By Kenechukwu obiajuru, yenagoa.
Okoko spoke in an interview with newsmen in Yenagoa noted poverty of the mind was worse than material poverty. He said that it was an irony that whilest the state was endowed with natural resources, the people have not been exposed to the right kind of education to develop their mental abilities.
“Well, I believe that Bayelsa as a whole needs to focus on education. Mental poverty is worse than financial poverty. If a mind is not developed and equipped, a man cannot give what he does not have. Our people are not completely exposed to good education systems. Our people are not well traveled like other tribes.
“The Ijaw man is a determined man to succeed, if you give the Ijaw man the right playing ground, he will perform, I can assure you. So I believe that what we should do as a people is to focus on education”, Okoko said.
He however maintained that the emphasis on education should not be restricted to classroom education, but include skill acquisition for the less privileged who may not afford university education.
“Classroom education is one aspect, and outside classroom education is another aspect. Not everybody can experience education in the classroom or to the university level. There is a proverbial saying that all fingers are not equal. But you can balance the gap of the fingers.
“Creating skill acquisitions with the right personnel to man them gives you the opportunity to train the less privileged on the skills that can develop them”, He said.
He commended the Seriake Dickson led government in Bayelsa for the investment it has made in the educational sector, and called for more of such efforts in the sector. “I think the Governor has given it a good try. I think that the intentions are good. I believe that he has genuine intentions for the job, and I believe he has tried his best.
“My duty as a leader is to try and add to what he has done, to build in any way we can help the government to improve where they have stopped in any capacity we find ourselves with good suggestions. Trying to develop a good road map to drive the Ministry of Education, to push his policies forward and help him being that I am in the same party with him”, Okoko said.
The Guber aspirant however lamented the poor prospects facing Bayelsa youths, saying they have been neglected over the years. “The young people do not have hope so they are looking for any means. Give them back hope. Sell leadership through qualities, be transparent, and open to them. Take them through processes of trainings.
“Mentorship, who is your mentor or who are you mentoring? Who are you looking up to? Why do you wake up in the morning? What is the core reason for your existence? Have someone you look up to. I have someone I look up to everyday. I have three people I look up to – Professor Kimse Okoko, Pastor David Ibiyomie and Bishop David Oyedepo.
“By any standard, these are men to look up to. So I aspire to want to be like them. Who are these young men looking up to? What are we selling to them as leaders and parents ?” Okoko said.
He said that the military’s has no role in modern democracy beyond defending the territorial integrity of the country. “In every democratic nation, the military man at any point in time is not supposed to be seen by any civilian. His duty post is in the barracks, combat ready to defend the sovereignty of the nation.
“Combat ready to defend the borders of his nation with integrity. The duty of the military is to uphold the dignity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I have not seen it in any civilized democratic nation where you deploy the military out for elections. I have not seen.
“Venezuela that is in a problem now, it is rare to see the military trooping out except in extreme situations that the police cannot handle. Venezuela is ten million times worse than Nigeria now.