By Emma Amaize & Hugo Odiogor, Asaba
FORMER Chairman of the People’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta State and Delta North senatorial candidate of the party, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, aka Oracle, in this interview with Saturday Vanguard at Asaba, speaks about his mission to the Senate, the tough battle by Anioma people on December 8, 2014, to produce the party’s governorship candidate and the controversies trailing his candidature.
How is your senatorial campaign going?
It is on course. I am confident that I will win in a free and fair contest, because Delta State and Delta North is a PDP state and a PDP area and we have never lost elections since 1998 when the PDP was formed, apart from the time Senator Osakwe went to the Senate. But we all know what led to that and such situation does not exist in Delta North anymore.
Is the situation not playing back again in this race?
It is playing itself back. Like I said before…
But we have Rt. Hon Victor Ochei, who was a member of PDP moving to Accord Party?
The situation is not playing back because it was the PDP, who voted in Osakwe because the senatorial candidate was imposed on the people by certain powerful forces and the government and the PDP people were not prepared for that.
That was why Mrs Mariam Ali lost. The PDP won all other elections apart from that one. But the situation here is not the same because I won the primary which was conducted in the full glare of everybody. I won overwhelmingly. I have been around; nobody will say I have not been around. I have been the state chairman of this party for seven years. I was the first state secretary of this party, I have been a commissioner in this state, I have been a special adviser and I have chaired federal boards. It is not like somebody coming from the wind and just being imposed on the people.
What efforts have Delta North Leaders made to pacify the people of Delta Central, who are still opposed to the PDP gubernatorial candidate coming from your zone?
Well, we are still talking; it is not a one day affair. But you saw the reception in Sapele, you saw the reception in Ororekpe. That shows that we are talking. You see, PDP is a disciplined party. No matter how much we quarrel, the PDP will always come together at the right time to reconcile and the process of reconciliation is going on very well and I am confident that our gubernatorial candidate will win and also win in Delta Central.
How do you react to speculations that the incumbent governor is encouraging your opponent to contest the Delta North Senate seat and secondly, we have heard that you collected money from aspirants and failed to deliver as promised, can you respond to these?
Thank you for this question. There is the proverb of the mother monkey saying that it is only the child in her womb that she can vouch for; that she cannot vouch for the one she is carrying on her back because she did not know while she was passing through the market if it took banana from somebody. I have discussed with the governor and he encouraged me when I was embarking on this race. I went with my state secretary. Then I was the state chairman of the party, I discussed with him and he gave me his blessing. And even in the primaries he supported me very well. I do not have any reason to doubt his support. If it is the rumour, then I do not know.
For me, up till the time of this interview, I discussed with him, I had a private meeting with him and he still encouraged me on this race, so that answers that question. On the issue of collecting money and not delivering I do not know which of the elections they are talking about. I did not conduct any election. If anybody said they gave me money for any election, let the person come out. I did not collect money from anybody. I have my business and I am a successful business man and by any standard, I thank God for all he has done for me.
They are free to say whatever they want to say because they want to blackmail me. But no amount of blackmail is going to stop me from the race; I have not collected money from anybody. The last local government elections, there was a panel. Because I knew I was going to run for elections, I purposely did not want to participate in the process that led to the local government elections.
I built the biggest party secretariat in the whole of Africa, I am not saying I built it with my money; every expenditure was by the working committee. Every due paid is to the party and from there I built the secretariat, furnished it. It is the biggest, the finest and the best furnished secretariat of PDP in the whole world, even better than the national secretariat of the party as at today. So where would I have gotten the money?
We learnt that some of the governorship aspirants from Delta North are angry with you because of the role you played during the December 8, 2014 primary, did you shortchange them?
What happened was this; you know I was the state chairman of the party, a position that was zoned to Delta North. It is the people of Delta North that unanimously put me forward as their state chairman and my second return was unopposed because they had confidence in me.
Why this confidence? It was because in 2007, I started what you call “Equity 2007” which is to move power among the three senatorial districts. Because I am a foundation member and I know people may seem to want to deny this but I leave it to them. Now, we started the process and all the governorship candidates, 15 of them, including Ochei, they came here (his house) every month. And the first statement they made was that to pledge loyalty to the Anioma people. They agreed to abide by the decisions of the Anioma people and once any particular candidate emerged, they would back that person. That has been our resolution since that 2007.
Since 2007, we have been fighting for power shift to Delta North. I started the campaign for a power shift that time and toward the end of last year, we noticed that we had so many candidates. When the powers that be withdrew their support for one of the Delta North candidates and passed it to another zone, we recognized the danger facing us. I quickly summoned a meeting of all the local government chairmen and the secretaries in Delta North, all the political leaders from the area that will be part of the delegates for the December 8, 2014 governorship primary of the party. We invited the governorship aspirants, Okowa and Hon Ochei came with their teams. Chief Obielum said he was not going to appear and that he was not going to step down for anybody. Everybody in the meeting heard him because I put the phone on speaker. At the deliberations, we asked the two aspirants that were present to step aside for us to take a vote. Dr. Okowa came first followed by Hon. Chief Obielum. Hon Ochei came third. Based on this result, we then resolved that we would go into the field on that day of the primaries to canvass for support for one aspirant. Delta Central had narrowed down to one candidate and I said we must not go to the field to face defeat. I knew that the only way we could win and make our people proud was to support one candidate. I was asked to lead the Delta North team to the venue to work for one candidate.
I had to reach out to my contacts and friends from the other parts of the state. I was running everywhere. It was the biggest battle of my life. I thank God that in the end, Dr. Okowa won. If that is what some people consider to be a crime, I will say I have no regrets. The success that we are recording in the Okowa campaign today is because he is acceptable to all people of the state. The political leaders and the people accepted Okowa. He has been there from the beginning. We are all working together. All the aspirants, except Ochei, are working to ensure that Okowa wins. The point I want to make is that I saved Anioma people from political humiliation. If that is my crime, I have no regrets. I am waiting for May 29, 2015 when Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa will be sworn in as the governor of Delta State.
Why do you want to go to the Senate?
Simply put, I want to go the Senate to serve my people. I want to serve them in the aspect of lawmaking for the country. I am a lawyer and in going there, my target is to attract development from Abuja them at home.