Hon. Onem Miracle Tyna, the councillor representing Ward 2 in Ogbia local government legislative council, has been on the news recently for sacrificing her car allowance for the construction of a bridge linking some communities in Otuokpoti.
In this interview with Daily Trust Saturday, she said she was touched by the plight of her people who could not access other communities because of lack of access road. Excerpts.
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Why did you sacrifice your car allowance for a bridge in your community?
It was because I have my people at heart, and I know their problems. As a councillor, I am a grassroots politician, I have to know what happens in my terrain and especially in my ward. While growing up as a child some years ago, I knew what my people passed through because of lack of access road, especially old women and children. There was no access from that road to other communities; in short going out of that axis of Otuokpoti was a problem. So, I saw it as a major challenge and decided that if I have the opportunity, I will do something about it. That was why I embarked on the construction of that bridge after I was sworn in as a councillor in Ogbia Local Government. Though I was not motivated by anybody, I decided to do it because I have the passion to serve my people, the zeal to work, and the flare for development of my ward, Ogbia Local Government and Bayelsa State at large.
So, how do you manage with your legislative functions without a car?
I have been going to work without a car, I have been using commercial transport even before the car allowance was released, so I don’t see that as an issue. I cannot mortgage the happiness and comfort of my people because of a car that will serve only me. The God who has used me to give my people a new lease of life could still provide me with a car one day, so, for now, I’m not bothered about car. My people feel satisfied, I’m okay with that.
How long has the community been without an access road?
From the time I was born, there’s been no access road to the community. My grand mother who died last year told me that since the existence of Otuokpoti as a community, that section of the community has been like that. I’m almost 31 years old, so, you can see. My people have suffered for such a long time.
Now that you have finished the bridge linking the community, what other projects do you intend to attract to the community?
If I have funds and other projects are given to me, there’s much to be done. That bridge has a link road to the expressway as well as a health centre; that link road is untarred. I can construct that road, and then there is a townhall at Otuogori community, which is still part of my ward.
We have several challenges at the local level, so as a legislator at that level, I know the problems of my people and most of the problems we face at the grassroots are lack of basic amenities such as pipe borne water, good toilets, healthcare and many others. If these things can be provided at the grassroots level, we won’t have problems at all.
How much did it take you to complete the bridge?
I don’t actually have the statistics of how much I spent because after collecting the ward fund, it got exhausted. I still used my car allowance, it got finished before Governor Douye Diri called and assisted me with additional funds which I used for the expansion of the bridge. That is why we now have a standard bridge that can carry more than two cars at a time. It’s not a walkway only, it’s a memorable bridge.
People say you executed the project because of your future political ambition, is it true?
For now, I don’t have any political ambition but God willing, because power comes from God, if the people of Ogbia Local Government, Bayelsa State and Nigeria at large decide to give me any opportunity, I will. But for now, I don’t have money, I don’t have sponsors, the godfather I have now is the governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri. I don’t have resources to sponsor myself in any other election, but if given the opportunity, I believe I will deliver and people will be proud of me.
Advice to other councillors in Bayelsa State and your constituents
My fellow councillors are working, as you can see, if you go on social media and conventional media, you will see that the 105 councillors in Bayelsa State are working. For the first time, councillors in Bayelsa State are executing good projects in their various wards.
My advice to any leader or councillor is that when given opportunity, we should do what people want and not what will please us. Above all, we must be dedicated to what we do, we must be transparent and have integrity.