Ogbo Douglas, suave Benue politician is an Obi LG chairman that never was. He’s in the race to become the next state lawmaker occupying Obi State constituency seat at the state Assembly in 2019. In this interview with jamesibechi.com’s editorial director, James Ibechi and Emmanuel Ugaba, he speaks on his 2019 ambition, how ‘cabals’ truncated his dream of becoming Obi LG chairman in the past, among other issues.
You were once noted to have taken an ill-fated shot at Obi LG chairmanship in Benue State and you are in the verge of another election, this time, Benue State House of Assembly. For the sake of those who do not know you; who is Douglas Ogbo?
My name is Chief Ogbo Joseph Douglas. I come from Itogo Council Ward of Obi LGA of Benue State. I have been in politics since 1999 when the military disengaged from Nigerian politics. In the first instance, I actually contested for local government chairman, won the election, but the cabals in place that time were not comfortable with me. They said I was not easy to be controlled even though there an adage says when a rain gathers to fall it is as black and thick as anything,m but when it comes down it is as white as snow. They were not comfortable with me so they took my victory and handed it over to somebody else. That was how I lost the first phase of my aspiration in Obi local govt. Come to the issue of 2019, actually I have participated in one or two things in politics in Benue state and also in my own LGA as well. I discovered that a lot of things have been misplaced where we need to trace and recover some of the lost glory that we have had for the wasted years and I believe I have the audacity and the capacity to lead that cause.
You are a staunch member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and if there is anything APC is noted for is its adherence to the principle of zoning. Do you think that zoning in Obi state constituency as it is now favors your aspiration?
Thank you very much. The last LG chairmanship election that I contested, the reason why I was not given, which was properly indicated by party chairman and the party caucus, was that it was not zoned to my own particular council ward. Normally, in the party we believe in zoning; they don’t just narrow it to a particular council ward but this time around, for equity and clarity, the APC in its transparency came in with a policy of narrowing it to a particular council ward. As at that time the local govt. chairman was narrowed to my own council ward, in my own zone which is Zone C comprising three council wards: Itogo, Odapa and the Okutuungbe. The last election that we had produced the LG chairman from Okutungbe council ward and they believe Odapa should have their shot for the current chairmanship. When I aspired from Zone C as I believe it is going to be for a whole zone, they said I was not from Odapa council ward and that is why they took it off me. In a nutshell I am from Zone C where the House of Assembly is zoned to and now the stakeholders have come together and said we are zoning it particularly to Itogo council ward where I come from and with that development I have every right and every opportunity and willing to contest.
What about the rumor that the slot is currently zoned to Okutungbe?
Yes, Okutumgbe and Itogo are one community in the same zone and in the history of politics in Obi where the current elected person comes from, the other person which is the new one coming will be shifted to where it has not been. Okutumgbe produced the last elected chairman, Odeh Abi. He finished his tenure; Odapa has come in with another elected chairman, Onche. The next slot for chairman is supposed to go to Itogo council ward because there are three council wards in that zone and if Itogo happens to be the next person that will come then I have the opportunity to aspire because I am from Itogo council ward.
What is your level of preparation for the election? We learnt that the primary for the election which is the 2019 election will be held early next year.
Based on my past experience the Obi people love me very well. If left for them I would have been in place before now. But the fact that some cabals who are not comfortable with my coming, who felt they might not be able to control me which is not true are the one fighting me politically.
Who are the people in the cabals?
No I cannot mention for now. Those who are doing such know themselves.
Are those cabal members of your APC or from opposition?
Some are member while others are in opposition. But the one thing I believe sincerely is that if it is not God’s time nothing will work. When God’s time appears, no man can stop it because I believe in him strongly. And with my preparation like you have said I am fully prepared and I have gone across the local government council and I have consulted comfortable stakeholders, people that are important, people that matter in Obi politics. I have met with them and they gave me their blessings.
Supposing you are elected which we wish you, what are those cardinal things that have actually struck your mind that you want to do to triple down development to Obi?
I have been in the corridor of politics. I have been observing, I have been beating the drum but nobody to dance it, if we send somebody to go and dance the beating they will dance the opposite way. As I am talking to you now if you go to Obi LGA there is nothing you can hold as a government presence in that place – absolutely nothing. Go to Obi to Obi, is it the road, is it the electricity, is it the water? Nothing is felt. Even though we have our own who were there for some years, yet they weren’t able to draw something home. Everybody sent people that are powerful to draw down. There is an adage in my place that says if you send somebody who has half hand to climb a mango tree to go and plug a mango, when he gets there he will get noting. Send somebody who you know is well fit and strong enough to shake the hands of the mango and by the time he shakes them every mango that is ripe will come down and those that are waiting below will pick his own and they will start going home smiling, but as I am talking to you today even those who have gone before had tried their best. Yet we need to put on extra effort to get them done, which I am fully prepared and I believe God has sent me to do that.
How do you look at the incumbent Rt. Hon. Nick Eworo’s achievements particularly how he made possible the creation of Deputy Majority Leader position that he is occupying in the Assembly?
If we have the likes of Nick Eworo who are prudent people that have mind to develop their places, if the opportunity is given and if a wider space is given, he has the opportunity to do more. I contested along with him for the same position he is occupying now, but when the late former deputy governor came in we had a meeting of the party stakeholders and the entire Ito community zoned that seat to Zone C, but because the then assembly leader who held the seat of the deputy speaker Ogbole Edor was insisting to go back when he failed to perform below expectations and the people said “no, even if we are going to repeat on this zone it will not be you. If the entire people now believe that this thing should no longer go to Zone C, it should be retained in Zone B.” Then among the whole contestants outside me the only person that filled this position was Hon. Nick Eworo. He is the only man that was qualify by virtue of his past, to go there and really when he went there he didn’t fail. In fact, he has blown the trumpet of being the leader of Igede Nation. All other people as I am talking to you today are silent in assemblies; it is only him that is being known. It is like he is holding the three seats, his prudent leadership gave him that opportunity for the government to create a space to accommodate him even where there is nowhere to accommodate him but seeing him as a vibrant person; seeing him as somebody who is well to do they were to create that space to accommodate him.
What is your political relationship with Hon. Nick Eworo.
I have no problem with him. When he defeated me in that election I gave him my blessings I had a handshake with him. People instigated me to go to court. But I told them I will not do because I have recommended him and now that if not him let it be me, and now that he has won the election, blessing I gave to him and I said to him ‘continue’ and since then he has not failed. That I why I say in my slogan ‘Credible alternative’. Eworo is credible and I am also credible. Since he is going out, I am the next alternative that should come in.
And how much of his support do you have?
In politics you cannot read minds until the D-Day comes. We have differences in many ways but when the chips are down we will be able to highlight on them and then marry ourselves together. As far as I am concerned he has left a good legacy, he has fought a good fight and somebody that looks like him, somebody that has like minds should take over from where he stopped and I pray like he is aspiring to proceed further I wish him well, when he is there he will be better than where he is before.
A renowned man of God was said to have prophesied that you will become a powerful leader in Benue state, are you aware of that prophecy and is it your greatest inspiration?
In everything that happens in the physical must be transmitted from the spiritual realm. For a man to become anything it must be calculated and perfected in the spiritual realm. I am a man who follows after God right from my youth and till today I still remain with God. The reason why I contested some series of election and didn’t win them or even though I won and victory was not given, I did not induce or embark into going into spiritual aspect of acquiring charms to do it. Many who indulge in that don’t end well. The Bible says the blessing of God makes richer and adds no sorrow and in that aspect I have to follow God gradually. When God mention you for a particular thing there is an appointed time given to you to actualize those dream and one has to be patient. The quality of the spirit is patience, perseverance, endurance and so many of them. That is why those who started with me in this politics most of them have been wiped out, some have gone down, some are no longer fit to come out and pursue their dream any more, but to God be the glory, today am not managing any problem. I don’t have problem with anybody, I am health sound, spiritually sound and by the special grace of God I remain committed facing the promises of God. Really, I have met with series of spiritual leaders like Adeboye, people like TB Joshua, people like Joshua Iginla. They said the same thing, they said God prepared me to deliver your people and also remember when our late leader Ogiri Ajene was to die in a hospital bed in London, he called me at the middle of the night and apologized for all they have done and that he would come back and restore me back to where God placed me. The same night, he called Hon. Nick Eworo and said the same thing. He told him: “don’t leave Douglas” that God prepared him to do something in his place, his Nation, it is not ordinary.
Why did the late deputy governor apologize to you specifically?
To be continued……