GOVERNORSHIP candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, for the 2015 election, Tony Prest, spoke to Vanguard in Warri on why he wants to be the next governor of Delta state and his plans to transform the state.
For those, who know the business mogul and son of the former deputy leader of defunct Action Group, the late Chief Arthur Prest, he is a man of ideas. In this interview, he said he would pay N8,000 to every single unemployed Deltan above 18 years and N10,000 to the unemployed head of every Delta family resident in the state if elected in 2015 from the 13 per cent Derivation fund.
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
Why I ‘m qualified to rule Delta
FUNDAMENTALLY, I am qualified as a Delta indigene to contest the Delta state governorship position. When you add this to my wide experience in business and understanding of the positive impact good governance will have in the development of Delta state, I would deem it a crime against the good people of Delta state for me not to present myself for service to my people.
I want to challenge the existing primordial system of recruitment of political offices based on ethnic, religious, federal character, zoning, catchment area and other atavistic considerations instead of ability and merit. If or when I succeed, it will be a turning point for our coming generations as we would have established merit and ability as the vital ingredient for achieving political success. Another reason why I am contesting the Governorship election of Delta state is because in my sincere view that Delta State has not achieved its full potentials looking at the resources that abound in the state.
Hence I am presenting myself to my people for service. I know what it means to create jobs as this has been my major pre-occupation from my days as a student at the University of Benin in the 80s till date.
Can you give insight into your plans for the state if elected?
Through good governance, transparency and a strong anti-corruption orientation, we shall create the enabling environment for the private sector to drive our economy. We shall create a government enabled, private sector driven economy for Delta State.
Monthly social security for Deltans
In Delta state, our first move regarding providing for people in our society, who are unable to work and earn a living due to no fault of theirs will be to enact a legislation to make it possible for our governments now and in future to pay Social Security Benefit.
This Social Security Benefit will be paid from the 13 per cent Resource Control Derivation wealth of the state. Unemployment benefit is still alien to our political economy, but we intend to make it a reality for the unemployed segments of our society while we work vigorously to create jobs and pursue a zero percent unemployment strategy and create the necessary conditions for the private sector to create jobs as well.
We will immediately implement a monthly social security payment of N10, 000 to 500,000 Deltans from our 13 per cent God- given oil wealth. It is clearly the responsibility of government to establish a Social Security system that will provide relief to the good people of Delta State who have been suffering all these years in spite of their 13 per cent oil wealth derivation.
During the reconstruction and development period, which we will commence as soon as we are in Government House, I, Tony Prest, promise to pay N8, 000 to every unemployed single adult above 18 years and N10, 000 to the unemployed head of every family of resident Delta indigenes monthly. This social security system will be funded from our constitutionally provided 13 per cent derivation.
How do you plan to use your experience in business to develop Delta State?
With the huge resources of almost $4b that Delta State gets annually and my experience in business, I will turn Delta State into an Investors’ haven through a zero tolerance for corruption and massive infrastructural development in for example , railways, sea ports enhancement, good roads, electricity, security, human capital development, etc.
I shall expose our raw materials and agricultural products in a way that will attract the right investors to set up processing and manufacturing industries in Delta State.
All these steps will create the enabling environment for industries to thrive in Delta state and thus create job opportunities for our teaming youth population.
We will also encourage the production of goods and services by making funds accessible to medium and small scale enterprises.
We will, therefore, set up a Business Development Bureau to provide advisory, financial, logistic and business support to ailing businesses.
The Bureau will also help package the businesses to access local and international credit facilities and expertise.
The Bureau will also have a database of professionals who may be chosen to sit on the board of businesses which require revival or state financial support.
The Bureau shall also provide support to patent owners, manufacturers, franchisees and manufacturers’ representatives of various goods and services to set up businesses in Delta and employ Deltans.
Don’t you think the issue of zoning will affect your aspiration?
Like I said above I want to challenge this primordial consideration in the process of leadership selection in our country and my starting point is Delta state.
The issue of selecting a candidate by zoning is a lie as it is nowhere in the constitution and the constitution does not speak any language but English .Lack of electricity does not know zoning, tribe, Delta North, South or Central. When PHCN takes light, it does not know the tribe of the person.
Bad road does not know tribe or zoning, Bad health does not know tribe or zoning, kidnapping does not know tribe or zoning, bad/killer mass transportation does not know tribe or zoning.
Deltans do not care about the tribe or zone that the governor comes from, they only care about who can deliver the goods. That is why power shift or zoning is not recognized by the constitution, power shift or zoning is not in the Nigerian constitution. Power shift or zoning is a fraud.
Deltans just want the best person for the job. Deltans only care about who will bring about the best possible change, a person with innovation to implement the projects that will greatly and massively improve the lives and living standards of the people.
A man with the right education, be it from the university, secondary school, experience from travels round the world, experience from business, experience from the streets, pedigree, wealth, track record of wealth creation, private sector employment creation, innovative background, entrepreneurship and ability to ensure that the needs of the people are met and that development is a sure thing.