Hilda Dokubo is not new to Nigerian politics but she is not using the platform she started with. CityPeople wondered why she dumped PDP, the Party she started with as Senior Special Assistant on Youth Matters under Dr Peter Odili, the former Governor of Rivers State. Buguma-born Hilda is now in Labour Party and gunning for the National Assembly, House of Representatives under Akoku Toru/Asari Toru Constituency. The award-winning Actress, Activist and Youth Advocate spoke with CITYPEOPLE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, BUNMI DUROJAIYE in Port Harcourt.
You have stayed away from politics for some time now, what are you going to do there now after some years that you have not been participating in politics?
Going to run for the seat at the Federal House of Representatives, I am going to be representing Asari Toru/Akuku Toru Constituency. I am going to be the voice of my people once again.
Under which party and what are the chances?
Under the Party that leaves you with your soul. The other Parties, I don’t know what they are doing there I don’t want to lose my soul. Under Labour Party, l think it is the 3rd strongest force right now and in fact, it is the force to beat and that is because it is the Party the people trust, the Party the people have chosen, the Party that represents a movement. Do not forget that the Labour Party was originally registered by the Civil Society, the people in Service, the people who represent the Labour force of the country, so you have everybody TUC, PENGANISM, NUPENG, everybody that is in the Labour organization in the country, they registered Labour Party, so it is the Party that represents the people that is why the logo is “Mama, Papa, Pikin “which is the people, the party that put people first and wants everybody to move forward that is why I chose that because for me it is about been alive to your civic responsibility.
Can you compare the politics of the olden days and the now?
Well, the first time I didn’t do politics, like politics, like I always say I am not a Politician, I am a Leader who wants to serve her people. I however need a political platform to do that since I want to hold people accountable. When you want to really really make a change the system insists that you have to have the Legal backings to do it. At first, I got into politics by rendering service to the young people I came in and was working with young out-of-school people and because the system I employed at the time, my strategies works wonders and a lot of young people were able to return to school happy again. We were able to create jobs for the people who learnt skills jobs but most importantly was that I was able to reconnect families that was already disjointed either the kids ran out of homes or their parents were so upset with them, they didn’t want to see them, I was able to get the families to sit with the kids and to see to what was wrong and what the issues were I was also able to help the children go back to school and put education on the list of priority of things they must do as I was doing that then the First Lady of the State, Justice Mary Odili found that worthy and decided to support us by providing us lunch and stuffs like that in our meetings and rehearsal and at the end of the day, our song became the campaign song and that was how I got that not I asked for anybody to vote me in or nominate me. Actually (laughing) I do not know who nominated me as S.A, this time I am going out asking people to give me their vote and asking people to give me their mandate, and their support to represent them and be that voice, to hold people accountable on their behalf it is almost like a social contract with my people like they will send me to do this for us and I will do it, it is like let me have your approval that is the difference. And then this time, we have lot of young people who are awake have a lot of young people who are awake as awake to their civil responsibility hungry to do the right thing hungry, hungry to their responsibility and will not keep quiet anymore. We have women who don’t want to sit down and be Deputies or just shouting Yea! Yea! Or ‘Women Oye’ What is that?! Or make women dance and give them one piece of wrapper. Women don’t want to do that anymore, they want to be at the table and have that conversation, they want to look at people and tell them what they require from leadership, so there is lots of awareness, we have more people who are aware, people like me, ready to keep sensitive people and keep printing them to do the right doors to close and this time we heard it is going to be BLVAS I pray it is so that it will be 1 man, 1 vote! That way you cut short, the desire for crimes, manipulators
The things that the older political parties have been referring to political structures is if you have a Governor in the office the Governor will bring money out of his office, which is not his father’s money, by the way, it is a people’s commonwealth. The Governor hands you his State money and you people share that State’s money, being to bribe and buy votes from the people that is what they call structure but we are going to have now, by the ‘BLVAS’ 1 man, 1 vote. You will have 3 to 6 people standing to supervise when the votes are counted because as the people votes, you are there to make sure, it is recorded and it is going up as it is happening. Now they are throwing it open to people, they say throwing it open to people, they say register, volunteer to serve. It has never happened when they tell people to go online and register, so there is a lot happening and Nigerians like African countries are hungry for change, we can’t allow people who are beginning as a result of age, aging comes with a lot of challenges, it’s a blessing from God when you get to a certain age, that is why a certain age is called retirement age it is a time for you to go and rest, that is not to say you cannot take too much pressure like a young person. We can’t keep having tired people. Look at the Senate, anytime there is a photograph of the House of Senate, it is almost like a retirement home, people are sleeping on duty or somebody has to tell what is happening then he goes “I didn’t know that what happened” of course, you wouldn’t know because at the age how many things would you remember, I remember my Grandmother before she passed on, she will tell you the same story so many times and she is telling you again and you have to be patient to listen. We have all grown past that level, it is all over Africa where you find very old people wanting to hang on to power but for the first time. I think Nigeria will get a leader that can take the pressure of a country is so rich that God has blessed it with enormous wealth on the ground and above. We have wonderful weather, soil, and numbering strength, and our population is good for any kind of business. One of them is good for any kind of business. One of them is Nollywood. Nollywood was consumed by us and today it is the 2nd largest in the world, even this consumption by us is enough consumption and that is how it became a major export. It is important for us as a Nation to say you know what, how about opening up a new chapter and it is the new chapter that am excited about and that is the real difference from the old. Young people are playing a major role in this one. Women are playing a major role in it, information insemination is here, there is the social media playing a key role and already putting us globally. Anything on social media is the same as putting it out to the world and that anything can happen in real-time and nobody will carry any ballot box and run this time and if you give any young person any gun knowing that your own kids are outside in good schools because all of them has been advertising their children graduation and looking at those kids they know their age and looking at those kids you know right. If you give any young person a gun, he turns around and shoots you, he is suffering, his parents are suffering, you will think your Five Thousand Naira is what he needs? We have done a breakdown of that Five Thousand Naira and people now know you are swindling them. It is going to be tough what anybody to put any young person at risk and it is in their own interest not to try it.
You were formerly in PDP, now in Labour Party, do you think your party will win?
I was never a member of PDP but my Governor who was my Boss at the time was. It was a PDP administration. The Labour Party like I said is a movement that is a political party but it is a political party of Civil Society members. I see the different things that they do and I think it makes a lot of sense that your Party thinks about you and puts you first, that your Party is not all about winning but about doing the right thing. Your Party is demanding from the Government, what the Government is meant to do joyfully. Looking at the logos of the two parties, the PDP umbrella, then Labour Party, “Mama, Papa, Pikin”, that alone is a significant change for anyone to look at and say it is better to be with human beings than an umbrella. It won’t rain all the time and it won’t be hot all the time, so the umbrella is not really a necessity but having a family is it.
As a popular star who has done well in Nollywood and also in youth training, what new things are you bringing this time around?
Thanks for the accolade, I take it humbly but first let me tell you what would be my job when I get to the House of Reps, three clear assignments. Assignment 1 is to come up with laws and policies that will protect my people and project development. Assignment 2 is to hold the Executives accountable to work and Assignment 3 is to represent my people, very simple yet enormous work. Now about holding people accountable that is why I am able to do Activism.I started by holding the government accountable over food, on the table ending extreme poverty, especially in the Niger Delta of Nigeria because at a time I have gone to most Niger Delta communities, to do my work as a trainer and a Talent hunt Scout, so I saw the level of hunger and poverty people were dealing with and you know the insecurity, what kills faster is not knowing where your next meal will come from and I started pushing for the need to put food on the table, it resulted to me being the face of NDG and for a long time. I was the face of NDG 1 and Ambassador which is ending extreme poverty. We have watched extreme poverty ravage cities, houses and people. Once upon a time I use to hear Nigerians will never commit suicide but now Nigerians commit suicide every day but not just Nigerians but young Nigerians who should be allowed to grow and become Leaders. No one can see hope, what I come with is hope and I come with the audacity to dare because I will represent than as one of them because I know what hunger is having experienced a bit of it while growing, I know the benefit of proper education, this will be my business to keep pushing whatever we discuss in that house, education invest be part of it and if I have to vote anything in that house then we put Education first because if we are able to handle education then terrorism though they call it bandit now that we are experiencing, we won’t be experiencing it. We have all this because young watch the kind of rubbish we do and ask “who does school help?”. I have never seen elsewhere when you are asked what do you do for a living, you answer “Politician’. I don’t want to be the average Politician I want to be a Leader of my people, the voice of my people
they gave me the name “The Voice of the voiceless” because I won’t keep quiet I have been working on women rights, violence against women, Be BOLD. It is important people understand the place where women stand in development. It is so simple to describe that when people do something out of that I begin to wonder how they are reasoning. Women have special gifts of nurturing given to them by God, He has made males and females in their own special way if you encourage the growth of women and you encourage them to be their best you have a lot of development. Ask Bankers, they will tell you that if you give women loans they pay faster than the men pay back.Women are wired that way and it comes to them naturally. We are to focus on policies that protect women and get rid of harmful practices that will prevent them to be the best they ought to be. We are going to look at how Government spends, Government money is not actually somebody’s money, it is all of our money, right? I have been one of those that says how can someone earn this much to read newspapers that is Online. It cost less to run whatever it is we run in other words it cost less for the members of the House, the Legislative, Judiciary to maintain them and it cost more to run our schools. I will support that because the more young educated people we have who are in good businesses, the better for all of us. Capital development is my thing and everyone knows it and am going to keep working on it, it is more like doing what I have been doing all my life but doing it under a name and mandate we always say people don’t do whatever they do in Government because they don’t understand the mandate of the office but I understand the mandate of a member of the House of Representatives. I understand that mandate so well, we will face the business and do it right, we will face the business and do it right, we will work with everyone that is needed to achieve success because it takes a team to build, a village. Ordinarily, I would have said let me stay outside and do this but I tell you how I am inside using a story. Let’s assume we are in the room everybody in this room pees in the room, what happens over time is that the room stinks and the stinking, is because everyone is peeing here but the minute somebody gets into this room who knows that it is wrong to pee in the room that person will begin to direct people to pee out and when they pee outside the pee could become manure or water for any other thing they are planting and the room will stop stinking,. People can’t keep referring to politics in Nigeria as a dirty game. it is not dirty, it is the practice put up that makes it dirty, so we change it and teach people how not to pee in the house and that’s why I am in it
By Bunmi Durojaiye