“I WILL DO MY BEST TO MAKE IKA SOUTH BETTER ”-Barry Eka

Barry Eka is a young, vibrant and visionary politician and one of the many aspirants vying for the soul of Ika South Local Government Council. A Real Estate Valuer by profession and owner of Barry Eka Consultants, a Real Estate firm located in Port-Harcourt, Barry Eka in this Personality of the Week interview, unveils some of his plans for transforming Ika South Local Government area and why he thinks he is the most suitable candidate for the Chairmanship position in Ika South.
MAY WE MEET YOU?
I am Mr. Barry Eka from Oza-nogogo in Ika South LGA in Delta State. My dad is Engr. Paul Eka and my mum is Mrs. Florence Eka; they are both from Oza-nogogo. So, am a bona fide indigene of Oza-nogogo though born and raised in Ibadan, Oyo State. I was born on a Sunday morning of 17th February, 1980. I had my primary education at Ibadan. I am an Estate Valuer by profession and I own a company that goes by the name, Barry Eka Consultants; a young firm of Estate Valuers located in Port Harcourt. My dad is an Engineer though retired now. He worked with Parabean, a division of United African Companies. He started his career in Lagos, and then moved to Ibadan before he was transferred to Port Harcourt. Right now, my parents live in America since their retirement.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR GROWING UP?
I had my early training in Ebire Nursery and Primary School in Ibadan. In 1991, I moved to the biggest boarding school in Nigeria, Okirika Grammar School, Port Harcourt. That was the period my parents relocated to Rivers State and it coincided with the time I was due to start my secondary education. I was in the boarding-house for 6 years. I was the prefect of the school and I was also appointed the President of the Press Club. I was a member of the football team of the school because the school was known for sports – conventional and non-conventional sports.

IMG-20170921-WA0010 “I WILL DO MY BEST TO MAKE IKA SOUTH BETTER ”-Barry Eka
Mr. Barry Eka receiving an award

In 2000, I moved to the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) where I studied Estate Management. In 2002, Vincent Enyeama, the former Captain of the Super Eagles and a former student of UNIUYO, myself and one other person was picked to play for “Ibom Stars” now known as “Akwa United” while schooling. I was with the club for two seasons. I played as a central midfielder. I graduated in 2007, went for my NYSC at Ebonyi State in 2008. I was lucky to serve under the Ebonyi State Housing Development Agency. After my service year, I got a job in an indigenous Estate Surveying Firm in 2009. I worked there for five years from 2009 to 2014
I started my own firm, Barry Eka Consultants in November, 2015, having gathered experience from my two previous places of work. It has been up and down but God has been kind to us. We were lucky to get one acquisition job from the Rivers State government that helped the young firm to grow. We had contracts to do evaluation for the government at strategic places like Trans-Amadi and Trans-Wiji in Rivers State. The work force of the firm is eight (8).
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WHILE GROWING UP?
I was lucky to grow up in Ibadan, a place where respect for elders is sacred. That was where I learnt that a man should never insult someone older than him and that has helped me all through in life. No matter the provocation for me, no elder is wrong. Discipline was imbibed from when I was small. I was lucky to have parents that are educated, and they saw education as something unique and indispensable that every child should have. Luckily, my grandfather was the first educated man from Oza-nogogo. So, he trained all his offspring to graduate level and that influenced my parents.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION IN THE FAMILY?
I am third in the family of five; four men and a woman. My parents are disciplined, yet loving and I couldn’t have wished for better parents.
GROWING UP OUTSIDE AGBOR, WHAT LANGUAGE DO YOU SPEAK?
I speak Yoruba fluently. I spent eleven years in Ibadan and miraculously, I also speak my mother tongue, which is Oza fluently even though I never spent two straight weeks in Oza-nogogo as a growing child. I also speak Ikwere which is the major language in Port Harcourt and I speak a bit of Akwa Ibom which is Ibibio, having spent eight years playing football there. I can say I am a polyglot because I speak five different languages.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF YOUR PROFESSION?
One of the challenges of the estate management is that; it is not a profession that has readily available information. Everybody on the street knows what an engineer does but it is difficult to know about the estate surveyor’s job. Our job is most times even given to lawyers to do. One of our job descriptions is managing of estate. We are trained for estate management but lawyers are not. Lawyers know the laws guiding tenancy and landlord declaration but they are not professionals at managing. Another job description which nobody can take from us (surveyors) is the evaluation of properties. If you want to write a will, to know the value of your property, only a surveyor is mandated by law to do that. If a government wants to acquire something or begin a project which will destroy people’s structures, it is the estate Valuer that determines the amount to be paid as compensation. Though some cost engineers who are not trained by law to evaluate, tend to cross their lines by evaluating. It is only when a tree bears fruit that, people throw stones at it. So the Estate Valuer’s profession is a profession other people like lawyers, engineers, quantity surveyors like to do. Those are our challenges. The profession is very lucrative. In school, we learnt accounting, statistics, agric economics because they are all embedded in estate management. So we can value a business, a farm, a petrol station and even one’s interest in life.
Gradually, people are becoming interested in the profession because in the University then, we were only about 27 students that offered the course. We have few iconic figures in the profession like: late Sir SPO Fortune Ebie, coincidentally who also studied at O.G.S. (Okirika Grammar School) like me.
WHAT IS YOUR MISSION FOR THE FUTURE?
One of the things I will like to do which will in turn have impacts on the populace is to have Barry Eka firm in the major cities of Nigeria. We want to provide first class services to our clients and we want to make Barry Eka Consultants a house hold name in management firm in the Country. We also intend to expand beyond the shores to other African cities.
WHY THE SUDDEN INTEREST IN POLITICS COUPLED WITH YOUR PROFESSION?
I have had a history of goodwill, not just to me, but the entire Eka family, my grandfather, James Eka was exposed to formal education early in life that helped me a lot, so drawing from that inspiration, I also got attached to the populace because that was his mainstream. Though he never joined politics, he was a community builder even though he lived in Lagos and he was perhaps the most famous Oza-nogogo man in his time, yet, he never ventured into politics and that passed on to his children. He was able to help so many people. It trickled down to my dad and his siblings. They granted scholarships to students. We have a James Eka house in a secondary school named after him for the goodwill of the family. There was a time my uncle Barr. Victor Eka was nominated for a ministerial position in 1983 during Shehu Shagari’s government, but he declined, because we had a family meeting and we decided we were not politicians. We have been community builders and lovers of community without joining politics; I also grew up like that. Even as a university student, I used to come home all the way from the University of Uyo to play football in Oza-nogogo, bringing my experience to play. Even as a student, some people will tell you there are some people I helped even in the face of nothing. When I started working, I started giving out scholarship to people, I started buying jerseys for the community, and virtually all the communities in Oza have my jerseys. My home town in Oza wears branded jerseys with their names behind.
The first ever under 20 cup in Ika South was hosted by me. I did all these before joining politics. I never knew I would join politics. The pressure was so much, and I felt I could give it a try. I am educated enough, and I have enough exposure, and I have the capacity to deliver. Based on the opportunities I have in life, based on the positions I have handled and the people I have mixed with, I feel I can do more going into public office, finding a way to better the life of the average man. So when the thought came to me, I mentioned it to well meaning community leaders, and they gave me hope; that is where we are today.
WHEN WAS THAT?
I have been a member of the A.P.C since February 2014. So I am a foundation member of the party.
WHEN DID YOU TAKE THE DECISION TO BE A PARTISAN?
I took the decision in November 2013, and then I consulted and after the consultation, I made the decision to play partisan politics in January 2014, and when APC was formed in February in Port Harcourt, Obioakpor unit 10, where I acquired my registration number 1117.
WHY THE CHOICE OF APC?
I looked at APC as a saturated PDP with due regards to them, I honestly have nothing against parties, but I needed to make a choice, and I decided to go for a party that has a national spread, a party whose leaders are very experienced, and what came to my mind was the All Progressives Congress.
WHAT TRIGGERED YOUR DECISION TO GO THE EXTRA MILE IN POLITICS BY ASPIRING FOR A POLITICAL POSITION?
I am someone who travels a lot, and I know we can do a lot from where we come from. Looking at Akwa Ibom which was a glorified village in far back 1989, but about 15 years after, it is a destination/city where everybody wants to visit. It is not by chance that Akwa Ibom is now like that, it is a concerted effort of very diligent managers of men and resources, and it fascinates me and I feel I can bring such to bear back home. There are programs am involved in that helps me understand that idea is a God given talent, and I know if am given the opportunity I will do more than the ones that are on ground.
SHOULD YOUR PEOPLE CAST THEIR VOTE FOR YOU BASED ON YOUR PERSONALITY OR BASED ON THE PLANS YOU HAVE PUT ON GROUND?
When you teach a child something early in life, it is difficult for him to deviate from it. I set up a center for teenager’s development in Port Harcourt, but we have been mentoring youths in Ika South visiting schools in Ika South, organizing and delivering seminars in public schools, and all these are totally free. This has been on for the past three years and we give all the 57 secondary schools in Ika South instructional materials free of charge, both private and government schools. We helped them celebrate world international day for the teenage development which is March 7th and the October 11, the international day for the teenage girl. In the sporting world, the Barry Eka under 20 football tournament has had two editions in 2015 and 2016.
Then the big one, involving Delta State Book capital project 2018, started in 2016, we felt Agbor being the third largest city in Delta after Warri and Asaba should have a form of capital impetus. So I set up a program, reached out to the three major libraries in Agbor, and it was decided that among these three, we would donate one million books between 2016 and December 2017. By 2018, Agbor will be declared the book capital of Delta State. The project is still on, and so far we have been able to donate about four hundred and twenty nine books. The libraries are: the Delta State Library behind the Ika National Hall and College of Education library. We also provide instructional materials.
ARE THE PEOPLE OF IKA SOUTH AWARE OF SUCH LAUDABLE GESTURES?
To a large extent we do a bit of indigenous publicity in the sense that we avoid the press. The aim of the project is not for publicity, but to impact individuals, those who know about it know, but the project is not political. We are not conscious of getting politically inclined persons to know about it. It does not matter if I win or lose the election; it is something that is worth doing.
DO YOU SEE APC WINNING THE CHAIRMANSHIP?
Yes I do. I heard the insinuation that Abavo clan should produce the chairman, I also know that Oza-Nogogo has never produced the chairman of the council. But it does not matter if these have produced a chairman or not, I have my God given right to contest. I am educated and enlightened enough. I have the capacity and the boldness to deliver. It’s my right to contest.
IF YOU WIN, WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE EXPECT?
If I win, I will do my best to make Ika south better than I met it. I will carry out all round development, through security of lives and properties, synergy between the LGA chairman office, and the two police divisions in Ika south, because when there is security, every other thing will work out. We will re-organize the vigilantes, by giving them uniforms, with which they can be identified. We will not disarm them, but we will not allow them carry guns while in mufti so they can be identified. They will be treated well, and they will have a seat in my security council. They know the people and get information more. Then we will also help the security by lighting up Agbor through the provision of street light. We will restore the night economy to Agbor. As it is now, by 7pm economy/commerce ends in Agbor, and it ought not to be so. In other states, people make money from 7pm till the next morning. So 12 hours economy is lost in Ika South daily due to insecurity and non availability of light.
We will engage our youths through regular competitions, such that Ika south will be full of engaging activities. We will bring in people who are community developers to engage in Ika food bank where the indigent people can come to the council to eat free of charge, it is a form of social intervention. Regularly, we will build major roads in the urban areas. We will make sure no market in Ika south leaks within the first three months in office.
In the area of environment, all the drainage will be cleared irrespective of the season. We will be proactive. Our blocks of development will be on three cardinal points: Security, youth development and opportunity. We will have a regular loan disbursement which will be liberal so people can pay back.
My government will not be based on party affiliation. What we do for a member of one party will be done for people in other parties. In January of every year, there would be no tax payment to the council to ease the effect of the massive spending in December so they can meet up other duties.
We will also provide land to any company capable of employing over 200 persons in Ika South. There are 24 banks in Nigeria but they are just 12 in Agbor, so we will encourage the others to set up branches in Agbor. We will also write letters to telecommunication companies to set up masts in Agbor.
We will make Agbor an economic hub so that people will make money on their own. These are projects we will pursue vigorously. I have a distinction of doing things quickly. I am a man with speed. It is a God given talent. We will also try as much as possible to make sure our technocrats come home to invest. Everybody will be treated fairly. We will have a mechanism to ensure teacher’s salaries are in the first line charge.
WOULD IT BE A PLUS TO APC NOW THAT DR. CAIRO OJUGBOH HAS MOVED TO THE PARTY?
With the caliber of Dr. Cairo Ojughob, I would say it is a big plus to us. This is a man who became the deputy national chairman of the Party touted as the biggest party in the whole of Africa, wheat ear rightly or not. He was a member of the Federal House of Reps, and his experience is not something you cannot buy in the market. This is a man that has produced people for difficult positions; you cannot take his experience away from him. We are hoping that the APC would be able to tap from that experience. He has a lot of supporters, and they are all coming into the party. Politics is a game of number. So it is a big plus to us, and it is a welcome development, and we are happy they chose APC over the other 32 registered parties in Nigeria. Any addition to the APC makes us thicker. We welcome them wholeheartedly, and we hope they can teach some of us who are just learning the game.
CAN YOU TELL US SOME OF YOUR TRACK RECORDS?
I was a director of sports at University of Uyo, when I was there; there were just nine Ika students. I was funding our meetings, outside school. Two years ago down to last year, I visited 12 different Nigerian Universities to see Ika Students in the school, to know of their welfare and synergize with them. There is a Barry Eka foundation in six of these schools, the schools, which include: University of Uyo, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University, Federal Polytechnic Oghara, Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Imo State Polythecnic, University of Benin, Rivers State Polytechnic and University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Students were happy and impressed by my visit.
IF YOU EMERGE THE COUNCIL CHAIRMAN, WHAT MEASURES WILL YOU PUT IN PLACE TO REV-UP IGR?
We will not burden our workers by placing higher taxes on them, we will increase more opportunities, like encouraging more banks to come into Agbor, with their taxes we will raise more money for the local government. We will create a scrap yard where all the metals people have discarded will be dumped, then we will make it commercial by inviting companies to buy them. They will create jobs and also pay taxes to the government and we will create wealth out of it. We will rather not do development if we cannot pay salaries, because a man who works should earn his wages. Development may be funded through loan, IGR, but salaries will be on first line charge and be paid as at when due, because it is sacrosanct.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO CURB INDISCRIMINATE DUMPING OF REFUSE?
We will provide receptacles in major areas, they will be more than needed, and so there will be no excuse for an individual to dump refuse into drainage. There will be waste disposal companies to dispose waste. The company will be chosen based on professional criteria, not based on party affiliations because epidemic does not recognize parties. We will maintain a good dump site.
Another project will be to erect a mechanic village, where mechanics will rent shops, and help to develop the arca in the course of doing their jobs. The idea is that when we finish, in three years, we would have been able to achieve: much and night economy security challenges will be a thing of the past, we will provide two ambulances for rapid respond cases, and there will be emergency numbers to call for both health and security emergencies. Government/chairman will be seen to work for the people, and not the other way round. It is a position to better the lives of the people. Our roads must work like roads; they must be clean and green.
People will not have any reason to second guess us, because we will be ahead of our time. We will be proactive in thinking to avoid disaster. Orogodo River will be desilted regularly. We can have a small restaurant and create an ambianance of natural relaxation center by the river bank. We will build shopping malls. We will have Ika Peace Park built in such a way that it can be used for picnics. We will make it unique.
WHAT IS YOUR WORD FOR PEOPLE OF IKA SOUTH?
I congratulate them for where we are today. We are at a threshold to remain in darkness or to move to light, to decide to leave things the way they are, or go a step further in electing a man who has dutifully helped all those he came across even though he is not a money bag. A man who genuinely has the interest of the people at heart, a man who has shown it through actions that can be seen and felt. This is the time to take a decision that would bind us for the next three years, it is not about party, but about the right man to lead, it is about light and darkness, it is about a young man who has shown great capacity to deliver, who has shown great content of character, who has shown that distance is not a barrier, who has shown that speed of development is what Ika South needs, who has shown that being young is an advantage, who has shown that sports can be beneficial to both young and old, who has shown that education is a top priority, who has shown that government can work for the people, a man who believes that government is at the mercy of the people, and not the other way round, a man who will provide basic amenities, a man who will be in front of the charge.
There is a time in everyone’s life where the decision to move forward or to move backward is before him/her. This is the time for Ika South. Parties are nomenclatures, they are names, and Ika South is in front of history. They can either make it for themselves, or they mar it, the decision is now. So I enjoin every eligible Ika South sons and daughter to vote wisely and according to their conscience vote and be proud of the person you have voted for.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE YOU LOOK UP TO?
I look up to the current serving Sen. Godswill Akpabio. He is a complete gentleman, he is a man with speed, and he is a man with uncommon love for the masses. I appreciate him a lot because he is someone who has made a mark in his private and public life. I also have a great deal of respect for the current governor of Lagos State, Governor Akinwumi Ambode. He does not see an obstacle before him. Within the space of 26 months, he has been able to turn Lagos around. Because of my affinity with Late Sir Fortune Ebie, I have a deep respect for him. He is somebody who has blazed the trail. He is the first Ika man to graduate from Okrika Grammar School. He is a man of many firsts, and I follow in his footsteps too because am a man of many firsts and perhaps I will be the first opposition to win the chairmanship position in the whole of Nigeria.
My mentor is the former governor of Rivers, Chief Rufus Ada George. He is someone who is humane, both in and out of office. I cherish him a lot.
ARE YOU MARRIED?
Yes, I am married to Queen Barry Eka, from Akwa Ibom State
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR RELAXATION?
I watch and play soccer, I travel and I like meeting people.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY ABOUT LIFE?
There are two sides to a coin, so I like to see what lies at the other side in every situation, for every bad situation that happens, there is always a good side to it. I see only the good in people.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRET IN LIFE?
Not really, but I would have loved to be a footballer.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FOOTBALL PLAYER YOU ADMIRE?
I admire Jay-Jay Okocha, Zinedine Zindane, and Diego Armando Maradona. They are players that always find their way and make the game seem easy.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST AND WORST MOMENTS?
My best moment is knowing that life could have been worse, knowing that God is there for us all.
WHAT CHURCH DO YOU ATTEND?
Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel)
WHEN DID YOU BECOME BORN AGAIN?
I became born again in 2014. I am a practicing Christian; I prefer that to using the word born again, because we commit sin randomly. I believe strongly in God, and I believe in His power.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TRADITIONAL DELICACY?
I like pounded yam and ogbono soup, with Oza-Nogogo up-wine (Palm Wine) to go with it.
WHAT IS YOUR FINAL MESSAGE?
I advise the youths not to do what, I would not do, be steadfast in God. Believe your destiny is yours and yours alone. No man controls another man’s destiny. They should know that kneeling before God means they can stand before man. They should believe that they do not need a godfather to get anywhere, and then you are already on your path to greatness. Our mindset is an eternal factor to where we are and where we are going.
I wish Ika people to rise above the ordinary, that their raise their game, the world is evolving, so we must evolve also. We cannot behave like the ostrich and put our head in the sand, when there is noise pollution. Churches should provide parking space for the members, and provide an enabling environment so that their activities do not affect others. Every man has his/her right to practice his religion. That is my own creed. For whatever you do well, there is a corresponding result, vice versa.

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