Chief Ede Dafinone, the scion of the famous Dafinone family, engaged a team of journalists in his Sapele residence. Below are excerpts of the interview:
As a chieftain of the APC and a former senatorial aspirant of DPP you are familiar with the Delta State political terrain. What is in the stable of APC that is different from what we have been having?
The APC is coming on the platform of change. In the old Bendel State we were all proud to be called Bendelites. We were first in everything; in sports, education, agriculture, insurance, commerce, Banking and Industry, just name it. I was lucky to be a product of that successful era. Today, all that has been eroded.
Deltans are yearning for a change and an APC government is poised to redeem the lost pride of Delta State through the restoration of Agriculture as the mainstay of our economy. We would restore commerce, revitalize viable industries that have become moribund and build new ones that would substantially improve the lot of Deltans through creation of jobs and job opportunities.
Delta State is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual state with varying interests and needs. How does the APC intend to unify all the ethnic nationalities in the State?.
There is unity in diversity but the way this state has been governed by PDP since the inception of our democracy leaves much to be desired. Delta State is now fractured along ethnic lines and I dare say that this is not the Delta State of our dream. When resources are not properly distributed among ethnic stakeholders what do you expect? Inter-ethnic squabbles of course. The APC government intends to restructure resource allocation and distribution in such a way that every local Government will have sufficient funds to carry out grassroots development. If this is properly done all these inter-ethnic bickerings will stop. Delta State would then become united again.
O’tega Emerhor will run an all inclusive government if elected governor. He will take care of the interest of all marginalized tribes and all the various interest groups, including professional bodies and artisans, civil society groups, students and women society groups.
If you recall the furor that followed the nomination of a Deputy Governorship under the PDP and the extent of marginalization cries that ensued, you will understand how badly the PDP has fared in managing the affairs of the State. Compare it to the primaries of the APC and the adoption of the Deputy Governorship Candidate you will see it was noiseless, free of bickering and crises and very well organized.
We have been reading in the papers of many advertorials by the Ndokwa people, Itsekiri and Isokos that they would vote for APC in the February 28th Governorship election. Are you elated by this?
I also read some of these advertorials and I actually feel their pain and their frustration . The APC is reaching out to the Ndokwa people, and as you know, the running mate to Emerhor is from there. We are also reaching out to the Isokos, the Ijaws and the Anioma people. The story I hear is the same. They want change now. The State has no single functioning industry and unemployment is so bad that our youths literally roam the street in search of livelihood. Our youths have taken to a life of criminally like kidnapping, armed robbery and pipelines vandalization. We in APC have the passion to change lives through a conscious and vigorous pursuit of job creation and the establishment of an enabling environment for genuine enterprise to thrive. I look forward to a state where no one would be jobless, I look forward to a state where we will call ourselves Deltans rather than Itsekiri, Ijaws, Urhobos and Isoko.
The Uvwiamuge declaration by the UPU seems to suggest that the apex umbrella of the Urhobo people want only an Urhobo man to be governor. Do you subscribe to the declaration?
I have utmost respect for the President-General and Leaders of the Urhobo progress Union (UPU) but the fact I must make very clear is that the APC governorship candidate, O’tega Emerhor had made his intention to run for the Governorship before the Uvwiamuge declaration was made. Yes! the Urhobos are the 5th largest ethnic Nationality in Nigeria and the most demographically populated in Delta State. The Urhobos have for a long time not been given a fair share and patronage in state and National Politics. That notwithstanding, Emerhor is not running for Governorship on an ethnic platform. He is what people will call a pan Deltan Candidate. He is abhorrent of ethnic or tribal barriers and sentiments. While he is proud to be an Urhobo man he is prouder to be a Deltan. This orientation and background are going to be reflected on the spread of his projects in Delta State when he becomes Governor.
The Presidential and other elections are around the corner and we hear stories of attacks on political opponents during campaigns and rallies. Does this not portend grave danger for our nascent democracy?
Politics is not a do or die affair. It should be seen as a healthy contest and not war. The APC is a peaceful party and we refrain from mudslinging and physical attacks. Our Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari is a signatory to the Abuja peace and non violence accord. At the state level our campaigns have been done with utmost civility and decorum. When we see trouble we pass through the other way (laughter). I believe that the 2015 general elections will be peaceful, free and fair. In APC we believe in the unity of this country and every Nigerian should protect it and not attempt to destroy it.