Godfrey Ishegbe has called on Deltans, particularly the people of Delta Central to support the continuity of the present Delta State government as they prepare for the 2019 elections. Speaking in an interview over the weekend at his Okurekpo Residence In Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta state, the House of Representatives hopeful believes that continuity will enable the administration improve on its achievements so far. Excerpts…
Your party-the People Democratic Party(PDP) has occupied the Osadebe House since the beginning of the 4th Republic in 1999. A good indication of seamless transitions of Government till date. What do you think has been the fundamental reason for this?
You are absolutely right. The People Democratic Party(PDP) has occupied the Osadebe House since the advent of the 4th Republic in 1999-till date, based on purposeful leadership that have produced feasible dividends of good governance over the years. There is no other magic word to the success of the party in the State. The Party has been able to consciously and subconsciously maintain a ‘Contract of Trust’ with the people. The government have endeavored to ensure all inclusive development programmes across all the tribes and this has naturally engendered trust and unbreakable bond with the people. On this note, it can simply be summarized that the PDP is the party for the people of Delta State, by the people, and for the people. A textbook example of the true practice of democracy.
It is widely perceived that the success of PDP in Delta State is due to the fact that a few class of very strong politicians are in charge of all political machineries in the State. What do you have to say to that?
Well, in the court of public opinions, success always have different versions of interpretations. The Party’s success in Delta State is basically due to purposeful leadership. We must understand that leadership determines the rise and fall of everything. Purposeful leadership with foresight laid formidable succession plan that has been all inclusive and we can not but acknowledge our Boss, His Excellency, the former Governor of Delta State- Chief James Ibori for this feat. His people oriented foresight, strategic succession plan and political sagacity brought a sense of direction and stability to the polity, even after he left the office years ago. The smooth and frictionless successions we have enjoyed over the years in Delta State is a great feat that should be commended. When you see what is happening in other states, we will understand and appreciate the impactful contributions of Chief Ibori, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and our current able Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to Delta State.
This present administration was inaugurated and assumed office in May, 2015. By May, 2018, it will be three(3) years old, what is/are your assessment(s) of its performance thus far?
When our Dear Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa assumed office in May, 2015, it was during the period of the global downtrend in the oil market, By implication, being an Oil-rich State, a significant portion of its revenue was affected. He was saddled with the responsibility of utilizing the lean resources of the state to deliver at many fronts. A tough task but can be handled by his administrative competence. And he has delivered even beyond expectations in most areas. Some of his achievements include but not limited to the following:
1. Youth Empowerment and Job Creation: The Government through the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme(STEP) has trained over 3,000 youth in different vocations and provided them with starter pack incentives to enable them start their own businesses. He has also created over 20,000 private sector jobs through a pilot programme- Graduate Employment and Enhancement Programme(GEEP) to take care of unemployed graduates.
2. Road Infrastructure: Governor Okowa has done so well on road constructions. These massive roads constructions projects cover several kilometers spread across the state, some of the roads are dualisation of Nnebisi road, Asaba and Sapele road from Amukpe junction to AT&P, Ughelli, Agbor and Ejinyere/Orode road and many others. Infact the Governor has been roundly hailed and commended across political divides. The road constructions are completed within record time and commissioned accordingly. Even in my small village at Okurekpo-Okpara massive construction is ongoing.
3. Health Care: Governor Okowa has equally improved hospitals and primary health care centres in the State by the procurement and distribution of medical facilities, drugs and advanced medical equipments, Teaching Hospital and Central Hospital, Asaba are receiving due attentions accordingly.
4. Education: On education, a lot of State own schools which cut across primary schools, secondary schools, technical colleges and tertiary institutions have been given facelift through an intensive and expansive reconstruction works. The Government has also reviewed and introduced necessary education policies, aimed at improving the standard of education across the State.
These are a few among many other projects too numerous to mention. Given due consideration, the governor has done credibly well and exceeded expectations in such a short time. Don’t forget, all these have been achieved amidst several daunting challenges. He deserves to be highly commended and supported to continue the good works.
I understand you are from Urhobo in Delta State. In recent time, there has been a misgiving and agitation for the region to return to Osadebe House in 2019. This should be a cause for concern in the PDP, considering your Party’s zoning formula, What do you think about this development?
You are right, I am from Okurekpo, Ethiope East Local Government, An Urhobo man. In all fairness, it is objective to say that the agitation for the Urhobo to return to Osadebe House in 2019 is a little too early and unnecessary at this time. From the record and for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, Delta Central (Urhobo) had a remarkable 8 years of 2 terms tenure in the Osadebe House between 1999-2007, Delta South had their eight years as well from 2007 to 2015. It is only fair to support Delta North who has an able representation in Governor Okowa to return in 2019 and complete his second term of 4 years accordingly.
It is important to understand that the zoning arrangement is a fair and balanced political calculation in Delta State that has given rise to an unwritten agreement which had seen H.E Chief James Ibori govern for two tenures from Delta Central, H.E Dr Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan also governed for two tenures from Delta South and it is only fair and objective that H.E Sen.Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa enjoy a complete circle of 2 terms of 8 years as well. There is no need for us to try to reinvent or distort a winning formula. The ‘Zoning Arrangement’ has indeed given a sense of belonging to all the tribes in the State. It is the best political solution to the multi-faceted ethnicity of the State.
At this point, we owe it to Delta North to reciprocate the support they gave to Delta Central under the Government of Chief James Ibori by giving maximum support to and returning Governor Okowa to Osadebe House in 2019. We cannot afford to distort the winning formula. Governor Okowa deserves all our supports as he is already doing well and even beyond expectations. Returning him to Osadebe House in 2019 should naturally be considered as a well earned reward and promotion for a job well done.
Do you think this agitation might be due to the Governor’s neglect of Delta Central in the scheme of things?
Oh no!! It is not true. It is the work of mischief makers who are probably bent on giving Governor Okowa a bad image. It has no justification whatsoever. I can authoritatively tell you that there is no local government area in the state that has not felt the presence of Governor Okowa. In a very commendable way, he has been able to carry all the zones along in the scheme of things. He has equally instituted a regular town hall meetings for briefings and interaction with the people to know the yearnings of the people across board. The Governor has not marginalized the Urhobos in anyway. He has been fair and equitable to all parts of the State. His massive infrastructural upgrades have been equitably distributed. There is no Local Government Area in the State, the Governor has not touched with one project or the other. In appointments, he has been fair enough and our sons and daughters have been appointed into prominent positions in his Government. The Governor have been overwhelmingly fantastic. He deserves our maximum support.
Your ambition to contest for the Ethiope Federal Constituency in 2019 is already a public knowledge, what inspired your political ambition?
The call to service is my inspiration. However, I think it is important to state here that the decision to contest for the Ethiope Federal Constituency does not herald my entrance into politics, but it is the first time I am seeking an elective position as a politician. I have been actively involved in my party’s (PDP) politics in the past 15 years. I have been privileged to serve in different capacities in the party. Permit me to say that it is a divine calling to seek for this elective office and there are personal experiences to underscore this fact. It is not just a personal ambition but a ‘Divine Mandate’. It is a mandate to serve and represent my people in the Federal House of Representative in 2019. The vision and mission of this mandate is properly defined and articulated for achievement. With all sense of humility, I am on a rescue mission to correct the injustice going on in Abuja and attract meaningful development to our people. As I speak, no federal presence in my constituency, only State presence.
How do you mean by being on a ‘Rescue Mission’?
I understand that the theme ‘Rescue Mission’ is not regular in political lexicon. However, this clearly reflects the premium we placed on this project. It is expedient to note that every divine mandate is for a certain purpose. And like a wise man said:-‘when purpose is not known abuse is inevitable’. and if you don’t know where you are going you won’t know when you get there. By the Grace of God, I am privileged to be divinely mandated to run this race to liberate my people from all forms of misrepresentation. Leadership as it were is all about taking the lead to meet the needs of the people. I represent that emerging leadership.
You have a well defined and articulated political vision and mission statement, however, on merit, what is your personal assessment of your capacity to deliver?
I think it is important to state that a vision without requisite capacity to deliver is an inevitable failure. The Bible in Eccl 10: 15 says that- ” The labour of the foolish wearies every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city”. I have an exceptional mental, educational, professional, social and spiritual capacities to ably represent my people of Ethiope Federal Constituency in the Green Chamber. I have been in the private sector as a business man for over 18years. At the same time, I have equally been privileged to serve at different capacities on a humanitarian ground as well as advocacy and activism both locally and internationally, the experiences and network of contacts I have acquired would be of value-added service to my job.
Considering your years of service in the business world and in other professional and political circles, in what ways have you look back home to assist your people?
Well, I personally do not subscribe to the publicity of my humanitarian services. However, it is on record that I have done well, still doing and looking forward to doing more. In every given opportunity that I have served, I have been able to influence proceedings and empower our people. I strongly believe in people-oriented service. I have being doing it without restrain and I will continue to do it at every point I find myself in life. Nothing can be compared to the joy of serving people. Meanwhile, beyond job placements, I have also offered financial assistance to people according to my financial capacity per time. In all of these, there are much more to be done. Doing more is the yearning and I strongly believe that I will continue to do much more.
While we wish you success in your political endeavor, what is closing remark?
A lot has been said and brought to light in the course of the interview. For emphasis, I want to appeal to our people in Delta Central to rally round our Governor Okowa and give him maximum support for his re-election 2019. His continuity is more assuring and reliable to consolidate his achievements. As a Party, lets work, stay united and work for the general good of the PDP at every level. And finally, I also seek for the support of my people for my electoral bid to represent Ethiope Federal Constituency in the Green Chamber in 2019. God bless Governor Ifeanyi Okowa! God bless Ethiope Federal Constituency! And God bless Delta State.