Sir Kenny Ekenechukwu Okolugbo
Sir Kenny Ekenechukwu Okolugbo was born 30th of July, 1972, attended University Demonstration School Abraka, and St Gorge’s Grammar School Obinonba. And wrapped up his university Education in 1996, from Edo state university Ekpoma. A politician, an administrator, a one time member of the Youth Committee of the President Campaign team, an active member of the People Democratic Party (PDP), presently a board member representing Ndokwa nation at the board of DESOPADEC.
Before coming into active politics, he was the Managing Director Kenco Company Limited which was into properties and IT consultancy he is also a certified project consultant.
In this interview granted the Publisher of Ndokwa reporters, he bares his mind on some issues that affects our development as a people and his foray into politics.
Question: Before coming into politics, what was your background?
Sir Okolugbo: I was in business, running Kenco Company Limited. The company was into properties and IT business. For instance we were into partnership with Microsoft and that was a great achievement. In our property section we were able to provide house for people in Abuja and Lagos .In Abuja, we have houses in Kubwa.
Through Kenco we were also into consultancy to AA Rescue, also to PSL one of the leading Engineering Company in terms of electricity, we also managed the business of a multinational Company, Centrical when they were still in Nigeria.
Also part of our job as consultants was to educating our clients on how to make money from property investment.
Question: With all this when and why did you have to venture into politics?
Sir Okolugbo: Actually my first venture into politics was through Chief Great Ogboru In 2002. The rest is now history, for now I am into active politics under our great party, People Democratic Party (PDP). In 2003 however, I saw myself contesting for the house of representative, which I never planned for, then there were no much candidates, and because I was playing politics of opposition, I was encouraged to run. There were no primaries for me but that exercise helped to expose me to the abject condition which our people were living in. They voted me and that actually made me to run for the house of Rep then. And that was how I find myself in the political world.
Question: So what happened to you after that race to the National Assembly?
Sir Okolugbo: It was a politic of trying to get there but I wasn’t able to get there, but I decided to join the People Democratic Party, and since I joined the party it had being a wonderful experience especially the way Governor Uduaghan has being managing the party. And joining the party also helped me to be appointed as member of the exhorted council of the Presidents Campaign Council.
Question: On the PDP and governance, the party to the average Nigerian is not doing well, Why this perception?
Sir Okolugbo: As I said earlier, since I joined the PDP, I have witnessed development in our state. As a member of the presidential campaign team I told the world the programme the government of president Jonathan will bring to governance, and those without doubt, and despite the security challenges president Jonathan is fulfilling these promises of transforming Nigeria.
Also for our Governor, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, who without anybody cajoling him saw me worthy to be appointed into the board of DESOPADEC, I give him thanks. And this have helped me to know my people. You are carrying out this interview in the comfort of my home in Obiaruku, and not my office in Warri. Because I have to be here to experience what my people are experiencing.
This appointment made me to be very close to my people and I can understand their needs. If not for Governor Uduaghan I would not be here in Obiaruku. And this is a chapter I cannot wish away, I mingled with the people and this has helped me to use the bottom to top approach in carrying out projects for the people. And it is the project they, the people need and not sitting at the comfort of my office in Warri fashioning out projects for the people.
And again being in Obiaruku gives me the opportunity to go round my constituencies in Ukwuani and Ndokwa West. And that is what the party believes in, to be close to the people. The party is doing its best to develop the country. Most especially, through the three points agenda of the government of His Excellency, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and that of the Transformation Agenda of the federal government.
Question: What is the duration of your appointment as a board member of DESOPADEC?
Sir Okolugbo: The life span as a Board member is three years and you can never be re appointed.
Question: Is DESOPADEC meeting up with the expectations of the people?
Sir Okolugbo: Yes, you will agree with me that we have initiated and commissioned a lot of projects in many areas through the effort of the agency. Take for instance, Inam abbi, where for years never witnessed government presence. Recently a N22 million water project was commissioned, a water project that is unique in the state, if not in Nigeria.
Through DESOPADEC, the first integrated ITC Centre was built in Obiaruku. Yes DESOPADEC is helping to easy the pains of non-development in our communities. We are not only fulfilling the mandate that we were giving, we are also bringing joy and smile to our communities and people, and so far I have commissioned about 33 projects, my dream is to commission at least 100 projects before my tenure expires that is my goal.
Each of these projects has touched lives; we have built health centers in some of the communities in our area of operation. We have completed a cottage hospital in Emu, an ongoing one in Abbi, Ogume, and two in Ebedei which are near completion. We have ante natal hospital built and have been commissioned, and fully functional at Obiaruku, we gave out ambulances to the central hospital kwale and to Obiaruku General Hospital.
Also on health the commission carried out a medical outreach exercise where over ten thousand people were able to see the Doctor, who attended to their various needs. Drugs, glasses were given, and over 160 surgeries were carried out, In Ndokwa Nation, there are facts.
In the transportation sector, the commission has done a lot. Yes, there may be problem. For instance, one kilometer roads done in some places are unacceptable; I also do not accept that. And today we have taken the bull by the horn, we have ventured into doing 2 to 4 kilometer roads, some of these half done roads will soon be completed once the funds are made available.
Johnson Oriaku will soon be completed. The Umuebu roads has been awarded it is the fund that is holding back the work, and many other roads, the hospital road Umutu; and so many other.
Again in transportation, we have provided 4 buses for HOSTCOM. One for each of the 3 LGA in Ndokwa nation, and one for the national body. Also we have bought a bus for the Ndokwa Neku Union, one for the Ndokwa Diocese, Anglican Communion, all brand new buses. At the security angle we equally provided vehicles for the police in Obiaruku, and Kwale, and to the vigilantes. All these done within a period of 18 months. Again we have given over 100 tricycles, and today you can see what we have injected into the system, transportation cost between Obiaruku and Abraka is reduced. And money is been put into the pocket of the people of Ukwuani, those who don’t have GOD father can win through balloting
On Education, we have an ITC centre built by the commission, which has over 40 computers; there is an ITC library and ITC theatre. This was built from the foundation, fully furnished, powered with generator set. We have commissioned 12 classroom blocks in Ebedei, Umuebu, Eziokpor, Utue-Ogume and many other communities, all evenly spread, and more contracts, had been awarded up to 99 jobs in the Ndokwa nation for the 2013 budgets.
In the industrial area we have built, rehabitated markets in the area like the one in Etua-Ukpo with bore hole and six unit toilets, and ceiling fans, these markets acted as catalysts to awarding 8 more markets for both industrial and commerce development of the area. The extra market will be built in Emu-uno, Abbi and other communities.
Also there is a contract for the building of the Emmanuel Uduaghan Centre that will have a hall, library, offices close to the Ukwuani local government council. This is a star project, because the centre will also have spaces for stalls to serve guests that will make use of the place. This will help to bring money into the Ndokwa Nation DESOPADEC.
The commission in Ndokwa has not over looked the need for water in our communities: Recently a water project, powered by solar system with the capacity of 40,000 litres of water, evenly piped to all the streets of Inam –Abbi was commissioned. And this is the first of such project in Delta State. In this project, there is provision for water lines to be connected to homes. More water project has been awarded at Umuosele and others. All these will touch lives of the communities.
However for Electricity we cannot say we have done much, but we have been able to put 300KVA transformer of 2 units in Afieze in kwale that will spread 1km. So far we have bought about 10 transformers, which will be evenly distributed within the area, all these with 9% of quantum sharing to Ndokwa Nation. And with the full support of the Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan.
Question: What inspired the execution of the Inam-Abbi project? And how will it be maintained?
Sir Okolugbo: It was the absence of government project in Inam-Abbi, even the school there was a community effort. The water project was donated by Platform Petroleum Limited. So to tell the people of the community that they were not abandoned, that massive project was undertaking, first of its kind in Delta State, Again, we felt the idea of every home going to one point to fetch water was not a good one, that it should be taking closer to the people. That was while an average of 57 points of water was created with an average of three water taps at a point. The struggle of going far to get water is a great inconvenience.
For the maintenance, we are going to create a budget head to service such project, with that it will be sustained.
Question: While in midst of all the achievement, why are you so criticized?
Sir Okolugbo: Such is expected for any person who wants to go into public service. If Chief Friday Enyi Abaja, who has used billions of naira to develop his community and other communities in Ndokwa, can be insulted and accused, who is me. This is a man who had turned his community round and many other communities in Ndokwa, but still he is being humiliated. So I should expect such. However, all, we ask for its constructive criticism. Not the pull him down syndrome like the recent issue that I never went to school as published by one of the local newspaper in Obiaruku, even when the registrar had cleared me. Or, is it the issue that there was no projects, and when they now confirmed the existence of the projects they started singing another tone.
This time it was that the projects were not up to standard. When they failed they came up with the issue that I had being suspended as commissioner and so on.
All these are distractions, but it was expected, I have come to serve.
Question: You were recently given award by the Trumpet International Magazine, what was it all about?
Sir Okolugbo: It was in recognition to my contribution to the development of the society. Before I became commissioner, I have single handedly completed the abandoned Umuebu school project, even while I have no house in Obiaruku. I was residing in Gordon Hotel, Abraka. I hardly accept awards, but after checking the source of the award, and the criteria I accepted the award since it was in recognition of my contribution to the communities in the area of infrastructural contribution.
Question: How do you see DESOPADEC in the next ten to twenty years?
Sir Okolugbo: My prayer is that any one that takes over from me, which we be anytime soon, will be able to share the same vision and if we have time to sit down I will give him a bit of my experiences, and insight on how he can be more successful than me. I am aware I have raised the bar, but I also know that someone will come that will take it beyond my level. And if it happens like that, then in the next decades, DESOPADEC will be the dream of what Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, always had, and which is manifesting now.