The Omagwa, Ikwerre Local Government Area born Honourable Samuel Nwanosike a trained Electrical Engineer and PhD candidate University of Port Harcourt was former Public Relations Officer Rivers state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party-PDP has been a popular very young politician whose voice had positioned PDP in a positive limelight which had also attracted goodwill since he assumed office in that capacity. He took turn last week Monday 9th of April to talk to a team of www.towncrier.ng about some essential issues in Rivers state concluding that with his participation in the June 16th, 2018 Local Government Councils election to be conducted by Rivers state Independent Election Commission-RVSIEC.
The smart looking youthful politician unfolded his political programme if elected Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Council and he admitted having security and agriculture as his two most important programmes of activity when elected as Chairman of Ikwerre local Government Area. Read On.
May we meet you?
I am Honourable Samuel Nwanosike
May we know your position in Peoples Democratic Party-PDP?
I just resigned from my position as Public Relations Officer-PRO of PDP in Rivers state on the 29th of March, 2018.
Why did you resign from your former position in your political party?
I resigned because I want to represent my people as I want to vie for Chairmanship of my Ikwerre Local Government Area. I want to provide service to my people.
May we know the Local Government Area in which you are going to represent?
I am going to represent Ikwerre Local Government precisely.
When we look at Ikwerre Local Government Area, it is a place that had produced two former Governors in the persons of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and ex Governor Celestine Omehia. How do you think you are going to function with the powerful influences of these two political heavy weights?
Well, you can see where we are doing this interview is the premises of the former Governor Sir Celestine Omehia. As far as I am concerned, they are all Ikwerre men. And the voice of Ikwerre people is the voice of God. So, for us the IKwerre people who have asked me by their decision to declare me as a consensus candidate of the party (PDP). This is because they are the ones who have given that opportunity to me to come and work for them. To come and represent them, to come and provide service for them, this is because the third tier of Government that is Ikwerre Local government is very important to Ikwerre people. That is the Government that is closer to the people and that is the Government that Ikwerre people see that is their own government. Then I and whoever that comes from Ikwerre Government will work very well because we must put our hands together to provide the synergy that will be good for Ikwerre Local Government.
You have been a very senior member of Grass root development Initiatives-GDI how do you see a situation where all the members of GDI are occupy big juicy political officers in the next coming Local government Council election in June 2018?
No, there is nothing like that and that insinuation is not true. That someone belongs to GDI does not give him or her express permission or pass to go and occupy Government positions it is not correct. You must first of all have the commitment of your people at heart. They must first of all be qualified. You must fir of all be loved by your people. The people must have the confidence in you that you can be able to deliver. It is immaterial whether you belong to any other Organization or not. There are a lot of people who will win this election without belonging to Grass root Development Initiatives-GDI. This is because as a member of Grass root Development Initiatives we believe in developing the grass root. So, if you as a member of Grass root Development Initiatives have the support of your people that you want to vie for election, you are welcome to come home and vie. This is because we want to grow capacity from the local level. So, that you are a member of Grass root Development Initiatives is not an express pass and opportunity for you to come into government.
There other Rivers State people who are also vying for that same position who belong to one group or the other as we have the Kengima Unity Forum, we have the Wike Support Group, we have the G4, we have the NG19, we have One Million Man march, we have Rivers Connect . We have several organizations that are working to rebuild Peoples Democratic Party-PDP and every one of us is a member of PDP. And as a member of PDP you are qualified to contest for any election as you are qualified to be voted for and you are qualified to vote for other people.
As an aspirant may we know your political template or set out objectives of what you intend to achieve if voted into political office?
My goal number one is to make sure that Ikwerre Local Government is secured. This is because if you have security investors will come and invest, development will grow and rapidly at the local government level. My goal number two is to make sure that I encourage the agricultural sector in Ikwerre Local Government because I know that my people are predominantly farmers and fishermen and hunters. So, I will support them, so that they will grow their agro-business from that little peasant farmer to an agricultural process that will involve economic programme in Ikwerre Local government. We are brining high yield varieties in crops like cassava, yam, Maize, even Melon. This is because these are the things we are known for. And again our hunters who are used to rear usual animals we will support them in making sure that they have a way of looking to another dimension. This is because we will refocus the development of our wild life. So, we must change their orientation, that look you can do small poultries and ranches, as you can grow your rabbits, you can grow your antelopes in small areas and develop into a system where you don’t need to go and be destroying immediate bio-habitat this is because whether you like it or not Ikwerre Local Government will need a very good bio-habitat for the people to exist.
Is Ikwerre Local Government Area Oil Producing LGA?
We are an Oil producing Local Government. This is because Igwurita alone has more than 54 oil wells and gas wells. That is in Ikwerre Local Government. As I am talking to you Omagwa where I come from we Flow Gas Stations, we have gas stations at Ozuoha and we have Oil firms that are coming to Omeruelu all in Ikwerre Local Government Area drilling as I am talking to you now. Ubima too, we have dry wells that are being harnessed in Ubima. As far as I am concerned we are an Oil producing Local Government Area and we will continue to providing the enabling environment for the oil companies working in our Local Government so that they will be able to produce more facilities so that they can encourage our people to develop our environment.
That is to say that your Internally generated revenue will be high, how are you going to manage it as most of these companies will be domicile in outside your local Government area and house rents will be paid to people outside your LGA, what is your take on this?
First of all the issue of taxes is a very simple matter, the Governor had made sure that the issue of double taxation is dead and buried forever. And the state Government has gone down to list the taxes and levies that are due to be collected by Local government and those due to be collected by the state so that investors will not see Rivers state as a hostile environment to reside and do their businesses. So, as far as I am concerned Internally Generated Revenue, -IGR is something that I am going to give serious attention. This is because don’t forget one of the issues that the former Care taker Committee Chairman of Ikwerre local Government area was removed from office is that he went against the decision of the local Government and the state over tax collection. So, we are all aware and everybody is going to make sure that the rules of engagement of this leadership of Ikwerrre Local government will be in tandem with the local Government House of assembly Law as was passed by the rivers state House of assembly. As far as I am concerned there is a law passed by Rivers state House of Assembly, there is a law that every Local government in Rivers state must operate with the state Law. And that law must be obeyed. As far as I am concerned we will encourage the growth of our IGR . If we have more investors coming like I heard this morning that there is an investor that came at Igwurita that is going to bring the confectionery factory that will produce Biscuits and other things. These are the kind of companies that will provide jobs for our people like as talked about the oil companies that are coming to our Local Government area when they come in they will pay tenement rate to the coffers of Ikwerre Local government and it will grow our internally generated revenue-IGR. When I was a Councillor between 2004 and 2007, I was a chairman House committee on Finance appropriation and revenue matters, I grew Ikwerre Local Government Area revenue from mere N800, 000 per year to over N 250million. It is on record, that record is there this is because I know that the Government cannot do well depending on when they get Federal government allocation , they must have internally generated revenue to be able to grow the local government to be able to support whatever is coming from Federal Government . If we can grow Ikwerre Local government revenue to a point where we will be getting up to N800m to N900m in a year imagined what project we can be able to do for the 13 wards in Ikwerrre Local Government area. And that is what we are going to do as we will have oil companies and we will encourage people to come from Lagos and invest. This is because Governor Wike has provided good network of roads, and Governor Wike has provided the ease of doing business as we have security in Rivers so we are calling on investors to come back as our seaports are there. We are calling on the Federal Government to revamp our two seaports in Rivers state, so that business can grow. So, this idea of kill businesses in Rivers state can’t work as you can hold the people down for some time but you cannot hold them down all the time. If you hold them down you can’t move forward. The only way the nation can move forward is when the truth is told when Rivers state the treasure Base of the nation allowed move businesses environment if we have our two seaports working I can tell you that Rivers state will the hub of all industries in Nigeria. If Rivers state grows Federal Government will grow.
let us know your academic background?
I went to State School I Rebisi Diobu after which i went to gain admission at Government Secondary School Okehi Etche and from there I went to Rivers state University of Science Technology Nkpolu Orowurokwo Port Harcourt now Rivers State University where I had my first degree in Electrical Engineering. And I moved in to University of Port Harcourt where I did my Post graduate Diploma studies and later did my Masters degree in Disaster Risk Management. And by the grace of God as I am talking to you I am almost concluding my Doctorate degree PhD in Disaster Risk Management.
In the forth coming Local Government June 2018 election, it seems the present state Government being a PDP led government has alienated other political parties from participating in the June Local Government Council election by placing stiffer conditions through Rivers state Independent Election Commission-RSIEC, how true is this allegation?
That is not correct and it is not true. The Governor has come back to the original law through the Rivers state House of Assembly because he wants to do the right thing and don’t forget that the Governor is a lawyer as he is not an ordinary lawyer but he is a life bencher in the legal process in Nigeria. He is a member of Life Benchers. And he said look you cannot because you want to do something you cut corners as the former Governor Chibuike Amaechi hurriedly amended our law to read that Notices should be given to political parties for just 30 days. If that is the process let the former governor give an answer to this question. But he said go back to the original 90-days Notice so that political parties should have enough time for preparation. So, that question doesn’t follow. In fact Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has said clearly that the state government is not going to interfere in this Local Government election process. And Inter Parties Association Committee-IPAC has made a statement saying that they believe in the government of Rivers state in the decisions they have taken and that they are going to participate in the election. So , if one political party because they have lost their members and because they have lost their followership because of their leaders style of leadership. And because Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has misled All Progressive Congress-APC in Rivers state and has destroyed leadership of APC in Rivers State as everybody in that political party are vexed and they have all gone their various ways. Who are they going to present in the Local Government election? This is a political party that has lost close to 35,000 members of the party in less than 2-months. Yes their members have moved from APC to PDP in almost 21 of the 23 local Government Areas in Rivers state. Now who is going to stand for them? They don’t have anybody and that is why they hurriedly said that they are pulling out from the Local Government Councils election. We are even encouraging them just like they did in Akwa Ibom state don’t forget APC pulled out from the local government election in Akwa Ibom state previously but when it came to two weeks to the elections they came back to the election. We encourage them to come back to this election as we believe that APC doesn’t have what it takes to participate in this election. And we are challenging them come and test their popularity and let them not depend on their Military fiat and military might coming to rig election. Democracy is the Government of the people for the people and by the people. And if they believe that they have what it takes and that they are popular, they should present their candidates for the Rivers state local government Councils election. APC pulled out from the election because they know that if they contest election in the 319 wards in Rivers state they will fail woefully. If they hold election in the 4,445 electoral Polling units in Rivers state they will fail woefully. So, as far as we are concerned this election is going to be a transparent election and people will cast their and their votes will count and will be announced as their will to who they want to represent them at their various Local Government Areas.
Engineer Sampson Ngeregbara of APC said that their party had screened 3 former Commissioners of Police and a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police-AIG one of who will head a parallel Neighbourhood Security Services s Corps Agency where they will arm youths. What is your take on this?
Does it make sense to you? Which house of assembly backed that Law for that statement made by Engineer Sampson Ngeregbara? Are we in animal kingdom here? Is it not democracy? Is this a Military junta? If it is democracy that president Buhari is governing in accordance with our constitution and our constitution says that Rivers State House of Assembly has the right to make laws for the entire Rivers people. So, if Ngeregbara wants to present a private Bill to the House of Assembly he is free to do so. By the way this Neighbourhood Security Corps Agency has been accented into Law and signed by the Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
The Bill was brought to the HOUSE by an APC card carrying member who is Minority Leader he is the one who brought that bill to the HOUSE. So, APC Minority Leader brought that Bill to the House of Assembly so that we can protect the lives of Rivers people. And that Bill went to the House all the members of the House discussed that Bill and it went to first Reading, second reading and Third reading and it was passed. And it was brought to the Governor and Governor had accented and governor had appointed somebody a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police-ACP to head in an acting capacity now Director General of neighbourhood Services Security Corps Agency. And somebody who believes that because he cannot win election in a free and fair wants to go and arm innocent Rivers youths to go and take lives and destroy properties. Ngeregbara and his cohorts do not have the capacity to do what they are talking about. I challenge them to come to Rivers State and say that they are doing such illegality. They will prove to Nigerians whether Rivers people are actually practicing democracy or not. These are just mere statements that make no meaning. That is Rivers state House of Assembly which Ngeregbara and Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who is the leader want to produce their own law. But they have members of APC i the Rivers state House of Assembly they should go and sponsor their own bill in the House of Assembly so, if it passes as a law Rivers people can Know that we now have two laws. But for now, the law of Rivers state is that Neighbourhood Security Service Corps as proposed by Rivers state APC Minority Leader Anabraba is the law of our state of which the governor has accented. No amount of statement or propaganda will change the law of Rivers state except Buhari is telling us that we are not ruled by democracy. This is what Rivers people want and that is where we stand.
Read Also: Rivers APC Screens 3 Ex Commissioners Of Police Plus A Rtd Aig For Establishment Of Parallel Neighbourhood Watch Corps
There is this speculation that you chose to run for Local Government Council election so as to protect the interest of Governor Wike instead of you aspiring to go the Federal House of Representatives, What is your take on this?
Does that question make sense to you? Is Governor Wike From Ikwerre Local Government? What is his business with what is happening in the 13-wards in Ikwerre Local Government? Governor Wike is the Governor of Rivers state and he is from Obio/Akpor Local Government Area as he can only vote at Obio/Akpor Local Government Area and he cannot participate in the activities that are happening in Obio/Akpor Local Government. Ikwerre Local government people sat down here in the house of our leader Sir Celestine Omehia and took decision that Nwanosike Samuel should go and run the election as sole candidate of Peoples Democratic Party-PDP and anybody that wants to run an election against me has other political parties to go vie for and lets us go and test our popularity at the voting centers. If Ikwerre people say that I should go I should go and if they say that I should I will not go. They will do it by their votes and it is not by making statements. Let me tell you I have decided to serve my people and I have resigned as PRO of Rivers state chapter of PDP and I have already bought my form(Expression of Interest Form) as we speak some hours from now I will be at the party secretariat submitting my nomination form and tomorrow I will submit myself for screening. And by the grace of God I will be returned as the candidate of the party for the 16th of June, 2018 Local Government Councils Election.
Engineer Sampson Ngeregbara