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Published On: Tue, Oct 7th, 2014

2015 Delta Guber: My Chances are very Bright-Omo-Agege

Delta State PDP Gubernitorial Hopeful, Obaisi (Barr) Ovie Omo-Agege


As Delta State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial primaries election draw nearer, PDP gubernatorial aspirant, Obaisi (Barr) Ovie Omo-Agege has maintained that his chances of becoming the Governor of Delta State in 2015 are very bright. Speaking to a group of journalists, the Gubernatorial hopeful rates President Jonathan chances of winning the second term election with landslide victory, discards zoning in Delta State, promises to continue with Emmanuel Udaghan’s projects and waves aside challenges of APC and Labour in Delta State

Excerpt
?During your consultation tour of the 25 local government areas of Delta state, you said you are best positioned to emerge as the PDP candidate in the gubernatorial primary of 2015. Why do you think so?

Chief Edwin Clark (Left) and Obaisi Ovie Omo-Agege


First, let me acknowledge that all the aspirants in this race are qualified and worthy of the governorship position. They are good men and women who mean well for our party and state. All of them have good ideas and policies to move our state to the next level. But from this pack, I stand out. I stand out because I believe that I have a better understanding of the issues and the solutions to the problems facing our people.
Second, it is important to note that even before we begin to implement these ideas and policies, our party has to first win the elections. We have to win not just the gubernatorial election but also the presidential election. In fact, the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan is more important than anything else. In Delta state, our challenge is to increase our voter turnout from the 68 percent we achieved in 2011 and deliver more votes to President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. Delta state is President Jonathan catchment area. Anything less than 95 percent voter turnout in 2015 would be unacceptable and deemed a failure.
We also need to win the governorship election with a clearer mandate so that we are not distracted by unnecessary tribunal litigations. I strongly believe that I, more than anyone else in the race, can achieve these overall objectives for our party. My candidacy in the governorship election will ensure a greater voter turnout in the presidential election and help Mr. President achieve a landslide that will make it impossible for APC to secure 25 percent of the votes in Delta state.
I can also expand Governor Uduaghan’s winning coalition by winning more votes in the hitherto opposition stronghold of Delta Central and widen the support base of our party.

How will you rate the chances of President Goodluck Jonathan should he decide to run for a second term in office?
President Goodluck Jonathan’s chances of winning a second term are very bright hence his deserved adoption by PDP as its sole presidential candidate. As an incumbent he enjoys quite a substantial advantage. But more importantly, the President has done enough to ensure that he retains Aso Rock. Under his stewardship, Nigeria became the largest economy in Africa and 26th in the world. The economy is projected to double its size in the next six to seven years if we stay the course because of the reforms Mr. President has introduced in the energy sector particularly the privatisation of PHCN.
It is also true that President Goodluck Jonathan is set to enter a new phase of his transformation agenda with his commitment to implementing the recommendations of the National Conference in his Independence Day address to the nation. Given the attitude of the opposition party to the National Conference, I believe that Nigerians will give the President the time and chance to implement these recommendations that will devolve and decentralise power and authority to the federating units and eliminate the structural defects in Nigeria that has held us back as a nation over the past five decades.
Nigerians are also mindful of the progress we have made in the war on terror. Rather than over run the country, Boko Haram is in retreat. Their leader is dead and many more leaders and members have been arrested and brought to justice. However, the threat still exists and changing the commander in chief in the middle of a war wouldn’t be wise especially when successes are being made.
What is your message to Deltans in pursuance of the second term for Mr President?
I have no doubt that Deltans want the president to continue with his transformation agenda until 2019. This view is not necessarily shared by the opposition. On our part in Delta state, we must avoid anything that will prevent the massive delivery of votes to Mr President in the state.
With this in mind, the presidency and the party must jettison sentiments and be pragmatic in the choice of the 2015 governorship flag bearer. The party must nominate someone who can help the president to harvest the most votes and not a flag bearer who will act as a drag on the president’s re-election bid.

Some persons seem to be giving more credence to zoning and power rotation and they are of the view that it is the turn of Delta north to produce the next Governor of the State. Do you subscribe to this?
Obviously, I do not subscribe to this. If I do, I wouldn’t have joined the race in the first place. In Delta State, zoning and power rotation of the governorship has never been implemented. In all previous governorship elections, aspirants from all three senatorial districts contested the primaries of the PDP. Chief James Ibori was challenged for the ticket of PDP by the likes of Dr. Joshua Enueme and Chief Ifeanyi Onwukamike from Delta North.
In 2007, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan emerged the flag bearer of the party not because it was the turn of Delta South but because he won an open primary that was contested by Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Chief Godswill Obielum, Prof. Fidelis Oditah, Chief Simeon Ebonka, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Olejeme, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa from Delta North and Late Pius Ewerido, Chief Charles Obule, Olorogun Otega Emerhor, Hon. Napoleon Gbinije, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Olorogun Oscar Ibru and myself from Delta Central.
What has happened in Delta state in the past is that after the governorship candidate of the party has emerged from a primary contest that is open to aspirants from all the senatorial districts, the principle of zoning is then used to distribute other elective and appointive offices among the three senatorial districts in the state for purpose of fairness, equity and justice. So there is no basis for anyone to now claim it is their turn and others should be excluded. No one has ever been excluded from the governorship primaries because of where he or she comes from in the past. And it cannot begin now. Primaries are designed to determine who is best positioned to win the general election for the party based on what he can do for the entire people of Delta State and not to allocate the party ticket to satisfy sectional interest.
Those who are clamouring for zoning of the governorship position should know that it is not a winning strategy in this election circle given the existing political landscape. They should put the interest of the party and by implication, the interest of the President above narrow sectional interest.

Obaisi Ovie Omo-Agege signing the condolence register of Late Chief Patrick Aziza


What are your chances considering the alleged anointment of Sir Anthony Obuh by Governor Uduaghan?
Governor Uduaghan has not told me he has anointed anyone. And his public pronouncements suggest he hasn’t and I have no reason to doubt him. The primary process is not a coronation but even if it were, I am the logical beneficiary having secured the second most valid votes at the 2006 Ogwashi-Uku guber primary. My chances are indeed very bright.
I have offered myself to God to use me to build the Delta state of our dream. With the special Grace of God upon our efforts, I am convinced that we will prevail in the gubernatorial primaries of the PDP in November and win the general election for our party with a larger margin than PDP did in 2011. My candidacy will certainly guarantee victory to our party as I am capable of harvesting votes from the hitherto opposition hotbed where I come from.
If you look at my support base, you will find ordinary people who are not government officials, the grass root people who have made the decision to support me because they believe in me, and not because they were instructed to do so, people whose support will enhance the electoral power of our party support and diminish that of the opposition. People, who are not in the system, but are committed to our party and President.

Obaisi Ovie Omo-Agege with Urhobo traditional ruler in Lagos


Why do you want to sustain the Delta Beyond Oil Initiative of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan?
Not only will I sustain the programme, I will accelerate its implementation because it is the urgent need of our time. This is not just rhetoric to please Governor Uduaghan, it is something we must do because there is no alternative route to achieving sustainable development. For too long we have depended on oil and we can no longer afford to do so if we are serious in not only tackling the current problems of unemployment and insecurity but also preventing it from getting worse given the real possibility that revenue from oil could fall drastically in the very near future.
As a depletable resource, oil could finish one day or there could be no demand for our oil, as other countries discover alternative sources for their energy needs. As we speak, the United States of America which used to be the biggest buyer of Nigeria’s oil is no longer buying our oil because it has discovered shale technology to produce synthetic crude oil from oil shale domestically and it is projected that very soon, USA will become an exporter of oil. This technology has the potential of making almost every country in the world an oil producer. Shale oil extraction is already been used in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and Estonia. Even Morocco and Jordan have announced plans to test the technology. Besides, African countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya have discovered commercial oil.
So we are faced with the real possible of oil glut in no distant future. We can’t afford to wait for this scaring scenario to unfold before we begin to pay sufficient attention to other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, tourism which have huge potentials for job creation.
If we must solve the unemployment problem and engage our youths and women in gainful employment we must diversify into the non oil sectors, increase the domestic base of our economy and be ready for the rainy day. We must commend Governor Uduaghan for having the foresight to bring this to the consciousness of not only Deltans but all Nigerians and it is to his credit that other state governments have now taken up the challenge of diversifying the economies of their state to complement the transformation agenda of Mr. President which is also intended to make Nigeria less reliant on oil.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Labour Party seems to be making wave in Delta State; what is your assessment of these two parties in view of the 2015 governorship election?
I haven’t seen anything done by APC and Labour to suggest that they are making wave in Delta state as far as the governorship election is concerned. But that does not mean that there is no threat. But whatever challenge they can give to PDP will largely depend on who PDP throws up as its candidate. The opposition recognise this fact and that is why they have published articles in various newspapers to assure their supporters that PDP will not nominate a candidate of Urhobo extraction. Their whole game plan is based on this assumption because they know that should PDP go for electoral strength instead of zoning and rightly give its ticket to me, they have no chance.
You have assured Deltans severally that you will complete all projects initiated by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan; how do you intend to achieve this considering the fact that you also will initiate your own projects, if elected?
The only reason why anyone would contemplate abandoning any project is if that project is a white elephant project or a waste and the opportunity cost of completing the project exceeds the benefits that will accrue to the people if completed. None of the projects started by Governor Uduaghan falls into this category. So there is no justifiable reason to abandon any of them.
Is it the Independent Power Plant (IPP) that we so desperately need to power our homes, factories and businesses or is it the leisure and business parks that will create jobs for our people and boost our internally generated revenue or is it the ongoing modernisation and expansion of other infrastructures such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals that will strengthen our society and make life more enjoyable and fulfilling that I should abandon just because they are started by Governor Uduaghan? There will be no abandoned project under my watch. This is a promise to the people of Delta State and I will be faithful to that promise.

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