Ibe Okwara is technocrat vying for the Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal constituency in Abia State on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Mr. Ibe Okwara, a technocrat is vying for the Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal constituency in Abia State on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). In 2016, he became a co-founder of the Peoples Grassroots Social Equality And Development Initiative Nigeria, (PSGEDI), an initiative for the Nigerian youth seeking to provide charitable donations to the society. The founding member of the Peoples Equity Movement, a political movement for young Nigerians seeking an equal voice in the Nigerian political discussion spoke on various issues in this interview.
How do you feel about the state of the nation, especially with regards to the killings in the country?
From a very Christian point of view, it is very painful to see anyone getting killed, more so when the persons are senselessly and needlessly killed. There are a lot of killings that have happened that is very unnecessary and do I feel enough has been done to curtail these? Of course, not. Do I feel anything has been done enough to stop it thus far? No! Nothing has been done; it has been allowed to fester. It has almost been one of those things where you think to yourself, nothing is being done, nothing is being said, it is almost being swept under the carpet and only when it comes to a crescendo and you have someone make some lip-service comment about it. It is sad.
With such emotion, do you think Buhari deserves a second term?
In general, if I am very honest with you, I want to quote a Christian belief and this not me being apologetic or anything like that, my Christian belief tells me that God ordains and creates and decides who will be king and at the same time, God decides who would not be king. It is not in my place to say who would be or who wouldn’t be king. I don’t know who I am going to vote for. Is it going to be Buhari, I don’t know, but I am only entitled to one vote.
Do you think APGA has any chance in 2019?
If we want to believe that life moves through a process of improvement and of change, you have to consider what has happened in my state for the last 23 years that we have had PDP in power. And when you consider that you would see that things have gotten progressively worse and so ultimately people get to a point when they are tired.
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APGA currently have a bunch of like-minded young vibrant, very educated technocrats that are looking forward to ruling the state. Are they God-sent, I want to believe so because I am one of them. Do we have a mind to run it as a progressive business? Of course yes. Abia State has a collection of some of the most brilliant-minded people. Some of the most entrepreneurial-minded people, some of the most resilient people, all you have to do, is, go into the Abia war museum and look at all those things that were created by people in Abia State, which means we have a mind and a brain, so why don’t we channel our building of the state in that direction.
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So why did you choose to contest for the House of Representatives?
I believe that it is important that my people are represented well; my people, their voices, their issues are heard from a national point of view. Am I castigating the person that is in there saying that he is not doing enough? I am not in a position to say who is ruling well and who is not ruling well. Do I think I can do better? Most definitely. Should I be looking at running for something else? I think this is the best place to start helping my people. The guy running for the gubernatorial seat in Abia State is an elder brother. Alex Otti is a fantastic character and I see myself as complementing what he is going to be doing. I see myself as a guy that will say words for my area from a national point of view. I will legislate for the issue of my people on behalf of my people with due consultation from my governor.
What is your unique selling point in the coming election?
To be honest with you, a lot of people get into power or come into leadership with a mindset of we are going to do this, we are going to do that but there is no plan. We are going to be very methodological about how I do things. I am seeking to be able to represent my people in office but I have a Day One plan already. I know what I want to provide for my people. I have a Day One, I have Day 366 which is the day in the second year, and so on. And I believe in certain things. I believe in healthy mind and a healthy body that can provide. So we need to get out people healthy and educate our people and when I say educate, it is not always about book. We need to understand that not everyone’s mind is tuned to read books.
What you now do is provide vocational training so they can learn something else, whether it is electrician or bricklayer. Vocational skills are very important; we can’t all be doctors and engineers. I have a friend that is a well-renown chef. We have to understand that vocational education is important. I have a son who is taught to write codes. So computer education is important. It doesn’t mean you have to go through formal education to do that. Mark Zuckerberg is not extremely educated and Bill Gates is not educated yet these people have the most technical sound minds in the world. So we need to do that. We need to improve what we have in the land in the light of infrastructure that will now create employment because we need to create employment. We are about 180 million people. China as an economy is based on their numbers. The reason the Chinese economy is the most thriving and most aggressive in the world is because they have well over a billion people. There is something in economics called the economies of scale.
Why did you choose APGA?
Progressive, indigenous and I belong to a group we call ourselves, Abia First; the business of putting Abia First always and prospering our people.
There has been talk that some elements in APGA are supporting Buhari to win election. Do you think that’s true?
I have never heard that. It could be propaganda. It is important that everybody takes a handful of salt before you believe everything you hear or even see! Is the party doing that, no? Should that be an exception, no? Every state of the country has APC, yes but we are not supporting them for the presidency.