BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
Alex Eyengho, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for Warri federal constituency, Delta State in the 2019 general elections, speaks on his ambition.
You alleged that some opponents were destroying your posters. What is the situation now?
I think because of the red flag I raised, the feedback l get now is that those behind it have stopped. It means the alarm I raised on social media had impact. The principals of those behind the act must have cautioned their boys. I am not in any way accusing the principals directly because they may not have done that directly, they don’t paste their posters themselves. Now, all I see are posters beside my own, which is the normal thing. Posters don’t win elections, bill boards don’t win elections; they only give visibility to candidates or aspirants.
Your party at a time was enmeshed in factional crisis. How prepared is the APC now for the general elections in Delta State?
My party has overcome its internal problem. As a fall out of the primaries, we had issues like other parties. APC is the ruling party at the national level, so everybody wants to be a candidate of the party because of the belief that if you get the ticket of the ruling party, you are almost there. So those who lost in the primaries tried to mount some resistance but all that is now history as we are united and strong. When Vice President Yemi Osibanjo came, everybody in the party came out. We all went round with the Vice President and, later in the evening, we had a unity dinner organized by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachukwu, at Onitshu Gbo. We were all at the dinner. There was also a reconciliatory committee that was headed by a former governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola. That also brought peace to the party. I think everybody realized that a house divided cannot stand. We have all seen it in that direction and we are united now. There is no faction in the Delta APC. We are all working together to take power at all levels in the state.
Warri federal constituency appears to be a multi-ethnic area. How do you intend to carry all sides along and win the trust of all sides?
I am the best candidate for the race to represent the Warri federal constituency seat. I have always said this. I say this because I belong to all sides. By birth, the blood that flows in my vein cuts across the Itsekiri, the Ijaw, the Urhobo and the Yoruba. The three major ethnic groups in the constituency are the Itsekiri, the Ijaw, the Urhobo and, by blood, I am related to all. There are other people who do not belong to any of these tribes but are stakeholders here, they were born here, they do business here. I will carry all along. I am very strong on this. I am the only person who can relate among the three ethnic groups seamlessly. I am not talking of politics but of reality. I am very strong on the issue of peace, unity and development. You need somebody all sides can trust and that is what I represent. I am better positioned to carry all sides along. I will promote dialogue; explore the gains of bottom-up approach. I will come up with programs that will promote peaceful co-existence. I am a democrat and will promote the values of democracy.
How are you going about funding your political aspiration? Some people say some godfathers are behind you.
Talk is cheap. I have heard all sorts of things. Some even said a candidate of another party is sponsoring me; it is stupid to make such statements. I am being funded by friends and families. All those who believe in me are contributing to the project. I call it crowd funding. My support base has been friends and family members. As at today, among the candidates running for the office, I am the only one with a functional campaign office.
Any word for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the PDP government in Delta ahead of the elections?
The PDP has been the ruling party in the state for almost twenty years now. I have had a dose of the impunity of the PDP where you will not see materials on election day when I contested for the state House of Assembly seat. But there is a new sheriff in town at the federal level, so we won’t see impunity and INEC has promised free and fair elections. And I believe the exercise will be free and fair. I appeal for a level-playing field for all candidates. INEC should make sure materials get to the riverine areas timely.
They should also enforce the rules they came up with on elections to guarantee transparency. I am sure that after I would have defeated my opponents in February, they will not have reason to go to the tribunal.
Let me also use this opportunity to call on the Warri Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists to organize a debate for the candidates of various political parties contesting the Warri federal constituency seat for the electorate to assess ahead of the elections. Other organisations can also organise debate.
The people need to be very well informed about the capacity of the candidates contesting the election to represent them.