In this interview, Prince Stephen Iwuchukwu Okereke, National coordinator of OVOV-One Voice; One Vote talks about the challenges facing the Nigerian state and the threat by Boko Haram to capture the Nigerian President.
The OVOV is a non-governmental, non-partisan political movement with a revolutionary message towards the advancement of the Nigerian people. In this exclusive interview Prince Stephen talks on feasible strategies that could be employed by the government to alleviate the problems faced by the Nigerian government and how all hands must be on deck to achieve National advancements and progress.
TNC: As the National coordinator of the OVOV movement, how you do foresee Nigeria ten years from now?
Okereke: The future is bright, so bright and fair; looking at how we use history to predict the future; I have learnt from experience that odds can go either way and we can only make projections using present day statistics which I must say are very favourable.Ten years is a very short time, I foresee a nation trying to get back on track, trying to meet up with the fast racing world out there, but I am hopeful for Nigerians as we are rapidly learning that national development is not a political position but a priority and a task in which all hands must be on deck to accomplish the changes we envisage.
TNC:The OVOV movement have been making waves in Nigeria especially in the social media and other political platforms; can you enlighten Nigerians on the strategies the movement would employ in bringing change to Nigeria and how we can collectively work together to achieve change.
Okereke: Mobilization is unity; OVOV is a political campaign organization which secures the interest of the people and structures the campaign of an aspirant. We are different from what is obtainable out there because of our ideologies towards mobilization. We are a political interest group; we have coined a new way of demanding the interest of the people from the campaign of an aspirant. We further carry out orientation programmes;educating people on educational reforms and voting, on how to vote, where to vote, why and when, through our EPPE programme;Election Practices and polling Orientation Exercise, we understand that in elections there are many people that have the most important interests and we ensure that these two interests;that is the interest of the people which is the dividends of democracy[to receive] and the interest of the aspirant which is to win[to serve].OVOV ensures that these two interests are achieved without friction, the goals of the interests are met using peculiar well thought out strategies that can never fail. More information on us will roll out as we are working on making the platform more accessible and informative to all, especially the grassroots.
TNC:What ideologies bind the members of OVOV and how is one eligible to join?
Okereke: the members are guided by one Voice [their interest] and one Vote [their candidate] in one direction. We make their votes more attractive and meaningful, so it is a nonpartisan, nonviolent approach to elections, we are giving the people a new way of approaching the candidate of any position they have interest in.Membership is open and no requirement other than being an eligible voter with your PVC; everything else your need to know about elections and the candidate contesting elections is ours to orientate and supply. Once a credible aspirant declares his intentions to serve in a public office, he is eligible and very soon we will open our platforms nationwide to attain a wider range of participation.
TNC:How will OVOV help the ordinary Nigerian in adapting to the current situations in Nigeria?
Okereke: OVOV helps the voter to choose his or her vote wisely using our candidate monitor which shows the voter the capacity of the aspiring candidate pursuing public office.It is not a fire brigade approach, it’s a gradual process before the candidate assumes the positions they are vying for, consolidate of both parties have been decided; so in the case of present day situation, we can only re orientate them towards making the right decisions in the next elections.
TNC: What are your suggestions to the government in these situations we find ourselves, the Fulani herdsmen massacres, militancy in the Niger Delta, terrorism in the north east?
Okereke: There will always be security challenges; better communication and cooperation between citizens will help security agencies arrest any security threats before it escalates. Youth restiveness is as a result of unemployment and lack of infrastructure; as the popular saying goes:”an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, so I believe the government should concentrate on the youth who are most susceptible and engage them in National projects so that their capacities can be put to use to be build a better Nation. Imagine if youths didn’t engage in NYSC after graduation, they would carry the fresh frustration from their universities to the streets, this shows that National programmers like these should be initiated even for the uneducated/non schooled youths to bring their relevance to the floor for nation building. We can start with Agriculture; government should make other sectors of the economy very attractive, let skilled labor be more attractive as its indigenous industrious youths partake in it as a collective business and then watch how people will come and invest in Nigerians output.
TNC: How will the wealthier sect of the nation help the downtrodden and the people at the grass roots who are suffering?
Okereke: I always say that it is a personal affair, if the government cannot tax the rich and give to the poor, it is left to their voluntary efforts, no one can force another man to give his wealth but we can adopt reforms which will truthfully enable that there is balance in the income flow. But in the case of corrupt wealthy people I think there should be more tactical approach to recover stolen funds and there should be a commission responsible for redirecting recovered funds and loot back into the society.
TNC: There have been rumors of some terrorists claiming they would kidnap the president and exterminate the chief of Army staff; what is your take on this?
Okereke: [laughs]…That is very laughable, something I cannot take serious. I’m sorry. Coming from militants it reveals a lot, also it shows that they know nothing of the security capacity of the Nigerian security agencies responsible for protecting the number one citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is an insult to the security agencies who work day in, day out to ensure the protection of lives and properties. I don’t know what they want to achieve by making those statements but from where I stand, it is practically impossible and should not create any panic amongst citizens.
TNC:Thank you very much for your contributions
Okereke:thank you for having me on your platform and God bless Nigeria.