Interview: ALL I KNOW IS THAT I AM NOT A THIEF – Hilary Ibude

As the administration of executive local government chairmen in Delta State came to an  end on Friday 13th May, 2011, following an official dissolution order from the state house of assembly, fellers from different local governments in the state have started judging the level of performance of the immediate  past council chiefs, particularly those of them they know that are already seeking for re-election. What is of paramount interest to the masses now that the wind of change is blowing in every nook and cranny of Nigeria is that they want to have leaders who are transparent and honest from the federal down to the local government levels, as they are not  bothered or against the  re-election bid of any local government chairman, but on what they were able to achieve for their people while in government.
                            
The immediate past Ika South council Boss, Hon. Hilary Ibude, in this interview with Ika Weekly reporters at Agbor, said contrary to critics from his political opponents, his administration did well. Giving  a run down of the projects he executed and those  that are still on going, while in office, he said  he appreciated all the people of Ika South for their  support and prayers, adding that he will serve them better if they give him another opportunity to do so.
Excerpt
                            
 May We Meet You Sir?
                            
I am Hon. Hilary Ibude, the immediate past chairman of Ika South Local Government Area. During the period that  I was chairman I did my best by liaising with all stakeholders in Ika South to make sure that the local government moves ahead in terms of development. My administration may not be the best or a  perfect one, but I think we did our best using the available resources within our reach to develop the local government.
 
                            
FOR THREE YEARS YOU WERE NUMBER ONE CITIZEN IN IKA SOUTH OCCUPYING THE HIGHEST SEAT IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, CAN YOU GIVE US A RUN DOWN OF YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN OFFICE?
                            
As I have  said, my government did its best. Generally, I will start by mentioning  the past administrations, in Ika South who though did their best as well, but not enough compare to what my administration achieved. I believed that I and my executive members have done very well. I may not be the best but have done well.
 
The list of completed projects executed by my government include the following.
Construction of NPI building, renovation of Revenue Court building, rehabilitation of Isedeh Sstreet with drainage, Asphalt tarring of Odozi Street with drainage,  construction/asphalt tarring of Edike Street, construction of Library building, rehabilitation of Professor John Ebie street, renovation of Ika National Hall building all in Agbor. We also purchased fairly used earth moving equipment, (i) I Grader Cat 12ft, (ii) I pail-loader 750ft, (iii) 3 Mercedes Benz  Tippers, (iv) I Roller, bulldozer. Others are: Purchase of I Toyota Corolla ( 200 model), purchase of 10ft screen computers, purchase of TV sets in the various offices, purchase of air conditioners for the secretariat, purchase/installation of INR 300KVA 11K/415V transformer at Idumugbo Quarters, Abavo, procurement of Hospital equipment at Alisimie Health Centre, Alisimie, Agbor.
                            
It did not end there. List of other executed projects are the construction   of new Finance and Treasure Department building, furnishing of Legislative Arm’s office , extension of electricity to Imiele and Ekuma, Abavo, construction  of modern market at Okpe, Abavo, construction of water scheme at Emuhu Health centre, Emuhu, construction of classroom  block and headmaster’s office at Oza Primary School, Idumu-Oza, construction of Water Scheme at Obianyinma Health Centre, Abavo, renovation of 6 classroom blocks at Igbogili, Primary School, Abavo, and construction of Water Scheme at Ogbeomudien community, Ime-Obi.
 
In addition to the aforementioned, we executed the extension  of electricity to three developing areas in Agbor-obi, ie Ohumere, Ihogbe, and Obi-Olihe, construction of water scheme and renovation of public toilet at Baleke market, construction of borehole, overhead tank with tank stand, generator house at  Agbor Alidinma, construction of 3Nr classroom block at Omie Primary School, Ekuku-Agbor, Constructon of 3Nr Classroom block at Aliohen Primary School, Ekuma, Abavo, purchase of our units of 300KVA transformer, distributed to Ihogbe Alifekede Oruru and Igbogiri, construction of water scheme at Okpe, Abavo, Oruru-Ikpamise and Hausa quarters at Uromi junction, installation of 30kv sound proof generator and borehole at the Library complex, purchase of 406 Peugeot Car for the vice chairman and the construction of slabs and culverts at Mariere/Charles street, junction. Other initiated projects that are on going are the construction of Police station, Abavo, rehabilitation  of Alifekede market and the asphalt tarring of Emegha Street/Ibude Avenue. In all, we executed up to forty-five projects in the two kingdoms in Ika south.
                            
SIR, YOU WERE ACCUSED OF AWARDING THE AGBOR  LIBRARY CONTRACT TO HON. BEN OBUH FOR A WHOPPING SUM OF N85MILLION
                            
Whoever is saying that should come out and prove it to the public. People just seat at home and say what they do not know about. The construction of the library building followed due process. When we wanted to award the contract, we advertised it to the general public. It was not the library alone that  was constructed, there was also a water bore hole and the purchase of 30kva generator. Inclusive also is the  reconstruction of the Ika National Hall. The ABC company that won the contract for the aforementioned projects did not get them on a platter of gold. The company passed through screening by the tender board. Other companies that bidded with ABC lost to ABC. After the completion of the work, it was duly certified by the engineering and contract verification committee before final payment was made. So, whatever negative thoughts my critics are having over the contract is wrong. I think they are just jealous because all the contracts were awarded to ABC. You know in politics, when you are not criticized that means you have not started. As some persons are condemning all the project that we executed while in government, many are still commending us, saying that the people of Ika South have never had it so good. It is just a surprise that people are not interested in other people’s achievement especially when they  are not directly involved but they should stop dragging people down.
                            
ONE OF YOUR COUNCILLORS CALLED YOU A THIEF AND FRAUDULENT SOME TIME AGO. WHAT CAN YOU SAY?
                            
I do not have any issue to contest with him because I do not know what he was  talking about. All I know is that I am not a thief and did not steal any council money, so whoever said I stole council money should go and prove that in the court of law, or he should petition ICPC, EFCC or write to any appropriate authority.
                            
WHAT ABOUT THE ISSUE OF INFLATING CONTRACT COST AND AT THE SAME TIME AWARDING THEM TO YOUR CRONIES?
                            
My government never inflated the cost of any contract. We followed due process in all the  contracts that we awarded, Edike Street was a bush part before it was tarred. We constructed the drainage down to the river. On the aspect of the award of contracts, I did  not award them to my cronies but to those that were duly certified as qualified to handle the contracts.
                            
ONE OF THE POLITICAL LEADERS IN IKA SOUTH ONCE SAID THAT EVEN IF YOU TARRED THE ROADS IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT WITH GOLD, HE WOULD NOT PRAISE YOU
                            
I think the person that said it is not happy with me for not awarding a contract to him or give him money. That is not my vision. I was not in government to share money but rather to build infrastructures. If I have my personal income, I can share to them but not that of government.  I cannot siphon government money just to please leaders. It is not as if I want to disrespect anybody but to serve my people well. In the process of doing that, whoever I have offended should forgive me.
                            
YOU REALLY FACE QUITE A LOT OF CHALLENGES TRYING TO DISCHARGE YOUR DUTIES AS COUNCIL CHAIRMAN, DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRET?
                            
No, not at all. Although I faced a lot of challenges when I was in office as the Ika South local government chairman, but I have no regret. I am a servant of the people and I am poised  to serve them again, if I am called upon to do so again.
                            
WHY DID YOU NAME STREET AFTER JIM OVIA AND THE QUEEN MOTHER?
                            
Naming a street after Jim Ovia is worth it. As an industrialist and philanthropist, Jim Ovia has touched the lives of many people both at home and abroad. Assuming Charles street that was named after him, has been bearing Jim Ovia Street since, it would have long been tarred. State government would have long honoured Jim Ovia by tarring a street named after him. We do not expect government all the time to bring development, but the name of any individual that have done well in helping people can attract development to an area. Jim Ovia has been outstanding in all things. He gives empowerment to people and scholarship to students everywhere. If not that Chief J.E. Imudia is a respected traditional chief in Agbor kingdom, I would have renamed Imudia street to Jim Ovia street.
                            
For the Queen mother, she has done her best. She is our mother and the first of her kind to become commissioner. She is respected everywhere she goes. We are proud of her, that is why we honored her by naming a street after her. Since she has good relationship with the state government, I think naming a street after her will attract the installation of solar energy street lights to the area.
                            
BEFORE YOU LEFT OFFICE HOW WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LEGISLATIVE ARM AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS IN IKA SOUTH?
                            
My relationship with them was excellent because I have no spirit of exclusion. Everybody may not be satisfied at the same time but  I know we enjoyed cordial working relationship.
                            
I have nothing against anybody and will like to thank  all the honourable councilors that worked under me, civil servants, traditional rulers, clergy men, and the political class for their prayers, supports and advise.
                              
ANY WORD FOR THE PEOPLE OF IKA SOUTH?
                            
My word to the people of Ika South, is that the Almighty God should continue to bless them and they should remain peaceful and law abiding. I thank them immensely for giving me the opportunity to serve them, and should forgive me in any area I have offended them in the course of discharging my duty. I urge them to continue supporting the ruling government. I believe the power and wisdom to serve comes from God, so if am given another opportunity to serve, I will do better for my people .

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