have gone back to my company, Daga Steel International, Ltd, an engineering company based in Lagos. We work with oil companies and we have been in existence long before I joined partisan politics. I am a busy woman but if the opportunity to serve our people comes again I will gladly accept it.
You put up a gallant fight during the last election, what gave you that strong spirit.
Laughter, I am a simple person. I am passionate of whatever thing I do, I do not believe in half measures, I do my jobs very well. I am also a system person who look up to all my leaders in the PDP. Irrespective of what happened in the last election, I respect my political leaders a lot. As long as they are in the PDP. I will continue to respect and support them. I draw inspiration from all my PDP leaders. Even the people who worked against me I love them all.
Do you have any personal grudges with Hon Victor Nwokolo?
No, not at all. I have decided to move forward and put the past behind me.
Supposed you got a second chance will you do better?
Yes I will. I will do better than I did before. I will concentrate on the women. Our women are very hard working. They need support. I do not believe in giving people fish, I teach them how to fish, that is my own kind of empowerment. I can buy cars for people as gifts but not as an empowerment.
Do you still relate with your colleagues in the House?
I visit them anytime I have the chance. We rapport very well,. The former Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Dimeji Bankole is from my husband’s place. Anytime we see, we hug and tease ourselves. The same thing happens each time I visit the House.
What is your word for the people of Ika Federal Constituency?
I want to tell our people that their votes are very powerful, hence, they should not be deceived by anybody. I advise those who have not registered to do so, it is very important. We must register and vote rightly. We should not allow what happened in the last elections to happen again. We should learn to vote our conscience in any election. Let no political leader deceive you for everybody has equal votes. If what your political leader is saying does not satisfy your conscience, you can quietly go to the polling vote and do what you know is right. I am not saying that people should not listen to their political leaders, but they should satisfy their conscience first. We should not follow leaders who will lead us astray. We are all equal when it comes to voting rights.
What you are saying is a complete political education which most of our people lack. Will this be part of your 2015 campaign in case your are contesting?
How did you think I won my last election. I took my campaigns to the market square, football field, and other open places, educating our people on the need to cast their votes for me. I went extra miles to ask them to criticize me publicly in areas they know I have failed. It is unfortunate that my opponents instead of accepting defeat applied the �Agberu� tactics which I am not used to.
Is it true that Ika political leaders have failed the people?
I do not think Ika political leaders have failed our people. We are still learning, despite our mistakes. We should stop complaining and learn from our past mistakes. We should decide what we want and what we do not. The problem in Ika Federal constituency applies to the whole of Nigeria. Let us wake up and take challenges. We should learn to do the right thing and stop listening to people who do not mean well for all of us. If we want it better we should learn from our past mistakes. The solution to our problem lies in us. Again, if we say there is bad leadership there is equally bad followership. For instance, if a leader failed the people, it is expected that such a leader will be rejected if he comes back to beg for another opportunity, If we keep following a leader even when we know he has failed us, that means we are our own problem. Secondly, if we sit our leaders who will know are not doing well down and make them see reason with us, they will listen and amend their ways. But if we are singing their praises and collecting money from them, we will not achieve any good thing. There can never be a leader when there are no followers. When a leader goes astray, he should be advised. When he refuses advise, then the followers can decide whether to keep following him or not. You cannot say a leader is bad, and when he calls for a meeting more than five hundred persons will attend.
What do you think is the way forward for Ika politics?
The way forward is that our political leaders should come together and think of how to move Ika land forward. Ika Land is bigger than everyone of us, we should work for its growth and development.
Come Sunday, June 16, 2013 you will be celebrating your birthday, is it going to be on a high note?
No, I am going to celebrate with the orphans, widows, physically challenged and other less privilege people in the society.
God just added another year to your age, how do you feel?
I feel great and thankful to God for His love towards me. I have stopped asking God why He did not give me this or that, instead everyday of my life I appreciate God for what he has done for me and also pray that he will do more.
Finally, your word for the women folk?
My word, particularly for the women is that they should learn to fend for themselves because nobody is going to do that for them. As a woman you are already defeated because you live in a man’s world, so, the only way to make a difference is to let people know the stuff you are made of. Do not say you are a woman and will not attempt to do anything. Do something even if you fail. I am an industrious woman and I enjoy taking challenged It has taken me to where I am now. We should not be afraid to take challenge for with God all things are possible.
Who is your role model?
My role model is the average Nigerian woman who strives to keep the family together. I think we are resilient, patient and God fearing.
How do you relax?
I relax by spending quality time with my family.
What will you be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered for my role in the amendment of the Minimum Wage Bill while i was in the House
Our next personality of the week is Mr. Festus Ojikwe Suame, a self willed man overcame despite all odds. A man who did not allow difficulties to push him down.
In this exclusive personality of the week interview he granted Ika Weekly in his shop at Agbor, he spoke on his broken dreams, huddles and how he conquered. It is must read.