By Festus Ahon
Mr Abel Ejiroghene Okpegwo is the Delta State Chairman of the Democratic People’s Party, DPP. He is a vibrant young man who has been in the political terrain for decades.
In this interview, he speaks on the repositioning of his party, the DPP, the 2019 general election among other issues of interest.
Your party is not on ground in Delta. What effort are you putting in place to build structures for the party ahead of 2019?
DPP is a grassroots party, especially in Delta State. After the 2011 general election, the fortune of the party was not properly handled by those heading the party then. But under my leadership as the new Delta State chairman of the new face of DPP, we are working tirelessly to build a more formidable structure across the state and this will be second to non in Delta State in other for us win overwhelmingly come 2019.
We are constantly in touch with all aggrieved members and politicians in the state, cutting across all other political parties. We are getting good results and we are going to officially unveil them to Deltans at the appropriate time.
You will agree with me that a lot of our politicians in the state are angry for one reason or the other and we have set up a committee to look into the issues that bothers both the elders and the youths in the state. This is yielding fast results as they are migrating to our great party DPP on daily basis haven known the capacity of the party in the past and putting on table before them the present strength of the new face of DPP in the state they are convinced of victory for the party at all levels come 2019.
I must say the new face of DPP under my watch is a good news for entire Deltans as even people at the grassroots are rejoicing over the coming of the new face of DPP. While this is going on known politicians and contestants across board are indicating interest to run on the party platform of the party,so for sure all hands are on deck to take over Delta State come 2019. We have done in the past, we can do much more better now because the political dynamics of the new face of DPP has taken more positive and results oriented steps to properly position the party ahead of the 2019 elections.
You talk with so much confidence; who is behind you?
The National leadership of the party is behind us knowing fully well the impressive outing of the party in 2011. They have taken a decision to recover the lost glory of the party and bring both old and new members to the fold with a view to deliver the dividend of democracy to the grassroots.
Do your party have the capacity to stand PDP and APC in the forthcoming general election?
We are fully equipped in all material things to stand any political party in the 2019 general election both at the federal and state levels. Even PDP will agree with me that we put up a good fight with them in the past when they were in power at the centre and equally ready to do better more so now that they are just in power at the state level.
So in terms of structures, the new face of DPP is building a more formidable structure on ground from local government area to units level. You know, we still enjoy the maximum support of our grassroots people who so much believe that our party DPP has what it take to elevate them from suffering.
In terms of funding, the party is equally ready, so Deltans should watch out for the new face of DPP that has come to take over come 2019. We are assuring the people of the state of the dividend of modern democracy. Suffice to say that the APC as far as Delta State is concerned is not a match to the new face of DPP.
DPP made so much wave in the 2011 general election, particularly in Delta central; do you have the clout to bring the party back to that level?
Yes, DPP made so much wave in 2011 and I want to assure Deltans that this time around the party is poised to do far better not just only at central,but across the three senatorial districts. You know the people have tested both PDP and APC; what the people want now is creative governance and they know that it is only DPP led government in Delta State that give them what they are yearning for.
In 2011 the PDP felt our impact as a credible opposition party, not to talk of now that their powers are limited. And from our findings, there are more aggrieved politicians from other political parties who were just suffering and smiling in the absence of a better alternative.
With the emergence of the new face of DPP, the people will have a better and credible option and they are all happy to come to the DPP. So the new face of DPP is enjoying full support of the grassroots across the 25 Local Government Areas.
Our reconciliation committee is working day and night to bring all aggrieved members and politicians from other political parties to the DPP fold. I am confident that we shall all celebrate at the end of 2019 general election.
What is your assessment of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration?
President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in his campaign promises to Nigerians. In morden day decomcray things should be done differently, the people’s yearnings and aspirations should be upper most. If Nigerians are saying this is what their pains are, it’s only proper for any responsible government to pulse and make inform decision that will put smiles on the faces of the people.
Haven said that, I will also want to believe that for the remaining one year and some months, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government will want to retrospect and go back to the drawing board and possibly do things right. I believe there are still room for amendment.
What is your take on the security challenge being posed by the ravaging herdsmen in some parts of the country?
In my own opinion I believe our security personnel are doing well, because when they go on course with other other security personnel from other countries, they come among the best officers and this is not rated by us, but by international communities. All they need to do is to step up their game in areas they need to and be more proactive with issues that has to do with lives and properties of Nigerians.
Therefore, I still rate them high; all they need do is to cross the I and the T by displaying more professionalism in discharging their duties of safe guarding lives and properties of Nigerians.
What is your take on former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Buhari asking him not to contest the 2019 presidential election?
Personally I don’t see any wrong in former President Obansajo’s letter not just because is like father to me and my mentor at all times, but because he is among the few Nigerians that has the courage to write such letter which I feel is born out of love for our beloved country and act patriotism.
It is acceptable anywhere in the world to make corrections where needed, if you feel there are areas the government is not doing well; because we are all part of the government, we should speak up.
Corrections in every phase of life doesn’t mean evil, it’s simple suggestions that right steps should be taken in areas where need, just like telling a friend that there is bad spot in front so that he can drive with more care in other not to damage his car or rather get stuck. Soin my own opinion, former President Obansanjo letter is not out of place in the overall interest of our country.