By Hugo Odiogor
Prince Ned Nwoko is Delta State Co-coordinatorof the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), a group mobilizing support for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in the February 14 election. In this interview with the a former legislator, Nwoko says TAN’s mandate in Delta is to promote the candidacy of Jonathan and the PDP governorship flag bearer, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, in the elections. Excerpts:
Can you give an insight into the visit of Delta State governorship candidate, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, to your country home?
The visit was a positive step on the part of Dr. Okowa who is the candidate of PDP in the February 28 election. First, the visit was a condolence visit which was occasioned by the unfortunate death of my 22 years old so, Tarik who was studying law in London. He died in the early hours of December 8, 2014, which was the date of the PDP primary election in Asaba.
Virtually, all the political leaders in Delta North were involved in the process of ensuring that the PDP governorship ticket came to Delta North and it was not going to be an easy task since we had 18 contestants from Delta North. When Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan withdrew his support for Sir Tony Obuh, it was a major blow to our hopes of getting the ticket.
Of course, I have argued that if the governor was backing any of the aspirants from Delta North, that gives us a brighter chances of realizing our aspiration and as such we should not join the other zones to oppose the governor but support him to achieve our collective interest because the other zones will welcome such support from an incumbent governor
So, it was a rude shock when I heard of the governor’s withdrawal of support for Sir Tony Obuh on December 6 and he went ahead to endorse Olorogun David Edevbie, from Delta Central which had been there for ten years.
Naturally, Delta North political leaders had to quickly assess the danger and think of how to avert the shame of failing to get the ticket. This was made difficult by the fact that none of the aspirant from Delta North was ready to step down. I had reached out to several political leaders in Delta North and we held series of meeting on that fateful Sunday, December 7, 2014, to harmonize our ideas of who has the best prospects of being accepted by Delta South and Delta North. Dr. Okowa was highly favoured and we had to dispatch messages across the broad spectrum that Dr. Okowa should be supported.
Unfortunately, I was not around to see how the drama played out as the news of my son’s death was relayed to me in the early hours of Monday, December 8, 2014, so it seems logical that Dr. Okowa should come on a condolence visit.
This seems to be your first meeting since both of you contested the Delta North senatorial election in 2011
We have met in the court premises and the atmosphere was not cordial, this actually is his first visit to my country home, there was a kind of reconciliation and alignment of interest since he is a governorship candidate from Anioma area and a I am a member of PDP, I should be supporting him with the platform of TAN.
The visit provided us the opportunity to think of how TAN and the Okowa Campaign Organisation could work to ensure massive support for both the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Dr. Okowa in the Governorship election.
What is the role of TAN in the forthcoming elections and its activities in the Okowa campaign
We have launched the Delta State chapter of TAN, we have appointed co-coordinators in various local government areas in the state and they are mobilizing at ward levels. We have some initial challenges but all these are receiving attention. The National coordinator of TAN has come to Delta State to inaugurate TAN here. We have followed Dr.Okowa’s campaign since the flag off campaign at Oghara township stadium; there was massive turn out of party supporters and even members of the opposition party who were curious to know what was happening. The same massive support was repeated at Koko in Warri North Local Government . From Okpe Local Government to Sapele, Akwukwu-Igbo, Isele-Uku,Aboh. Okowa the story has been that of massive turn out.
What is the key emphasis of TAN’s contribution in these respects?
First we are highlighting what the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has done in education, power, agriculture, transport, Road construction, Auto industry. We are also highlighting the inconsistencies in the campaign of the opposition.
On the part of Dr. Okowa we are presenting his Pan-Delta vision of a united and prosperous Delta State.
Dr. Okowa is a unifying candidate who has shunned ethnic divisions, he has equally outlined in his message in a five point agenda, which he has promised on the need to accelerate the work on the Warri industrial park as a step towards job creation and promotion of economic development. He has a promised to