In all the 18 Local Government Areas of Cross River State, there is a major pitch for the Local Government elected political offices, much like the rush to enter Noah’s ark.
Recently, the Special Assistant to the Governor of Cross River State on Youth Affairs graciously granted an Exclusive Interview to TRAIL REPORTERS NEWS.
Here are excerpts of the discussion with Mr. Declan Ogar- Genesis who is also aspiring for the office of the council’s chairman in Yala Local Government Area.
Trail Reporters: Good day Mr. Declan Ogar-Genesis
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Good Day Sir
Trail Reporters: We are glad to have a chat with you on the wonderful vision that you are pursuing in Yala Local Government Area.
Let’s start with you. Who is Declan Ogar-Genesis?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Declan Ogar-Genesis is a man from Ugaga in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State aspiring to serve as the council’s chairman.
Trail Reporters: what are your educational qualifications?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: I have finished my course work, left with my Thesis defence for the award of masters degree in Criminology in the prestigious University of Calabar. Having obtained a bachelor of science degree in sociology and anthropology in the same University and served my country as a corps member.
Trail Reporters: That’s interesting. you talk of studying Criminology. That is a credit to you as an aspiring leader in the Nigeria society. what informed your mindset into taking that up as a discipline?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Well, as a sociologist, my primary target is to study and understand the existence and possibility of society. Towards answering one of the greatest questions in the field of sociology asked by one of the greatest sociologists who lived between 1858 – 1918 by name George Simmel. The question is how is Society possible? And all sociology graduates are expected to at least come up with either an invention, theory/model or even a valid statement that will gear towards addressing the enormous challenges being confronted by people in their day to day activities within the society. So, studying criminology to me, is another better means of understanding the activities of people within the society. Why should some people behave normal and some are not. Why should there be deviants in the society? It gives me a better opportunity to understand all these patterns of human behaviors within the society.
Trail Reporters: Are you currently holding any political office in the government of Cross River State?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Yes. By the grace of God, I’m the Special Assistant to the Governor of Cross River State on Youth Affairs.
Trail Reporters: That is a very sensitive position in government. We have the ministry of youth and sport and other agencies with similar responsibility. As the Special Assistant to the Governor of Cross River State on youth affairs, How have you been able to perform your duties in term of repositioning the relationship between the Government and the Youth?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Happy you mentioned the Ministry of youth and Sport Development which is being headed by one of the most vibrant youth in the state by name Comrade Asu Okang. Leadership is a collaborative effort. As S.A. youth Affairs, I have been able to collaborate with the commissioner to ensure that the youth of Cross River State have their fair shares in the present administration of Senator( Prof) Ben Ayade who is also a youth friendly governor as you can see. Also, Being an S.A. does not guarantee me as an individual to work outside the confines of the current administration’s philosophy, I hope you know that. On top of that, you will agree with me that 65 to 80% of policies and programs of the current administration are for the interest and benefit of the youth of the state.
Trail Reporters: what innovation programmes have you created for the state youth within your leadership team in collaboration with the ministry of youth and sport?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Currently, there is a training going on at Tinapa anchored by the Ministry of Youth and Sport Development in collaboration with the United Nations and other development agencies. In one of our collaborative efforts, the state governor approved up to 18 Personal Assistants and 3 special assistants to the Governor on Youth mobilization from the 18 LGAs and 3 senatorial districts of the state. All of these are my collaborative efforts towards giving the youth of Cross River State a sense of belonging and to encourage them to participate in the current administration effectively.
Trail Reporters: So what inspired your aspiration for the chairmanship position in Yala local government Area?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Of the truth, I have gathered so much to contribute to the upliftment of the society. And now for that unique opportunity where I will be able administer that sincere leadership service that will stand as an example for many others to follow. As to achieve this, I discover that charity must begin at home. And so, the council administration becomes the most important platform for me to establish the kind of selfless leadership style I really I have not seen much exhibit in the past and present administration. I have also attended leadership training in so many areas including abroad. I really wish to have a chance where I can display that which I have learnt internationally and bring it to establish in our domain for rapid growth and development of our society too.
Trail Reporters: charity begins at home. Trail Reporters learnt that you have paid school fees on several occasions for students from your local Government, is that true?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Yes. That has been my character. I love sharing my widow’s might. As someone who has passed through the bitter parts of studentship, no effort made towards alleviating the suffering condition of average students no matter how small that is taken for granted. I may be considering my widow’s might as too small a gesture, but go to the minds of those beneficiaries, you will see joy and hope in their minds. And that is where I take solace from and I wish i have access to the management of any kind of fund that will enable me do even more and cover a wider range and get as many as possible educated. Education is the only sure path to unity, progress, growth and development of any society.
Trail Reporters: We believe you will be contesting on the platform of the People’s Democratic party. Can you tell us about your campaign team current state of preparedness toward the party primaries and for the big stage when you eventually sail through?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Well as you know PDP is a big family. No single person can decide its structure and family, one needs to show working, show strength, show popularity, show loyalty and be visionary. All of these, I am very mindful of them all. About my campaign team, I feel I am the only aspirant that have dedicated group of individuals working day and night to ensure what they have found in me that is of their taste be brought to the larger society by my election as Yala Local Government Area Chairman. I already have a broad based network campaign team working assiduously. As I speak to you, there is no single community in Yala LGA that I don’t have people canvassing for my support across the local government area. My campaign team covers both on ground and the media space. They are people who have decided to work selflessly in order to better tomorrow. I trust them and the team has so much confidence in me.
Trail Reporters: What is your definition of leadership and your visions for the people of yala?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Truly leadership in my own view is means of empowering those that he/she is leading. And it must be physical empowerment, psychological empowerment, spiritual empowerment, social empowerment, cultural empowerment, modern/technological empowerment etc. To me, Leadership is a veritable platform for bringing to bear that innovation that is targeting transforming the people. One is leading for ultimate productivity and advancement. My vision is to remove the people of Yala Local Government Area from the shackles of ineptitude in leadership, show them transparency in governance, ensure that no single soul die in Yala Local Government Area without knowing how to at least write his her name and then make Yala people Great.
Trail Reporters: Most candidates have a tendency to become rather chameleon-like when aspiring for political offices and can endlessly spout heart warming campaign promises. Recent polls show that most voters don’t think government at any level works. What is your negotiating philosophy to this as regards your aspiration and what would you do to fix the underlying structures and systems that seem to be broken if voted into office?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Well, I feel my lifestyle, my antecedents, and background are my negotiating philosophy. I live an open minded lifestyle. I’m very active in the media world. I feel that a chameleon-like minded individuals can’t expose themselves to the public for too long unless they are conscienceless individuals who don’t even have iota of integrity in life. I have a buildup integrity. I am a social person. I believe it’s God who lifted me from nothingness to where I am today and that if I consciously offend Him, He can easily return me to square one. In other word, I have the fear of God and many people know me for that over time. So, I will encourage people to be steadfast and try anyone that have not been before or are tried in little ways but were not culprit or found wanting. I will serve Yala with the fear of God and serious ruggedness to bring change and development to the people of the area.
Trail Reporters: The easiest thing to do as a chairman of a council is to attract smart policy advisers and the hardest decisions won’t be consensus decisions. What will inform your decision making so as not to just accept what they say?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: One of the reasons why I am so unique particularly and also maintain integrity is my independent mindedness. Though I listen to people a lot, but I normally go for the most hardest choice which often turned out to be the best and unique at the end and gets so many people attracted to it at the long run.
Trail Reporter: Aside your political engagement, you must have held leadership position in other social organization. can you give us concrete examples from your past as to how you have helped change the ideology of such an organization?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: If you check the Cross River State we are in today, I can boastfully tell you that my active online activities especially in one platform called Cross River State Coalition for Change has contributed hugely to the state of Cross River State we are right now. Though we’ve not got there, but at least, the state is not like what we saw those days before we embarked on the coalition activism both online and on ground towards making the change we envision for the people of Cross River State. Besides, there is no place that I have been and don’t make my impact felt positively. My profile speaks for me.
Trail Reporters: We are in economy recession. How do you intend to generate your own revenue locally that will at least make what you would like to achieve as a council chairman in Yala?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: The brain is the producer of everything man enjoy today including money for other things. If I am elected, recession will not hold me back from achieving what I intend to achieve for the interest of the good people of Yala Local Government Area. So long as the the little that is coming before keeps coming, we will use that to generate more to use. I believe in prudency and transparency. That two attitudes of man don’t recognize recession in my view. Not everything demand for money if you are a real leader.
Trail Reporters: Talking about generating revenue, Agriculture is one of the ways to boost revenue. Combining Agriculture and others major sectors such as Health, Education and Transportation sectors receive the necessary attention in Yala?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Out of the few you highlighted up there, there is non that is too better or superior than the other. My personal manifesto contains a logical and comprehensive proceeding towards achieving unprecedented records if I am elected. I don’t need to start with big. I intend to start even with the small that is available and then make sure that the small turns big through the application of prudency and transparency.
Trail Reporters: And if you are elected, how will you inspire all local Government employees to provide the highest level of service to their customers; the people of yala?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Wow. Of the truth, the staff of the Local Government would be my partner in progress. I will serve Yala LGA by example. And if I as the Local Government Chairman is doing most of things practically and my presence felt by the people of Yala LGA, I see no employees who will still backslide.
Trail Reporters: Young people have engaged in this election in greater numbers than ever before. How will you create an environment for innovation within your government for the youths of Yala local government?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: One of my propelling visions for this race is to change the mentality of young people in Yala Local Government Area and set example for all other youth in Cross River State and beyond. From day one, I have been a youth crusader. For me, I believe that young people are adventurers. And without taking adventure, there would be no discovery. Why the older people survive in archaic lifestyle, young people operate on innovation. My dream is to create a better platform for the young people in Yala Local Government Area to rediscover their God’s given talents fast before it gets wasted. I hope you understand what I mean. Honestly, Nigeria society of today is killing talents like no other societies in the world. Ask me why? Because, young people are not being given enough platform to exhibit their God’s given talents. They are not being encouraged enough. Thank God for the present administration in Cross River State. One of the areas it has scored up to 90% in my assessment is the encouragement of young people into leadership positions. And I don’t think they have failed that much that any right thinking individual would have opportunity to criticize over such lofty decision of putting young people in leadership positions. So if results are coming from young people in position of leadership even much rapid than ever recorded, then encouraging young in the position of leadership in Nigeria should be seen as an innovation, and not mere decision. Since, it has not been the order of the day for quite a long time. My administration would be 80% youths driven.
Trail Reporters: Am sure you will cite some of the plans you have for them in your manifesto, can you just mention at least one considering the fact that not all the youth are educated. how do you intend to carry both the educated and non educated ones along?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Yes, as I speak to you, voluntary slavery (child Labour and child trafficking) is rampant in Yala Local Government Area. And that is as a result misguided and unfortunate parental background and due to little or no strong policy by the successive administration. My administration will strategize a very clear policy that will discourage voluntary slavery in Yala Local Government Area by creating opportunity for young people irrespective of their educational background to operate. My skill acquisition dimensions do not really require much formal education. But my administration will emphasize basic education for every child in Yala LGA. That will be our standpoint.
Trail Reporters: Lets talk about Cross River state Government. How will you rate the present Senator Ben Ayade led Government?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: The administration gave the people a direction from it inception, the tenure has not elapsed yet. So rating now would be unjustly. Though, some people could attempt that now based on their selfish and personal interests either negatively or postitvely.
Trail Reporters: The Cross River State government have come under critics in recent time. Permit me to divert a bit, Recently there have been growing consent especially on social media on the dirty supply of water by Cross River State Water Board. Our TRAIL REPORTERS team visited the state last week and find this report to be true. As a member of the government cabinet. what is the government doing about this?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Incidentally, the Governor is an inventor. He invented a related water sewage treatment plants. If that was truly discovered, it could be as a laboratory errors or something of that nature which is not out of humans nature. The governor has been doing his best to give Cross Riverians nothing but the best. Mind you, mistake is the best teacher for proficiency and professionalism.
Trail Reporters: Looking at the President Buhari led APC Government, what do you have to say; Is he getting the vision in which is campaign was birthed right or wrong?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Like I heard the president once exclaimed: that old age is affecting him. If not for that, I feel the APC government would have been making a mark by now. Check out what was happening in Nigeria when the Vice president was in charge briefly that time. So, to me, it now depends on the individuals, not the party. Procrastination is a thief that steal good things that are suppose to take place for the interest of any individuals or groups in any society of the world.
Trail Reporters: One of the problems as a leader is the problem of marginalization between the ruling party and the other opposition parties. if elected, how would you be able to tackle the problem such as balancing appointments and all that?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Trying to marginalize a foreseen “opposition” to me is a product of corruption and ineptitude. There is no man that does not have a unique gift in him. Let me tell you, so far, I have consulted more than three people who are aspiring for the same chairmanship in Yala Local Government Area that I am aspiring also. None of them have done that towards me. If I win, those people should be my bone based if I must do well for the people of Yala Local Government Area. Unless, they refuse to participate along the line voluntarily. The interest of the people should be the focal point, and not the party line interest which to me is poor, visionless and feeble.
Trail Reporters: In your own opinion, is there any areas where a Local Government Chairman could probably do some good but he has no delegated power to act?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: To me, all the activities of every other governments of the three tiers of governments in Nigeria both the federal, state and local governments are all for the interest of those living in the Local Government. There is no citizen of Nigeria who is not from a particular local government or living in a particular local government across the country. As a local government chairman, there will be no bound for me not to lobby things for the interest of the good people of Yala Local Government Area. For instance, if I discovered that part of Yala Local Government Area lack road. Be it federal or state road. I should not fold my hands and seat while my people continue to perish because it’s not in my position to construct such road. I should move further to be able to lobby and influence either the federal government or state government to get the road constructed for Yala people. After all, the other roads that be it the state government or federal government are constructing elsewhere are in one local government or the other. So, why should I fold my hands or keep quiet while the people of Yala do not have a passable road on the ground that it is not the Local Government delegation to act at that level of governance. The whole thing as far as I am concern is the power to lobby and asking for more for the interest of the people you serve. Federal or state governments operate in local government areas across the country. For instance, if the state government could use the joint account money to develop Calabar Municipal Area Council, it should also consider the fact that there is a Yala Local Government Area in the same state too that deserves most of those amenities that are being put in place for the people of Calabar Municipal area council people to enjoy in the state. That is equitable distribution of resources in government.
Trail Reporters: What kind of political support will you appeal to the state government if elected as the council’s chairman that will help you achieve your visions for Yala people?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: Well, already I heard the state has gazetted Yala Local Government Area as one of the urban areas in the state. My dream is to see that Yala Local Governement Area is given every other amenities associated with the urban centers elsewhere in the state for the people of Yala Local Governement Area to enjoy as citizens of the state and the country too.
Trail Reporters: We thank you for granting us this audience. On behalf of TRAIL REPORTERS NEWS, we wish you victory at the polls. What is your last word on this dedicated edition to the people of Yala and cross river state at large?
Declan Ogar-Genesis: I APPRECIATE INNOVATION so much. TRAIL REPORTERS NEWS IS AN INNOVATION THAT I WILL LIKE TO WORK WITH IF ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF YALA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA. Yala is a very fertile land with hospitable people. People so loving and enduring. The people that deserves nothing but the best. In my mind, between God and man, if the people support me to serve them as the CHAIRMAN of the council, they will forever be happy they did the right thing. Because, I will put in my best to do it differently, cheaper and quicker too. I will do it so unimaginably. Let them allow me to set a distinctive pace for other potential leaders to follow in Yala Local Government Area and make it Great Again. I am very happy that I am in line with this innovation. Thank you so much.
It’s been a worthwhile deliberation.