PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK I HAVE MORE TO GIVE TO DELTANS THAN EVERY OTHER GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANTS-Sir Okenmor F. Tilije

Sir, Okenmor Fidelis Tilije is a native of Obiaruku in Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State. He is a banker extra-ordinary, marketer, stockbroker, politician and philanthropist. Sir Okenmor Fidelis Tilije was educated at the University of Lagos for both his first degree in Banking and Finance (1983) and his Masters degree in finance (1985), with specialization in Corporate Finance. Moved by an uncommon patriotic spirit to bring sustainable development to Delta State through good governance, Sir Tilije upon retirement from banking in 2006, joined politics and pitched his tent with the opposition, in the then Democratic Peoples party (DPP). He was the running mate to Chief Great Ogboru in 2006, again in January 2011 and finally in April, 2011. Tumultuous crowd welcomed them in their various campaigns and even though exit polls showed that they won the elections, the electoral umpire declared otherwise. Chief Ogboru and Sir Tilije went to court seeking the reversal of the INEC declaration in respect of the January and April 2011 elections. Unfortunately, the merits of these two cases were never looked at, in the courts. However, like a rare political sportsman that he is, he maintained his calm and remained undaunted.
In this interview he granted Ika Weekly recently at Obiaruku, Sir Okenmor Fidelis Tilij e disclosed that he is aspiring to be the next governor of Delta State under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He said his intention to lead Delta State was borne out of his passion to create an enabling environment for all Deltans to be positively productive . Also in the interview, Sir Tilije talked about his plans for Delta State and why he thinks Deltans should vote for APC in the 2015 governorship elections.
Excerpts:
Sir, from all indications you are a very comfortable man . Why are you still bothering yourself with politics, particularly when your partnership with Chief Great Ogboru in the past almost one decade did not yield any fruit?
If you have a calling that has to do with the survival of your people, you can’t give up until your people are saved We did not come into politics because we wanted money to eat, neither did we come into politics because we want to amass wealth. We came into politics because we have a divine calling to render selfless and quality service to our people and the society at large. We came into politics because we want our people to leave a more meaningful life, particularly within the abundance of natural wealth endowed us by God’s benevolence . . Even as we speak today, it is very glaring that our people are suffering. Poverty is nationwide but in Delta State the basis is unjustifiable whatsoever . There is no basis for the infrastural decay in our major cities in Delta State. Therefore, we believe we cannot continue be bystanders and watch our commonwealth carted away by a few primitive people , by people, who believe that there is no life after death and no judgement ever at all . We need something better for our people. When the righteous are in power the people rejoice. Our God given commonwealth can effectively create a superb middle class that can efficiently sustain a crime less lower class . If you purposely create a productive middle class you will obviously have peace in your society. That is what operates in developed and developing Countries. Honestly, there is no basis for severe Graduates unemployment in a developing State or Country with the unprecedented level of resources in Delta State. Unfortunately, all the sermons about Delta Beyond Oil by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration, which would have made me an full impacts are only found on TV screens, heavily in prototypes, as no verifiable single factory or industrial line has been established in the last fifteen years in the Delta State. What then does the state government mean by Delta Beyond Oil? Is Delta beyond Oil achievable with constant power supply? Today, Delta State appears to be the only state in South South without an integrated power project This contradiction is a big shame So can be done in Delta State with the huge resources that accrues to us on monthly if only we have efficient managers . Aside carting away our God given commonwealth, even the meager leftovers are absolutely misapplied. For instance there is no basis whatsoever, to dualise the low traffic Ogwashi-Uku-Kwale road and border less about heavy traffic Agbor-Eku-Warri road. Oh God, why on earth will any rational manager of resources spend the same cost of constructing a dual carriageway to build a dual carriage less interlocked pavement on Delta steel roundabout – Osubi-Effurun -Sapele road junction. What a waste of resources. Each time I go to Warri I cry for Delta State. It is the only City in the whole wide world where a bus route is built on the centre of the road. So disembarkers from the buses must of no choice cross the express road again causing more traffic lock which the bus route was established to solve in the first instance. Furthermore, a just one car breakdown on Effurun-Warri road will permanently remain a nightmare. For me the only reason for this misapplication is corruption and corruptive tendencies.
What do you think is the major barrier towards the development of Delta State?
Corruption, ineptitude, managers unpreparedness for the role of political leadership curruptly throne on them. Oh yes these are the major problems of Nigeria in general and Delta in particular. For us to grow our economy, we must understand the essence of political governance, understand and define why we are in governance, be selfless and be transparent as well as recognise the role of accountability in responsibility.
What do you think is the way forward?
The way forward is for us all to insist on credible elections at all levels. That is the only way that we can choose serious minded leaders who will be selfless in governance and lead with the fear of God. We must stop at all costs those who after rigging themselves in office go for Thanksgiving the following day. Honestly I can manage those who rig and don’t go for Thanksgiving and publicly declare that they should not be congratulated in whatever means and manner . Sincerely, if we have been governed by serious minded leaders, who have in fairness, allocated and distributed our resources almost equitably, this unnecessary ethnic and religious squabbles will never have arisen in our space .
What is your driving force?
My driving force is the passion to never be a bystander when I can change meaninglessness to meaningfulness. I went to primary school in Obiaruku, and secondary school at St. Georges Obinomba, a nearby village. I grew up in Obiaruku. I knew that when we were growing up we had 100% security. Indeed you could sleep outside with your doors widely open at night. I knew that food was not an issue. I went to the University of Lagos, where we ate three full square meals for 25k. I recall with goose pinples when it was increased to 50k per meal, the tug of war that was let loose . In addition, we were paid five hundred naira busary allowance annually. Indeed , you left the university a middle class member of the society with a job and good accommodation, as well as a car as given. Both students and graduates were well catered for. Today, the reverse is hell on earth. Oh God, where did we get it wrong. See, even with the trillions that have accrued to Delta state in the past fifteen years, can you verifiably justify it’s inflow into the Delta State system. It’s indeed a shame. I recall that sometime in late 2006, the current minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, a Delta, wept in Asaba because of what she termed, the gross misapplication and mismanagement of our commonwealth. Stand her today in Asaba, which is even worse now compared to its budgeted resources and find out what her comments will be.
Are you not embarking on a white elephant project by seeking for a political office in a state ruled by the PDP?
Overtime I am told that if you want to change the society, you must be part of the society. I am told that if you want to change an environment you must be part of the environment, that if you want to change Delta State you must be a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Unfortunately, the Delta PDP is controlled by a family dynasty. Chief James Ibori, a good friend of mine became governor in 1999. After eight years of his administration he planted his cousin, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan against all odds to take over from him. We are now in another era of change of guard where Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is trying to plant Sir Tony Obuh who I am told also has some kind of blood relationship with him as his successor. From my world history readings, it has been near impossible to be initiated into a dynasty let alone changing from within. The average Deltan today wants effective death of PDP in Delta state. Our election in 2011 was a mass movement both during the re-run and that of the general elections. Even Gov. Uduaghan knows that he did not credibly win does elections. I am very very willing to make a change and we are not going to give up until that change comes.
You said Chief James Ibori is your very good friend why did you not use the opportunity to join the PDP?
I was once a PDP man. I supported Chief James Ibori in 1999 to become governor. I supported him because I saw the youthfulness in him. I thought being a man of my generation he will impact very positively on our people. He started very well but he quickly got derailed and could not manage his early successes. He became absolutely powerful and remember, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The first time you contested you were a deputy-governorship candidate of the DPP to Chief Great Ogboru, why are you contesting for the governorship now?
Laughter, I have contested political office in Delta three times as a Deputy Governorship Candidate in the three immediate past elections. I am so sure and certain in my mind that I won the last election as Deputy Governor and accordingly served out my tenor. Therefore, my only allowable promotion is to the Governor’s seat of Delta State. No more no less. Accordingly, as a shadow Deputy Governor I have gained very serious practical experience to enable me function very creditably if voted into the Governor’s position.
What have you done in the past that would warrant Deltans to entrust power to you?
I am from Obiaruku in Ukwuani local government area of Delta State. I am from the Ndokwa ethnic nationality. Go to any village in Ndokwa and ask of Sir Okenmor Fidelis Tilije. They will tell you that I have touched the life of at least one person from that village in Ndokwa nation. That is why today my people refer to me as, “Mr. Ndokwa.” Without being immodest I know that most people are looking up to me and I will never disappoint them.
Do you see yourself winning the All Progressives Congress Delta (APC) ticket for the 2015 elections.
I am so sure that I will be the Gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Delta 2015. You know why? My party members know that I can be trusted and can never mortgage Delta State, having been tested in the past one decade. They know I will be an accessible and listening Governor. I am going to sit down in Delta State and appeal to our people to vote me as their next governor. In order to achieve victory at the poll, I am in touch with all our members in all the local government areas in Delta State.
If otherwise is the case after the governorship primary election will you still remain in the APC?
If otherwise is the case and the election is credible I will remain in APC, fight and ensure that APC takes over the government of Delta State.
Judging by the local government elections that was concluded recently in Delta State do you see the APC emerging in 2015?
The outcome of local government elections in Nigeria is not any basis of determining the capacity of any party. I am happy that the National Assembly is finding a way of abolishing State electoral commissions. The truth of the matter is that most Governors in Nigeria believe they are Governor’s of their party and not Governor’s of their state. All they do is winner takes all. It is very unfortunate.
What is your message to Deltans?
Simply that they should vote for APC for positive change in our environment, in our economy, in quality education, in provision of employment, quality health care and above all, for zero tolerance for curruption and fair and equitable allocation and distribution of our commonwealth. Thank you.

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