By Egufe Yafugborhi
Chief Donald Horsfall, lawyer and Agro entrepreneur is the Accord candidate for the Akuku Toru/Asari Toru Federal Constituency in Rivers State. A son of the celebrated Chief A.K. Horsfall, the Accord candidate in this interview speaks on his plans for the constituency.
Estimation of the critical situations in immediate environment and larger Nigerian society
I am anchoring my campaign, manifesto on what I call EMI. In Kalabari where I come from, Emi means, ‘it’s there, it’s available, but now for me, it’s a play on words. Emi in the context of my political quest really stands for E.M.I., Education, Morality and Investment. These three things work hand in hand and it is what is essential to lift the federal constituency I am hoping to represent out of the challenging conditions we currently find ourselves.
To delve into it a bit, when you have educated minds, they perform better in whatever form and enterprise they find themselves. Educate a fisherman, he would fish in a different way; educate a carpenter, he would conduct his carpentry in a unique way. It is difficult to convince a professional, like a lawyer, to go into any wild creek or bush and just live there. It is hard.
What is your work-plan to execute EMI?
There’s no ‘if’, I know I will be elected. I won’t say too much, cognisant that we are in competition.
As a lawmaker, one crucial law I intend to push is that which would compel companies to site their headquarters where they get their primary source of income.
They would not be allowed to come into these areas which I hope to represent, with more than 70 oil wells to make the money there and take the money to headquarters in Lagos or Abuja. No, we will pass law that your headquarters must be in same area where you draw your wealth.
Be rest assured that we have a working plan and shall hit the ground running when, by God’s Grace, we get elected.
What is your level of faith in the electoral process
I have great confidence in the electoral process. Don’t forget, the process is run by Nigerians and I am a great believer in Nigeria. As Nigerians, we are about the most talented people on the face of the earth.
Chances going into the elections in atmosphere of trouble with Rivers APC
My chances are great, for few reasons. One, as far as Rivers State is concerned, as far as the law is concerned, there is no APC. We just had a judgement which reiterated that fact, no APC candidate at any level in Rivers. Even if the APC were to appeal this judgement, the status quo remains until overturned. So, APC, first of all, is not a factor as it stands now. Anything they hope to do is future wishes.
The other big political party is the PDP as we know, but we’ve seen before in several places, like in Ondo State where smaller parties like Labour Party, defeated so-called big parties because Nigerians have come to understand that it is not a party issue. It is individual credibility. If a person is not performing for the PDP, for instance, switching to APC, to Accord or any other party is not going to transform him to a performer. To be quite honest, most people in APC today were in the PDP, so it’s not about party.
Being able to make the difference in changing a locality with inclinations for violence, militancy
Circumstances can bring out the worst in any human being. The Kalabari, of which I am proudly one, were among the first people in the entire Niger Delta and Southern Nigeria to be exposed to international standards of living. We entered into agreements with England, through the then King of England as far back as the 17th century.
Talking about legal luminaries, you find the late great Nabo Graham Douglas, who was, in conjunction with Rotimi Williams, the first to be made Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN. So, in the past, we were known for excellence, educational brilliance, civilisation. At a time we were nicknamed the ‘White Man’ of the Niger Delta.
It would be childish of me to pretend as though violence doesn’t exist just because I am Kalabari. But whilst I condemn violence in its entirety, note that every human being when pushed, when cheated, when finding no way out is forced to do things they will not naturally do. What we would do is give them a way out, such that the need for violence will no longer exist.
If a man is comfortable, able to legitimately care for his family, able to take care of his responsibilities, care for aging parents, what has he to do with violence? Nothing.
Are you afraid that the kind of intrigues in the APC in Rivers State could also threaten the Accord governorship candidate, Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs?
I will be very careful to speak on matters that are sub-judice. The matter has merely been mentioned in court now.
However, in truth, what it suggests is that we (Accord) are a factor and we have a real possibility of upsetting the giant.
We are the David in this situation of David and Goliath. Otherwise all the threats happening will not be happening. The personality of Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs is well known throughout Rivers and beyond. Let us not forget the fact that it is the party that reserves the right to say who its flag-bearers are. Accord in Rivers has said its gubernatorial flag-bearer is Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs.