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My kidnap has nothing to do with Niger-Delta crisis—Igbuya

By Aramide PIUS
Two-time chairman of Sapele Local Government Council and presently member of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Monday Ovbigho Igbuya in this interview with SaturdayVanguard spoke on the Niger Delta crisis and other issues of interest.  Excerpts:

You have been in politics for quite sometime now, how has it been as a politician?

Well, politics is a game and another explanation to politics is service to the people, I enjoy providing service to my people. I actually enjoy it. I can tell you that it has been actually very interesting. You meet all kinds of persons; you meet blackmailers, people who would want to backstab others for money, so politics has been quite interesting.

.So what are some of the visible projects that you were able to execute?

•Ovbigho Igbuya:...Politics is all about opposition

In my time, the office the present chairman of the council is occupying, I built it. I met two buildings when I went into the council but I left with not only the office of the chairman and executive chamber, I also left a storey building which is the only storey building in the council premises today.

I built two police stations, the one in Okiriwhre and the one in Elume. I tarred roads. I also in my time made frantic effort to do the electricity step down that every body in Sapele is enjoying today whether my enemies, my detractors, my friends. It is a milestone project, that is the power step down you are seeing today at Amukpe.

Today, you are a member of the Delta State House of Assembly. What informed your decision to aspire to the House?

I discovered that as council chairman my representation was limited and I needed a wide scope of representation and the sure bet was to go to the House of Assembly. You know legislative work is not something you just delve into, I gathered experience from legislation by virtue of the fact that I was a councilor in 1987.

That legislative experience is what has guided me into the present legislature.

How many projects have you been able to influence as a legislator to your constituency?

Several projects. I do not belong to the Executive so I go cap in hand begging the executive arm to execute projects here. I have influenced many projects here and the Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has done so much here.

You remember the AT &P abandoned bridge. I moved a motion in the House, I pleaded with the governor and the bridge has repaired. Even the DESOPADEC which is an interventionist agency has done so much in Sapele and if we have been having it this good, we would not have been complaining.

The Ogorode road has been built. I was privileged to drive with the governor from Benin on one occasion to Warri and he asked me which road will you like to be dualized and I mention Okpe road and he said Okpe road will be dualized.

I can tell you that action is on and in no distant time there will be progress. It doesn’t mean that you have to continue to shout. Governance is a collective thing, the major thing is the benefit to your people, and whatever you are able to influence to your people makes you a politician.

2011 is around the corner, so many groups are endorsing the governor, what is you accessment of this government since it came on board in 2007?

I must tell you that the governor is a fine gentle man. He is a peace loving governor who has actually actualized his 3-point agenda. To a large extent, there is tremendous peace in this state and lives and property are secured, that is the first agenda of the governor.

The man has displayed absolute maturity as a true leader and I commend him a lot. The second agenda which is human capital development, don’t tell me you have not seen people who have bought new vehicles, people who have built new houses and that is human capital development. Jobs are given out to the people; today you can see that people are smiling.

Then you talk of infrastructure; I made a statement in Lagos that if you quantify the number of projects that Delta State government has executed if you concentrate it in one city, no state in this country can surpass it. Delta State is a miniature Nigeria where you have so many cities; you haveTwo-time chairman of Sapele Local Government Council and presently member of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Monday Ovbigho Igbuya in this interview with SaturdayVanguard spoke on the Niger Delta crisis and other issues of interest.  Excerpts:

You have been in politics for quite sometime now, how has it been as a politician?

Well, politics is a game and another explanation to politics is service to the people, I enjoy providing service to my people. I actually enjoy it. I can tell you that it has been actually very interesting. You meet all kinds of persons; you meet blackmailers, people who would want to backstab others for money, so politics has been quite interesting.

.So what are some of the visible projects that you were able to execute?

In my time, the office the present chairman of the council is occupying, I built it. I met two buildings when I went into the council but I left with not only the office of the chairman and executive chamber, I also left a storey building which is the only storey building in the council premises today.

I built two police stations, the one in Okiriwhre and the one in Elume. I tarred roads. I also in my time made frantic effort to do the electricity step down that every body in Sapele is enjoying today whether my enemies, my detractors, my friends. It is a milestone project, that is the power step down you are seeing today at Amukpe.

Today, you are a member of the Delta State House of Assembly. What informed your decision to aspire to the House?

I discovered that as council chairman my representation was limited and I needed a wide scope of representation and the sure bet was to go to the House of Assembly. You know legislative work is not something you just delve into, I gathered experience from legislation by virtue of the fact that I was a councilor in 1987. That legislative experience is what has guided me into the present legislature.

How many projects have you been able to influence as a legislator to your constituency?

Several projects. I do not belong to the Executive so I go cap in hand begging the executive arm to execute projects here. I have influenced many projects here and the Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has done so much here.

You remember the AT &P abandoned bridge. I moved a motion in the House, I pleaded with the governor and the bridge has repaired. Even the DESOPADEC which is an interventionist agency has done so much in Sapele and if we have been having it this good, we would not have been complaining. The Ogorode road has been built.

I was privileged to drive with the governor from Benin on one occasion to Warri and he asked me which road will you like to be dualized and I mention Okpe road and he said Okpe road will be dualized. I can tell you that action is on and in no distant time there will be progress. It doesn’t mean that you have to continue to shout.

Governance is a collective thing, the major thing is the benefit to your people, and whatever you are able to influence to your people makes you a politician.

As the chairman of the House Committee on  DESOPADEC,  how will you score DESOPADEC and how many projects have the Commission  executed in your area?

I must tell you that DESOPADEC  has done very well, more that 100%.The performance is high they have actually done so much that the government should be proud of; that is not to say that they do not have their own shortcoming. They have their own problems. They would have done better but for their shortcomings.

But I must tell you that DESOPADEC has done tremendously well irrespective of their shortcomings.
2011 is around the corner, so many groups are endorsing the governor, what is you accessment of this government since it came on board in 2007?

I must tell you that the governor is a fine gentle man. He is a peace loving governor who has actually actualized his 3-point agenda. To a large extent, there is tremendous peace in this state and lives and property are secured, that is the first agenda of the governor. The man has displayed absolute maturity as a true leader and I commend him a lot.

The second agenda which is human capital development, don’t tell me you have not seen people who have bought new vehicles, people who have built new houses and that is human capital development. Jobs are given out to the people; today you can see that people are smiling.

Then you talk of infrastructure; I made a statement in Lagos that if you quantify the number of projects that Delta State government has executed if you concentrate it in one city, no state in this country can surpass it. Delta State is a miniature Nigeria where you have so many cities; you have Asaba, Warri, Sapele, Ughelli, Agbor, Isoko so the projects are scattered all over.

The Delta State governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has done tremendously well. If it is possible to amend the constitution to enable him go for a third term we would have said he should have a third tenure.

Some time ago, you were a victim of kidnap, what did you go through in the hands of your kidnappers and  what do you think are some of the solutions to the Niger Delta crisis?

Well my kidnap had nothing to do with the Niger Delta problem. I saw it that hoodlums wanted to take opportunity of situation; don’t forget I chairman a very volatile committee, everybody see me as chairman of DESOPADEC and they feel the entire DESOPADEC money comes into my pocket, so Igbuya has so much money, let us go there and kidnap him and make money out of him.

It is really out of the Niger Delta issue. The Niger Delta struggle is a resource control issue. It is completely different from what happened to me. Hoodlums, armed robbers are catching on the issue of the Niger Delta struggle to make money for themselves. It is completely different from the struggle of the Niger Delta. The so called militants struggling for the development of the region is for the benefit of everyone.

For this country to move forward, there must be true Federalism. This country is blessed with abundant resources; too many untapped resources. The presence of oil is making so many sectors to be very weak.

We have cocoa, we have groundnut, we have cassava, timber. How many people go to farm now? Everybody is depending now on crude oil, everybody want to make quick money. Is it not a shame that power supply in this country is epileptic? That we are struggling to have 6000 mega watts. Go to small country like Zimbabwe, go there and you will see the kind of thing that is happening in Zimbabwe. They have steady supply of power.

Today our governor has embarked on projects powered by generator. It shows to us that there is no significant improvement in electricity in this country. Power is now standby and generator is now our regular source of power.

Do you  think true federalism is a solution to the Niger Delta problem?

Yes! True federalism is the only solution to the Niger Delta problem. Let the Federal Government tax the states and let tax be paid to the Federal Government and you will see that everybody will be happy; that is the only solution.

Only recently, the former Governor of the State, Chief James Ibori was discharged by the Federal High Court in the 170 counts charge preferred against him by the EFCC.  What is your reaction to that judgment?

If you listened to the judgment, you will see how the Judge took his time to take it from court 1 to the 170 one after the other and he found out that the accusations or charges against our leader, Chief James Onanefe Ibori is completely biased. It is wickedness at its peak because he is a resources control crusader that was why they wanted to kill him.

God knows that Chief Ibori was fighting for the true resources of Niger Deltans and that is why he was completely vindicated. It is a victory for Deltans, a victory for us, members of his political family, and it is a victory for True Federalism and again it is victory of good against evil.

The Elders and Stakeholders Forum seems to be strongly against the return of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan as governor in 2011. What is your word for them?

Well, we want to see their candidate. It is a matter of game. You know when am playing draft with you is either you win or I win. If the Stakeholders or Elders are against Dr. Uduaghan that is good politics; it is good politics for us. Politics devoid of opposition is not politics. So is a welcome decision, we welcome that decision very well. We will meet at the battle field. We will fight it out there. If they win, good-luck to them but if we win they should also congratulate us.


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