PRince Uzoma Idaboh, Chairman/Managing Director, Nelrose Hotel Limited and former Special Adviser on Special Duties to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, in this interview, speaks on the politics of Delta and why he wants to go to the Delta State House of Assembly. Excerpts:
BY IKENNA ASOMBA
On the personality of the year award given to Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, by Vanguard Newspapers, recently.
He deserved it. The award is legendary because there are some awards in Nigeria that are politically-motivated or economically induced. But the awards given to Dr. Uduaghan by Vanguard Newspapers, as well as Aliko Dangote and Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson) are different. These are people with their own strong pedigree in the fields that they have chosen.
Also, the Vanguard Newspapers is rich in history and we all know the publisher, Uncle Sam Amuka, as a very honest and transparent person. When he says ‘white, it is white.’ So, Dr. Uduaghan obviously has been recognized internationally for his efforts in governance.
So, I can say that that award is not just for Dr. Uduaghan but for every Deltan, who has had the privilege of working with him. I am very proud about the award for three reasons, one as a person who has had the privilege of working with him, who is still working with him and as a Deltan.
His take on Uduaghan’s performance in office
Owing to the giant strides achieved by the governor in Delta State, I will say he has written his name in the political history of the state. It’s easier when you have served your people and have experience in government. Dr. Uduaghan was prepared for the job because he had served at various capacities under the administration of Chief James Ibori. So, when he came in as the state governor, it was not difficult for him to acclimatize.
As part of his three-point agenda, he has been able to work very hard to launder the image of Delta State, which most expatriates thought as a crisis-ridden state because of the name is akin to the Niger-Delta. So, these people believed that Delta is the same as Niger-Delta, that it was just hyphenated.
To a large extent today, Delta State is very much at peace. The security in our state has improved as a lot of investment has been attracted, especially in Asaba. Even people who are not Deltans are now rushing to the state to invest. So, to a very large extent, Dr. Uduaghan has done very well.
I have made up my mind clearly to run for an elective office in the Delta State House of Assembly, DSHA, to represent my people there. I have made consideration for the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives, but as you know, most of these positions are zoned.
In order not to shoot in the dark and considering the fact that the politics of Nigeria is completely different, you can’t isolate zoning. So, I want to go to the State Houses of Assembly to represent Aniocha North Local Government Area.
Why the DSHA?
Having been into politics for 14 years now, I should know what I want and how best I will serve my people.
At the Federal House, we have four local governments that make up my federal constituency. I believe in the past 15 years of democratic rule, the Aniocha North, where I come from has occupied that seat for 11 years with a year to make it 12 years, while another local government, Aniocha South has occupied it for four years, that was during the tenure of Hon. Paschal Adigwe.
So now, the Oshimili South, being Asaba and Oshimili North or Akwukwu-Igbo and Ibuzo, have been agitating that it should rotate, because you can’t do 16 years and only a section has been there. So, based on equality, their argument will be very strong.
Do you think his idea of Delta without oil has paid off for Deltans?
I have been a member of Dr. Uduaghan’s government. I was a pioneer member of his government, as the Special Adviser on Special Duties between 1999 and 2007. One of my primary assignments then was to propagate his three-point agenda, which I did across the 25 local government areas of our state, through what is called the Advocacy Tour. As one of the three-point agenda, I did this within the first three months of the administration.
So I can tell you categorically that the idea has been there. That is why the airport project was put in place. Dr. Uduaghan was of the firm belief that with the airport project, we can make Delta State a hub that can attract investors, improve and increase the value of life in the state, create new wealth where people who have land will be able to create fresh capital and start doing businesses and that is happening now.
Before the advent of the airport, a plot of land in Asaba goes for about N300, 000, but I can say categorically now that a plot of land goes for about N3 million and N30 million and the airport has a hand in that.