The surging hue and cry of political marginalisation of the people of Ika East by Ika North has been punctured by a prominent Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftain and State Administrative Secretary of the party, Sir Chief Andrew Obanor KSM (JP).
Sir Obanor who was fielding questions from Ika Weekly reporters in a “personality of the week” interview on Monday in his office at the PDP Secretariat at Asaba, stated that nobody is marginalizing anybody in the political equation of Ika North East Local Government Area.
He stressed that politics is about oneâ€™s contribution to the growth of the party, and that people should not expect to reap when they did not make any meaningful contributions, especially before elections.
Chief Obanor disclosed that the bane of Ika East politics is disunity, which has engendered the seeming political underdevelopment of the area.
In his words “There is no gainsaying the fact that the people of Ika North are far more united and politically matured than the people of Ika East, which explains their high political profile and ascendancy”.
The East, he noted, are always at dagger-drawn, they oppose themselves at ease, always countering those who are being projected for one political position or the other, without taking recourse of the implication, adding that disunity and inability to accept other people from moving forward and assuming leadership positions have dealt a strong blow to the political growth of the area.
The PDP Administrative Secretary stressed that until the people sit down and unite as a group, the issue of marginalisation will continue to fester, and therefore enjoined the people to learn to speak with one voice.
When asked about PDPâ€™s penchant for illegality, Sir Obanor rose in defence of the party, saying that peopleâ€™s impression about PDP is highly subjective, which reflects their outside view of the PDP, which he termed “the most disciplined and focused party in the country”.
He explained that the seeming confusion in choosing candidates for elective offices and the frictions that go with it is as a result of the largeness of the PDP, noting that there are bound to be divergent views and frictions here and there, which according to him they have always resolved. He stressed that people have different ways of viewing issues but the important thing is that these disagreements are settled amicably and everybody will come under the same PDP umbrella as one united family.
Sir Obanor while responding to the issue of factionalization in the party, disagreed that there was division but however submitted that the recent ward congresses threw up a semblance of groupings because some few individuals wanted to impose their supposed candidates on the party. He stated that the party hierarchy was able to douse rising tension by informing those concerned, in clear terms, that it was not possible to install candidates because the party was looking at individualâ€™s credibility and commitment to the party. He reiterated that there was no more groupings and factions, and that the partyâ€™s decision is final on party matters.
Chief Obanor posited that PDP is a party that believes in due process and the rule of law which, according to him, explains the government, headed by the party obeying all court rulings. He stated that one of the beauties of democracy is the opportunity to seek redress at the law court whenever anybody feels aggrieved.
On consensus candidates, the PDP chieftain, observed that situation can arise that could lead to the party leadership, in their wisdom, to chose candidates based on their personalities and antecedents, adding that the primary idea is to prone the number of aspirants to avoid chaos.
Chief Obanor disclosed that the party was not unmindful of the prevailing confusion in some Local Government Areas, saying that they are going to resolve the stalemate. He stated that whereby the issues cannot be handled at the local level, they will be referred to the state, where he promised they will be amicably settled in the interest of all concerned. All contending interests, he said, will be addressed.
Sir Chief Andrew Obanor who is a native of Umunede disclosed that he started his working journey with Nigerian Tobacco Company, as a salesman before moving to the Nigerian Observer, where he had a brief spell , and gained employment with the Oil Palm Company Ltd, Ajagbodudu in 1973 as Public Relations Officer. In 1979 he was made Company Secretary, a position he held until 1986 when he became the General Manager and retired in 1991.
According to him, he was able to establish eleven other palm Estates in such places as Ubulu-Uku, Nsukwa, Akwukwu-Igbo, Ewohimi, Igueben and others.
He disclosed that, he assisted a lot of Ika persons with employment into the company, who today are still working there and are doing very well. He said he also assisted a lot of other persons of both Ika extractions and non-Ikas to have access to credit facilities because they could not raise the initial capital requirement to start the business of buying and selling palm oil.
He cited an example of an Igbo woman whom he helped in those days who, he later discovered were based in Agbor and were doing fine.
Chief Obanor also disclosed that he has been able to influence some job opportunities for many Ika indigenes, as he however added that he does not restrict his gesture to the people of Ika nation but to whoever that God brings his way.
Sir Obanor hailed all Ika indigenes that have contributed to the socio-cultural, economic and political development of Ika land, particularly those who have helped in empowering the people though gainful economic engagement.
On who he regards as his role model, the PDP Chieftain was quick to mention Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Secretary to the State Government, whom he said is a master political strategist and man of the people.
He stated that he chosed the SSG because of his belief in the empowerment of people and his politics of inclusion and respect for human dignity.
Sir Chief Obanor disclosed that he will continue to seek out ways on how to assist people, especially the youths, who form the bulk of the population. According to him “our youths must be helped to get on sound footing that could put them in the right stead for a successful and fulfilling adulthood.”