In this interview, Billionaire businessman and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate for Abia North Senatorial District in the 2015 general election, Chief (Dr) David Onuoha Ogba Bourdex, MFR, OON, and Ugoena Abiriba, told our Abia State Correspondent, Kalu Eziyi that he will run again for the seat in 2019. He not only mentioned what has been lacking in the district for the past two years, but also revealed why he paid Gov Ikpeazu a visit recently and how he built a N200 Million international events center in his community. Excerpts:
Rumors or reports, if you like, making the rounds in the political space in the state are that you have concluded plans to defect to the All Progressive Congress (APC), is there any iota of truth in them?
Well you called it rumors and that is what it is. There will always be rumors especially when a politician is involved. The first rumor was that I had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The second one is that I am now in the All Progressive Congress (APC). You called it rumor and that is what it is. But I have always told everyone that I am a Board of Trustees (BoT) member of the APGA.
Going by recent utterances and body language of some members of your party, it appears as if they are disenchanted with its governorship candidate in the 2015 general election, Dr. Alex Otti, isn’t it so?
To be honest with you I am not aware of that. There will always be people who will have disagreement with somebody. They will always be people who will have their own opinion. But as far as can tell and from what I see on ground, our governorship candidate in the person of Dr. Alex Otti is still very popular in the state. So I don’t agree that there are a lot of disenchantments against him by the people.
What message were you passing to the people of the state when you paid Governor Okezie Ikpeazu a visit at Government House, Umuahia to congratulate him on his recent Supreme Court victory?
The message I passed was very simple. We are politicians and not enemies. And the fact that the court has affirmed him as the governor of the state does not change our position as a different political party. But it does affirm that we have only one governor now. And since the state is our collective heritage, it is also our collective responsibility to encourage him to work for the citizenry. So that was the message I was passing that people should come together and support him for the well being of the state so that he will be able to have that conducive working environment that a leader will need to perform, so that if he does not perform we will now be standing on legitimate ground to now complain that he did not do anything. But if we go all out and fight him and make the state ungovernable for him then we will have no right to begin to complain from our comfort zone.
Since he has been affirmed as the governor it is the duty of every citizen of the state to give him the support so that he can work because you cannot change anything alone. There is nothing you can do about it. He is already the governor. That is the message I was passing. Politics should be like sports. When you loose, you shake the hand of your opponent and then life goes on.
Did you attempt to shake Ohuabunwa’s hand after he was declared as winner of the senatorial election?
Emm… to be honest with you I have not seen him since he became a senator. And if I were him, I would have visited my opponents. Because all the time he was in the House of Representatives I was supporting him. I gave him money. I went to Arochukwu several times just to give him support. So he is a friend. And there were also occasions when he had helped me in business dealings by introducing me to somebody that did something for me. So I don’t forget that. And while preparing for my Ime Uche (traditional retirement) ceremony last year I sent him two cards – one to his office in Lagos and the other to his house in Arochukwu. I then followed it up with phone calls. I called him three good times but he did not pick the calls. I sent him a text message, he never replied. So, yes, if I did not have spirit of sportsmanship, I wouldn’t have done all those things. So that went beyond congratulating him, even though I didn’t have the right to do so because he rigged the election. But I still reached out to him, extended a hand of friendship to him but he rebuffed it.
Your party appears to be loosing the vigor and steam with which it campaigned in the last general election in the state, why is it so?
This is not campaign period. Wait until the campaign starts again then I will see whether you will tell me our party is loosing the vigor and steam or not.
What is the idea behind and vision of Bourdex Events Center Abiriba, which by all considerations is of five-star standard?
I always do my things differently. And I also like to leave a mark in everything I do. The center was not planned. It was a spur of the moment decision that I just took because anybody who has been to my house in Abiriba will see that the topography of the place is such that it is very much sloppy that you cannot put canopies that will take the large number of invitees that I was expecting. And because of that, I approached my friend who has a land beside the house to give me the place so that I could level it and prepare it for the ceremony, but he refused. When that failed I had to take a last minute decision and said why do I have to bother with this when I have a football field in front of my house? Why don’t I just go there and build a befitting place to host the crowd that I expected to come? And so it was just like that. That was in middle of November for a ceremony that was supposed to hold on December 28. So I called Lagos and brought down all my engineers and all the workers that ware needed for that job and they came and we worked day and night and in 45 days, we achieved what you see there.
At what cost?
The cost was close to N200 million. Though we didn’t have a budget when we started, but we just kept going. So that is the thing. It wasn’t about cost; it was about retiring in style and making a statement that we are still here in spite of what people thought. They thought they had taken all my money during the campaign, but I told them no that they had only scratched the surface.
What message do you have for you supporters who have been straining their ears to hear from you after the general election and the way forward?
The message I have for them is that they should stay where they are. What we went through during the election including the re-run was a learning period. Now we have seen where we made mistakes and we are going to correct them. I want them to stay where they are, keep organizing all those who are not yet in our party to come and join us. Abia state wants APGA. We won all the elections in the state in 2015 and everybody knows that and most people knew what happened. In fact my message to them is that they should not loose hope. They should begin to organize themselves at their different units, ward, and local government areas for the fight ahead.
Just last week, one from nine depleted the membership of your party in the state House of Assembly when the member representing Aba South State Constituency defected to the PDP. What is your take on this?
I would advise them to remember how they got to where they are today in the first place. I would also to know that the young ones are watching them and that it is always good to be grateful to the hands that helped you when you needed help. I don’t believe running from one party to another is a good thing for any politician or anybody at all. For instance in business, one of the very important rules to success is that you must identify what you are good at and stick to it. If you won election on the platform of APGA for goodness sake, stay there and build that foundation, nurture it, preserve it. Build your foundation in such a way that those who took you there, will again to do in 2019.
So that is what I will advice those who are still in APGA to remain and remember how they got there in the first place. The truth of the matter is that if you defect from a party to another, you are not very likely to carry all your supporters with you to the new party, some will refuse to go with you. That is the truth of the matter. And if you begin to loose some of your supporters two years to election, then you know what that means.
You were recently installed as a patron of the Christian Men Organization (CMO) of St Dominic Catholic Church, Yaba in Archdiocese of Lagos. What does the honor mean to you?
It means a great deal to me because you remember in the Holy Bible, there is this statement by Jesus Christ that man should not live by bread alone. So while we are talking politics and talking APGA we must remain close to the Most High. The recognition by the organization means a lot to me. It gives me hope that while I am pursuing worldly things I am not loosing on the spiritual side.
That brings me to the next question. If given the opportunity, will you run again for the Senate in 2019?
Yes I will run again. Definitely yes, I will.
What differences would your presence have made if you were in the Red Chambers of the National Assembly which you contested for in the 2015 general election?
My people are not seeing any dividends of democracy. We have been two years into this administration in the country and nothing has changed in Abia North Senatorial District. We are not seeing any roads network being undertaken. We don’t see electricity being improved on. We don’t see the lives of the people being improved on. We don’t see our schools being rehabilitated. And those are the things that would have changed. We don’t see anyone heaving a sigh of relief in the sense that what the people voted for had been actualized. So that is the difference I would have made because I have the got the ticket to the Senate. I have the contact, I have the wherewithal.
What would you then say differentiates you from some senators in the face of the edges you said have?
Some of them went there to look for what to eat. And that is where I am different from them. And before they begin to work for the masses, their immediate concern will be how to recover the money they spent during the campaign and then begin to prepare for 2019.