INTERVIEW: I Will Clear Abia Salary Backlog in 18 Months if Elected – SDP Guber Candidate, Dr Ngozika Johnson-Ogbuneke

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Apostle Dr Ngozika Gladys Johnson-Ogbuneke, the Abia State Governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party, (SDP) in the 2023 general elections is a human rights lawyer, a Doctor and a humanitarian with with several years of dedication into the struggles of fairness, justice and equity of the common man.

Apostle Dr Ngozika Gladys Johnson-Ogbuneke, in this interview with Juachi Ochu, explains in details why she wants to take over from Dr Okezie Ikpeazu as Governor of Abia State in may 2023.

Dr Ngozika Gladys Johnson-Ogbuneke shared with Juachi Ochu about her foray into Nigeria politics as a woman and the need to change the narrative in as the first democratically elected Governor of Abia State.

Excerpts:

Juachi Ochu: May we know you?

Dr Ngozika: My name is Apostle Dr Ngozika Gladys Johnson-Ogbuneke. I come from Ovim in Isuikwuato and I also happen to marry in Isuikwuato, from Umuokogbuo-Eluama to Dr Johnson Chukwunenye Ogbuneke. As a matter of fact, few days ago, 24th of November, 2022 happened to be my 32 years of wedding anniversary and God has blessed us with 4 adults children.

I am a medical doctor by profession. I trained at the college of medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. And soon after my medical training, I got married. I returned back to the united kingdom and practiced medicine there; training into what we call as residency through residence programmes which post-doctorate programmes. And I trained to be a surgeon. Then after the general surgery training, I’m a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeon of Great Island. So, after training and passing the exams, I then decided to sub-specialize in Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery because of my love and passion in fracture management. I went further and went to the University of Luville Hospital in Kentucky, USA and trained in my trauma fellowship.

After that program, I published a lot of articles which were accepted by professional bodies like European Orthopedic Research Society.

Despite my passion for medicine and surgery in particular, I also have passion for justice, fairness and equity. And in my local community in England where I live, I have always been supporting people in the community, representing them in various panels. Then, I decided to train as a lawyer. So, I’m a human right lawyer, I have hold in LLD and LLM with an award, Merit award from the university of Worrick, Orshe in UK.

Above all things, I’m a community worker, I call myself the Deborah in the community because my heart desire is to have a fair society so that, people can live with less stress about their housing and financing of things. And I hold a charity I call “The Sanctuary Hand of Grace Foundation”. I didn’t call my charity by my name because I like everything I’m doing to just go back to Jehovah my God. So, through the heart of that Charity, I have been supportive in training children going to school, paying children’s school fees with trained nurses, accountants, people that also did other part degree programs in college of Education in Nigeria.

We have also been helpful to widows at very high levels in Nigeria that back in June, 2021, I got an award from the Virtuous Women International Group in Nigeria and some other human rights groups recognizing my work. So, that is who I am.

I’m a Bible class teacher. I always like the word of God as being a standard and I’m an ordained minister. And with God’s help, I have planted a church in the UK, “The Sanctuary Christian Apostolic Church of God”. It’s a global ministry and i run it through UK and Nigeria.

But, my heart for humanity took me into civil politics, so watching how Nigeria kind of went down here on a lot of things, I was intrigued but also happy when during the 2020 EndSARS movement, the Nigeria youths started asking questions and started protesting about the social injustice and they were saying that, EndSARS should be a target. So, that was why I said “ok”, since people have woken up and youths have woken up to ask the right questions, let me be part of those to help them to go through this civil politics, non violently, so that, we can pursue a more just and fair society in Nigeria.

Juachi Ochu: You are the Gubernatorial candidate for SDP in Abia State. Can you tell us a few things about that?

Dr Ngozika: The Social Democratic Party (SDP), is not a new party, it’s an old long party. And the ethos and the principle of SDP, they happen to be more to my liking and my taste than my knowledge and understanding and readings of some other political parties in Nigeria. And my intention and my passion has always been to help to bear the social burdens of people in the community. The SDP now happen to be the party that could help me express such passion and intention.

So, when I approached and applied to run under this platform, I was also very pleased that I was accepted and I was also given the certificate to run. We had to go through the primaries back in May or June and God’s willing, I came up unopposed to be the flag bearer for SDP, Abia State. The party system is really very deep because probably, they have not won any election, people think that, they don’t have structures, not at all. The SDP in Abia State, in all the state of Nigeria have good structures, down to the polling units. And I feel blessed and humbled that, they have given me the grace and lifted up my hands to be the flag bearer to run as the Governorship candidate to represent them.

The party Chairman, Elder Edward Ezenwoke as well as the party excos and other officials of the party, they have been working in line with my campaign organization which I call “The Ngozi Abia Governorship Campaign Organization”. And three weeks ago, we now expanded this and integrating the membership of the SDP who are willing and active to work in the campaign and we created a 155 man Ngozi Abia Governorship Campaign Council. So, that the council now have a lot of other pro-ngozi Abia groups as being parts of the team. And we are all rooted down to the grassroot levels as we continue with the election processes to win the next election.

Juachi Ochu: Can we say that, the EndSARS movement motivated you into joining the Guber race in Abia?

Dr Ngozika: Yes, in a way. I will say that, the EndSARS movement motivated me. It broke my heart to hear and see a lot of the negativities and the things the youths of Nigeria were going through. Yes, the youths of Nigeria if I can say, motivated me to go ahead and support them. Because, the youths of Nigeria, most of them are in the age groups of my children and then, when I compare and I say “ok”, my children most of them are in the developed country. So to speak, and they have these opportunities and they are able to use these opportunities to reach their own potentials in life. Then, when you compare the same with Nigeria, the difference is much.

And now, somebody will sit on the fence and say; “oh, because it’s ok for me, other people, it doesn’t matter”. So, that’s why I stepped forward to say “No”, I will lend my hand of support that, there should be fairer society in Nigeria. And, where do I start, you know, you start in a small corner and my small corner happened to be Abia State.

The other things that also motivated me in running for this position were the situation of development in Abia State. It has been of a very sorry sight. Because, Abia State has been created for past 31 years back in September of 1991, but, when you go through the capital, Umuahia, so to speak, you don’t even see anything at all that is different from how it has been 31 years ago. I use to live in Umuahia.

And then, when you look at the women, the position of women, widows, ordinary women, ordinary girls and the youths in total, then, you find out that the Abia State community, we are really lacking not just in social, economic, poverty, hardship, general to all other Nigerian communities but in basic infrastructures, basic structural development, basic human Development that people should even come out and be confident that they are from Abia State. So, in summary, I came to bring myself forward to run this race, in order to make good impacts, God’s willing, in the lives of the youths, women, the girl child and also in the general community of Abia State.

Juachi Ochu: Why do you think you should be elected as the next Governor of Abia State come 2023?

Dr Ngozika: I speak to the people of Abia State, that, when somebody is doing the same thing all over and over again without any change, without any update and reflection of what has happened before and yet expecting new results. I mean, that person is sort of living in a dream because the results is not going to come. And as a woman of the word of God, remember the bible says that, the children of Israel where going through the wilderness and they went around for 40 years and until they now realized to move forward before th change came. Abia State has been going round this wilderness for 31 years. Abia State has elected a lot of males, a lot of people from PDP and APC and they have not done anything different, instead, they continue to tell the people there’s no money, while the money is supposed to have been kept in the pockets, at the hands of selected few, that should not be. I am coming out to tell Abia State, to try something different, because, when you give the chance for a woman to manage something, every woman, every mother is naturally a manager.

I’m not bringing into Abia State only the wisdom, knowledge, professional skills, background of being a doctor, of being a surgeon, of being a lawyer (human right lawyer) or a minister of the word of God. I’m bringing to them, the basic management of a woman. Abia State needs a tender loving care. After 31 years of trauma, of no good roads, poor educational system, inadequate power supply, water system etc.

I’m coming to bring government of the people to Abia State, so that, they will know that, Abia State Government house does not belong to anybody, and it does not belong to the governor exclusively, it belongs to the people of Abia State. I’m going to have an open and inclusive government, so that, people can feel the government of Ngozika, touch the government of Ngozika and be parts of the government of Ngozika.

Juachi Ochu: How Will You Handle The Issue of Salary Backlog?

Dr Ngozika: As the next governor of Abia State, I will ask the people of Abia State to give me 18 months and with these 18 months, we will be able to clear the salary backlog. You know when you invest positively in people, you will expect also positive returns. Then, I will invest in areas like Ariaria market and will also give those working in the cottage industries soft loans so that, they can work and continue to work those things that makes Aba to be well known. You know, before now, a lot of things are said to be made in Aba; clothes, shoes, ties, cap, everything. So, they will go back and continue manufacturing and turning over in resources. Then, I also want to rebuild roads, and road networks so that, transportation of goods and services could be easier and gifts the traders soft loans to do their businesses. These are soft areas to invest in and have returns.

Then, you also look at agriculture. People are hungry, so, when you improve on mechanized farming, at least, by 6 months, and there’s a turn up of harvest, and turn up on buying and selling, so, there’s a revenue coming into the cougher of the government. So, you look at all these things and activate agriculture in the right dimensions, not just waiting hands in gloves to come down.

I don’t know how else I could say it, but, my challenge to the people of Abia State is to give me 2 years which is 24 months of my administration and my target is to bring the walking policies to be in line with what is being done in the UK and other developed countries. So that, a worker going to work would know that, at the end of the month, they will get their salaries.

Many people in Abia State are also concerned because their are so many ghost workers. So, you have got to sieve out, who are those people actually working and who are those people who are not working.

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