Asks Emmanuel Enebeli
The People of Ndokwa East are yearning for development, as the area, which is the abode of the wealth of the Nigerian state, with its numerous oil and gas deposit there is nothing worthwhile to describe it as a modern state, as virtually all it will take to achieve modernity is lacking, despite the area being the source of power supply to the seat of government in Nigeria.
A first timer visiting the area will certainly be shocked upon noticing that access to many parts, which is made up of the Ndoshimili, Isokos and traces of Ijaw and Urhobo, still use pontoon to cross the numerous rivers that dot the Local Government Area.
Ndokwa east, one of the three Local Government Areas that make up the Ndokwa Nation, from the voices of many from the area, is begging for attention, and thus many past leaders, especially those who were elected to represent the people had refused to use their position in government to attract development to the area.
To access Ndokwa East, is like climbing Mount Everest, but when it comes to politicking, it is always very easy for the player, and after the elections, the area returns to its old, shameful glory of a desolation, a forsaken place, as it becomes in accessible to the government and politicians, including those from the area.
It took the visit of the traditional ruler of Okapi kingdom, the home of AGIP Petroleum Development Company, in Delta state, the operators of the highest gas plant in sub-Saharan Africa, an area with government presence to visit the governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa recently for the government to announce that it will construct a bridge across the Ase River, to end more than 40 years of the use of Pontoon as a means of transport to Beneku, the home town of the present Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly. The case of Beneku, is one among many, as more than five points in the area can only be accessed by the use of manual services of the pontoon, while other areas can only be accessed by the use of wooden canoes.
Ironically, this is an area in Ndokwa and Delta state that had sent many of their sons and daughters to represent them in various areas and departments of government. The worst are those who got to the government with a promise to better the area that never came.
Indeed, Ndokwa East is a shadow of itself. An area blessed with natural wealth, an area blessed with the youth, so energetic, had turned to where those who are sent to represent them had become their tormentors.
With the recent flood, like that of the year 2012, Ndokwa East had been totally submerged. This is not the fault of the people or their representatives, because of its nature. However, with proper development, the devastations associated with it would not have been grave. And it sounds funny, that in the recent event, the Deputy Speaker was seeing running from the flood with wooden canoe, to many observers, this was a photo trick, as he for many years had refused to see to the construction of the bridge across the River Ase, because of the few in the area are operating the pontoon, and benefitting from the services and repair of the pontoon.
Now, another election year is at hand, who will bail the people of Ndokwa East from this mess of lack of development? In the race to the State House of Assembly, from the ruling party in the state, which had held the area for the past 19 years, are about five aspirants, including the present representatives, Rt. Hon Friday Ossai Osenebi.
He had been there for the past two tenures, and he wants to go back, to continue the “Good” representation. He is young. Very energetic, an engineer, with a lot of youth followership. Because of his philanthropic nature, he had been tagged “Empowerment Master”. But to many in Ndokwa whatever, he represents, had not translated to a better life for the people, but rather more pain, as there are no visible sign of development.
Many in Ndokwa East want to know why he could not make a case for the bridge to be built across the Ase River for the past 12 years he had been there, especially now that he is the number four man in the state?
Another, aspirant to represent the people of the area, is Prince Emeka Osamuta, a young man, who is self made. Little is known of his background in terms of work, but with money which many think he had made through some unexplained source, he feels that he will be the best for the party, PDP to be given the ticket.
Prince Ugochukwu Ogbueyi, a graduate of engineering from the first indigenous University in Nigeria, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who had worked and built a business of his own, is also gunning for the seat. He has personal business investment going for him. To some leaders of the area, he is good to go for it.
Then, the young Smiling Victor Ijeabah. He had promised smile for the Ndokwa East people. Accessing information about him, just like Ugochukwu ogbueyi and Emeka Asomuta, is difficult, as non was ready to divulge information of their past, their social media pages lack good information of their past, and what they intend to do.
This leaves us with, the trio of Friday Osanebi, Engr. Philip Chukwumah Ugbomah and the only lady among them, Dame Ann Izi.
Dame Izi Ann, a former aspirant in 2014/2015, a young lady with a good past. An enriching bio data, she had been in the corridor of party politics, as she was a one time secretary to a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Turkur. A graduate of accounting from University of Benin, a masters degree holder in Administration, and maritime consultant, and from her profile, and advocate of changing the status of the Maritime Academy Oron to a University statues. A consultant in the maritime business, initiator, member of the Lion Club International, a manager of her own business. To her “Better days are here for the Ndokwa East People”.
Then, from our findings, another energetic person, unassuming, well educated, with a civil engineering background. He is the Managing Director of CPU Construction Company. He is good at his business. Had done numerous contract businesses that had touched the lives of many from the area. He had directed his energy to see that the average youth from Ndokwa East is engaged positively, with entrepreneurship knowledge for the future. That person is Engr. Philip Chukwumah Ugbomah. To him, the people of Ndokwa East, solutions cannot come, except they take their destinies into their hands. To him, they must do the work. That is why he has the slogan “Do the Work”.
For, Engr. Philip Ugbomah, his mission is to re-engineer the Ndokwa East is to be self-sustaining, by tapping into the huge deposits of wealth in the area, thus making sure that there will be access roads, which will enhance the evacuation of farm produce from the area. He seeks also to attract the investors through good representation and constantly engaging of the people of the area, the government, the mutational organisation and Non-governmental organisations in the area.
Now as the delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP go to vote, it’s expected that from the past years of democratic rule in Ndokwa East, they have to remember the past. The roads, the bad health centres, the dilapidating schools, lack of job, inaccessible leadership, bad representation, use of canoe and pontoon at this age and time to access a wealthy area, lack of electricity despite supplying huge amount to Aso Rock. They must remember the dead from floods, the erosion-ravaged coastland, the king that was consumed by flood in 2012, and the dead of the blind from the 2018 flood. They must remember that for their party to retain Ndokwa East, they must do the right thing, as they gather to vote.
They should remember to look critically at the newbie’s, who had a stake, their lives to redeem Ndokwa East. Look at their credentials, not money. Look at their relationship with the grassroots. Look and feel their impact now and the future.
For Friday Ossai Osanebi, Engr. Philip Chukwumah Ugbomah, Dame Ann Izi, Prince Emeka Osamuta, prince Ugochukwu Ogbueyi and Mr. Smile Ijeaba, please make the best decision.
Mr. Emmanuel Enebeli the Publisher/Editor, of Ndokwa Reporters, wrote in from Kwale.