Mr. Jude Onya is a Project Management expert, an administrator turned technocrat on political matters born into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Onya in Ekuku-Agbor community of Agbor kingdom, head-quarters of Ika South Local government area of Delta State.
Armed with his flamboyant resume, from the political point, Mr. Onya was the former Special Assistant on Political Matters to former Governor of Delta State, Chief Dr. James Onanefe Ibori in 2002-2004. From 2004 to 2007, he was the State Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while from 2007 -2015, he was appointed member of the Governing Council of Delta State College of Physical Education, Mosogar. And from 2015 till date Mr. Onya is the Executive Director of Waste Management Board representing Delta North Senatorial District.
In this exclusive interview with Ika Weekly, Mr. Jude Onya lent his voice to the persistent allegations against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa among other issues regarding the status quo of the PDP in Ika South.
We are delighted to have you Mr. Onya on this week’s edition of our publication, Sir!
I am most humble, thank you.
Sir going by your present position as member of Waste Management Board, how would you access residents’ attitude towards the management of waste?
On the issue of refuse management, it is unfortunate that our people have a very negative attitude, particularly in Ika land. Instead of the individual household to register with the Private Sector Participants (PSP) on refuse collections to have their refuse properly disposed, they prefer to dump their refuse indiscriminately.
You can bear witness to the fact that when it rains, you will see refuse littered along the roads and drainage in the area. This is because residents having gathered their refuses, empty them into the drainage. And to address this unpleasant situation, the government under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has graciously established an effective Taskforce through the office of the State Waste Management Board, which was inaugurated on the 15th August, 2017. But presently the established Taskforce on Environmental Sanitation is basically doing some skeletal works to enforce environmental sanitation laws in order to curb the unruly behaviour of defaulters.
Presently, a lot of defaulters numbering up to fifty-five (55) already nabbed have their cases at the Magistrate court in Ika South and once they are prosecuted, automatically it will help to reduce the high rate of sabotage against the effort of Waste Management Board and Environmental Sanitation officers in the area.
We decided to give this matter a legal backing because we have realized that it takes force for the people to act rightly.
Government has provided waste bin at various local government councils across the state for every household to acquire and conveniently put together their refuse so that when the PSP comes, it will be more easier for them to empty it into their truck and have them properly disposed at the approved dump sites, but unfortunately, our households have refused to comply. This also precipitated the establishment of the taskforce.
Recently you and your team embarked on a showdown along Old Lagos/Asaba road to chase traders trading on the walkways. Would you say this action has forced the defaulters to live up to expectation?
Yes the action yielded a positive result, but because we have not gone around for another operation, those who are proving to be obstinate are now back trading on the walkway which is very disheartening for the fact that these people are mature people and should be able to take corrections at once. What we tried to do by that operation was to create awareness against indiscriminate dumping of refuse.
First of all, the walkways are meant for pedestrians and not for shading wares. Also while they shade on the walkway, it obstructs us from knowing shop owners who are not cleaning their environment or throwing refuse into the drainage.
Prior to the day of that operation, we went round to alert the people. We also made a public announcement on the front page of Ika Weekly Newspaper among other means, yet they turned deaf ears to these warnings.
It is unfortunate that people’s orientation is very bad, but I still believe that with time, defaulters on environmental sanitation will start complying.
Are there other means your offices intend to use to control the excesses of indiscriminate dumping of refuse?
Well, it is the duty of the Waste Management Board to manage the PSPs particularly at the dump site while on the other hand, it is the duty of households to endeavour to engage the PSP, being the fact that we work directly with the PSP not with the households. We only get to households through the taskforce engaged to enforce the law against defaulters.
However, we have created enough awareness and sensitization which we will still continue to do, so that at the end of the day, people will not accuse us. For those in the court, we have our evidence to prove that adequate sensitization was made before we embarked on the enforcement.
What annoys me on this matter is that when you go to some houses, they will tell you that they don’t need the PSP, claiming that they tie their refuse properly, put it inside the boot of their car and then dispose it at the dump site, but the question now is where are these dump site that they dump their refuse? This is the reason why we have many illegal dump sites everywhere causing the waste management board a lot of money to evacuate.
We have only two dump sites in Ika land. One is located on your way to Abavo while the other is just by Agbor Technical College along Igbanke road. So whoever dumps refuse outside these two places mentioned should consider themselves as defaulters.
When will the Board’s Operation Show your PSP Receipt commence?
This is another segment of the showdown against defaulters. It is aimed at enforcing compliance to the government directive that households should engage the PSP for the proper disposal of their refuse. We hope to commence immediately after the inauguration of the taskforce. But as the case maybe, those who contravened the notice have started receiving the court order.
Do you have any further advice on the issue of waste management?
Yes! My advice to every individual household is that they should engage the service of the PSP to help keep Ika land clean.
As an Ika born technocrat in political matters, what are your assessment of the political status of Ika land?
First, we must be grateful to God that an Ika man is the governor of Delta state, reason being that all eyes can see that what we in Ika Federal Constituency are benefiting from the present government under our brother, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, when compared to what we achieved from 1999 to 2015 there is a tremendous progress.
Are you a member of any political party?
I am a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Are you of the opinion that PDP is doing well here in Ika land?
Indeed, PDP is doing well not only in Ika land but across the whole state.
You are well informed that the economic condition of the state and the country at large is not as good as it used to be in the past dispensation. However, it will impress you to know that with the meager fund that Governor Okowa is getting, he has been able to bring about sustainable development across the state. In light of this, Governor Okowa is a man that I respect passionately. In any elective position (s) he wishes to contest, I have always been one of his strong allies.
He is very patient, humble, unassuming and a very pleasant human-being. His entire projects so far since inception in 2015 is very commendable and if I should start enumerating them it will take us almost a whole day. Examples can be cited from the huge effort he made at the Agbor Technical College, Agbor, other unprecedented road rehabilitation in Owa and Agbor, among other infrastructural developments and human capital development enshrined in his SMART agenda. Hence, he has done very well.
You say that the governor has done very well, why are the people particularly, the Civil servants still aggrieved with him?
Let me make it clear here that local government salaries are not being paid under the state government, it is from the federal government. Aspersions on the Governor are allegations cooked by blackmailers trying to ridicule his name and they will not succeed.
Talking about allegation, it has been a debate on the news that Governor Okowa submitted an empty 2018 budget to the State House of Assemble. How true could this be sir?
This is a complete blackmail and the man who is behind this is Dr. Cairo Ojougboh. Fortunately, I grew up with him and he is a pathological liar.
To buttress my point, how possible can a sitting governor submit an empty budget to the House of Assembly? It is never heard and not in a way possible. These are complete blackmail. For the purpose of clarity, there is an appropriation committee set up to appropriate the budget, so if there is no budget what will they appropriate? I think the people and office involved have also been able to clear this fact. On this regard, I feel Dr. Cairo Ojougboh is not conducting himself as an educated man that he is.
His fighting his brother, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the present governor of the state is not appropriate, instead, it is expected that he joins hands with the governor to move the state forward. It is so unfortunate that because he (Dr. Cairo) cannot influence things in government illegally, he decided to blackmail Okowa. This portrays to us (the Ika people) in a bad light amongst other ethnic nationalities in Delta State.
I made bold to say today that the greatest thing that has happened to the party, PDP, is the exit of Dr. Cairo Ojougboh. If he wasn’t a member of PDP, there is no way I could have worked with him because we grew up in the same neighborhood and I know his antecedence.
He joined me in PDP from AD in 1999. Having grown big in the party, his problem in this matter is anger, envy and jealousy and I really wish he calms down and have a rethink on his dispositions against Okowa and join him to build the state in order to make Ika people proud.
When Cairo brought a House of Assembly candidate in person of Hon. Ulebor, Okowa did everything possible for him to win but because of the consensus agreement of the electorate in Ika South, he still lost the election. Even I that is am very close to Governor Okowa worked assiduously for Ulebor irrespective of the fact that I was the Secretary of the party campaign committee then. Unfortunately, my effort could not yield success. To this extent, I tried to phantom where Governor Okowa has wronged Dr. Cairo to deserve such frivolous allegations against his government or is it because Okowa is a gentleman that people now cast various aspersions against him? This will not do us any good. So that is why I am urging all Ika sons and daughters to discard all the allegations against the governor because they are unfounded and not necessary. Rather, they should encourage him to do more for us as a people.
What’s your take on the agitation for Governor Okowa to be returned in 2019?
It is a move in the right direction. The agitation is necessary and I can even sacrifice an arm for Governor Okowa in PDP to get the second term.
Sir, you seem to have been committed to this agitation?
Yes! It is because of what is on ground that he has done. Despite the unprecedented infrastructural and human capital development of Governor Okowa, you will agree with me that it was in this government that we started having regular electric power supply and if we loss this position so quick, even our generation would not be able to have it. The agitation is something every male and female from Delta North should consider very necessary irrespective of the political affiliations. Party is an ideology, it depends on the individuals, where he or she feels comfortable to belong to, but the most important thing is to vote the right choice, and as far as 2019 governorship is concern, for Delta North to complete the eight years, voting Governor Ifeanyi Authur Okowa is the right choice.
Sir, do you subscribe to the fact that no human is 100 percent perfect?
Then would you say Governor Okowa has ruled perfectly for the past 2 years of his administration?
He is near perfection. I am one of the biggest crusaders of Okowa any day, any time. This is because he is an articulate leader though not 100 percent perfect, as no can mortal be.
As an elder statesman in Ika South PDP, what is your assessment on the leadership of the LGA Chairman, Hon. Collins Bello?
This is the first time Collins Bello would be taking up a position of leadership of the party and I believe me he is learning very fast. Initially, I was not close to him but now we are working in pari passé. He is just like a brother to me now. Things that he cannot do, he inquires and takes corrections where he acted wrongly without picking offense, and this is very commendable. The party under Collins Bello in Ika South is moving forward. He has done so well that the people in other parties are reintegrated back to the party.
How will you describe his effort?
Very commendable! In time past, PDP was actually not growing in Ika South because of impunity, but now in the time of Governor Okowa and Collins Bello, there is great transformation which has brought about transparent democracy. Judging from the just concluded primaries which was done openly in consensus, there was less of complain across the wards as nobody was forced to accept any candidate both at the ward and the LGA.
Mr. Onya, what is your general advice for the electorates in Ika land?
They should vote credibility. This is because all candidates of the PDP are credible. Governor Okowa is a grounded politician and has touched many lives; hence he remains the best candidate that should continue to rule Delta State.
What is your advice for Agbor people?
They should be patient. Rome was not built in a day. We have to be patient; we should not judge Governor Okowa, because he is working for the generality of the people of Delta state.