January 10, 2020

ESAN REPORT:


Interview with Hon. Sergius O. Ogun, 
Federal House of Representative. Esan North East/Esan South East By WPPJr

"We need the citizens, elites to constantly probe the State Government and Local Government, “what is our revenue monthly profiles and what did you do with it, what projects are they initiating since elected, and how are these projects impacting the people”. Who is talking – nobody?

Once again congratulations for your re-election.
Please introduce yourself to Esan folks worldwide

I’m Deacon
Sergius Oseasochie Ogun , by the grace of God I represent Esan South East/Esan North East in the Federal House of Representatives.

Could you say your 1st term in office has impact positively on your constituent?

Yea, this is my 2nd term in office and I just finish my 1st term and I just won the election into the house. I believe I have been able to meet the aspiration of our people, by doing basic projects like:

1)     Schools
2)   Sinking of Borehole
3)   Renovation of health care centres

Which mainly are the primary responsibility of the Local Government, despite the fact my job really is law making. What’s the essence of representation if people required basic needs are not been provided for them? So, some of these project that was executed are just intervention basically from the Federal Level. As much as one will see them as achievement, in an ideal society it shouldn’t be.

I will be able to rate myself based on the quality of bills we make at the National/House of Assembly that positively impact the lives of our people and the nation for the better. Unfortunately, the way we’re in this country those things don’t matter. But my prayer and expectations now are that we’re able to make positive contribution to the system while in office and improve the system for better service delivery of the dividends of democracy, so that those coming after us, they strictly confine themselves to making quality laws for the good of our land.

Any update of Phase 2 of Ugboha/Ewohimi water reticulation scheme project and time of completion.

Ugboha Water Scheme

          Ewohimi Iyagun Water Supply Scheme





Ugboha project is Uromi/Ugboha project. The one of Ugboha has been handed over to the state government and the one of Ewohimi we’re continuing with the reticulation. Ewohimi Iyagun Water Supply Scheme we’ve gone far with several money approved in the budget for the maintenance, and I am pushing for the maintenance of the pipes from Ewohimi to Ewatto and Ohordua. The last time I discuss with MD of Owena River Basin, he said they have changed some pipes coming from the main reservoir but the ones leading to these other villages, they need to unearth them to ascertain the state of the pipes, of course, they need extra budget for that.  In a short while the tap should be running before the end of this year. 

In the last general election, the challenge of vote buying is still a big problem, how do we educate voters from selling their vote for yam porridge, thereby robbing themselves of good governance

I had a Bill at the 8th Assembly that was supposed to amend the National Orientation Agency Act into law. The Bill was to make sure the Agency get their funding not waiting for Ministry of Information, which I believe is basically just paying their salaries. Also, I engage formal Director General of the national Orientation Agency, and he told me all they get was their monthly salary and few funding from Donor agency.

That’s why the Bill was introduce to get Federal Government to fund the National Orientation Agency properly so they can drive this issue of voting buying at the grass root level because despite their Headquarter is in Abuja, they have offices at the 36 state of the Federation including the Local Government Council Area. I remember when I was growing up, we use to have them go around with their buses with megaphone talking to people. With their office in at Local Government Are, they are closer to help the people about Government Programs of the day not APC or PDP. So, if government can fund the agency, since they have grassroot reach representation, they can orientate the people easily in their local language the danger of Vote Buying but that hasn’t happened.

INEC has budget for voter education only God knows how that money is spent. If that money can be put in to NOA (National Orientation Agency) to partner with INEC... - all these I’ve suggested in the past and I will keep pushing in the House of Representative.

So, when you tell the people not to sell their vote, have they seen active government presence in their area. I went to Illushi, in ward 8 in Esan South East, very remote village and the only government presence there now is the borehole sank by my predecessor while in office community.  A primary health care centre was built there recently.

Before the last general election. I’ve gone there to campaign, and I was well received, of course I have a foundation, every year, I donate notebooks there, I enrol WAEC for their children and I’ve given some scholarships into school, so they know me. But when I didn’t win there, we notice some folks came in to share money outside to induce voter. I said well, I am not disappointed because I campaigned, and the other group didn’t show up to campaign. So, I told them I will continue with the project for the community, that maybe when they see the completion, they will have change of mind and stop selling their vote next time.

I said that to say this, that within those communities, government presence is not felt, no government project in their place. When election comes, they feel it’s their time to take money because government presence is lacking in these villages. Hopefully if we can develop enough projects, we can point to the fact that, look these projects are thoughts through and have been brought to your community for your good. Whoever party has work for you so support them so they can do more. That’s my simple take you know; whether that will cure it I don’t know.

What I keep telling people, why should I buy your vote when I’m supposed to represent and work for you? The government is already paying me why pay you to go and represent you? We have a lot to do. My own solution to that is just to keep working for them when they comes you can show what you’ve done, if they like they can re-elect you or they don’t like they have a choice, they can vote for another person, perhaps they can compare what each person has done for them and make their decision

How do we encourage Esan folks living outside of Esanland to get more involve in Esanland development. If 10% of Esan folks resources outside of Esanland is invested in Esanland it will make much different, isn't it!

Well, there is a lot they can do. I came into politic because of my community organizing involvement through the provisions of boreholes, medical outreach which elites might take for granted, which matter most to rural dwellers. I never really started out to be in politics, so by getting involved in community development the people ask me to run for office.

Another reason, I was born in Kano, lived in UK for a while, work in Warri and Port Harcourt and I’ve seen how people develop these places. Borehole is not big deal, although in our own path of the world, water distant is very far from where village folks live and they don’t have money to sink a borehole, if you sink a borehole in a community people will be celebrating you which might not be a big deal to Esan elites. So, Esan elites outside can see the development where they are in the United States, UK or Western world, Lagos or Abuja, whatever they can do let them begin to come home and do those things. That will give them a voice within the community they come from.

When you begin to impact the community/village you come from, you be an elite you should what’s good for your people, as you  begin to sow into their lives, the day you stand up as a candidate for an office, they will go ahead and vote for you, they will follow you and support you to succeed.

Even if I leave politic tomorrow, I am sure I will be able to guard the people, having been office, and serve them well they should know what I stand for. That if I serve my people well, they will take my counsel because they know I will bring positive development to the community.

My advice is that, Esan elites need to get involve in Esanland development, speak up when they need to speak up and they should also come home with their money and do project and support our people. That’s the way I think they can have a voice back home and guard our people right toward development.

Esanland is over ripe to produce a governor in Edo State, is there a plan or mobilization by Esan leaders to put their difference outside, form a coalition and produce a credible governor.

I don’t so. I speak the way I see. I just came back from a meeting in Benin today organize by our party. Although we have two-party ranks from Esanland. Chief Osemhen from Ekpoma and Barrister Ken Imhansuagbon from Ewohimi but, I don’t think there is a strong coalition around them, also because of self-interest alone. People have been saying Esan Agenda We Stand but other people are going around doing other things. It would have be strategic, in the sense that we have governor aspirant that will buy into Esan Agenda in Government House.

They keep saying we don’t have the numbers that we’re the smallest ethnic groups in the state, so we have to work with the big one to get there, that’s what some people are saying. That if we corporate with Edo North Edo South that agreement will be from Day 1, when you finish you must hand over to them. That’s the only way, it will work. That if we’re militant about it and then come out, coming out is not the problem but the result that matters.

I also think I agree with that. There was  a meeting that it was concluded that we should consult with Edo South and North and let them know what their desire is, I think that one has started from those two Senatorial Districts, Edo South are insisting they will produce the Governor and Edo North the Deputy Governor and they want to zone the Chairmanship to us, I don’t know how that will work, this is from my party.

The APC, I’m not sure if they have that plan. I think their plans is to finish their 2nd term. It’s only the PDP that are attempting but I don’t think there is a strong coalition among Esan elites fighting for this.

Tell us about your Sergius Oseasochie Ogun Foundation, when was it established, what impact has it had on Esan folks.
 
The foundation founded in 2007. Before then I’ve been involved in medical out reach. Which was necessitated by the needs in the community. People with illness, eyes problem came to me in my village to complain about these ailments. Going home often makes me realized the needs in the community. School kids need notebooks – school supply that they couldn’t afford. The plan was to buy books for those in my quarter, but someone said I must do it for the whole villages. Making rounds in all the school distributing books throughout the Local Government Area.
Sergius Oseasochie Ogun Foundation Free Medical Outreach Okhuessan
( 7th edition ) Nov 2019
Sergius Oseasochie Ogun Foundation Free Medical Outreach Okhuessan
( 7th edition ) Nov 2019
From doing that people started coming to me, especially relatives asking me to enrol NECO and WAEC for them, although I left Secondary School many years ago, I didn’t really know anything about them. So, I was advice by a school proprietor to conduct a general Mock Exam, whoever passed the exam will be qualify for the general NECO/WAEC enrolment. So, I awarded the contract to the proprietor to organize and conduct the exam.

The 250 pupils in the 1st set for NECO and WAEC. That’s how the Foundation started, and it happen before I decided to contest for a seat at the Federal House of Representatives.

There is always a need in the community. Either health care, water, school fees, NECO/WAEC enrolment, these became an avenue to reach the people. That’s what gave birth to the foundation.

Nigeria potential is unlimited, are you satisfy with citizen participation in governance?

No, not at all, not at all that’s where enlightenment comes in.


Can you recommend business opportunity in Esanland to Esan folks who reside outside of Esanland?

Well, opportunity area bound. But because of who are, Esan are like the Igbo people because we travel all over the world. There is no village or city you go to in Nigeria that you will not see an Esan man. We’re smart people hard working and entrepreneurs, that’s why some time we don’t have the number to win election. Although, I said it in a meeting in our party, that if you say 20% of the voters in Benin are Esan people, same thing with Auchi, if we actually have a strong candidate and form a strong coalition we should be able to win the governorship.

In answering these question, if we can have the right investors to come in their own different capacity, for example in my village before I came into politic I have 150 hectares of farm land with oil palm and we do mix cropping like cassava and the plan there was to extend it to 250 hectares, then have mill to mill the oil, a plant to process the cassava to cassava syrup.

Now I’m doing constituency farm in Oria, the plan now is to create proper access road to link those communities together. We planted rice there last year though it didn’t quite do well but Illushi is also not far from there. My plans are to have cottage industry and begin to produce cassava glucose syrup, paddy rice. Cassava glucose syrup market in Nigeria is worth
N291.6 billion ($810 million) yearly for the local Nigeria market.

Not that government has ban glucose syrup and rice there is market for it in Nigeria. That’s individual plans. The potential is unlimited especially in agricultural processing. The rice we eat in my village comes from Kebbi state. Now a guy started a rice mill processing in my village and he is bringing the paddy from Kebbi State in Northern Nigeria. So, we are discussing with him now to have out growers and empower the community, give them seeds, fertilizer so they can grow the rice and then supply the mill you know;

The opportunity is unlimited. We have solid minerals in Esanland. We have oil and we need the rich Esan people and to invest in Esanland and we’re very hard working and resilient people.


Now, how do we promote greater citizen engagement with State governors & LGA Chairman so they demand development and accountability from elected office holder.

Well, I’ve always said it, part of the problem we have in Nigeria is the elites. They are too comfortable in their cosy corner and they don’t want to engage the government. They’re the people that have access to government, there are other private people that know or should know. I give you an example of the Local Government. Local Government Allocation was published sometime last month, about how much Local Government received in 2019. On the average my Local Government, Esan South East is getting about hundred million a month.

(1) (Also read Federal Allocation to Esanland LGA 2019 May, June & July here)
We need the citizens, elites to constantly probe the State Government and Local Government, “what is our revenue monthly profiles and what did you do with it, what projects are they initiating since elected, and how are these projects impacting the people”. Who is talking – nobody? Perhaps we need some of you in the Diaspora to start some of this, then also talk to the people. The enlightenment of National Orientations Agency is very important. The civil society are hardly there

Some of you who live outside the country can begin to form a pressure group to get government to deliver dividends of democracy at home.

Some people think you must have lots of money to run for an office. is that true?

Yes, very true. For the present day, we’re praying that the electorate Act should be amended, and it will not happen overnight and the citizenship enlightenment on their Rights follow and the elites will also engage people and the government, if all these come together, it might come down. But, today you need to have a big pocket to contest for any political position.

What are your plan after your 2nd term in House of Representatives?

I was a CEO of an oil servicing company before I came into politics, I have a farm which I started because of my passion for Agribusiness, so when I leave office at 2023 I would have expanded my farm, probably if I want to stay back in the village I will stay back. Of course, I’ve prospect in Port Harcourt. As I speaking to you now, I just drove in my family home in Port, I can get involve in oil and gas but my passion is actually in farming, not just to feed people but to set up industry that can employ people.

I’m 56 years old this year will be 57. Is not just the food I will eat but God has taking care of that already. I am looking to invest more in Esanland to help create jobs for our people.

Your message to Esan folks living outside of Esanland

Yea, I appreciate them for their contributions Diaspora fund, the money they send home to people, but I believe they can also organize us better.

They should visit more often to see what is at home and let them see how we can all work together. Yea, when you send money to your younger brother or family, Mother or grandmother it goes a long way, but I believe they can put that fund together and set up an enterprise that will add better value to the fund, in the long run will benefit people more. Investing more in production rather than consumption will boost self-sufficiency among our people so that they don’t have to send money all the time.

If you have a kid brother, a cousin that’s self-employed, he might not be asking you for money every day or every month or year. In that way, you have an investment back home that you can earn money from, that you can fall back to someday. For those of you in the Diaspora who are expose to their ways of doings thing, whether you work in an office or you have your own private company, your exposure there will work you well, back home in Nigeria. It’s by checking things there and engaging people at home to setup business you can transfer that knowledge and technology here. Some of you are not going to live there forever.

We appreciate the money you send home that has helped of us all, meaning they don’t to come us. Those that would have come to us for school fees and all that will not come because some of you send money to them. In the long run, we want you to come and established here so you can take the pressure off teaching our people to fish and invest in our land.


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You can engage your Federal Representative Hon. Sergius O. Ogun at:

Tel/Whatsapp+234 803 305 5951.
Face Book: @
Honorable Barr  Sergius Oseasochie Oguns DCN
If you call no response, please leave a message.

@WPPJr
Editor-In-Chief
  
  ESANLAND