By Ikeddy Isiguzo, Chairman, Editorial Board
CHIEF Great Ogboru is revving his political machinery again and it shows. His Ikoyi office, that was mainly his business hub, is assuming more whirl since the Court of Appeal annulled the governorship election in Delta State
This Sunday afternoon, two days to his planned return to Warri, where he was to launch his campaign, he spoke on his determination and plans for Delta State. His optimism fills the air.
His supporters rate his chances high in a way that appears exaggerated to the outsider.
“He is a unique candidate,” one of them said. “He stands on a tripod that takes care of the ethnic leanings that some politicians bring to the contest. His father is Urhobo, his mother is Igbo and his wife is Ijaw. You can see he represents all parts of the State.”
You may think it is all about politics, but the man at the centre of it all believes that he will win the election, when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, holds it.
Ogboru is clear about the imperative of change. Each denunciation of his allegations of despoliation of Delta State is followed by a long drawn sigh, sudden silence and steady shaking of the head. Great’s regret is great. His perception and perspectives of Delta State , mostly in his words…
Why he wants to be governor
It is a legitimate ambition. It is natural to want to lead if you have the potentials. Our people have not had the type of leadership they desire, the type of leadership they deserve.
In a situation like that, it is unfair to the people if one does not present himself for service if he has leadership qualities. It is unthinkable that one watches from the sides as the people of Delta State continue to suffer. I cannot explain it to myself that I did nothing about the situation.
Not giving up even after 36 months in the courts
Giving up is not in our dictionary. We refused to accept the injustice, the denial of our rights, the imposition. We refused to accept that the assets of our people should be in the hands of those who did not win election. It is the same cabal that had denied us what belongs to us since 1999. We would rather die than give up in the face of such injustice.
At Court of Appeal
Our stand was that no election held in Delta State . We did not want to be fraudulent. We could not have asked that I be declared the governor when our stand was that there was no election in Delta State . It would have been a contradict to make that demand at the Court of Appeal and it would have cast doubts on our petition.
Comments on Electoral Act and elections in Delta State
The leadership of Nigeria is not serious. A law like the Electoral Act shows this. Those in power want to perpetrate themselves and their hirelings in office. It is the leadership that bent the Constitution for someone who did not win an election to assume the power of life and death, the power to dispense the resources of Delta State .
We want the authorities to prosecute those who did this. The law has provisions for INEC to punish those who rig elections.
It is clear in the Constitution how to get to power. What happened in Delta State was outright seizure of power, it is like a coup. It was an organised crime at the instance of the leadership of Nigeria with the connivance of the security agencies.
Bases for his optimism
I base my optimism on the fact that the people of Delta State are not fools. The Court of Appeal decision is a breathe of fresh air. It is the opportunity for our people to tell Emmanuel Uduaghan to go away. He must apologise to the people first, for what he did.
What an insult for him to be campaigning without apologising for frittering away their resources.
My chances are very bright. My optimism is grounded in the fact that the do and die politicians are gone. President Goodluck Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo are not the same.
INEC under Maurice Iwu and Attahiru Jega are not the same. The mood of the country has changed. The people have realised that they are being taken for granted. They are saying, “enough is enough”.
Nigerians are taking control of their destiny. The people of Delta State who want change, who are asking for this change are my godfathers. Godfathers, the way we knew them, are dinosaurs, they are becoming extinct. Nigerians are taking charge of their own affairs.
On Chief Edwin Clark
Chief Edwin Clark may be in the PDP but he knows the difference between setting a house on fire and pulling the house down because it must be re_built. Those accusing him of all sorts of things do not know the type of person he is.
They expect someone of his calibre to support illegal assumption of office, no regard for our people, no respect for the Constitution and frittering away of our resources? Should he support these because he is in the same party with them?
These are the expectations of drowning people. No serious person will support anyone who acted in the way Uduaghan did.Whatever your party affiliation we should place things in this order – Nigeria , Delta State , the party and personal interest. Personal interest cannot come first.
Politicians change when they get to office
We should judge people by their antecedents. What do people want that I do not have? I have been up there and I have been down. In all these circumstances, I remained myself.
Nothing will change me, not fame, not power, not wealth. Nothing can change my desire to see our people change, it is far more important to me than any other thing. Our people are more important than they have been rated. I am unrepentant about changing the lives of Deltans.
Suppose Uduaghan wins again
If he wins, which is an illusion, he will go back for elections again in April 2011. He cannot meet the challenges of meeting Deltans again to ask for their votes. He cannot win, Deltans are wiser, Deltans have an opportunity to decide for themselves through their votes, they have not had that chance since 1999.
I am on ground in Delta State . People have seen Uduaghan’s back and they do not want to see him again. He can join his brother in Dubai if he wants.
The programmes of the new government in Delta State will be anchored on value orientation. Government will lead by example. I will not steal so nobody working with me will steal. If he steals, he will be punished. We will have zero tolerance for criminality.
We will not arm youths, we will make people to obey the law. We will run a government that is different from the past when deprivation was used as genocide by instalments.
Our programmes are built around decentralisation of resources to the 25 local government areas. The people of those areas are to initiate and implement the projects that will meet their needs, this will create easy access to funds, investments, exchange of goods and opportunities for them to develop the people and the places.
There is no economy in Delta State today. All they do is get the money from Abuja and fritter it away. The economic activities we will create in each of the 25 local government areas will generate employment and will be the bases for our other programme on agriculture, health, education (which will be free) and rural development.
Funding for programmes
The money is there. The same money they send to South Africa and Dubai will be used in developing Delta State . Our people are not looking for millions and billions. They want opportunities for them to unleash their creative abilities.
They are hard working people who have been neglected and made to feel they are unimportant.
All they want are roads, schools, hospitals, shelter, jobs and opportunities to use their abilities. The money will be enough because nobody will steal it.
Each of the local government areas will get N100 million monthly for its development programmes. Our people are leaving Delta State in droves because of their stolen patrimony, as the Court of Appeal called it.
Security in Delta
People created most of the security problems in Delta State to keep our people busy while they looted the State. We are sending a strong message against insecurity, but we will tackle it by keeping the people busy with the new agenda of focusing on the development of their areas. Everyone will be too busy developing Delta State to think of destabilising it.
Thuggery will go when it is clear that business is no longer as usual. We all grew up in Delta and know how safe it used to be. We shall restore the Delta we knew.
Joining PDP after winning
This type of talk is speculative. I will not want to comment further on it.
Resistance to Change
We expect pockets of resistance. When the society is ready for change, resistance will be minimal. Most governments have 100 days honeymoon with the people and it ends there.
We intend to have a daily honeymoon with the people. They cannot lose faith in us. We are going to do what they asked us to do – change Delta, change their lives, change their future, all for good.