Our personality is Smart Ajaja, an Abavo born citizen who resides in the United States of America. Mr. Ajaja is aspiring to represent Delta North at the senate under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, SMA as he is popularly called bares it all as he speaks on what he hopes to achieve through his intervention mission to rescue Delta North Senatorial district.
My name is Smart Ajaja. I am from Abavo in Ika South Local Government Area, Delta State. I live in Houston Texas, USA currently.
I was born on June 13, 1962, into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Augustine, Ohu Ajaja, they were both farmers. They were loving parents that taught me and my siblings a lot through their exemplary lives.
Growing up was difficult at a point, but we overcame due to the love that bound us together. It was indescribable and till date we are maintaining the same love. We saw one man’s problem as everybody’s problem and one man’s victory as everyone’s victory.
Among my siblings, we share everything. That is how strong the bond that holds us together is.
Smart Ajaja’s Educational background
Education in Nigeria has lost its value, so I would rather say that I am inspired, because if I was educated, I would be a damned fool, but for record purposes, I attended Osagbobu Primary School from 1971-1976, I have distinction in my primary school leaving certificate for that year. From there, I proceeded to Ede grammar school, Umunede, and graduated in 1982. I furthered to the School of Nursing Benin City, after a successful completion of my stay in the then Bendel State, I left for Kano State where I took up a job at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Kano. During that period, I gained certification as an Orthopedic Nurse at the National Orthopedic Hospital College of Orthopedic Nursing, Dalla Kano.
I was there until the year 1992. I took up a job with Guiness PLC, as an industrial Nurse. From there, I proceeded to South Africa, and later in 1986, I moved to USA, where I reside till date.
Smart Ajaja Growing up experience
During the Nigerian Civil war, everyone in my house was sick, aside my elder brother and I, it was such a challenge that I began making decisions about the lives of my parents, as early as age 8. That was one of the moments that helped to shape me into who I am today. I started taking responsibility for my actions at a very early age and it inspired me. The death of my elder brother in that process is also a recurring decimal for me.
Family Life of Smart Ajaja
We are five in number, two girls, and three boys. I am the 2nd child of the family going by the present standing, but going down the history of my family, I am the fourth child.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up at Abavo during my formative years, I spent five years at Umunede through my secondary education, I also had stints in Benin City and Kano State.
Smart Ajaja’s Profession
I am a registered nurse, I run a book business, I am the President of Allied vision Group LL C, and we are into the procurement and distribution of college textbooks, across the United States. Our online platform is wzabooks.com
How long have you been out of Nigeria?
I have lived outside Nigeria for a period of 24 years, of which, two years was spent in South Africa, and 22 years in USA.
“There is no basis between light and darkness. That is my approach towards the comparison”. Nigeria is a country suffering from the tragic failure of leadership. In the past 20 years, Nigeria has been suffering from the problem of leadership, hence my reason for presenting myself for service, to map out ways of improving the quality of leadership in Nigeria.
What Party do you belong to Smart Ajaja?
I belong to the All Progressives Congress (APC), I choose to align with them because of their progressive ideologies. In terms of political philosophy that is where I belong, though I quite agree with those who are opposed to my choice of political party, that Nigerian political system is not purely ideology driven, but I am convinced I will make a difference in APC, and make it the best political party in Nigeria, for as long as I am a member.
What political party will you say has done more harm than good to Nigerians? The problem with Nigeria is Nigerians not political parties. The problem is with those who populate those political parties.
This happens to be one of the questions I shy away from answering because Nigeria has a very corrupt culture, so any political party they belong to replicates such cultures. So I can say that the damage done to Nigeria is caused by Nigerians, and not the political parties.
But on the other hand, to answer your question holistically, take a look at the history of occurrences since 1999 when Nigeria decided to take another trial at democracy. The PDP was in power then, all through that period, it looked like they had plans to destroy Nigeria. Their plans to destroy Nigeria intensified after the 2015 Presidential elections, that is the unfortunate reason Nigerians are where they are: The sad thing is that, the same set of people who destroyed Nigeria through PDP are now in the APC, trying to do the same thing. We have to change our way of doing things.
Smart Ajaja What is your take on President Buhari’s 2nd term bid?
President Buhari declared his intention to run for 2nd term in pursuit of his right as a citizen of Nigeria, and I see nothing wrong in that. Nigerians have a choice to keep him.
Where does President Buhari’s 2nd term bid leave the “Not too young to lead” mantra?
I am in support of those who seek youth leadership in Nigeria, as long as they meet the requirements needed for them to run for any position of their choice. But, being a youth does not give you an automatic qualification to lead Nigeria that will result in disaster.
I have been an advocate of youth leadership in Nigeria, but the set of youths who must lead Nigeria should be those who have the ability and competence and good content of character. We are tired of being led by thugs in the name of youth leadership, look at Delta State and Ika land for instance.
How would you rate the level of development in Ika Land so far?
As an Ika man, I will speak the truth so that I can sleep with my two eyes closed and wake up a happy person. From observation, during my just concluded visit to Agbor and Abavo, I did not see any project worthy of celebration. Having lived in the United States for 22 years, coming back to Agbor, Abavo looks like a Nightmare. There is absolutely nothing that inspires me to be happy about the level of decadence, dilapidation and damages I saw in Agbor and Abavo.
I visited the General Hospital at Abavo, and it was nothing but an empty boys hostel, I do not see why people celebrate it as an infrastructural development. Those who built the hospitals at Agbor and Abavo cannot go there to receive treatment as a patient to treat an ailment as little as headache.
The truth must be said, I am highly disappointed, without mincing words.
How would you rate the present State Government?
From Asaba to Abavo, Ogwashi-Uku, Obumkpa and the likes, if I am to rate the present Delta State Government, it would be an uphill task due to the high level of deceit and squalor. I saw in the construction of roads that can be washed away by slightest rainfall, I reiterate that I am highly disappointed.
You stated that you are on an intervention mission to Delta North, what would you do differently if you win the election?
I will take a new definition to leadership and representation of Delta North Senatorial District. I will involve the people in decision making and proffering solutions to problems. As a messenger which I plan to be, I will relay their position or stand to the floor of the National Assembly for debate.
I want to have the mandate of the people to do their business, the way it should be done. I have seen the scandals surrounding the incumbent senator representing the senatorial district in respect of awarding projects, and I can state that I do not own a company intelligentsia, and I won’t bring my company from the United States to execute projects for my benefit.
I will ensure every expenditure budgeted for projects in Delta North is used appropriately through the help of auditors, financial analysts and accountants whom I will involve in any project. I will not accumulate any money.
What is your opinion on the clannish leanings between both Ika Local Governments?
I feel so sad about the rivalry in the leadership between both local governments. The division and creation of both local governments are misconstrued by the desperate politicians who want to have control. The division is all about power to control the people. We are one people who speak the same language, have one ancestry, and share same culture, customs and traditions.
It is the politicians that create such divides. I am not in support of the disparity, I am a uniting force, and not a divider. It is unfortunate that mental poverty has wrecked a serious havoc on the minds of the people, and the end result is that they fall prey to the scheming of the desperate politicians. Ika is one, be it South or North, or we are nothing but one people.
Smart Ajaja, What are your philosophies?
I am sovereign, and I recognize my rights as given by God. I respect the rights of others to be free. My life is all about freedom, I fight back when my right to freedom of expression or association is being infringed upon. I have the freedom to live life. These are my guiding principles; I want to be free and I want others to be free. Conflicts arise when humans try to infringe on other people’s rights. It is said that our people (Ika People) are not free; it then becomes difficult for me as a free and sovereign person to enjoy my freedom. My aspiration is to see our people free and happy, because that is the only way to guarantee peace in our Nation.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by the quest to see a free, open, progressive and prosperous Nigeria, with access to free opportunity for all.
Ika people must come together as an organic people, not manipulated by those driven by the desperation of politics of the economy. We are one Ika people; hence we should be a people who speak the truth at every point in time. We should be a people who do not take sides blindly based on sentiments.
We are a people of strong moral standing, but in recent times, there have been a deviation. We should be able to do a self critical analysis of ourselves. We must be open to criticisms, because self criticism is a measure of patriotism for citizens of any nation.
As one who fights for Ika People, there were times a few Ika people called me names, termed me an enemy of Ika because I choose not to support what I do not believe, which they believe in. We should go above such mental cage/ philosophies. It is only the truth that can set Ika people free and I will continually hammer on that, without fear or favour.
Looking at the large number of Libya returnees, what, in your opinion is the reason behind the quest to travel abroad by the youths?
The reason Ika youths like other Nigerians are running away from Nigeria is due to the crisis of leadership that has created artificial scarcity of access to opportunities. The only way this can be addressed is by electing people who can build and utilize capacity for the good of the nation. When a person of low general intelligence is elected to power, he ends up doing nothing. In retrospect, when one who is knowledgeable about job creation and achieving result out of nothing, prosperity becomes the order of the day and abundance flows. This in turn, keeps the youths in the land.
Nigeria is destroying her future, you can’t kill your heroes and expect to beat Rome, it is impossible. That is one of the reasons I joined the senatorial race. I plan to turn Nigeria around, and I hope our people understand and avail me the opportunity to do this. I appeal to APC delegates in Ika Land to look intimately at those aspiring to run for senate from Ika Land, and do justice to the dilapidated infrastructures, dead public schools and everything the locust has destroyed in the last 20 years in making their choice. They should look beyond money to make this compelling choice which can perhaps set the nation on the path of economic recovery.
What are your legacies?
I am building a legacy of honesty, truth, transparency and accountability in public service, it is an ongoing project, and I hope to see it through to the highest heights throughout my life time.
What Impact have you made in Ika Land?
Ika people are now able to express themselves without fear or favour as it were in the past. This came about due to someone who started speaking truth to power eight years ago, and that person is Smart Ajaja. I have successfully taught the younger generation that they have the right to question those who lead them, and demand accountability from them.
We are not where we ought to be yet, but we are making steady progress, an instance is the revolution that took place in Abavo in 2012.Abavo people are now able to speak and express themselves without fear of tyrants and hoodlums. Abavo people, Ika people and beyond know me as a man of justice, who has aroused the consciousness of the people, especially the young generation, and I think I will be remembered for that.
I am a diehard optimist, and I am a workaholic inspired to do things not because of physical strength, but by inspiration to do things for the good of all. I have dedicated my life to the service of humanity since I was born 55 years ago.
My integrity is one of my priced possessions I hold dear. Anything unjust, I fight, irrespective of who you are or where you are from. I have created a niche for myself based on my fight against unjust people.
Where do you hope to be, five years from now?
For now, I do not know where I will be in five years time, but I do know I am unfolding history, unraveling daily. Far back in 2012, I did not know I would be at the forefront in the fight for freedom and liberation of Abavo people. The scope have expanded now, today I am aspiring to become the senator representing Delta North Senatorial District with effect from May 29, 2019.Who knows, from there, I can be the president of Nigeria because I am qualified, this can be a prophecy.
Smart Ajaja, What is your long term projection for Ika People and Delta North at large?
Firstly, I would want Ika people and Delta North people by extension to come together as one, and understand regardless of minor differences that may arise, amongst them, that we are all one. We must thrive to treasure our unity and beauty in diversity for the good of our people and the next generation.
My long term plan for Ika and Anioma people is to see a new breed of leadership who will reason beyond tribal lines to bring development, love and positivity to the land. I always tell Ika Youths that I am the bridge between the old and the young, and my long term goal would be that; after I serve my tenure as a Senator, I will support and mobilize support for a younger person to take the lead as my predecessor. This I hold dear to my heart, and this I will do if given a chance to represent Delta North at the senate. It is a promise that I will keep.