Posted by Olaniyi Abodedele on Monday, February 3, 2014 Under: Personality Profiles & Interviews

It’s seldom you see the image of a young, bubbling, adventurous, free-spirited, energetic young man or woman in the Nigeria Political scene. It seems the seat of leadership has been reserved for the older generation, but indeed the likes of Honourable Chimbiko Iche Akorolo has stepped in to change that perception and created a totally new playing field in the Nigeria political arena.

Honourable Chimbiko Iche Akorolo is the current Mayor of Port-Harcourt city thrust with the responsibility of piloting the craft of the local government. The Nigerian Voice Newspaper caught up with him in at his Davinci Hotel room in Sandton for an interview.

Good afternoon your honorable! Thank you for giving us the opportunity and privilege to interview you. According to our research, we know you are the spokes person for all 23 local government councils in Rivers State.  What has been the greatest achievement of the association in Rivers State during the current tenure?

Well, thank you my dear brother. First, let me say that the association is an association that fosters not just the unity of the local government but disseminates information to those we govern. And I want to say one thing we have achieved is the ability to inform them on the activities of government, and that is one of our greatest achievements. Remember, our system is divided into three where we have the Federal, State and Local Government and so they should be able to understand the presence of the Federal Government, the project of the State Government and that of the local government. It’s our business to make sure that we inform them and like I did say, it’s the first time that people are well informed on the activities of the Government and that has been our greatest achievement.

Thank you very much. That takes us to the next question. We are aware that you just established a foundation for pregnant women in Rivers States; can you tell our readers what the foundation is all about and why you came up with this foundation?

Well, the foundation was established as a result of the demise of my wife. You can imagine that you have all it take to save life and at the end of it all, you are not able to safe it. You have all the resources, you are in a well-equipped hospital and things couldn’t go right. So, with the pain in my heart, I said to myself after she died and I saw the children, I say what happens to young ones or those at the rural areas who lose their wives through the process of childbirth, how do they cope? I was touched by what I went through within the first three months and I said to myself, I have to reach out because there are a lot of people like me out there that needs this attention.

We all know that Government can’t solve all the problem, individuals, private bodies needs to come together. Statistics has it that 20% percent of mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa is from Nigeria. Therefore, we need to all put our hands on deck to alleviate this suffering and improve the healthcare of our people. So, I said okay let me use my God-given talent to venture into this aspect and be able to generate a little to assist pregnant women as well as the children and that led to the establishment of the foundation that I named after my wife Caroline Akorolo Foundation, the acronym is CAF.

We know you as a politician and musician; we know you are very passionate about Reggae music most especially. Why Reggae music and when did you notice that you have the talent in Reggae music?

Well I had known that I have this talent in music but I could not understand where I belong to until the lyrics began to pour out, it is when the lyrics come out that you know where you fit in.  I have been an ardent listener of Bob Marley music and the old generation Reggae music. I don’t listen to Ragga because they are too heavy for my ears. I grew up listening to Reggae music that had lots of lyrics. You know, in those days emphasis was more on lyrics than the rhythm. So, when the gap was created I found myself singing a lot because I had to occupy myself and music was something that had been there and something I could fall back on. When you lose your loved one, you have to fall back on something quickly. So music came to fill in the vacuum.

I know you are asking the question because presently the kind of music in Nigeria today is not Reggae. Don’t forget that in the 80’s, 90’s and late 90’s Reggae was very strong, we had musicians like Majek Fashek, Raskimono and the Mandators. They sang good Reggae and if you listen to their lyrics some of the things they sang about had come to pass. I didn’t see myself singing out of that circle because the Nigerian brand of music today is so personified on the physical features of women and talking about money, drugs and all that, and I don’t think I fit in that category.

As I always say the album is not about me being famous or anything, it’s about getting whatever comes out of it just for the foundation. I am not into full time music like other musicians. The foundation has a focus, we make our money more through charity, not even through the album, or performances. If you invite C-Stroke to perform in your program, you just have to realize that whatever is given will have to go directly to the Charity.

I know some time back I read an interview where you were asked if you were going to go to APC and jokingly you said what is the meaning of APC? You are a PDP man and will remain in PDP. But I see that the story is different today. What informed that change of mind?

Let me state it clearly that if you don’t leave Nigeria, there is a song called landlord travel and see. If you don’t travel, if you don’t get a lot of exposure, if you don’t see things for yourself, you won’t be able to know what development is like, and like they say experience is your authority.

At the time I made that statement I was yet to understand where they were going to and you know that at the time as well we were having problems in the party and we felt we could tackle it. Let me tell you, I have been in PDP since the inception of this democracy from 1999 and I have held several positions in the party, but I want to say that you cannot continue to be in kindergarten for the rest of your life. When I got into office I realized nothing was on ground and I cannot follow suit in that manner. Then, the excuse was that ours was a nascent democracy so people played and did whatever they wanted, but we need to be progressive, we need to progress and PDP seem to be stagnant and so if you are a man of idea, your idea dies with you.

I want to tell you that one of the reasons why I supported the move of my Governor; I will state it clear, I don’t care. I travelled out and met some young men in the East and they think that politics in Nigeria is about ethnicity and tribes. It’s rather unfortunate! One of the young men said “I am disappointed that you want to go to APC, how can you support a Hausa man” Is that why we are Nigerians I asked myself?

“You want to take the soul of Rivers State and give to a Hausa man and Yoruba man? You are betraying your brother”. Whether his brother is developing Nigeria or not it is his turn to share the money. I was amazed by his mentality, I was just looking at him, as he reminded me that we are from the East, we have suffered a lot “support your brother, Yoruba man or Hausa man has nothing to give to you. That party is for Yoruba and Hausa people” after he spoke I then said to him, that is why Nigeria is not growing, I laid the fact down. I said look,  it rather fortunate that the State is performing, we have health centres in all the communities in the State, free education from Primary to Secondary School, new infrastructures, good roads, electricity supply has increased from the epileptic nature to at least 18hours every day. The State should be an exemplary State for PDP, but PDP decided to prosecute that which is their best, and then something must be wrong upstairs. Your child that is performing should be the one you give a pat at the back for giving you a good name but rather you decide to crucify him because of what? Your child tells you to change your methods if you have to get it right. At that time, we thought our fathers will listen to us but we have fathers who are not ready to change their ways.

I am not joking, because my interaction with a member of my generation was telling me Nigeria is all about where you come from, and so if I am in a party that cannot perform I cannot tell them they are not performing. That’s rather unfortunate. And the man told me “why don’t you people get into APGA, the Igbos will protect you better”. That’s how they see Nigeria. I told him I don’t belong to that generation; I am more a Nigerian than what you are. I told him it’s rather unfortunate and I set the records straight: PDP has been unfair to our State; there is no Federal presence there. The Federal Government has not done anything for my State, I can state it anywhere, any day, and anytime there is nothing from the Federal Government and we are a PDP State. All the Federal roads have been tarred by the State Government; all the structures of the Federal Government were done by the State.

The international Airport in Port Harcourt started the same time as the ones in the East, Kano and other States, as we speak it has been abandoned, nothing is going on there at the Airport and that is the first impression about the State as soon as you come from the outside. Loyalty does not mean that I must eat your shit when I see that you are not getting it right. I cannot be subservient to a man depriving me of my growth, and then when we sat down and did a lot of analysis. We decided that  it was time to look for those who have like minds and that was when we had to look beyond PDP. And like those in the East and North, they said we will not allow you, we will give you the same treatment we gave to Anambra State, so they are giving me the impression that this is how elections will be conducted. It is a shame! These are politicians like me who is serving in the East and from interaction its quite unfortunate that Nigeria is governed by ethnicity, and that is why Nigeria can’t grow. He told me the Hausa and Yoruba man cannot protect my state, when he used those terms I now realize that he does not see me as a Nigerian, he see me more from the ethnic perspective, and it’s unfortunate. We need reconciliation, because some people are still thinking as Biafrans. We need to change our orientation, and until we first of all say that I am a Nigerian before we say where we come from in Nigeria, we will not go anywhere. So, we went to APC and they gave us a soft landing, and because we have all the progressives in that party. I mean look at all those five or seven governors agitating to leave, they have been the performing Governors in PDP, and so we had to move. That I made that comment then is because, I didn’t look out, I was engrossed in my family and now another family is ready to adopt us and give us a pride of place.

Well, I think that’s what politics and democracy should be about; finding the right place for the implementation of your people-oriented ideology. I say congratulations! I think it’s time we stand up for ourselves and speak for ourselves as youths. It’s time we understand that we have to leave a lasting legacy for our children and those unborn, but asides from that I know you as a grassroots politician well-entrenched in the politics of Rivers State, popular amongst your people, I am just wondering what is the next step in 2015?

Only God knows, I think I can clearly let you know that if we continue in this direction, we are able to provide for the people, we are able to stand for the people, we continue to see that desired change, they will have no choice than to tell us to continue and for me its paramount that I don’t think about myself first but about my people. So, 2015 will be about my score card. If they look at it and they are comfortable with it, they will tell me where to go to and represent them, Thank you very much.

In : Personality Profiles & Interviews 

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