DCN. Ogbor, Oga Harmony, businessman cum politician, is a Benue State House of Assembly aspirant from Ibilla Council Ward of Oju LGA of the state. In this interview with Editorial Director of jamesibechi.com, JAMES IBECHI, he unveils his 2019 agenda for Oju 1 state constituency of the state House. He also speaks on other issues.
You haven’t been a new face in Igede per se, but for the sake of our external readers who may not know you, provide a little more about yourself and what qualifies you to contest in the 2019 BSHA poll
Good evening, Mr. Ibechi. It is my pleasure to be with you one-on-one. My name is Deacon Ogbor Harmony. I am a businessman and into printing, which I have been doing for quite a number of years. I intend to join the race for a Benue State House of Assembly seat come 2019.
Being a Nigerian citizen of Oju 1 Benue State Constituency extract qualifies me. I am from Ibilla Council Ward and I am within the age bracket that can vote and be voted for, going Nigerian by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In addition, I would say as a young boy growing up in Oju Local Government Area of Benue State, I was schooled at Solid Foundation Nursery and Primary School and during that period of my upbringing, after my primary school, I went to AGC Comprehensive College, Ibilla. I am saying all this so that you will know that I am a local man. During my secondary school days as a young boy that was struggling, I pushed wheel-barrow to buy one or two things for myself. I paid my school fees and bought books. I have used ‘engine-grinder’; I have grinded once for people for money and I also sold kerosene at Onyike Market. Selling kerosene, it was not as if I had a big tanker that brought kerosene to me. I bought in kegs and retailed in bottles. That was what I was doing. But growing up, I saw that there were needs especially in my community and then in Oju Local Government Area generally. The people are in need of good leadership, in need of good representation. And that is exactly what I am promising my people, to give them better representation. There is a road that links Onyike Market where they use to sell yams. There was the big gully erosion near a gutter there and the LG leadership was not concerned about it until one day a trailer came to that area and fell. Growing up seeing that kind of a thing I said no, not in my time. So the little money that I made from my kerosene business and with other things, I gathered some money and I was able to construct two culverts that link the road. This thing that I am telling you about happened 15 years back. That is to tell you how young I was then.
You know Chief Frank Alochu the philanthropist who empowered widows in Igede recently. You and some other aspirants have been seen around him for some time since he is in Nigeria for a visit? Are you looking up to him for a kind of support in your political ambition?
High Chief Frank Alochu is a friend of my elder brother, Monday Ogbor. That is how I knew Frank Alochu. While growing up to meet Monday Ogbor my brother and Alochu, I used to run errands for him and being a friend to my elder brother that is around now, there is need for me to come around and then identify with him. The kind of gesture that he has been doing, a philanthropist for that matter, I can sit under his feet and learn one or two things because in future I pray that I will do more than what he is doing now.
What is the highest level of education that you have attained?
I am a graduate of Benue State University, Makurdi. I read Political Science. Before going to Benue State University, I graduated from the College of Education (COE), Oju, obtaining NCE in Economics/Political Science.
You said the present zoning favours you and that you also want to go and give your people better leadership than they current have. Are these the reasons you want the seat that will be vacated by Adoga Ona the current occupier of the seat?
I have two approaches to your question. The zoning formula favors me and then improving the quality of leadership again is another thing that I have seen and believe that if I go I am going to achieve. The zoning formula favors the Ibilla people, which I believe that the Igede sons and daughters will likewise see it as a favor because I know that an Igede person is very unique that wants peace and anything that his brother is entitle, they are ready to let him have it. So, I believe strongly that the zoning formula favors me.
You are from Ibilla and in the community, there are many other aspirants who are said to be contesting, why do you think you are the man to beat?
I was trying to tell you from the beginning of the interview that politics have gone beyond the issue of if I go I will do this for you; if I go I will bring heaven to you. There is a proverb in Igede: ‘if a car is small and runs this fast, what when it becomes big?’ Blessed Emmanuel Ona had been given the opportunity he wanted to serve at Oju LG, Ajoma Success Ode is currently the financial secretary of the APC at the state level. The present Oju LG secretary is serving now; Ijwo Armstrong Egbe is a media director of Hon. Emmanuel Jime. All those people that I am calling and others, you can see have handled one position or the other. What are their impacts in Oju? You must not have a million naira before you can share with your brother. If you have ten naira and you posses the spirit of sharing, you can still share it. When I was nobody, selling kerosene, pushing wheel-barrow I was able to gather money and construct two culverts. You remember this Awaju-Oju road when it was new there were lots of accidents in the town because of those villagers that came into the town; they don’t know how to cross the roads. I constructed two traffic controls; there was one at the centre and another one at Ekpengbe, which reduced the level of accident to minimum. All these things I was doing were not for the intention that I was going to contest, but I was doing that because I believed it is only we the Igede people that can bring change to Igede and I did that out of good will. As I am speaking to you right now I have bought a 500kva transformer that I am going to donate to Oju LG people, which I believe strongly you will be around so that you can witness the thing by yourself when it is presented. I am going to do the former presentation of the item in December. These are the things that the Igede people should look into. I am not doing this because I want to contest for election. Let the Igede people ask all these aspirants, when you were this and that how did you play your card? What is your contribution to the Igede land, what is your contribution to Oju 1 state constituency?
It is interesting to know that you have already given an insight into the type of leadership that you will provide when you win election by donating a transformer. Which community is that meant for?
No, I have not identified any community that I want to donate that transformer to. But I see that there is a need of transformer within Oju main town.
Why you were actually mentioning some of the little things you have done that impacted Igede community, you said you are probably not aware if any of the other aspirants has ever done anything for Igede people. So, does it mean that no other aspirant has done anything good?
I didn’t say they have not done anything. On their own little ways they have impacted lives and they have done one or two things. It is left now for the Igede people to judge, compare and contrast.
Do you have some specific political mentors who have inspired you?
Buhari is my political mentor, but he is not from Igede. I have plenty of them. The first person that I know as my political mentor is Hon. Egbiri Idah, then Hon. Frank Odigbe and Adoga Onah. These people are my political mentors. You know whatsoever that you like or want to become if your brother or your sister has that kind of thing or in position as a matter of fact you are supposed to thank God for your brother or sister that is in position which the Bible asks us to do. So I celebrate them.
Specifically, is there anything striking you think any of these your political mentors has done?
When Egbiri Idah was there, he played a very good role in the state House of Assembly. I think during Egbiri’s time, which was Akume regime, Igede people were fairly represented. When you come to Ode Igbe the development was another thing because I know he was able to put one or two things in place like transformers, construction of culverts. Come to Adoga the same thing, he was able to buy one or two transformers and did some charity works which mostly is the work of a state house of assembly and we are represented well. So, those are some of the things that they have done. Change is the only thing that is permanent, there is going to be a change, and improvement because a prayer of a good father is that his son will be greater than him. So I know that where ever Ode Igbe, Egbiri, Hon. Adoga are now I know that they are going to pray that any of us that emerge especially me, that if I emerge as the winner I am going to do better than them. That is a prayer of a good father.
On which political party platform do you intend to run?
I am a member of APC. So I am going to contest or run on the platform of APC.
What is your level of popularity or acceptability in Oju 1 state constituency?
There is no where you will go in the whole of Oju and you call Ogah Harmony that they won’t know me.
Why do you think you are generally popular among your people?
The reason is that I am a grassroots politician; I am a grassroots mobilizer. I grew up in Oju LGA. My primary education, secondary, NCE were all done in Oju local government area.
Do you have any comment to make on the issue of salaries and the recent workers’ strike?
I believe that before 2019, the issue of non-payment of salaries will be over. There is no further comment I can make now.
You are a deacon in the church and people will be wondering why you want to veer into politics which people describe as dirty in Nigeria.
These are the mistakes that we have been making all this while. You see when an unbeliever is elected he goes there and misbehaves, do what so ever he likes. You will see him misbehaving around the street and doing whatsoever nonsense he feels like. Time is coming and the time is now. You saw the election of the US president Trump. People said no matter what Donald Trump would not win that election, but I am standing here to tell you that it was a divine intervention.
It is true I am a deacon in the church, but there is nothing wrong for a deacon to represent his people and then represent them well. Now I am using the name deacon because that name is going to place a check on me, anywhere I go I will remember that I am representing God first; secondly I am representing my church and I am representing my community. So if anything goes wrong my community has right even to report me to God or to the church. There is nothing wrong for a deacon, deaconess or pastor to contest for election so that we can correct all these abnormalities happening in Nigeria.
What are your cardinal campaign promises? Besides that, do you think that you have a solution to the dilapidated Awajir-Oju road and what other things are you going to do for the constituency if you are elected?
I am a businessman, a politician and these are what I am for life. I have been in this town Makurdi, I have not been introduced to any organization by any person and God has been helping me to get one or two contracts from people within and outside Benue state. I was able to do one or two things for my people.
The solution I am thinking for that Awajir-Oju road is that I will put pressure on the government. But if they don’t respond it is our road then there is need for us to come together as a community, as a local government so that we can look for how we can fix the road. The solution is that we s can do that road. It doesn’t cost anything much. If at all we can have one million Igede persons that can donate N1million that is to say we have about N1billion. If you have 500 people that can give us about the same N1million that is to tell you we have about N500million. Everybody has a role that he can play and then we can see that the road is will be reconstructed or maintained again. That is my own point of view because time is coming we cannot be dependent on government for everything.
What are your last remarks?
My message to the people is that anybody that is coming to tell you that, ‘vote for me’, please try and ask him what and what has he done for his people. It is my joy of meeting you. My 2019 campaign slogan is going to be “Harmony Will Win 2019” that is what I am going to use because I believe strongly on the Bible that says that everything answers to its name. God bless the Igede people and bless Ibechi too.