•Says Obuh is in the race with clean hands

By Charles Kumolu

A former senatorial candidate in Delta State and Secretary BOT, Delta Concerned Patriots, Dr. Iyke Odikpo, in this interview, wants other governorship aspirants in the state to sheath their sword and support the ambition of Sir Tony Obuh, adding that Obuh has come into the race with no baggage.

What is your assessment of the build-up to the PDP governorship primaries in your state, particularly the manner the aspirants have conducted themselves so far?

Most of us are not really happy about some things that are happening in the buildup to the primaries because every true Delta Northerner, desire that our son emerges the party’s candidate. We have qualified persons who have indicated interest in the race in both PDP and APC. Such as Prof Pat Utomi and Sir Fidelix Tilije of APC and Sir Tony Obuh, Chief Obieluem, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Rt Hon Victor Ochei, Chief Ndudi Elumelu, Chief Ngozi Olejeme, Prof Monye and many others in PDP who have indicated interest.

They are all very qualified. But as it is today in PDP, if somebody is a frontrunner and the rest begins to gang up against that person, it does not make sense. Because they are going against a systemic process. It is not a very good thing to do. For us, who desire that our son becomes the governor, the gang up is something we all frown at. What they are doing might backfire and we may lose the opportunity of producing the governor.

They are acting as if they want to disorganize the process since they are trailing the leading aspirant. We know they are all very qualified, but Obuh is eminently qualified from all aspects of training and management he had undergone. A man who attained the position of a permanent secretary, has been exposed to all aspects of governance. Such a man will do well as a governor. It is a good thing that he emerged as a leading aspirant in the race, because we don’t want anyone with baggage.

He is coming in with clean hands, [FRESH AIR]. And the systemic process has been fair to all. We have information from the party chairman that the delegates list was a product of the leaders and stakeholders. Leaders from every party of the zone had inputs. So in my thinking the popularity that Obuh is gaining is divine. As Obuh came out from the blues and got the attraction and attention of the people. And Obuh’ name is spreading like wild fire.

Also he is coming in with the requisite experience as a retired civil servant. Obuh is a man who has seen power as a permanent secretary, and was very humble and simple, so the thinking that his humility might change when he becomes governor, should not arise. By his nature he is gentle and amiable. So our people should sheath their sword and support him because we still have people from Delta South and Delta Central, who are also participating. If aspirants from Delta North fail to unite, our dreams may not come true. I am happy that some people, whose name were included in the communique against the governor, have come out to disown this gang up. It is good that some of them are beginning to retrace their steps. However, we are appealing to others to sheathe their swords so that we can posses this opportunity that God has given to us.

But the aspirants have dismissed the allegation of gang up against the governor, stating that all they demanded was a level-playing field?

The level playing field has been provided by the party leadership in the state. And the governor has so far maintained a natural stand on the issue of successor. What we are seeing in Obuh, is a divine work in progress. That is why it makes him look like a favoured child. That is why we can describe what other aspirants are doing as rivalry or competitive jealousy or admiration. That any one of them pray to enjoy. But we are still appealing to them to play according to the rules because it is only one man that can be governor. If one person is elected the governor, others will be carried along because Delta State belongs to all of us. If you know the civil service and how people are trained, you will envy them.

Some of us in the private sector also envy them. The military, civil service and oil company workers, are always well trained. They never deviate from procedures or systems. Looking at him, I don’t see him becoming a rubber stamp of anybody. He will work according to the rules of governance. Obuh to me does not look like someone who will be pushed around. His training and experience will not allow that. He has the training and experience to be an independent administrator of persons and materials. And I am sure that those who worked with him before now can attest to that. And since the incumbent governor wants to finish strong or strongest, Obuh becomes the right option to continue on that loud note, that Uduaghan will finish his tenure.

Are you saying all these because you are from Delta North or you are being driven by patriotism?

I like equity and fairness. I can say this for any party of the state if the governorship position shifts to that zone. Since other senatorial districts have produced the governor, it behooves me to speak for Delta North in the spirit of equity and fairness. As they head for the primaries, I expect all aspirants from Delta North to harmonise their interest and ensure that Obuh who has become the leading aspirant emerges, because he is a breadth of fresh air. Any of them could have been the favoured child today, but since Obuh is the one, we should support him because he is a clean aspirant. Some of these aspirants have been favoured in the past by the system. They are all party of the system.

They should not fight the system now that the tide does not seem to be for them. I don’t see any thing wrong, if most people in the system are supportive of Obuh because he has a reliable personality. As a concern patriot and deltan, I feel it is imperative I caution these aspirants against conspiring against the party. Having been in active politics since 1999, my knowledge of who the state desires now, should not be in doubt. In 2007 I was a pioneered member in setting up of the PDP Delta State Elders, leaders and stakeholders Forum and a stakeholder from   Aniocha North Local government under the National Leadership of Chief E.K Clark.In 2010/2011 I was among the political class that formed Delta Coalition for Change with some notable politicians to press for change in politics of delta state. DCC joined forces with then DPP but all that is for history. Also was Delta state coordination for Move Nigeria Project for Goodluck 2011 presidential campaign.

On the agenda for incoming governor

The foundation of the state is not well defined to some of us outside government.   For instance, Akwa Ibom is what it is today because its former governor is an architect who made a master plan. Luckily enough, Akpabio is following the template his former boss created. In Lagos State, Tinubu had a plan of where he was taking the state to. That why why Fashola followed that pattern when he came. My advice for Obuh is to work according to the master plan of the state. If there is no master plan, he should create and develop it. The Delta Beyond Oil policy is good. It is Uduaghan vision and he is following it, my advice for Obuh is to key into the vision and ensure that all ongoing projects are completed, then he can initiate new ones. Obuh needs to create a lot of activities in other sectors of the economy, so as to improve the internally generated revenue. There should also be urban renewal in all the principal towns in the state. All these would galvanize every sector towards efficiency and self sustenance without oil.

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