June 9, 2009

Adiotomre asks FG to declare state of devt emergency in N-Delta

UGHELLI—A frontline  chieftain of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) in Delta State, Chief Mike Adiotomre, has said there was no political disunity within the Urhobo political class and told the Federal Government to declare a state of developmental emergency in the Niger Delta.

Adiotomre, who exclusively spoke to our correspondent last Sunday in his country home, Ovu, Ethiope East Local Government Area, Delta State, reiterated that Urhobo people were overwhelmingly united under the PDP.

He pointed out that the Urhobo do not belong to the opposition, both at the state and federal level, and said the senator and the three members of the Federal House of Representatives from the Delta Central Senatorial District were of the PDP.

On the 10 years of democratic rule in Nigeria, the PDP chieftain congratulated Nigerians for having an unbroken democracy for the last ten years, adding that it was the first time a civilian president has handed over the mantle of government to another civilian president.

Here are the excerpts:

There seems to be some disunity among the Urhobo Political Class. What do you think is the way forward?

There is no disunity whatsoever in Urhobo among the political class. The Urhobo people have been so united in their support for the governorship of Delta State since the current democracy.

The Urhobo were in the forefront in the support of His Excellency, Chief James Onanefe Ibori and he won. He became governor. They were also in support of His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan during the 2007 general election and he won.
Indeed, within Urhobo, all the local government council chairmen are within PDP, the ruling party. Again all the members of the (Delta State) House of Assembly within Urhobo are in the ruling party.

Then the Urhobo in Warri South also have a member in the House of Assembly. So where did people come about the disunity among the Urhobo political class. I don’t subscribe to it and I don’t see it.

How will you assess the development of the Niger Delta region viz-a-viz ten years of democratic rule in Nigeria?

The Niger Delta region, there are signs of improvement, unlike during the military. All we are saying is that the Niger Delta had been neglected for too long. I, therefore, join voice with all those claiming that Niger Delta should be given special attention and government should not pretend about that.

Government should declare developmental emergency in the Niger Delta. Let’s face the Niger Delta like they faced Abuja.

Those who pay the piper dictate the tune. We are the people producing the wealth of this nation; what is wrong in giving a sizeable part of the wealth to the governments of the Niger Delta.

However, I seem to see that the Federal Government has taken some steps; they should do more to improve the lots of the people. If you travel to the interiors of the Niger Delta, to the creeks, you will sympathize with those over there.

I am not saying that against anybody, but we should through dialogue, discussion and conversations, prevail on the federal government to declare some sort of emergency to the development of the Niger Delta. Let see more work. Mobilize all the construction firms to the Niger Delta.

Let’s link all the creeks with roads and bridges, extend electricity to the areas so that they feel the wealth because God gave them this wealth. So long as you are tapping this wealth, you also give them a bit of it. If there is a genuine effort in this, the people will be satisfied.

But I give Kudos to democracy. There are some mistakes here and there but on the whole, democracy has succeeded in Nigeria. Democracy has come to stay.

The 10 years of continuous democracy is commendable, both at the federal and state levels. In the state (Delta) in the past 10 years, we have been enjoying the real dividends of democracy.

However we need more but if we can sustains this democracy for another 20 years, there will be real development and improvement.

What advice do you have for the youths of the region?

The youths should listen to the federal government; should listen to the state and local governments and work together for development.