“When would you feature a woman on The Interview cover?”
This well-meaning question has repeatedly come from not a few of our loyal readers and ardent followers.
Have we been able to offer them any sufficiently satisfactory explanation? Not really. They have always demanded that we give it whatever is required. No excuses.
Well, here we are. The selection of any edition’s cover of The Interview by every means is a serious business. The choice of Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, the acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), for this edition was no less so.
Ibim has always been a serious minded and highly focused woman. Right from her early days as a journalist when she became the first Nigerian woman to win at the CNN African Journalist Award.
You can rightly say she has also tackled politics and public service with no less fervor and verve.
She was probably one of the most hassled information commissioners in the last five years or so and for very obvious reasons too.
She couldn’t have served under former governor Rotimi Amaechi (whom she has always maintained is her political leader), one of the most controversial and probably the most virulent of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s critics during the period without taking maximum fire.
But typically, she didn’t take any prisoners. She gave as much as she received.
Even in the last rerun elections in Rivers State with its unprecedented violence, she came under fire.
Then her appointment as the acting managing director of the NDDC came last December and the floodgate of protests were opened once more.
But she has since rolled up her sleeves and got down to work.
It was therefore a pleasant surprise when she accepted to do this interview amidst her super tight schedule.
Initially her ultra busy itinerary almost got in the way but finally, we had a sit in with her at her expansive office at the 7th floor of the Harold Dappa House, headquarters of the NDDC, along Aba Road, Port Harcourt.
You can’t possibly get an interview opportunity with Ibim (she’s fondly called by her first name) without also talking about a Rotimi Amaechi can you?
Well, Ibim didn’t disappoint as she spoke about the relationship with her former boss and the role he played in sending former president Goodluck Jonathan to Otuoke after May 29, 2015.
The interview also dwelled on the prevalent electoral violence with its resultant needless killings in Rivers State and she has more than a word for those fostering and sponsoring the mayhem.
Her work at the NDDC is unfolding but her plans as she shared with The Interview crew reveals a preparedness that can only come from dogged and reformer she is proving everyday to be.