The undeniable fact facing Abia State and Nigeria as a nation is an indisputable reality that her political evolution, discourse, progress and hopes, lie in the awakening consciousness of the educated and enlightened ones who hitherto believed that politics is a game of businessmen and the likes.
Our nation has suffered as a result of this unwholesome mindset as power always ends up in the hands of men with little or no iota of the idea, on how to progress a society through well-articulated, long term, and executable actionable plans.
In this interview, Prince Ike Okoroafor, a USA based political scientist delves into the remote causes of Nigeria’s political stagnation and a possible approach to changing her fortunes for a more viable society.
Can I know a little about you, sir?
I am Prince Ike Okorafor, the grandson of His Royal Highness, Eze (Dr.) Ike Okoroafor (Onyerubi II of Abam) of blessed memory; the Founder of Ike Okoroafor Educational Foundation (IOEF), and the CEO of Evolette Resources Nigeria Ltd. I am an American-trained Political Scientist, Public Health Scholar, a farmer, an educationist and above all a crusader of good governance.
Are you from Arochukwu?
I am from Abam and the headquarters of my Local Government is Arochukwu. The LGA is made up of clans such as Abam, Ihechiowa, Ututu, Isu, and Arochukwu which is the Local Government headquarters.
What’s your relationship with the political actors in your LGA?
Well, I don’t have any personal enemy in my Local Government except, of course, when I had maybe ruffled some feathers which are strictly based on developmental issues and not personal, therefore, I would say my relationship with the political actors in my LGA is cordial.
You are based in America, why are you very interested in the development of your Local Government and the State?
Laughs! Where I live has nothing to do with who I am. I grew up with my grandfather who was a first-class king at his time, and I learnt a lot from him. Growing up on that platform allowed me to develop myself as a service person. The essence of a local government is basically to bring development to the grassroots. The question is what is development? What are the indices of development? How do we measure the concept of development? First of all, it must be noted that development is not just an increase in the gross domestic product, but a human factor. Again, the next question is in what ways have our people benefitted from our local government? I don’t want to join issues with anyone, but the point remains that our people are underserved and that’s exactly why I am interested in the development of the critical infrastructures that would make life easier and worth living for the common man. I am very optimistic that with the emergence of Prince Dan Kalu as the Executive Chairman of Arochukwu LGA, he would open new doors for our people to have a taste of quality leadership and sustainable socio-economic development. I am very determined to ensure our people enjoy the real benefits of government, growth and development in all aspects of the sectors. Our people are very hardworking and with the enabling environment and predictable justice system, we would build an inclusive political and economic framework to reduce poverty, minimize violent crimes and increase the security of lives and properties.
Our people have been underserved and facelessly exploited by the establishment. We are calling for a change. I believe that Abia shall be free from gross impunity and misery. These are motivating realities that have compelled me to develop an interest in getting involved by speaking out against it. And the good thing is that Abia shall be great again, but we must rise in unity to work towards our emancipation, that’s the only way we can enjoy a better life.PIO
Question: What’s your view on the nexus of politics and development?
Politics is the way people living in groups arrive at a decision. The art of Politics is rooted in making agreements between people so that they can live together in peace and harmony. There is a strong tie between politics and development. When a decision is made, it must be executed to translate into development. Agreements must be respected. We are here today because we are ruled by some selfish leaders and the time is now. We must do better. The state is statutorily empowered to allocate resources for the development of its people including their welfare.
Do you belong to any political party?
According to Aristotle, he said and I quote “a man is a political animal” being a natural thing that is inherent in every man. I would say I am a party man. I’m a progressive and would always identify with the people’s party in the best interest of the common man.
How would you evaluate some key actors in Abia politics?
Evaluation is one difficult thing to do especially in politics where you have many contending and conflicting interests because people tend to judge from their lens. But I have to answer your question by citing politicians in Abia State that I admire and cherish so much. First of all, I want to commend the efforts of the Executive Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, especially the way he has been projecting the MADE IN ABA products. He has shown the world that Abia people have potentials that are ready to be harvested. Dr. Ikpeazu is trying in road infrastructures and education as evidenced by the overall performance of our students in WAEC and I want to urge him to remain focused and dedicated to making Abia truly the number one State in Nigeria.
In the same vein, His Excellency, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu (Mmiririri enyi 1 of Igboland) in my opinion is the grandfather of Abia politics and without him, most of the people on board today would not have been known. He laid a formidable foundation for the sustainable development of Abia State but due to circumstances largely associated with the enemies of our people, they tried to pull him down and even at that, he did his best and to this day, nobody has surpassed his achievements in the states in terms of empowering people and the provision of infrastructural facilities. Today, he is the highest-ranking member of the ruling party in the South East and he is still in the business of putting smiles on the faces of his people.
The next is Engr. Chinedum Orji (IKUKU OMA ABIA), the Honorable Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly. When you talk about youth empowerment, I give it to him 100%. He has shown that being a leader is a responsibility to better the lives of the down-trodden especially the youths. Ikuku has more followers in Abia today, more than any politician of his class in the history of Abia politics. He did not achieve it by enslaving people nor deceit but by being humane and real with people by impacting their wellbeing in significant ways. There is nobody in Abia who knows him or has served him who does not have a house and a reliable means of livelihood. That is what it takes to be a leader. And he does not only do good for people who know him, but he is also very compassionate and always willing to help when the need arises. If his kind can become Abia governor shortly, I bet you, he would change the narrative of Abia politics because, if he can achieve this feat as a Speaker whose responsibility is to make laws, what would happen when he becomes the Elected Chief Executive of the State?
Again, is Hon. Uko Nkole,(Abaji Abam), the member representing Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency, National Assembly, though a federal lawmaker, has recorded a significant number of achievements. He has embarked on the provision of infrastructural facilities within his constituency and the people are attesting to his magnanimity.
Most importantly, I want to mention Chief Dan Okeke (Mezie Abia), he is humility personified, a billionaire businessman, a philanthropist per excellence. He has empowered many, giving scholarships to the less privileged in the society, an employer of labour who has built roads to ease the sufferings of the common man within his locality and beyond. He is a God-fearing political leader who deserves political power to better the lives of our people and build more critical infrastructures that would make life more meaningful to our people. I keep asking, if “Mezie Abia” can achieve all these with his resources, what would happen when we shall give him our mandate?
Moreso, is Chief James Umeh (Koos) (Ike Abam 1), the son of the soil who has demonstrated a superlative love to the good people of Abam. This is a man who single-handedly spanked over 26 boreholes in all the 26 villages in Abam including my village where we have been made to believe there is no water but “Ike Abam 1” made it possible. The list is endless, the point I’m trying to make is that we have good leaders and there is hope for our people to do better. I believe in the future and together we shall make our people proud and make Abia truly in reality the number one state.
What do you think about 2023?
Honestly, 2023 is a long time from now and I don’t want to make predictions, but what I know for a fact is that there would be a lot of alignments and realignments. Expect more decamping from PDP to APC and APGA to APC and vice versa. It’s expected because politics is a game of interest.
Do you have any political ambition?
There is a saying that a man without ambition is dead. A man with ambition but no love is dead. A man with ambition and love for his blessings here on earth is ever so alive. I have ambition because I’m alive. Though I love politics I’m not sure for now if it’s what I want to do but I believe I would be available to serve my people anytime it becomes necessary in the best interest of my people.
What is your take on the political future of the Abia state?
There is hope for us to do better in Abia. We are blessed in Abia but we need to work so that our blessings would start manifesting so we can together enjoy the Abia of our dreams. We have everything we need to be great. Aba alone is a huge asset to Abia state but we need to get it right. We must pray and work because so far it seems the good people of Abia are only praying without any work. The time is now. Let us unite to make our state truly the number one State in reality.