Igweh Okah Immaculate was born of the 27th day of May, 1992 into the family of Mr. & Mrs. James Igweh Eboh of Aliohen Quarters in Udomi, Abavo, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State.
Igweh began his primary education at Nkwor Primary School, Udomi Abavo in 1997 and later moved to Aliohen Primary School in 2001, the year the school was founded. There, he sat for Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination in 2002 to become one of the pioneer pupils to graduate from the school. While in primary school, Immaculate, as popularly known won, lots of awards and in St. John’s Anglican Church, Aliohen Abavo having represented the church at various bible quiz competitions.
Immaculate Igweh’s drive for continuity in education saw him gained admission into St. Charles’ College, Abavo in 2002 and sat for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in 2008 at the prestigious Zenith Modern Academy, Ottabaye II, Edo State.
As a star that will always shine, Immaculate distinguished himself at St. Charles College by clinching first positions from JSS 1 – SS2, and represented the College in various competitions across the state and always coming out meritoriously.
In 2011/2012 academic session, Mr. Igweh Immaculate gained admission into Delta State University to study Political Science where he bagged BSC Education, Second Class (Upper Division), in 2015.
Mr. Igweh Immaculate’s love for writing was developed from Primary School when he used to write stories for his classmates to enjoy and play with. He has two books published to his credit, (Igweh E. O. 2013), A Practical Approach to Computer Studies, and Vengeance of the Innocent (2014).
Mr.Igweh Immaculate is a talented young man who has used his God-given knowledge to bless others as well as held several free trainings on Computer Appreciation and Windows in several parts of Ika and Ndokwa between 2012 and 2013. He has taught about 75 persons who can efficient operate computer.
The hunger for increase in children’s capacity in the area of technology propelled Igweh Immaculate to establish the Immaculate Computer Academy and Innovation Centre at Abavo, his home town in September, 2013. The centre which is currently running has trained about 135 persons between September, 2013 and October, 2017, while another set of graduates will be produced at the end of this year.
As a result of Mr. Immaculate’s love for knowledge and his appreciation for hard work, he is always donating books to students, groups and institutions of learning. Immaculate who is of the belief that it is right for youths to get involve in political matters is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). As a faithful member of the party, he rose to become Ward 12 Youth Leader in Ika South LGA at the age of 24, and he is still holding that office till date. He is a fearless writer, a strong advocate of ‘Not Too Young to Lead’ and a social media guru who uses the social media to inform, educate and entertain the public.
In this personality of the week interview with Ika Weekly, Mr. Igweh Immaculate gave a vivid analysis of the country’s political system, its impact on the youths. And he also X-rayed the antecedence of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
Relax and enjoy the reading.
Tell us about your family background?
I come from an average family background because I was not born with a silver spoon, though from a polygamous system. My mother was the last wife and I was born when age was fast catching on with my father. He actually had my mother when he was getting old and had retired home from Warri, where he was working. By that time, his first wife was also old but seriously sick and later died. I am the last born of my mother, precisely, the number twelve of my father’s children.
How were you able to acquire education?
I wish to downplay the hardship I encountered but to tell you the truth, it was of a very great challenge because my father was old and there was no help coming from my siblings. It was so bad that my father could not even care to look at my result, even though I was coming out in first position. You can imagine where your neighbours are celebrating their children that took 3rd or 4th position, while you, who took the 1st position, will not even see anyone to cheer you up at home. You can imagine how that feels. Hence, there was no proper attention but in all, my mother was so loving. In her little way, she was able to give her encouragement, as we engage ourselves in anything we could do to raise money.
After my secondary education, I tried to travel to Europe because then, we understood that going further into the tertiary institution was not going to be easy because of financial constrains. However, after the abortion of my travelling to Europe, I strived and gained admission into Delta State University where I graduated in 2015.
What kind of environment did you grow up?
A friendly one! We had a lot of mentorship because we belonged to the hard nuts. We looked at some persons and learned from them to strive academically. I grew up to understand that I am a Christian and attended programmes which of course prepared me to read well. While in Primary two and three classes, I was able to read the bible fluently and was engaged in bible quiz, among others.
What next after you graduated from the University?
Life wasn’t that bad after my graduation because while I was in 300 Level, I established a computer centre with which I trained people, particularly in my village because of my passion to contribute to its development. The Computer Centre also helped me to pay my bills in the University, and more interestingly, since my graduation till date, I have not applied for any white collar job.
Does that mean you are satisfied with this computer job?
Yes! I must say I love what I am doing so much that I am happy with it; I think that is satisfaction. Immaculate Computer Academy is a subsidiary of Immaculate Innovations (Nig.) which was established in 2013, when I was in 200 Level in the University and by the grace of God we are growing.
I am also a blogger and a media consultant in which also by the grace of God I am growing. Nothing is as sweet as knowing that majority of the people visit your site to read news. I also feel fulfilled with the fact that people wait for my updates to get informed. My dear that is what I called satisfaction. However, I am hopeful that a better venture which will consolidate this present situation will come soon.
As a political scientist, what is your take on Nigeria political system?
We are going to look at this question in two angles, the federation and democracy. The federal system could have been better if there is true federalism. This is talking about the actual sharing of values among the three arms that is; Federal, State and the Local government.
In Nigeria, those things are not encouraged; hence there is no true federation. Take a look at one of the Oil producing state, Bayelsa, where government claims ownership to exploit the communities and give back to the state just a penny. These are issues that are political and for it to get better, government should depict true federalism, where resource control should be encouraged and states be allowed to run their own things.
Now, talking about democracy, which is described as the government for the people and by the people, we will find that it is actually not being operated the way it should. Here in Nigeria, we observed that power recycles within cabals, while the will of the majority most times do not count. The majorities we talk about are the poor in the society and unfortunately they are also easily cajoled.
So, what I am saying in essence is that democracy, as it were has failed in this county and the system being operated as federal system has not been practiced the way it should be, compared to other countries. Thus, Nigerian leaders have not shown the capacity to make the young people believe that majority will fit into the system as the system has been just a recycle of power within cabals.
What is your assessment on the impact of politics in Delta State so far?
Delta State was created in recent time from the old Bendel State and since then it has witnessed some transition of governments, but we can only read from history to know what is on ground. However, politics in the state to an extent has witnessed huge level of development. Recently, the political awareness has been increasing, while the consciousness of the people is on the increase. People are now interested in knowing who leads them and also are part of the system by way of voting; unlike before now, when who becomes the governor, president, among others was not of interest to some people.
So, if I may further answer your question, I would have to narrow down this present administration by looking at what is on ground since the man, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, the Executive governor of Delta State came on board.
From the level of human capital and insfrastructural development and all round governance, we can say that he has not done badly. Giving the fact that he is from my own ethnic extraction (Ika), I want to say that we have not had it this good. Before now, we can only count one or at most four state appointees in Ika among whom were late Ben Obuh, Lawrence Oshiegbu and Magnus Onyibe. While under the administration of Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, we also had few Special Assistants who were not more than four. But because Governor Okowa is an Ika and our political awareness here is now high, people are getting more involved. Hence, we can give the government of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa kudos.
Taking a look at the STEP and YAGEP scheme for the youths, it has gone a long way to making youths to be self employed and even our road networks which are visible today. Abavo Central Hospital was completed and commissioned with a link road and today the first phase of Abavo Circular road is almost completed. Coming down to the Boji-Boji Metropolis, behold good road networks. We have not had it like this. As a detribalized governor, the same thing he has done in Ika land, he is also doing in other areas of Delta State. So, in real sense, Governor Okowa has through his antecedents shown his passion to serve. However, giving kudos to the governor of Delta State for doing so well does not rule out the fact that the Nigerian governments have failed trying to protect democracy.
No doubt, you are a member of the PDP. Would you say your party is doing well?
Of course! The party that has produced the likes of Governor Okowa could be looked at as a party that has done well comparing it with the impact of the opposition parties particularly that of the ruling party, APC at the federal level. You would also agree with me that the ideology of PDP is the only ideology which holds the solution to savage this country from its numerous problems.
For the record, what the present administration of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the rule of Muhamadu Buhari (APC) promised Nigerians is not what the masses are getting, rather, the situation is getting worse and their words are full of lies.
The thought of Chibok Girls came up and majority of us believed it existed. Let me give clarity to this; first, Chibok is located in the Northern part of Nigeria where they beg people to go to school. Secondly, there is no way you will have more than 100 persons in a class not to talk of having more than 200 female students of the Chibok sitting for Physics practical. This goes to say that if you 200 students sat for practical examination in Physics, it therefore means Art students in that school are up to about 500 and in total, almost 1000 students sat for WAEC in a community where they beg people to go to school and by record, no school in the Northern State can have such population.
We are saying that this APC government has come up with a lot of lies to put Nigerians’ mind into bias in order to work against PDP. But we are hopeful that the situation in Nigeria will get better someday.
Are you optimistic that PDP will gain victory in the forthcoming 2019 general election?
Oh yes, am very sure of victory. Going by the fallout of the elective congress that brought Uche Secondus into power as Chairman, the internal crises of the party has been fully resolved and the leaders are now working very hard to ensure that all affairs of the party takes its proper position.
I must also give kudos to the PDP Reconciliation Committee at various levels who are making efforts to win the aggrieved members back to the party. This goes to show that PDP is very ready to take back power from APC in 2019. As far as the election is concern, I think PDP will have little campaign reason being that APC ruled under false pretence ranging from their N5,000 monthly empowerment for youths, One dollar to equal one naira, Nigerians to buy fuel at N30 per litre amongst others. These are fake promises which everyone in this country can understand.
How would you rate PDP performance in the last LG election?
The election was a convincing win for PDP. It was most peaceful, free and fair, though with few hitches recorded in some areas of the state. Whichever way, one could see the margin from the number of votes counted in the election. For example, at some polling units, PDP was counting over 200 votes amidst the struggle for the opposition party (APC) to get even 30 votes. Hence, I can state emphatically that the outcome was as a result of the developmental strides of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa which cuts across the state.
If you say that Governor Okowa’s administration has so far has done well, what do you think is the reason while some LG, particularly Ika South decry marginalization?
Talking about marginalization, one should first ask; in which instance or areas are they being marginalized. Using Ika South as a case study, we ask what areas are we being marginalized? Is it that the number of political appointees in Isoko South is higher than that of Ika South? Could it be that the infrastructural development in Bomadi is higher than that of Ika South? What has the governor done for local governments that he has not or refused to do in Ika South? If all of these questions are answered, then one can now see the level of marginalization done to us, because I am also from Ika South.
What our people need now is rational appraisal of issues. Where are we being marginalized. When in relation to other local governments, we (the Ikas) are the ones marginalizing them.
What is your take on the impact of politics on youths?
This is one of the problems that are actually affecting us and the challenge is on both sides. As youth, I make bold to say that some of us are not really coming out to play the politics itself. We left the game in the hands of the old men and women either by way of intimidation of not being qualified.
Years ago, we had men like, General Gowon, who was not more than 29 years when he was elected as Military president in Nigeria even Buhari, when he hold sway in high profile of the military. Also look at Odimegwu Ojukwu, these were young men who have govern this country and then tried to save this country from the imperialist British government before we got a choosy independent in 1960 before the republic in 1963. But in this present generation, a lot of us (youths) sees politics as of no interest. We have given leadership into the hands of the aged, yet we complain. We also took to social media and keep talking without actually coming out to face reality.
While on the part of the elders, they have proven by their actions that they don’t want the youths to grow by way of taking their place yet they tell us that we are leaders of tomorrow. So, to get these issues resolved, it is either the youths wake up from their slumber to face the challenges or the elders should consider giving at least a little space to accommodate the youths. That is how I feel the youths can have greater impacts in politics. This is the singular reason why majority of us are in support of the “not too young to lead” bill and we are praying our senators give their endorsement to it.
What significant thing has the government of Senator (Dr.) Okowa demonstrated as it affects youths?
His government has actually made us to believe that age is not a barrier for anybody to occupy a political position. With this attributes, I have come to understand more that if the youths do more, our chances will improve by 2019.
Governor Okowa is out for capacity; if that person can deliver. Take a look at one of his Special Assistant, Ossai, who is almost my age mates, the likes of Comr. Dele Akpatashi, Emeke Asiwe, Hon. Okoh (aka Hero). These are young people now making waves in politics and they were able to get the position as a result of their hardwork in politics. If we have more of these youths building muscles to show their interest, within a short period of time, we will have lots of youths taking over. So, I believe the elders should toll the path of Governor Okowa because the time is now, to make the youths who are the leaders of tomorrow fit for the system.
If you are privileged to be in government, what difference will you make?
This depends on the type of position because boundaries of all offices are different. But first, one should look at building capacities by way of developing minds. I will borrow ideas from the developed countries to build the technocrats and also reward them based on merit, create job opportunities just like the government of Sen. (Dr.) Okowa thas done hrough the YAGEP and STEP programme to encourage youths in their fields of interest. This will help to reduce some of the nuisance such as armed robbery, prostitution and many more we see on the streets and have a better society.
What is your take on the agitation that Ika South should produce the next member to represent Ika Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives?
This is a very critical aspect of Ika Federal Constituency politics. As a matter of fact, observers have gone under tension that this is the turn of Ika South to produce the next House of Representative member. Some said they overheard the governor say it was the turn of Ika South, while others had also tried to dig out issues relating to this House of Rep. matter counting from the then Bendel State.
However, I will look at the issue from the narrative of my next book to be published soon which has examined the matter in two ways. Here we are looking at two sides of the Federal House of Representative, Rt. Hon. Victor Nwokolo who if re-elected in the next assembly may hold the principal office as Speaker of the House. The office of the Speaker is two times the power of the governor. That is to say, from our nationality, we would have a governor and also have the Speaker of the House of Representative and this will be a very big plus to Ika nation. Then Hon. Nwokolo will have aides across the six political zones as well as the 36 states of the country. I am saying this as a party man because I believe PDP will come at the centre stage in 2019 to be the president of the country.
But with the agitation of people who are simply demanding for fairness, in all honesty there is justice in democracy. This is for a clearer understanding is to maintain our unity if Ika South is allowed to produce the next member and if this happens; we will lose the chance of having the principal officer in Abuja.
Be that as it may, we believe that those at the decision table should be able to use their discretion cum level of experience to handle the issue properly for it not to result in chaos. But,, whichever way it goes, Ika is our own and a better Ika is what everybody should pray for.
Have you any advice for your party?
The party suffered loss in 2015 from the internal midonium, whose prime issue was impunity caused by the displacement of value of other persons. Hence, I would advise that the party should treat everybody as important, and more importantly, consider the youths who are with fresh ideas to occupy offices either in the party or elective positions in the nation, state and local government.
Primaries to the 2019 general election is close, hence our party should strategize more and also consider changing the former system of operation for things to work out well for us all.
Your likes and dislikes
I appreciate sincerity and I don’t play with friendship. I can give out my best just to keep friendship. This is because I simply believe on the principles of “whatever goes around comes around”. While on the opposite, I hate lies. I don’t advise people to say what they see and start talking unnecessarily. I also hate pretense and I love being myself.
Are you married?
Laugh! No, I am still single but I believe in God’s appointed time.
What are your our hobbies?
I like reading, writing and telling stories.
Finally, Mr. Igweh Immaculate, what is your advice for the youths?
On the political aspect, I want to encourage them to come out as it does not take anything to play politics. Get your voters card and don’t seat at home on the day of election. Democracy encourages majority to choose whom they want to govern them.
Secondly, I will encourage those who feel life is finished for them to endeavor to acquire education. For example, those who knew me at my early age can attest to the fact that things were so rough for me and my family, yet I was able to go to school. Education is the cheapest system you can afford no matter the fees and that is the truth. Then, while in school, I would borrow text books from my class mates, read and at the end have the highest score in examinations. You can also learn a trade if you don’t want to go to school. The bottom line is that, don’t be docile.
By Marvin Enyosa