Hon (Mrs.) Gbubemi Kpenosen Ikolo is the pioneer Commissioner in the newly established Ministry of Technical Education in Delta State. In this interview with OLA JAMES she speaks about the performance of Governor Ifianyi Okowa and why Nigerian women should come out en-mass to contest in 2023 polls
Since your assumption of office as Commissioner for Technical Education, what impact have you made on the job?
I thank God for everything. It’s been work all the time and I am enjoying it. Besides, I have a mandate and a set goal and objective which, by the grace of God, must be achieved, and I have been working towards that. It is a young ,inistry and I am the pioneer commissioner, but I will not be a letdown.
Remember the mandate and promises of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to further transform the state, so technical education is part of the transformation.
Based on this, the governor has promised that at least there should be a technical college in each of the 25 local government areas of the state; 19 have to be completed and, the 19 have been approved by the state executive council.
I am proud to say that the first phase of the 19 has taken off successfully, and they are near completion and work is on-going.
The mandate of the ministry, is to complete both the first, second and third phases, as we do that we are also looking at the existing ones because we cannot abandon the old ones all because we are constructing new ones. In a nutshell, we are committed to ensuring that we deliver on our mandate.
How many schools have you completed so far?
I can boldly say that nine are on-going; some of them are nearing completion because we are working assiduously and taking our time to come out with a good job.
The nine we are talking about is not just to build or erect structures and move in but we want to ensure that good work is done; there are a lot of clusters of all that need to be done in a modern technical college such as ours.
For instance, we have administrative block of two stories, with classroom offices, as well as three standard work shop; a multi-purpose hall; there is a clinic; there is accommodation for at least five principals, corps members’ quarter, HOD quarter and a lot more. In fact, we have about 16 structures in a cluster.
Furthermore, landscaping is to be done in phases. It is not just about two or three classrooms. Some of the buildings have reached the roofing level just as some are ready for painting, so, all contractors cannot do or work at the same pace. But we are making sure that they deliver on time. That is the situation on ground.
What are the challenges you are facing currently?
Well, the challenge we are facing is resources and you know that in this present circumstance, there is limited funds, but remember there is challenge both at work and in your home. However, I thank God for bringing Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, a good manager of both human and material resources, who is a prudent man, who manages resources very well.
Above all, he is trying his very best by ensuring that the contractors are not facing too much stress. What I will further say is another challenge is the terrain under which we are working, and apart from Asaba, Owa-Alero and Ukwani the other areas are difficult terrain.
When we acquired the lands in dry season and now the rains have come, we are seeing another situation very different from the time we acquired them. When we were starting the design of the school we took all those into consideration but some sites are so bad especially while taking materials there. The rain is not helping matters.
Although some contractors from the Ministry of Technical Education, Housing and Inspectorate units are working and are not relenting in putting things rightly and they are equally complying. This is because one thing we must understand is that whatever job being done by contractors, if the inspectors do not compromise the thing will be done.
Above all, the contractors know fully well that the ministry is not ready to compromise. I have a young man heading the Education Unit in the Ministry of Housing. He is equally honest person and hardworking man. In fact, we are working together as a team to achieve what we intend to achieve.
Do you have faith in Governor Okowa respecting the delivery of his mandate to the people of the state?
Yes, I have full confidence in him because I want to proudly tell the people who don’t know Governor Okowa, the kind of person he is, that he is a man of integrity.
You will agree with me that since he took over the mantle of leadership in the state Deltans have experienced massive infrastructural development in the schools and other areas. I was a member of SUBEB before I was appointed commissioner last year.
In fact, there were a number of schools in dilapidated condition which the government has turned around. Look at the areas of health and urban renewal and a lot of others.
In fact, Governor Okowa is touching all areas. Look at the skill acquisition of youths who the governor took out from the streets; equipping them and, I can say he has done very well.
For instance, approval has been given for the establishment of a modular refinery in the state. In fact, we are looking forward to more of it coming as a lot of Deltans will be employed Already, Senator Okowa has been named the road master.
In this wise, I am very proud to be part of his government. I am not just a PDP member but a founding member of the party in Delta State.
How will you assess the performance of PDP State?
Honestly, Governor Okowa is the PDP state leader. In fact, he is really working hard to develop the state. Above all, the fairness Okowa has displayed in his government has given birth to the peace and unity that we have been enjoying in the state. One clear thing he does is that he appoints people without bias or as a result of godfatherism.
For example, I am a typical example of the persons that have benefitted in his government without any influential background. I don’t have any godfather that introduced me to him. I was vice chairman of a council and held several appointments before making me a Commissioner.
Given the fact that APC is trying to wrestle power from the PDP in the state, how well is your party ready to retain people’s trust?
No way. PDP will continue to rule the state especially now that we have a performing governor that is very hard working. Above all, he is the state leader of the party. Let me tell you that PDP is a party that Deltans are proud of because that Party is delivering on its mandate.
In view of the fact that 2023 polls are no far away, what is your message to the womenfolk?
At every opportunity, I call on women to come out and be involved in political activities. I came at a time when women were afraid of venturing into politics, but I have proved to the menfolk that what a man can do, women can do it better.
In fact, I came in 1996 and contested for the vice chairmanship position in Warri South Local Government Area and I won. I was sworn in on March 22, 1997 at that time the only female in the 25 local government areas of Delta State. I was never apprehensive of the menfolk, rather I raised my head high.
I thank God that today I am a commissioner. To the women in the state, I don’t know what they are afraid of. However, I want women across the nation to make themselves available because women are good administrators.