By Gabriel Ewepu
Tam Godspower Odogwu, is a stalwart and grassroots mobiliser of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Delta State Chapter. He was also Delta State House of Assembly aspirant for Burutu Constituency II during the 2014 general election. In this interview, he spoke on the efforts of the Delta Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, the upcoming congresses of the party and other issues.
You are no doubt a notable figure in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Burutu Local Government Area, of Delta State, how would you describe the structure of the party in the area and its achievements in the various elections?
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Burutu and Delta State in general is very formidable, and the party in Burutu Local Government Area has done exceedingly well in the various elections since 1999. When you take a look at the April 11, 2015 governorship election, Burutu Local Government Area gave Okowa the highest number of votes. Burutu did very well and the party structure is very solid.
The leaders of the party in the area have been collaborating, cooperating and working together relentlessly as one indivisible family to maintain and sustain the overwhelming growth and achievements of the party. Some of these leaders include the member representing Burutu Federal constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon Julius Pondi, the Chief of Staff, Government House, Hon. Tam Brisibe, Hon. Solomon Funkekeme, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports,
Hon Asupa Forteta, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godday Orubebe, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Frank Enokoragha, Chairman of Burutu Local Government council, Hon. Ebikeme Clark, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Political Matters, Hon. Godknows Angele, Hon. Kenneth Ogebiri and a host of others and they are playing key roles to the success of the party and the Okowa led administration.
You once contested for the House of Assembly in the Burutu constituency II and lost. Why did you decide to stay put in the PDP when you had the option of defecting to other political parties to pursue your ambition?
I believe in PDP, I believe in His Excellency Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa. As a party faithful, I know that I have a duty to contribute to the building of the party and not to divide the party. Though I lost, I spent a lot in the process, but I feel staying in the party and joining others to build the party to make sure that our governor succeeds in his SMART programme, in his prosperity for all Deltans agenda are more important than defecting to other parties.
Those that are defecting are not doing the right thing. I believe that if you are in a party and it was decided that one of your brothers should go and represent your constituency, tomorrow might be your turn. Besides, I have the strong belief that Okowa will carry everybody along. I am convinced that staying in the party, working tirelessly is the right thing to do. Presently, at the national level, APC is at the helms of affairs but I am certain that in 2019, PDP will take over the governance of this country.
PDP as a party has proven to Nigerians that it means well for the people,and I know that with unity, togetherness, working effectively, we will make PDP to bounce back at the national level.
What is your take on the APC administration at the national level, do you see the party taking Nigerians to the next level?
APC came with the change mantra but change itself is a relative term which means different things to different people. Many people believed that the change APC preached to them was the change they expected. For now, Nigerians are not seeing what they expected. Many people are confused on the direction the APC administration is actually taking us to. There are a lot of economic and other problems in the country right now and we need God’s intervention. We the PDP members are also praying for Nigeria because we don’t want the country to collapse.
What is your view on Governor Okowa’s victory in the Supreme Court after he had earlier emerged victorious at the electoral tribunal and court of Appeal?
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is God sent and he is generally loved by all Deltans. Okowa had an overwhelming and landslide victory in the April 11, 2015 governorship election. From the conclusion of the election, the gap between him and other contestants was very large. We won in a very free and fair manner. As is obtainable in every electoral process, even though the opposition knows he had failed, he might still want to go through a legal process. The two stages in an election are the polls and the legal process. The candidates of the Labour Party and that of the APC went to court, but since the governor won genuinely, the Supreme Court with the facts before it upheld his election.
Even while the legal process was still ongoing, we expected this judgment; all Deltans expected that at the end of it all, our governor will be declared winner at the Supreme Court. So the judgment did not come as a surprise to Deltans. It was expected and welcome and we are so happy about it and we give thanks to God. I use this medium to call on the opposition to join hands with our overnor to move the state to the expected height because Okowa is God sent and he means well for all Deltans. Within the few months he has governed the state, he has shown that he is a governor that wants the best for his people.
There are a lot of road construction and maintenance going on in the state, the SMART agenda is also being vigorously pursued, the skill acquisition and agricultural programme currently going on are there to testify to this. In January this year, over 300 youths graduated from skills acquisition training and were given starter packs by the governor and others will follow suit soon.
The governor has established an employment body that is currently employing graduates in the state.
The governor is doing everything humanly possible to make the state a model for others to follow. He has been calling on foreign investors to invest in the state to create jobs for the youths. So the governor has done so exceeding well within this short period that we are confident that his prosperity for all Deltans mantra is achievable.
He is a very prudent man and he is a governor that has the fear of God and seek the face of God in whatever he is doing and I have no iota of doubt that he will succeed even in the face of the dwindling economy.
What is your take on the various appointments so far made by the governor?
The governor is a very careful person. He is somebody that doesn’t rush over things. He takes his time to do things and he always seeks the face of God. All the appointments that the governor has made so far are very okay. For me, everybody that has been appointed deserves to be appointed because they all worked very hard and I know they are working very hard with His Excellency to move the state forward.
As for those that have not been appointed, I want to use this medium to tell them that the governor has not forgotten them. If you have worked for the success of the PDP and you are a true PDP faithful, I want to tell you to relax, because our governor will carry everybody along. Nobody will be left out.
The PDP as a party would soon be having its congresses at the wards and other levels. What is your word for the party as the congresses comes up?
For the ward congresses, the state party chairman, Chief Edwin Uzor during the South senatorial district’s meeting at Oleh, made it clear that everybody would be carried along. He assured that the ward congresses will take place in the wards and that it is going to be in a very free and fair manner and that nobody should be left behind.
The plans of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the State party chairman is to ensure that we have a rancour free congresses and the issue of some few persons sitting down in their bedrooms and decide who will become the members of the wards and local government executives will not arise this time around because Okowa is a just man and he wants everyone to partake in the congresses.
It is only when everybody partakes in the process that all will have a sense of belonging and nobody will be aggrieved; but if few persons sit down to make list of those to occupy exco positions undermining the others or the majority of the people, then there will be problem, but PDP as we speak, is doing everything possible to see that the party is united.
We don’t want any disunity at this point in time because we are seriously preparing grounds for 2019 election; so anything that will bring disunity will be avoided. This is going to be proven from the way and manner the ward congress will be conducted. I know that His Excellency will do all that is necessary to ensure that we have a rancour free ward and local government congresses across the state.
What is your advice to those who have defected from the PDP to opposition parties as you prepare for the 2019 elections?
Those who have defected to APC particularly here in Delta State should return to the PDP because as far as Delta State is concerned PDP is Delta State and PDP will still win all elections in 2019, so going to other parties is a waste of time.
Though they may have their reasons but I am telling them that Governor Okowa is creating an enabling environment for everybody to be carried along, so there is no point going to the opposition since we have a governor that has a listening ear, a governor that is ready to carry everybody along; I really don’t see any reason for defecting to other parties. PDP will remain in control of Delta State come 2019.
I also advise all Deltans to support our governor to achieve his prosperity for all Deltans agenda, because he means well for his people. For the first time, we have a governor that does everything with God and we know that Delta State is in a safe hand. Everybody should support him (Okowa) to transform the state.