Chief Hon. Labomie Fubara Manuel is a grassroots politician. A former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, represented Akulga Constituency II: on Monday, spoke with our Managing Editor, Damiete West on plethora of isues, ranging from his defection to APC, Amaechi’s administration, his dreams for Akulga Council to the activities of Boko Haram. Excerpt.
QUESTION: – As a loyalist to Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Do you also defect with Governor Amaechi to the All Progressives Congress?
ANSWER: – I have no choice, because I have believed in the leadership of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for a very long term. And he has never failed. If somebody gives you nine (9) over nine (9), what is the possibility of infilling one (1) in ten (10) is a slim, if he has gotten nine (9) (over) nine. So I followed him, and I have trusted in his judgement. And I have defected with him.
QUESTION: – The lawmakers in Rivers State have been holding their sittings outside the Assembly Complex. Is it a proper thing to do?
ANSWER: – The sitting chamber of the lawmakers is decided by the lawmakers. As long as you have the Mace, the Speaker and the resolution of the House to move the sitting chamber to anywhere, even in a Hotel room. It is possible. And I am sure such a motion has been and adopted because of the bad nature of the Assembly chamber. You know during the fracas, a lot of things were damaged, the sound and video system and other equipment.
And I am sure consequent upon that they moved a motion to hold their sittings outside the Assembly Complex. And it is proper and right. They have the Mace, the Speaker and everybody in the Assembly. They have the majority of the Assembly members there, which means that is the constituted Assembly now.
QUESTION: – Now that you have moved to APC, do you see the possibility of APC winning the 2015 general election in Rivers State?
ANSWER: – Who made up the PDP. We made the PDP what it is. Look at who and who in APC today. They are the people that made the PDP what it was. Now we have all moved out of PDP into the APC. And if on a one man one vote election, if our votes are really going to be counted. If the PDP is not going to rig the elections with their soldiers and their police. There is no going back. APC is sure to beat them flat at all levels from the Presidential to the Councils in Rivers State.
QUESTION: – That means you are not in support of President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election?
ANSWER: – I don’t. From the first time, I didn’t even support Jonathan. I know he has nothing to offer. I didn’t support him in the first instance. But because we have made to support him as party, we all worked for him. Now that I am in a different party, of course I am going to support my party, work for my party and make sure that my party wins.
QUESTION: – Of recent some Kalabari politicians under the auspices of PDP Stakeholders endorsed Chief (Barr.) Nyesom Wike as the next Governor of Rivers State. What do you have to say?
ANSWER: – That is absurd. I have never heard of it before. Is the Ikwerres telling us that they own Rivers State? Amaechi is from Ikwerre. And no good and right thinking Ikwerre man would say he wants to become the Governor of Rivers State for now, until it comes to their tenure. Right now it is the tenure of the Ogoni, Andoni, Opobo/Nkoro axis. We have had our turn, the Rivers – West Senatorial District and Amaechi, the Ikwerres and Okrikans having theirs now. And 2015 is the turn of the Rivers South East Senatorial District. These are the Ogonis, Andonis, Opobos and Nkoros. They are the people we have to think about, and not the Ikwerres. But if PDP thinks they are comfortable with the nomination of Chief Wike. Let them try it. It will be a walk over for Rivers APC. I wish they bring him (Wike). Let them bring Wike and let us see what will going to happen.
QUESTION: – From your statement 2015 is the turn of the Rivers South East Senatorial District. And it is made up of the Ogonis and other riverine communities namely: the Andoni, Opobo and Nkoro. Which of the ethnic groups do you think the next Governor will come from.
ANSWER: – I want to strongly believe that politics is a game of numbers. Ogoni people have been deprived for a long time. And they have the numbers. Ogonis are well placed people now in Rivers State. And I want to place my bet, that our next governor will come from Ogoni.
QUESTION: – It means that you are not in support of a riverine Governor?
ANSWER: – Is Ogoni man not a riverine man? Ogoni man is a riverine man. Most of the fishermen in Abonnema are Ogonis. If they don’t have rivers, and not engage in riverine activities, how can they fish and feed us here? Most of the fishermen in Port Harcourt and Abonnema, are all Ogoni men. So how do you classify riverine? How do you classify riverine areas that you don’t classify Ogoni villages as riverine? They are riverine people.
QUESTION: – Sir are you still eyeing the council chairmanship seat in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area?
ANSWER: – I am seriously eyeing the council seat. I have prepared, once the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) says we are ready. I am ready. I think I am qualified by virtue of our zoning system, it is now the turn of the Manuel quarters of Abonnema. The Manuel Compound will produce the next chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area. In Manuel Compound I don’t think there is any politician that are more qualified than I am. I am eminently qualified to contest.
QUESTION: – You are sure of winning?
ANSWER: – Yes, I am sure of winning because at least I have been tested and I have delivered. So the people know me. I am one man that says this and does that. They know I wouldn’t come and tell them lies, and I wouldn’t come out and embezzle their money. And that is not in my nature.
QUESTION: – What are your dreams if you are eventually become the Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area?
ANSWER:- Before this time, Abonnema, which is the seat of the Government in Akuku-Toru was a commercial nerves centre of this area. And it pains me that successive governments have just turned Abonnema to a weekend relaxation area. Where people come to spend their weekend and money. I want to commercialize and industrialize Akuku-Toru. We will get to those same good old days. I will set up industries, jobs, and making it self-sufficient. Akuku-Toru will not depend on federal allocations to pay staff salary and to carry on developments. This I can assure you.
QUESTION: – Assess the performance of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi?
ANSWER: – Since the creation of Rivers State, there is no government that has done as much as the Amaechi led government. There is none. The nearest to it was that of the Diette-Spiff’s in the old Rivers State. Apart from that you can’t name any. Look at it from the roads to schools to health centres, and to the human empowerment. Many of our children have being given scholarship abroad. Plenty of them, hundreds of them study abroad. How many of them have being empowered by the Micro Finance? Hundreds of them. You can look at the roads in town, all of them are being constructed. Look at the roads in Diobu, a lot of them are being constructed. Look at the Rumumasi/Rumubiakani area, very beautiful. Look at the Ada-George it appears as if you are on the road in US. Look at the Stadium road, it is another thing. I think the Amaechi-led Government has done the Rivers man proud. And if the next Governor behaves like Amaechi, I am sure Rivers State will be transformed into another London. With the rate Amaechi is going, and if the next Governor continues like that. Look at the Mono-rail. If the monorail goes round Port Harcourt, imagine what it means. Amaechi has started, it is not a project that he can finish one time. If the next Governor comes in and takes it to Oilmill, I know what it means. It is a matter of seconds moving hundreds of people in a flash. And that is what we want. And I think there is no Government in Nigeria that you can compare with that of Amaechi’s. Probably I can say the Lagos State Governor has also done very beautifully and of course he is a progressive. These youngmen who are progressive Governors are doing very well; and I think the PDP should copy from them.
QUESTION: – There are so much agitations as regards to where the next Governor will come from. Do you see the possibility of ethnic clash during the 2015 general election?
ANSWER: – We have agitations for governorship seat coming to different ethnic groups. Like the Kalabari people want, the Ikwerres are also fighting to get it again. The Opobo man is fighting to get it. The Ogoni man is fighting to get it. The Andoni man is also fighting to get it. There is a lot of interest in it. But I don’t think, there will be any ethnic clash. I know that by the time the whole thing settles down, it will be done the usual way. It will go the Senatorial zone. And when it goes to the Senatorial zone, it will now go by majority votes. There will be primaries and of course whoever comes out of the primaries will get it.
QUESTION: – Suggest ways of eradicating the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
ANSWER: – Boko Haram is a menace. I think it is the fault of the Federal Government. If they had declared emergency like Amaechi declared emergency in the Education Sector in Rivers State, all these things would not have happened. Before we came in here there were militancy and kidnapping. The Government was paying militants hundreds of millions of naira every month to keep them calm. But when Amaechi came he refused bluntly to pay.
And he (Amaechi) said it was not right. What he did was to declare an emergency in the education sector. And putting must of these boys in schools, giving them scholarship and made them busy. And things begin to change gradually. And now in Rivers State we can sleep peacefully if not for the Mbu induced crisis that we have now in Rivers State. That will also settle down, because the Governor is able and tackling it. If Jonathan had done same, declares emergency in the education sector in Nigeria, I am sure we will not see these things we are seeing in the Northern States like Borno, Adamawa and Others. The people are not really educated, and that is why they are behaving this way.
QUESTION: – What advice do you have for people who are still in PDP in Rivers State?
ANSWER: – PDP is a dead party. PDP is crushing. PDP is crashing down. And my simply advice is join the train of change. Join the train that will change the future of Nigeria – that is the APC. I promise you just watch the next elections; APC will win from the Presidential to the Local Government Councils. I can assure you that there is no hope for PDP any longer.