Mr. Louis Ihuka Otele, is an astute politician and a dynamic Agbor man who has strong passion towards the development of Agbor headquarters of Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State.
He is a graduate of Accounting from Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, and has also acquired other certificates.He is a successful business man and a security consultant resident in Lagos State.
In this exclusive interview with Ika Mirror Newspaper, Otele maintained that the APC led government was more favourable to the Agbor people than that of the PDP.
Sir, why are so happy being an Agbor man?
Oh God! an Agbor man should be proud of who he is, because Agbor is a center of happiness and development. Agbor is the heartbeat of Ika geographical location. Hence, the development of Ika geographical location and its leadership started from Agbor.
How was your growing up in Agbor like?
My growing up was challenging because as at that time, we never understood the importance of how to help people to grow. Averagely, every Agbor youth, of an aged bracket, struggled in many fields and areas of life. But recently, the narrative has changed as we can now see an Agbor man setting up industries, schools among other investments to employ other Agbor people which wasn’t like that before. This has led young Agbor men, years back, to leave their homes to other states to struggle because there was practically no support.
However, to be more practical, I still frown with some persons, particularly the political class, who have failed to help their people and would not come to apologise for their failures. Why am I saying this? As an Agbor man, I am proud to say that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is from Agbor. He has not empowered me directly but has done so indirectly by way of giving opportunities to people from whom I was able to get opportunity. Many people did not see what he was doing not until recently.
Nobody ever knew in Agbor that Emefiele was instrumental to the renovation of the Technical College, Agbor until recently. His effort was downplayed because of political interest.
We also have somebody like Mr. Jim Ovia who has also done so well for his Agbor people. And now, he has also brought us a university. All of these are making me proud to be an Agbor man.
Don’t you think your statement is being doubted judging by the actions of some youths of Agbor who decried lack of support from their people?
I disagree with you because some Agbor persons are getting support in one way or the other. Those being supported were able to put forward their needs before the right well to do Agbor sons and daughters, out of which they got support.
There are so many investments some persons have made on the life of some youths. Regrettably, you will not see some resulting to anything good. I am proud to say that an Agbor man is not a lazy man or Agbor youth is not a lazy youth. This is why you see them struggle everywhere, and even riding Okada, going to farm or doing all sorts of jobs to make money.
But relating to education, I will agree with you because majority of the youths who had wished to go to school to become graduates could not achieve that wish, simply because their parents could not afford to pay their fees.
On the other hand, some people are not privileged to go to the university because of their inability to get admission into the higher institutions as the number of students coming from other localities had covered their chances, and a good example of that, are the Federal Polytechnics which only provide minimal quota to Delta students.
However, look what is about to happen in Agbor now. I do not think that by the time we have three universities in Agbor, our students will still suffer the same predicament as the development will provide very good opportunity for so many of our youths whom I believe would also get scholarships to study at the universities.
Are you aware that there are some graduates who engage in commercial motorcycle business to survive?
The issue of unemployment is not peculiar to Agbor people alone. It is a nationwide problem. Come to Lagos to see Okada almost outnumbering the population of the indigenes.
This is prevailing issue has became more worrisome because our people have not really been able to take advantage of our environment to set up more industries and also train people (youths in particular) in technical colleges amongst others, to reduce the unemployment rate.
Some times in 2011, I once said that this okada riding would change the vision of the youths. So whenever I see a graduate riding commercial motorcycle (Okada), I hold this belief that one day, luck will shine on him to get a better job. But what about children that did not go to school and would ride on Okada up to 25years of their age or above to survive, and politicians will keep buying them okada? This is the aspect that annoyes me the most. If this persons had gone to school, one day God and nature will locate them to favour them because they are already a graduate. So let the youths struggle, at least to become graduates because, though it might be rough but provided that you have equipped yourself with knowledge or a trade, some day you will put your hands to benefit.
Which of the political parties do you belong to?
I am a card bearing member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
How will you describe the recent Federal appointment of one of your own,
Gen. LEO Irabor, as the Chief of Defense Staff?
Thank you for this question! I will answer it this way, that it has never been this rossy for the Agbor people. Everywhere is stewed!
Appointment given to Agbor people are overwhelming. We have never felt this way for a very long time. APC is more favorable to Agbor than PDP. You are talking about Gen. Irabor, but the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is also there being sustained for two tenures. Dr. Cairo Ojougboh just finished his appointment in NDDC. Mr. Alex Okoh who is presently the Director General for Public Enterprise is also an Agbor man and now another Agbor man has been made the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State. So bring all these together and more, you will agree with me that APC has helped Agbor more than PDP.
In fact, I want to use this opportunity to appeal to Agbor people to show love for President Mohammed Buhari and APC because we are getting more from their government.
Look at the roads in Delta State, most of them are being done through NDDC. So, if APC is doing this good for Agbor kingdom, the people should be magnanimous enough by voting massively for APC candidates in the forthcoming local government council election and even subsequent elections in Nigeria.
But PDP led government has also favoured Agbor people. Don’t you think so?
Well, I am not saying that PDP has done so badly at the state level. But even when PDP was holding power at the federal level, Agbor did not have it so good. Don’t also forget that PDP has dominated Delta State for a long time now. But I am happy to announce to you that come 2023, APC will take over Delta State.
Let me also explain that the love for PDP is because Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is somehow an Agbor man. He was able to carry the Agbor people along unknowingly or knowingly that he will one day become a Governor. That was also the reason he was able to tolerate Chief James Ibori all through even when he then won the primary election and Ibori gave the mandate to Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
The dream of Dr. Okowa to become the governor of Delta State made the whole of Ika geographical location believed in PDP. Now he has achieved that dream, we are happy with him and also thank God for the achievement.
He has also achieved as a governor but not as much as we expect from him. I am saying because the announcement of the upgrade of College Education, Agbor to a university, came very late.
For me, I feel it was a face saving grace for him to divert the people’s reaction on the gas explosion which occurred in Agbor recently and the Central Hospital Agbor was found wanting by lacking the equipments to provide support for the victims. If this is not true, but it is my line of thinking.
Though the fire incident which was an unfortunate disaster was disturbing to him and many of the Agbor people, but he quickly came to announce the approval of the University of Education to make the people happy and we were indeed happy for that.
The incident was painful that victims were been conveyed to the hospital with an open van (Pickup) because there was no ambulance to call in the whole Ika South Local Government Area. Almost all the victims died and that made it one of the great disasters to have ever happened in Agbor.
Those that died are heroes and I pray their gentle soul to rest in peace.
Recently, some concerned Agbor indigenes have started agitating that it is their turn to provide the House or Representatives member for Ika federal constituency. What is your take on this sir?
On this, I say Louis Otele do not have a political party because the call for an Agbor man to be the next House of Rep. Member is not negotiable. I am a member of APC but if the party did not give an Agbor man the ticket for the election, I will go against the party. We have intellectuals and many great people to send to the HOR to represent Ika geographical location.
The present representative, Rt. Hon. Victor Nwokolo, is a good friend of mine and has done his best even while on his third tenure which is enough for him. However, I do not think the achievements of Nwokolo can justify him to go for fourth tenure. Let somebody prove me wrong!
Before Nwkolo’s emergence for first tenure, I never knew that one person can do third tenure in Ika Federal Constituency not to talk of fourth tenure. This wasn’t the political arrangement in Ika geographical location as it concern who represents the constituency. Nduka Irabor went for only one tenure, Cairo Ojougboh also went for one tenure only Doris Uboh attempted for second tenure but Ika people said no as there was an arrangement. Hence, Agbor people voted against Doris Uboh to give Victor Nwokolo the mandate with a view of correcting the mistake earlier made. So why would Ika Northeast not reciprocate that gesture by returning power to Ika South? This time, Agbor people will stand firm to decide on this matter because if we loss it again, it will be difficult for us to get it back. We need to balance the polity.
We are aware that some communities have been engineered by political class into quarrelling amongst themselves to create division. But let me tell those who are the executors that, we stand together to gain more than having a divided Agbor nation.
What are your advice towards building the Agbor of your dream?
The Agbor of my dream is not just Agbor Kingdom but the whole Ika communities uniting as Agbor people to stand against confrontations coming from other tribes.
Now that Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has done our tenure on which tribe governs Delta State. I do not know how soon an Agbor man can be called the governor of Delta State again. But if we come together to work as a team, we can get it back in no distant time.
Also, all of us will come together to hail ourselves one day as Agbor people only when we elect people base on merit so as to bring good governance to the door step of the people. So, at this point, let us look inward to check where we have made mistakes and then correct them, especially now that we still have a governor. Thank you!
Mr. Louis Ihuka Otele