By AMEH Jerry
Dr Matthias Oyigeya is a consummate leader who has cemented his name in the hearts of Benue people following his numerous achievements while serving as the Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre Makurdi.
The medicine graduate of the prestigious University of Calabar is set to take over the mantle of leadership from Governor Gabriel Suswam in 2015. In a recent chat with Idoma Voice, the Ogbadibo-born medical practitioner in his Makurdi Campaign office, opened up on why he wants to govern Benue State; his plans of massive job creation, empowerment of both the young and old, transformation and development of Benue State and many other germane issues .
Currently there is big fear in the country following the outbreak of ebola virus, as a medical practitioner, how far have you gone in safety precautions?
Ebola is a very deadly virus, it has been quite alarming since its importation into the country. But I have been enlightening people in my own little way, cleanliness is the ultimate. Washing of hands with soap and water, the Virus could easily be paralyzed with soap and bleach. And any suspected case or symptom should be immediately reported to the designated centre. Early detection pays.
Some persons were forced to bath with water mixed with salt recently to prevent the deadly disease; from your own angle do you think that is the way forward?
Salt has nothing to do with Ebola according to my own knowledge and research as a Pschiatrist, So sad that some people died and others hospitalised in the course of preventing the virus. It was a fake information spread by one girl on the social media. And she has apologized after the ugly result of her information. Nigerians must be very careful with the kind of information they get about the Ebola Virus.
Sir, it came to our notice that you are gunning for the number one seat in Benue State, how prepared are you for this big task ahead considering the fact that no Idoma has governed the state?
I’m well prepared and ready to governor Benue State, its not about Idoma has ever governed or not but its God that make a leader. Our Tiv brothers and Sisters are also ready to be governed by Idoma.
All the votes that Idoma former aspirants have gotten is not only from Zone C. So you can see that it is all about choice and the Tivs are ready to work with Idoma. Talking about my personal preparedness, that’s a minor case. Because Federal Medical Centre administration is also like that of state administration.
So if I could manage FMC successful for years with tremendous achievements then I can manage Benue State. I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet but just the facts, the records are there. All I need is more strength and effort. Its just like the case of butchering, what the goat butcher needs when he wants to butcher cow is more strength but the system and patterns are the same.
Do you think you can break the jinx?
I’m doing the necessary thing as aspirant. And I have no fear because I believe so much in my God the kings maker. He is the only person that can make a leader. I’m a dedicated Christian and I believe strongly in God. I’m doing it as a mere mortal believing God would crown my effort with success.
It was widely reported recently that some Idoma leaders have agreed to back a Tiv man for governor in 2015 while someone from Ado will be his deputy, how would you react to that?
Let’s forget about reports and rumors here and there. Its a normal thing especially a time like this. If Idoma leaders are backing the Tivs, or the Tivs are support Idomas nothing is wrong. Its only the electorates that would decide. What happened in Ekiti was a big lesson to us all.
Last year in Otukpo, the senate president told Idoma people that they cannot rule Benue state except Apa state is created, do you agree with him?
I don’t think Sen. David Mark that I know very well could make such statement. Because he was ever ready to see an Idoma man sitting in Benue government house as number one citizen. But even if at all he made such statement then that was his own opinion. But I still doubt it. Why can’t we rule?
All the contenders from Idoma Nation are capable to rule Benue if being given the opportunity?
So I see no reason why we should wait for the yet to be created Apa State. Benue State is for all of us.
As the next governor of benue state, what are we to expect from your administration?
Good governance, massive job creation transformation, development and Empowerment. The lists are endless.
I have my manifesto. This Job creation can be made possible by granting loan to the graduates who are jobless to boast agricultural sector.
Loan like 10milion naira to those that have enough land to set up standard agricultural or farm firm as case maybe to be monitored by the government so that it could generate employment and employ more youths and able bodies.
I have a lot of good plans for my dear state if they can give me the opportunity in 2015.
Benue state is currently turning to blood basket of the nation following the unending attacks by the fulani cattle breeders, what will your government do to salvage the situation?
It’s salvaging already there is peace in Agatu community. And we pray peace to continue reigning in our land. Its not only Idoma but in the whole country. The security Agencies are doing their best. And soon crisis and terrorism shall be humiliated.
How would you rate the present government, does suswam actually deserves kudos?
Suswam has done very well. You can agree with me that he really tried especially in the area of road construction if you walk through the streets of Makurdi and other places in Benue State.
Before I used to find it difficult to drive to my hometown in Ogbadibo because of the deplorable road but that was a history today.
Taxis everywhere, you can just travel from your village to Makurdi and give the address of your destination to the driver, and he would incredibly drop you at the doorstep of were you are going.
But unfortunate his second tenure was full of crisis here and there. So there is nothing he could do in the midst of crisis other than focusing on the security challenges and ensure peace and safety of his people. I think that is paramount for now because live is above everything. But so far he has done well that was why he was nicknamed Mr Infrastructure. So Gov Suswam deserves kudos.
Benue is believed to have the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the country, how would your govt help to reduce this considerably if elected?
Already NACCA and BENSACCA are working together in controlling HIV/AIDS. And the result is very impressing so far. My govt would keep fighting until the virus is being put under control.
Do you think Idoma is strong enough to stand on its own?
Over strong, we have all it takes to be a state. So we pray for Apa realistic now that its has been recommended.
There is enmity between Idoma enone and Idoma enochi, how would you help in bridging this gap?
Enmity? I’m hearing it for the first time. It is not true. Let people stop all these assumptions especially the youths. If there is any problem between Enochi and Enone then why Sen. David Mark and Abbah Morro are working together and some many of us. I don’t see any rift in between at all.
We are one.
Why did you decide to go into politics knowing fully well that you were comfortable in your field?
I can’t continue sitting in one place collecting big salary while my people need more of my service.
I have to step forward to meet up with my people’s demand. Its has always been my aspiration to help people. And the only way to do that is in politics. Life is not all about yourself and your family alone but also the society. I love living a selfless life.
Is the Och’Idoma and other top idoma leaders like David Mark aware of your ambition, and what were their reactions?
It would be personal if you call it ambition but rather aspiration. I have met with Och’Idoma and other Royal fathers and they have given me their blessings. I meet with the Senate President and he equally blessed me and charged me to go and sell my self to the larger society. Because he himself has no key of winning the election in his pocket.
Was Dr. Oyigeya born with silver spoon?
I went to public school, so if I was born with silver spoon I would have gone to private school. But hard work and God’s grace brought me this far. I thank HIM for everything. Is your wife and kids in support of your new ambition? I have a very loving and understanding wife. She is in full support of my aspiration. And non of my children has ever said ‘Daddy don’t go for this .
Even my mother is in full support, she had prayed and given me her blessing.
Under which party are you running?
PDP of course.
How was your growing up?
I was born in Efekwo-Otukpa Ogbadibo Local Government area of Benue State in 1963. I went to St. Augustine Primary School Otukpo in 1970, after which I proceeded to Mt. St. Gabriel’s Secondary school Makurdi. I obtained IJMB certificate from school of basic studies in Makurdi 1983. Thereafter I went to University of Calabar where I obtained my Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery(MB.Bch.) in 1988. I also attended the West African Postgraduate Medical College Yaba Lagos in 1999. Later I proceeded to Benue State University (BSU) Makurdi and obtained Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) and master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2001 and 2006. Medical Director Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, 2008-June 2012 then July 2012-2014.
Source: Idoma Voice