By Tony Nwankwo
Olorogun (Barr.) Fred Okiemute Majemite, lawyer and politician, is political adviser to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State. He is also the Okiemute ro Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom. He wants to contest the bye-election for the vacant Delta Central Senatorial seat when INEC gives the go-ahead. In this interview, he says as a staunch member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he has what it takes to reposition the district at the Senate. Excerpts:
Who is Olorogun Majemite and why do you want the Delta Central senatorial seat?
The death of our brother, the late Senator Pius Akpor Ewherido, representing Delta Central in the Senate was a severe blow to us. In him, we had a landmark representation, but his demise has brought a vacancy to the position. And according to the Constitution, the position must be filled within 90 days as approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). I want to run for the position, having done so before in 2003.
I had to abandon my quest for Olorogun Felix Ibru, who also did a wonderful job in representing us there. After my quest in 2003, I have strengthened my profile. For instance, I have served my state under Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan as Special Adviser (2007-2009), Commissioner for Special Duties (2009-2010) and as Commissioner for Lands (2010-2011). Currently, I am the Political Adviser to His Excellency, the Governor. These are positions from which I have impacted my constituency of Delta Central.
We hear there are others aspiring to this position. What makes you different. Why must Delta Central choose you for the job?
It is true that other worthy aspirants are bound to emerge because the constituency is large and boasts of worthy sons and daughters.
But my case is special, having aspired for the position in 2003, only to jettison my quest to support the eventual winner, Senator Ibru, I have used other political positions I have found myself to impact on our people. Even before I went into politics, I have had some empowerment programmes for our people.
I have a running indigeneship scholarship programme where over 20 brilliant students from my constituency are recognised and awarded to cater for their university education. I have also been assisting my people in the constituency in small scale businesses. Some of these programmes I have used to alleviate poverty in the constituency. As political adviser to Governor Uduaghan, I have used the position to traverse the entire Delta Central, so I know the problems that exist, and I am ready to tackle them.
And what are the problems?
My people have the problem of being marginalized. This issue has been on the table for a long time, but not much seems to have been done on it. I will speak on this, and I will make my voice heard on the issue. Our greatest problem is that nobody is speaking for us. We have no Federal Government representation.
For instance, we have no federal minister in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan from the constituency and this affects what you get in terms of Federal Government projects. We have had no federal presence in the constituency since this democratic dispensation.
This is apart from the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE). There is also the Delta Steel Complex (DSC), Aladja, which was controversially sold. There is the Sapele Port and the need to site an agro-based industry in the district. The most urgent need however is for us to have a voice at the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The late Senator Ewherido is said to have provided good representation at the Senate. Do you intend to continue his programmes or you want a new path?
He represented us well, therefore I would want to continue with some programmes he had on ground while bringing my own programmes also to bear. I would like to continue the pursuit at the Senate of the Bill on Corporate Manslaughter which is targeted at corporate accidents. I will support this and bring it to fruition. I know there were some scholarship programmes he had on ground, I will continue to support those, while including my own. I will take on the programme on the competition on Urhobo Language in secondary schools in the constituency. This programme is very close to the heart of our people particularly the elderly who fear the Urhoho language could become extinct unless something is done. I will tackle the programme head-on. There will be no age limit on when you can learn the Urhobo language. Furthermore, I will use the experience I have garnered over the years in government to good use. Add this to my superlative membership of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), whose support to my quest I will take for granted. I have served them well and I know they will not let me down. All these I will bring to bear as I go to the Senate and don’t forget I am a lawyer by training.
You expect a tough contest when the time comes?
Of course, but I am on ground. I had invitation to contest this Senate position ten years ago. I had to step down to support Olorogun Ibru. Today, UPU agrees with me. I have their support. I have been a very good party loyalist. I am a bridge in the constituency. I know my chances are very bright.