AriseAfrika Media Chat With Mr Simple Ugorji
|Mr Simple lifts up Plaque on behalf of Her Excellency at Imo @40|
AriseAfrika: Good afternoon sir, Pls may we know you
My name is Simple Ugorji. I am a marketing practitioner a consultant. I consult in various capacities. I have worked in various environments like the banking, airline, insurance, education and now the public sector
2. What benefit do you see in active social involvement In politics for the young people?
I think its time for the youths to take their future in their own hands. When I was in secondary school, we have this same crop of politician as our leaders and we still have them. Although there are still new injections like our Governor in Imo State but basically our president has been there since 1983. The challenge of the youths is being the leaders of tomorrow, It is a challenge and I believe that the time for the youths to become active is now.
I believe the youths should stand up with a loud voice. And affirm their leadership. They ought to take their future in their own hands. I tell you the truth if they don’t do so, nobody is going to shape it for you. You cannot compare a 35 year future to a future of an 80 yr old. There is no way that can happen. I run a foul on people to say that an 80 year old man would do better in leadership. The young man has very well years ahead of him. If he allows his future to be ruined, who does he blame?
3. What major obstacles do government face in executing most of their Policies?
First of all, you have to go back to drawing board to determine the execution. For instance, there was a time they came up with “Don’t smoke in a public place” And the question becomes. Where is a public place? That law becomes voidable. When the government says for instance we are going to have a four year plans, we are going build roads, you have health cares, infrastructure, and education. Govt has a lot to do with institutions. For instance when you want to build roads and for let say for the first year plan. you ask the road what is it for? Is it going to serve the people. It must be able to solve some problems for the people. Every policy that Government wants to execute must be able to answer some question, it must be able to solve some problems. A man living in the village wants to bring his goods to the town to sale them, If there are no good roads, he faces the challenge of bringing it. Any other means of transportation would affect this man, this would force the man to sell his goods at a give away price. I would say the problems that government faces in executions is the aims, how do I achieve the aim? Another important one is funding. for a long time we have been dependent on oil. We have been having crises, we don’t have enough to meet our needs as a result of dwindling oil revenue. The value of our currency depreciated to a great level. Dwindling fortunes at all levels is as a result of dwindling oil revenue. We have an import dependent economy. We import virtually everything that we use. Beginning from your household items and everything you have are all imported. If you have a 4 year running plan and it’s because you expected x money at the end of the day you get less. it means a whole lot of your projects would not fly.
Another one is social, cultural. There are programs that are not implementable. Its not possible, you can not implement them. Though they were formed with good intentions but the culture would not make it fly, imagine you saying that you are going to set up a piggery in Sokoto State, its not going to work because the Muslims don’t eat pigs.
I see the major challenges from funding, social, religion and the people themselves. People themselves can say the road from here to Onitsha is not their problem, but them public opinion because the issue. And when they start clamoring for it. For instance the government wants to relocate the Ekeukwu market but the people are crying out to say that they don’t want it. It becomes a problem. Despite the good intention to the government.
4. Media Representation of youths in government has been disproportionate. What do you think of this?
Again I say it’s your fate, if you don’t take it, no one would come to you and say take power. It’s not going to happen.. you want to have proper representation. What are mistakes, what are experiences Mistakes are unintended act which brings a wrong result from the desired results. If you have strings of mistakes, overtime it becomes experience. Everywhere you go they ask you . DO you have experience? That means have you made mistakes. If you are bringing a neophytes to the media industry there would be a problem. He would say things he should not have said. And once its out, it is out. The most damaging court is the public court. Guilty or not guilty? The public determines it. You must bring somebody is that is experienced in life, When you bring an experienced person on board, the person would determine what is proper news and what is not proper news.
Media is a very sensitive place, when its out there is no way you can bring back what you have said.
Let that environment remains for the experienced hands, that is my opinion and view. Bring someone who has made mistakes and learned from the past
5. For Nigeria to thrive and become one of the best economies in the world, IT needs to make consistent and committed effort to stop corruption, deliver services and create jobs. In the few decades of the countries existence, do you think any past regimes have come close to achieving any or all of the above?
You see all the government that has come. From 1966 coup, when Gen Murtala Mohammed was killed it was all about corruption, when we handed over to civilians and when the civilian were overthrown by General Buhari - it was all about corruption. We have seen the sleaze. In fact one of His Excellency President Obasanjo created ICPC, EFCC, so as to tackle corruption.
What is this thing about Nigeria & corruption? It is the single most damaging factor, why we are where we are today. What am I talking about? Lets use a simple analogy . A man works 9-5pm and makes 100k a month and over one year saves 40k , invests that money and that money makes more for him.
But when he is not able to do that, he lives above his means, borrows from people, steals, cheats from others. He has no integrity. How can he succeed with that? We have a country that is blessed with oil. It has done so well for us, but we have not done well with the oil. Look at countries like Kuwait. we were all in the same boat some years ago before the discovery of oil. But right now, they have catapulted themselves far above us.
And we are still here, we don’t have lights, we don’t have industry, we don’t have manufacturing plants, we are oil dependent, our consumption pattern is terrible. A young man gets a job and the next thing that he is thinking about is how to buy a car, Ostentation. We think about consumption. No body is thinking about investments. The few that has done and succeed, we are envious of them. Where are we in all this? How do we go forward? There must be a consistent, purposeful direction, commitment to industrialize.
When you saw create jobs, its neither here nor there. Does our education system support that? Everybody is a graduate. Graduate of what? You can not even change bulbs. We have must have applicable skills that works. Somebody made the computer, somebody is growing the beans. In China, every man has a garage with a small table, and once you are able to put something up. If it works, he rushes to one factory and they mass produce it and ship it to us. We buy. We loose money, they gain money. We have the best type of sun in the North that is why tomatoes grow very well there. Over here in the south we have palm oil and what have we done with it. What have we done to ensure that this things are mass produced so our people can become self reliant. I went to Shop rite, they are bringing tomatoes, pepper from South Africa to sell to us. This clearly lets you know why we are where we are today.
6. Its 40 years since creation of Imo State. Do you think Imo is better than it was 10 years ago? How?
Yes, we are better. When you drive around town, everyone is shouting we are hungry, we are starving. Because we removed money from consumption to investment. You will see more investments than it was several years ago. Go around Imo there are more houses being built, more hospitals, more schools, more roads, private buildings. What does that tell you? There is a lot of money being removed from consumption to investment. Yes Imo is better today than it was before.
7. Boko Haram is a very big security issue for Nigeria. The rebel group is still a strong force to deal with in the Northern part of the country. What practical solution can you suggest for dealing with the menace? Do you support any form of amnesty for members of this deadly group.
Well I have to admit, its security matters, I leave that to the experts. The past President Late Yaradua, May His Soul Rest In Peace adopted amnesty with the Niger Delta activist and it worked , but on this matter, I don’t not have statistics nor indept knowledge of their demands (if any), I just know they are a group of activist, bombing and maiming lives. I totally agree with you that its a problem. But it’s not something that I can sit here and give you a solution. I leave security matters for those who specialize in that area to handle.
8. What informed your setting up this environment where we are today - Pieman Training outfit?
His Excellency has always asked people to have alternate means of income and be productive. And I am simply obeying him. I am active privately and publicly. Setting up this office you see here is something I know that I had to do at point as a consultant so as to meet people’s needs. And I thank God that we are where we are today.
89. What are the services you render here?
It’s a training and human resources development center. We try to give them what they need to make a difference. Whatever it is, we provide it.
10. Without being maudlin, how would you like to be remembered?
I like to be behind the scenes. This is my first public interview. I like to see things working and I smile to myself that I am part of this. I like to see a society surviving, providing for themselves and I would smile to myself that I am a part of it. That can show you who I am. I would like to see the society changing, changing they psych, thinking out of the box. I can not help anyone become governor, senator or head of state. But I can help to ensure that the wrong people do not get there. I am doing this as a social responsibility to myself, children and family to ensure that our leaders
11. Memorable books and why?
The most memorable book I have read, I would say things fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
Yes it has an international Accolades, but I don’t think it comes close to what I see in the book . It brings out the igbo man in simple terms as so as you will understand him without any ambiguity. In doing that all our brother who did not have the opportunity to enjoy our culture by virtue of growing up abroad, it would help them understand our culture well.
The book affords insight into our culture, who we are and what we are about. Thing helped me understand roles of men in the society, women in the society, osu and cast system, justice systems, the coming of the white men and reaction to our culture. It made me understand who I am and what I am about. That is why I love the book.
12. We appreciate you for your time and for making Imo40 CDA a huge success. We are coming up with Arise AFrika magazine. We want to reawaken our youths, raise the beautiful continent of Africa, one information at a time. Finally what is your word to the youths?
Don’t be scared of tomorrow. Do not run away from your responsibilities. Face them, grasp it with both hands, Affirm and assert yourself. Trust yourself. Trust God. you must be very pious. Prayers works, Because its an uncertain future but you know what you want, you need a little help. Talk to God “I need your help.” He is up there. Some kids sit in their garage and build things and before you know it they are made for life. How old is Mack zukerberg,? We have a whole lot of Mark Zukerbeg in Africa. What is the problem?. ITs lack of assertion. If you don’t say here you are. No one will know where you are. Be there, Do something that would make you recognized positively. The prospects are right. the future is bright, We are heading to the right direction. Don’t allow people of know criminal record lead you again, people who don’t have your interest at heart to lead you again? Hold your leaders accountable for their stewardship.
There is nothing that is wrong that you will call His Excellency after few years and hold him to a debate. Nothing says you can’t start intermittent debates.
“Sir, we need to talk, we need to address this issue, We want you to tell us what you are doing about this issue” Believe me, he would listen, He would call you to a table and ask., " Sir, you told us you would give us heath care 50 % and now we pay 100 5 what happened, what are you doing in that direction?” If it’s the matter of National Assembly approving that we take it up to that level. We elected them, they are representing us and quite accountable to us.
Hold your leaders accountable in office. Not violently but intellectually