Honourable Ukodhiko Jonathan Ajirioghene representing Isoko North/Isoko South Federal Constituency of Delta State in the Tenth House of Representatives sits with our National Assembly Lead, Elizabeth Atime to discuss his legislative agenda, constituency projects and his activities thus far
As the 10th National Assembly settles down for business, expectations are high among their constituents that the parliament would live up to its responsibilities in the three core areas of lawmaking, oversight and representation.
In the face of biting hardship currently ravaging the country following the removal of petrol subsidy, citizens are keen on the contributions of their representatives towards ameliorating the effects of the policy.
In this very insightful interview, the lawmaker representing Isoko South/Isoko West Federal Constituency of Delta State, Rep. Ukodhiko Jonathan Ajirioghene highlighted his legislative agenda focused on tackling poverty and job creation through the sponsorship of motions and bills, amongst other pertinent issues. The Delta lawmaker also promised to engage with constituents every step of the way to ensure that they fully participate in his legislative roadmap. Read the interview below:
1. Congratulations, sir, for emerging as a member of the 10th National Assembly
2. Before we settle into the main interview, what one lesson about public service would you say brought you to this level?
What prompted me to this place is service to humanity. All my life, I have been rendering service to humanity, and I know that with quality representation of my people through the government, I will be able to expand more to the services. I will be delivering to humanity, and that’s what I intend to do.
3. Quickly tell us about your Legislative interests and Legislative Agenda for your constituents in Delta State and on the national level
My agenda for my people is to reduce the level of poverty in the state as much as possible and to make sure that we create work for our people for a better livelihood.
On the national level, poverty is a big problem in the country and we will do our best to pursue and support the executive to give a purposeful administration in the country, by creating laws that will create jobs for our people to be able to work and reduce poverty
4. In the light of this interest, law making is one of your core functions as a legislator as you already know, what is that one bill that you will be sponsoring in this Assembly?
First and foremost, I will continue to sponsor bills that will promote free enterprise which will promote businesses. (This is) because when businesses are promoted, people will be able to have gainful employment. I will also work on bills that improve the infrastructural and educational system to improve the lives of women and the girl girl child.
5. Upon your resumption for the first week of the House, you made a notable mark when your motion on the need to rehabilitate the Benin-Warri Road was adopted by the House. Why was this an important mission to you?
You know that the Benin-Warri Road is a very worrying critical road in the country. It connects both South West which Lagos is situated in; which is (also) the economic state in the country. It also links the North to the South South, which is very critical and needs to be fixed and I feel that we should let the government know the condition of the road (for it) to be worked on.
6. Let’s talk oversight, you were recently appointed into an Ad-hoc Committee of the House to investigate the TETFund. What has being your experience thus far, working in the committee?
As you know, the committee has just been inaugurated not quite long, and the only meeting we’ve had so far is the inaugural meeting. At the meeting, the agenda of the Committee was spelt out and various assignments were given to some of us, which we have commenced work on.
We have sent out letters to the Ministries involved in the TETFund and we hope that very soon, before the end of the week we will receive feedback, so we can commence our work as soon as possible.
7. In the area of representation what projects are your constituents expecting you to deliver on, across Isoko North and South?
Like I said before, there are a lot of expectations from our people in terms of infrastructure, education, poverty reduction to name a few, and we will be attending to these needs. As soon as we get settled in, those are some of the things we will tackle immediately.
8. How will you ensure that this project are successfully executed? Are you going to be involving the constituents or you would want to do everything yourself?
The reality is that we will get the constituents involved, just like we promised during the campaign, we said it will be inclusive and whatever constituency project that we will execute will be owned by the people and it will be on a needs basis. Because there’s no way that we will go to any community to execute projects that are not needed by the constituents.
Currently, we are carrying out the needs assessment and it will be based on what they need that we will work on. Immediately we are able to put that project as a constituency project, we will get them involved and they will execute the project and I believe with inclusiveness, everybody will be happy with what we will do.
9. On a lighter note, when you are not working as an Honorable member what do you do to relax?
Most of the time I read, and I am a pastor in a church. Most times, I focus on studying the Bible, in order to feed my congregation with the words of God. Apart from that, I do outdoor activities like swimming, and watch football
10. Since you are a fan of football, what club do you support both national and international?
The only club in the world, Manchester United; so (for) every other club, they are not existing
11. So who is your favorite player in the Manchester United football club?
12. The Isoko People are from the oil and gas rich Niger Delta, yet it seems development has eluded the people. Do you have any plans to change this narrative?
If you look at the whole Niger Delta, it is not only peculiar to the Isoko people alone that they are mal-represented.
I am representing the Isoko People, Delta State and the Niger Delta as a whole, and Nigeria as a whole. And as we all know, most of the oil producing places including Isoko, they have been producing this wealth without being partakers of the wealth. So, we are going to pursue motions and bills that will continue to empower our people in order to participate in the oil industry. At the same time, in order for them to benefit from the natural resources that God has given to them.
There are a lot of ways that we are going to do that; by engaging the government, the oil companies, and engaging the communities. (This is) because most times when the oil company/government wants to carry out some certain things, certain people in the community will not allow them to do that. So, we are going to get everyone involved to make sure our people enjoy the dividend of the natural resources of the country to the Isoko, Niger Delta and every place oil is produced.
“…we are going to pursue motions and bills that will continue to empower our people in order to participate in the oil industry. At the same time, in order for them to benefit from the natural resources that God has given to them.”
13. Looking back at the 2023 general elections, do you think we have made progress, and particularly about your party. the PDP (People’s Democratic Party) appears to be in a far less vibrant state currently. Do you think the party will survive this electoral cycle?
We are an opposition party, and (in) every opposition party in the world, you will note that there are ups and downs. You know, we not being in power today, does not mean we will not be in power tomorrow.
So, I believe that PDP will come out stronger and more united. We will go back to the drawing board and carry out our assessments to know where we got it wrong, and how to improve our electoral fortune. And with the reform in the electoral system, that is why some of us lawmakers are going to improve on the electoral system. (This is) because the more transparent the system becomes, the more power is given to the people.
We believe that when power is taken to the people, the PDP will be able to come back to power because we have good policies and programmes that will take this country to a higher height.
14. So with the little you know about our organisation; OrderPaper, what are your thoughts about our work?
I think it is the best that can happen to the National Assembly, and it is a good thing, because wherever there is lack of standard of measurement in any society, or any system, I can bet you that the system will not try to function well.
I strongly believe and commend the good work of OrderPaper, and to make sure especially in respect to the aspect of misconception about the National Assembly. Without OrderPaper putting it out there for people to know what the National Assembly is doing, then people will continue to have a wrong perception of the National Assembly. With the work of OrderPaper, it will take the National Assembly to a level that Nigerians will appreciate.
15. You are stepping into very big shoes of Honourable Leo Ogor who played a huge role here for five terms. Here at the National Assembly, he gave the ruling party a good run for their money. So how will you ensure that you will fill in that gap?
You have said it all, I’m stepping into very big shoes and my constituency, especially constituents are expecting a lot and based on the performance of Rt Hon Leo Ogor.
I strongly believe that as a new member, I will try my best to make sure that I fulfill the aspirations of the people and also contribute my own quota that at the end of the day we will be better than the latter because every father prays and he prayed for me that he hopes I will do better than him. Like every parent does for their children and God’s willing, it will happen.
16. Finally, with the House going on recess shortly, what do you plan to achieve this period?
During this period I will go back to my constituency and hold a lot of townhall meetings. (I will) discuss and give feedback to my constituents on how far I’ve gone because it’s about giving out.
Feedback will be given to them from time to time on what we have done and intend to do and also find out their needs and wants, challenges also. So when the house resumes, I will take it up with the national stage. Thank you very much.
“(OrderPaper Nigeria) is the best that can happen to the National Assembly, and it is a good thing, because wherever there is lack of standard of measurement in any society, or any system, I can bet you that the system will not try to function well.”