Recently, the publisher of National WAVES Magazine, Victory Oghenechoja Jimmy Enyeh declared his intention to represent Ethiope West Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, a seat currently occupied by Hon. Erhiatake Ibori, daughter of former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori. In this interview the journalist-turned politician speaks on why he wants to take over from Ibori’s daughter in 2019.
You announced your intention to contest for the Delta State House of Assembly under Ethiope West Constituency recently, what motivated this?
You are aware that while celebrating my golden jubilee recently, I officially declared to join politics. The aftermath of this is that I crisscrossed the length and breadth of my constituency, Ethiope West which comprises Idjerhe, Mosogar and Oghara to consult with stakeholders, the youths and elders. After wide consultations, I made up my mind to vie for this position on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Some people may think I am a political neophyte but I tell you that I come from a family that came to limelight on account of its political sagacity. In fact, my uncle, the late Chief Raymond Inije who was a one-time deputy governor of old Bendel State was one of the founding fathers of Delta State, I am also a nephew of late Chief Samuel Inije. He was a member of the old Bendel State House of Assembly. The role these two political gladiators played in taking the state to the present enviable level cannot be forgotten in a hurry. They were sons of the late Pa Omene Inije, a man venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment and experience. My mum, Regina Enyeh nee Inije is the only surviving child of this late sage. It did not stop there, my father, the late James Jde Jimmy Enyeh was a political stalwart in Idjerhe. He started as a member in the Peoples Democratic Party before decamping to Labour Party. As you can see, I might have spent the early stage of my life practising as a journalist but politics literally runs in my lineage and as I grew up, I have monitored closely the political activities of these family members and learnt a lot from them. I saw the way they impacted positively in people’s lives, I saw the way they attracted developmental projects to the community, for instance, The River Basin Development which produced rice was sited in Ago by the Federal Government and this provided solution to unemployment problem in the community. Oil was discovered in my village and Shell came in; this also culminated in the development of the community. These projects were attracted to the community by these great politicians.
It is based on this that I decided to contest for the Ethiope West Consistency seat in the state House of Assembly currently occupied by Hon. Erhiatake the daughter of former Delta State governor, Chief Onanefe James Ibori. I believe she has performed exceptionally well in her legislative duties and when you pass your examinations with flying colours in a certain class, you will be promoted to the next class. There are instances when you get double promotion. So I expect Hon. Erhiatake to either run for the House of Representatives or Senate. Her laudable achievements will see her through and also speak for her.
In the whole of Ethiope West, my village Boboroku- Ago is the most marginalised. Since the demise of Uncle Ray Inije no one has vied for an elective position or given an appointment from that community. So I am of the conviction that our lost glory must be reclaimed.
So I present myself to continue from where these great men stopped and I know our current leaders who had at one time or the other tapped from the experiences of these late political juggernauts will give me all the support required to achieve my dreams.
I have said it times without number that my joining politics is basically to serve my people, to give them the dividends of democracy in whatever capacity I find myself and I shall not renege on this.
You have just officially joined politics and declared your intention to run for the Delta State House of Assembly. Do you think you have the prerequisites to contest for this position?
Very well, I do have all it takes to occupy this position. Apart from my sound educational background; I have told you I grew up hobnobbing with these political icons. As a teenager, back in those days, I watched them have political meetings and strategize on how to ensure their people get the much required dividends of democracy. Don’t also forget I am a journalist who has practised for over 22 years and covered different beats including politics. I have covered political events across the country. I have interviewed great politicians across the country and learnt a lot from them. I have also covered elections organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). I believe in empowering and investing in my people. I am also a good team player.
All I desire in politics is to serve my people; I am not in politics to seek for fame or make money. I thank God for what he has done for me and I am contented with that. I have seen it all as a journalist; I rose from being a reporter to the position of a Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of a magazine that has consistently been on the newsstands for over 10 years. I have travelled far and wide. I have been to some African countries, I have also been to Dublin, Dubai, London and America in the course of my duties . All I am interested in is to serve my people and God willing; I shall serve my people to the best of my ability.
President Donald Trump of America just described Nigerians as being massively corrupt and most politicians are perceived to seek public office for selfish interest. What makes you different?
Thank you, I monitored President Muhammudu Buhari’s visit to the White House where he was hosted by President Donald Trump on CNN.
I also saw when Trump said Nigeria had a massive reputation for corruption and Buhari publicly acknowledged that. For me as a politician, I will shun corruption; I am not saying this to garner votes from the electorates. This has always been part of me and I have exposed those who are corrupt on my platform as a journalist. Many have sued me and National WAVES Magazine to court for exposing their atrocities but in all we came out unscratched and victorious. So you can see I detest corrupt practices and I will maintain same when voted into office. Some public office holders have travelled abroad and seen the good health facilities, good road network, constant electricity, security and other amenities in place in these countries, so why not advocate for same in your country. If we have good health facilities in Nigeria, our elites will not travel abroad to seek medical attention. For instance, the millions of dollars spent on medicals by our elites would have remained in our economy and made it more vibrant.
For me in all level of governments, corruption should be seen as a plague that must be exterminated.
You are new in Delta politics, how do you intend to cope with the rigour and what is your chance at the primaries?
My chances are very bright, although I live in Abuja, but I am someone who loves mingling with the people at the grass roots. I visit my community twice or three times in a month talking to people on their needs. In the last two months, I have been in the village, traversing the nooks and crannies of the three communities that comprise Ethiope west constituency. I met with the youths in this constituency and heard all what they were saying. They said they need someone who can come and impact positively on them.
For Hon Erhiatake Ibori, I don’t expect her to re-contest that same position, she has made her impact felt and should be promoted but if she decides to contest same position then I leave everything to God because I know He will see me through. I told you earlier that I have all it takes to occupy that position. My people are with me and most importantly, God is with me. I put God first in all I do; he has never failed me and will not fail me at this crucial moment.
I still maintain that Erhiatake is a good material for a higher office.
If you eventually emerge as the lawmaker representing Ethiope West Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, what should be expected of you?
My people and state should expect from me quality representation. I shall raise the bar of governance through quality legislative service in Delta State. I shall sponsor bills that will be beneficial to the people. I will also not forget the less privileged and widows. I already have a foundation known as Victory Foundation that caters for the less privileged and widows, I will improve on this to include the disabled if given the opportunity to serve. The people shall be my priority and all my agenda shall revolve around them. I have made a pact with God that if these dreams come to fruition, The DSHA shall be sacrosanct in the scheme of things in Nigeria as I shall work with the leaders of the house to ensure the DSHA becomes a role model and a reverence point to other state houses of assemblies in Nigeria. I shall not let my people down as regards having a robust legislature.
How would you describe the administration of Gov. ifeanyi Okowa?
Well, for me the governor has performed creditably well. I am a journalist, so am not saying this for a political reason or in a hypocritical manner. If he has not done well, I will say he has not perform well. But he has done greatly well. Let me give you an example, from Jesse to my village was tarred two months ago.
Before now, I preferred going home with SUV because of the bad state of the road, but I was amazed recently when I was coming that the road has been tarred. All the nooks and crannies were tarred. So it shows that the governor is for the people. He did not only work in the cities like Warri, Asaba alone, he also touched all the nooks and crannies of Delta State. He has promised to serve the people and that exactly what he’s doing. He impacts positively on Deltans. As he’s working on roads network so also he’s busy working on electrification projects. So for me, the governor has performed so well.
What advice do you have for the contenders and electorates regarding the 2019 general elections?
What I have to say concerning this is that seeking a public office should not be a do-or-die affair. Any politician who spills blood to achieve his aim is nothing but a devil incarnate. If really your aim is to serve your people and not for selfish interest, then why spill blood?
I am an advocate of peace, so in love with peace that the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) bestowed me with an award of International Ambassador For Peace on September 2, 2010 in Abuja. UPF is an international NGO, with special consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) with branches in more than 210 independent nations, including Nigeria and an initiative of alliance of world leaders and its network which includes people from various fields of human endeavours, who are dedicated to the realization of world peace.
According to the letter, signed by Chief (Amb.) Segun Olusola (mni, OFR) who was the Chairman Board of Trustee UN-UPF/IIFWP Nigeria and Ambassador (Dr.) Olaleye Alao, Secretary General UN-UPF/IIFWP Nigeria, I was honoured in recognition of my past efforts at promoting peace, but more importantly, a new global commissioning of UPF world- wide Peace Building Programmes, which are designed to complement the mission of the United Nations.
So, as you can see, I am a crusader of peace. Therefore I am appealing to all contenders and electorates to be law-abiding and maintain peace during and after the 2019 general elections.