I belong to no specific group in Ika Land; I belong to all Ika People. I am a true Ika person who is non discriminating, open and accessible to Ika people with positive ideas on how to develop Ika Land and make it a source of envy for other kingdoms. I belong to Ika Association in the United States, and other variety of professional groups like, Texas Nursing Group, Delta Nurses Association and so many others.
READ NIGERIA, TRAGIC FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP – Smart Ajaja
If you are elected to represent Delta North at the red chamber, what would you do differently?
If I am given the chance to be a senator, I will sit with my people, draw up a developmental blue print for Delta North, in a manner that will include all local government within the district, in projects and infrastructural development, in order to bond them together as one people. In no distant time, I will release my Anioma forward blue print for everyone to see.
What do you do for relaxation?
I read, and write voraciously when I want to relax. Occasionally I play soccer, I spend quality time with my family, I ask my children to criticize me, of which they tell me the truth by giving me an insight into the part of me I do not know, and that has helped me a lot.
How close are you to Abavo/Ika People?
I am an embodiment of Abavo, and they value me seriously because they see me as their champion, having set them free from the clutches of oppression that led to the dethronement of a tyrant that held them hostage for a long time. I am close to Abavo people; we are close to each other. A lot of the younger generations look up to me for leadership, and I take them seriously. Ika South is my constituency, and Ika Land is my home generally, so I am close to a lot of them, and I am open to being closer to more persons who welcome my message of hope and redemption.
If you were the governor of Delta State, what would you do differently?
If I were the governor of Delta State, I will run an open government that gives the state to the real owners. I will send a bill to the State House of Assembly that will frown at discrimination. I say this because Delta State ought to be a very beautiful state in diversity; ethnic rivalry ought not to hold sway in this state. Due to the level of debt the state is submerged in, I will appeal to those we owe, to give us a clean State, so we can start with the right footing devoid of debts. The debt overhang of Delta State is so frightening; it makes me worry about the future of the next generation. I will appeal to our creditors to make sacrifices for a new beginning by granting a debt relief, to enable us start on a clean slate.
I will ensure the best heads are appointed into various positions. I will go for capacity builders and utilize them to turn the state around. I wouldn’t go for the indiscriminate type of appointment of thugs loyal to political leaders, which ends wrecking havoc and piling up debt for the state. Delta State of today is not run by those who know what they are doing. I have the future of the state and the next generation at heart.
What is your advice for Ika Youths?
The youths in Ika Land and youths generally must take responsibility for their actions, and Nigeria as a country. They must understand their basic rights and be prepared mentally to take Ika, Delta State, and Nigeria to where it should be. Nigeria is at this impasse because the youths have become mentally enslaved. They believe there are people appointed to reason for them, hence they do whatever they are told. Such a situation is not healthy for Ika Land, Anioma Land, Delta State, and Nigeria. The youths must take charge, be responsible and accountable to themselves and to the society at large.
What is your take on an Ika Man being the governor of the state?
I try to stay away from tribal politics and the benefits embedded in it. An Ika man being a governor of the state for me has only provided psychological victory, that our man is there, but in terms of infrastructural development and good governance, it is a foul cry, we have nothing to show for it. I am highly disappointed.
Are you in support of Zoning system in politics?
To be candid, I am against zoning because it has done us no good as a people. Instead of zoning, we should serialize ability, competency and good content of character as a combination for good leadership. Zoning promotes eulogies and elevates mediocrity. This is the reason we are stuck as a Nation. I do not understand why an Ika man must serve two terms based on Zoning formula, unless an Ika Man emerges the best of all candidates from other ethnicity, then he can lead for as long as he is permitted constitutionally, but if he is elected on the basis of where he/she hails from, his geographical area, then I oppose the idea of zoning. I am against zoning.
What is your favourite African Delicacy?
I like good food. I can’t easily place one food over the other, but I like good organic food, whenever I am coming back to Nigeria, the food is one of the things I always have in my mind. My younger sister who has been like a mother to me knows what I like, she prepares it for me. She knows I like fish a lot. I stay away from eating too much meat. I like Okro soup. I love organic foods generally because we eat a lot of chemical food in the USA. I grow my own Okro in the U.S, that’s how I try to stay away from chemicals that cause ailments. African food is the best type of food to eat anywhere.
What are your words of advice for Ika people?
Our people should wake up and stop believing there is someone God selected to reason and act for them. They should be ready to take their destinies in their hands, they should, as a matter of urgency, obtain their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC) because 2019 election will bring about an electioneering revolution in the Nation. Everyone must take the process seriously, we have had a lot of darkness, and it is time for our lights to shine, illuminate darkness which has invaded our territories.
It is time to shine the light of access to opportunities, the light to progress, peace and development. We are the only ones who can do that for ourselves. They should know that they have the right to choose who represents them, they should not vote because they are given money to do so. Anyone who offers you money to vote him/her does so because they have nothing to offer other than chain and slavery. Collect the money because they stole it from you. So collect the money, use it and vote against him/her.
Who are your role models?
At family levels, my role models remain my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ajaja, my eldest brother, Prof. Patrick Ajaja, of Delta State University, it is such an honour to be a part of the incredible family that has distinguished itself in the area of service to humanity. My mum was an activist, my father was a community organizer perhaps that is the reason I am the way I am today. My mum never tolerated injustice, and my dad gathered people together with ease. I am very happy to be their offspring.
What are your worst moments?
One of my worse moments in life was as a child seeing my immediate elder brother die, and I could not help him because of the failure of Nigeria, during the Nigerian Civil War. The whole hospitals were occupied by soldiers, so we left him at home and watched him die. Another sad moment was the death of my mother. It was more difficult because she called me a day before she left, telling me I must bury her, I never knew that was our last discussion. My joy was that over 5,000 persons gathered to bury her that was historic, because it had never happened in Abavo.
Beyond my family lines, the role models whose work influenced my decisions were: Robert Nester Marley (Bob Marley), his message is eternal, his spirituality and history inspire me to high heavens. His humility knew no bounds.
Nelson Mandela is also my role model. His honesty in the face of brutal assault on his person and his people are incredible and inspiring for me, especially in the face of the battle I have decided to wage, starting with Abavo-my home town. I draw inspiration from these great men.
Do you have any award?
Yes I have awards, the most recent being: Leadership Excellence Award that was given to me by the Anioma Leadership Consortium. It is an award I hold dear to my heart.
What are your happiest Moments?
I have lots of happy moments, but the climax of them all, is the birth of my son, Vision on March 17, 1999. He just turned 19. It was a joyous moment for me because he encapsulates my vision because everything I had envisioned in life has come to pass. I don’t utter words easily, but everything I uttered in life, everything I dreamt while growing up has come to pass. I named my son vision because he is an embodiment of all my childhood dreams, my visions, all I had from my childhood till the day he was born. His delivery was difficult, he was in intensive care for four days but I believed he wouldn’t die, and he lived. That is the reason I don’t give up on myself, I don’t give up on anything I set out to do, no matter how difficult it looks.
What are your regrets in life?
I have made some mistakes in life, but I have no regrets for anything I have done because that is the reason for the word ‘experience’. We learn, and I learn every day, and will continue learning but I will not give up on my beliefs, or get allured into doing the wrong thing. I will not indulge in anything contrary to my beliefs.
What are your final words?
My final words are in relation to questions a lot of people ask me about my political aspiration in relation to Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh, my answer is that: “life is a run way, everybody plays his part. The destinies of Okowa or Ojuogboh cannot suffocate my destiny, which is why I have a DNA different from theirs. I wish them good luck in their aspirations, but their aspirations cannot deem my destinies, the same way I will not impinge on their own destinies. I should be left alone to pursue my destiny, while they pursue theirs. I am neither Cairo Ojuogboh nor Ifeanyi Okowa. We are all not driven by the same school of thoughts.
BY ANITA ALEH