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Published On: Fri, Sep 20th, 2013

I’ll Attract Massive Federal Presence to Urhobo Nation – Emerhor

Olorogun Emerhor O’tega


Olorogun Emerhor O’tega is a First Class Degrees graduate of Accountancy from University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a trained chartered accountant at the renowned Price Waterhouse Coopers who has worked in several banks like Citi Bank, Fidelity Bank and Guarantee Trust Bank. Presently, he is the Vice Chairman/Group CEO of Standard Alliance Insurance Plc, Vice Chairman, First Inland Bank Plc, Chairman, Synetics Technologies Ltd and Heroes Group.
In this interview with our correspondent, O’tega Omerho who is aspiring to occupy the Delta Central Senatorial seat made vacant as a result of the demise of Pius Ewherido speaks on how he will use his vast corporate experience to attract Federal presence to Urhobo nation by industrializing the region, create employment and raise the living standard of the people.

Excerpts

Why are you running under the platform of APC and do you think APC will win?
I will tell you the truth, this country is very lucky that we are now gearing towards a two party system of two very strong parties. As you must know in almost all the developed democracy, United States, United Kingdom and other European countries and even our neighbouring Ghana, you have two main parties. That is the best way to guarantee that the electorate are in control and their will is carried out by the government of the day. This means that if one party is not performing there is an opportunity for the electorate to elect another party to deliver the dividends of democracy to them. APC is a party that is going to provide an alternative to the existing party. It is well received in the state, particularly in Delta Central. As you well know the senate seat which became vacant by the unfortunate death of our late brother, Senator Pius Ewherido was held by Democrativ Peoples Party (DPP) which is an opposition party. It is on record that Delta Central has been shortchanged in the existing political arrangement which made the district to vote massively for DPP. I tell you that those feelings still exist. Delta Central will find a home in APC and it will deliver victory to APC like it did during the late Senator Ewherido’s time.
What differentiates you from other aspirants that will make people vote for you?
This is senate race and my entry into it a really about the interest of Delta Central. It is not about me per se. I am an established business individual and I could continue to focus on my business if I will. But this is about developing Delta Central. This is to ensure that Delta Central which comprises mainly of Urhobos, are well represented. I am going out there to negotiate and get the district the best representation. I tell you, I have a pedigree of having worked and contributed to the improvement of the Urhobo nation. I have been deeply involved in series of activities that advance the interest of Delta Central. This is the pedigree that I have working for me. Yes, why am I better than other aspirants? You look at their own pedigree and you compare it with mine and you decide. It is quite obvious when you do that I stand out from the motley crowd
You are a businessman by background, why are you in the senatorial race?
The Senate is a representative position and it is in the senate that the resources and fortune of this country are really managed. So you can be sure that my background as a corporate person fits properly in that arena to ensure that I contribute my management acumen, my experience in representing the people of Delta Central. Like you know, in business, you do not get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate, so it requires somebody with skills and background like mine that to be there to represent the people of Delta Central, in order to optimize its fortune
Festus Keyamo came out openly and claimed that the state APC has endorsed him as the sole candidate, only for Chief Tom Ikimi, the National Vice Chairman, South-South, of the party to come out and refute endorsement. What is going on?
Well you know the emergence of a candidate of a party is not by self declaration. Festus Keyamo is another aspirant under APC and he came out like you said to allege that he has been adopted as sole candidate. It is not my business to come out and counteract him. The party has a hierarchy, as you must have seen in the papers. The party hierarchy represented by the Vice Chairman, South -South, Chief Tom Ikimi, came out with a press release and clearly stated that the party has not taken any such action. If you want to ask what is going on, I think you should go and ask Festus Keyamo. This to me is just a distraction. What is important is that a candidate of the party has not emerged and it will emerge through due process.
What are your chances of winning the primaries?
I am really the candidate to beat, not just within the APC but the actual senatorial race. Like I said before, this is about the interest of the Urhobo. I am clearly the front runner. In all the places that I have been to in Delta Central since this race started, there is so much excitement. The people are happy that someone of my pedigree is coming to the background and business pedigree is coming to represent them. Party faithful are eager to nominate a strong candidate who can win the election.
What is your agenda as a senator?
Simply put, to bring development back home. It is to take the issues of the senatorial district and highlight them in the national assembly. If you look at Delta Central we have many issues. These are issues of development, neglect, high unemployment and you can see the crime rate and poverty. All these are associated with the fact that there are no flourishing industries. We used to have a flourishing Delta Steel Company that engaged many youths. A lot of industries are moribund and not operating. We have little federal presence in the district. These are the issues a representative needs to take to Abuja. We need to bring visible federal presence to Delta Central and ensure that we have our fair share in terms of engagement of individuals from this area in the activities of our nation. Therefore the agenda is proper representation, ensuring that Delta Central is receiving a commensurate attention, patronage and ensuring that government appreciates the worth of the fifth largest ethnic group in the country.
How will you tackle the issue of youth unemployment in Delta Central?
I think the question is related to the last question that I have just answered. What will bring employment are industries and proper engagements with the federal government; you know the federal government has a lot of existing schemes. There are schemes in agriculture, there are schemes in poverty alleviation and there are others relating to activities of the various ministries. But you need to bring these opportunities to the attention of the people you represent. You need to provide the channel, you need to be the bridge, and you need to ensure that your senatorial district is having access to what is already available. In addition to having access to what is already available, you need to design programmes that will affect not just your senatorial district but the senatorial districts all over the country and got them through the assembly. Remember that, although you are a senator representing your senatorial district you are also a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Unemployment and youth restiveness is not restricted to Delta Central, it is across the country. That means that if you able to articulate such policies that will address such restiveness and make youths to be engaged, you would have effectively addressed issues that affects your district.
You have been tipped for United Nation World Peace Award on September 26, 2013 in Abuja at the Nigeria National Merit Award, what must have led to the conferment of this award on you?
I do not know if you got the details when it was published. This award is about people who have been instrumental in contributing to development in their areas of expertise and also have used that to extend development, downstream to people in their communities. As a business person, my civic responsibility role is pronounced both in the state that I come from and both in the Delta Central. Also companies that I am involved are keen players in cooperate socially responsibility. All these are the criteria that I believed may have been used. As you know where there is progress, development and employment, of course, you can be sure that there will be peace. Even though it is called peace award it also has to do with your ability to affect the society such that violence is avoided.

What are your final words?

I will like to send a strong message to the people of Delta Central that the senatorial bye-election is about the future and progress of the district. This I know they know. They must send the best man to Abuja to go and do the job because it is only when the person with such, which I represent, that they will have the true dividends of democracy. I commit to address the issues I have outlined, including youth unemployment and massive presence of the federal might in Delta Central. And in this election they must be alert and ensure their will is represented in their voting and they must stand up to ensure that nobody thwarts their will by trying to disrupt or engage on acts that will not allow proper voting to take place. I urge them to vote, protect and defend their votes so as to enthrone their will.

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