By Festus Ahon & Perez Brisibe
Olorogun Jaro Egbo is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ughelli North Constituency II of Delta State. In this interview, Egbo speaks on the chances of the APC emerging victorious in the state during the forthcoming general elections and appealed to Nigerians, particularly Deltans, to re-elect President Muhammadu Buhari and the candidate of the party for the gubernatorial election, Great Ogboru.
Why I decided to run for public office
I have always wanted to serve my people. I think it is an inborn thing. It started from my primary school days as I have always seen public service as the highest form of service you can render your people. In primary school, I was in the boys scout, Red Cross in the secondary school, and also class prefect. I started early in politics in my university days as I was a senator in the Law student Association assembly. I have always loved to be a legislator, to make laws for our people that will better their lives. In 2015, I ran for the House of Assembly position but I was cheated out. So, I left PDP then and joined the APC on the need to serve my people because the quality of legislators we have is nothing to write home about.
A legislator is a lobbyist, someone who influences projects, an interface between the people and the government of the day. He represents the people at the grassroots and I have seen that there is a wide lacuna between our legislators and the people. I say this because you see communities with their varied needs in Nigeria today, they do not have electricity, but these legislators will bring solar light on an untarred road as against finding out the actual need of the people. Some areas lack classrooms; they will go and influence roads for the people when what they actually need is a classroom or healthcare center. Having gone round, you will realize that most of our communities are in darkness. This has to do with the privatization policy of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, as the new owners who came onboard no longer provide transformers for our people, but rather than ask the people for their needs, they will go there and cite constituency projects that are not needed all because there is some money to make.
So, I believe that if I am voted into office, I will interact with my people, I will hold a periodic town hall meeting with them and this will not be an Ughelli affair because the constituency is a tripod one compromising Agbarho, Ughelli and Uwheru. So, starting with Agbarho, I will ask them what are the things needed because what Agbarho needs might not be what Uwheru needs. I will sit with them and ensure that their needs are met and the same will apply to Ughelli.
So, as a legislator, you must address issues of the people that relate to their wellbeing. Issues like security and de-flooding of the communities. These are some of the challenges of the people and not things that will not add value to them. I believe the current legislator that is representing them do not know their needs because he has not held any town hall meetings with them to the best of my knowledge.
He has not met with them to say “what do we do to move this community to the next level?” So, these are things that I will participate in if am elected and I believe that I will do it in a unique way that it will go round and everyone treated as co-equals.
Though I know power belongs to God, I am very confident of victory at the polls. God made it possible that I should be appointed as political adviser to the EDP NDDC, and I have used that office to the fullest because I have the confidence of my boss, Engr. Sam Adjogbe. We sat down and drew up a development plan for Ughelli and environs and that has yielded over 36 roads in Ughelli alone, our budget is loaded for projects in Agbarho, Uwheru and Ughelli.
We have renovated over 25 primary schools and restoring high tension electricity power project to Afiesere and others. So, people have seen that if I can do all these as an assistant, if given a substantive office, I will do better and if you go around the town, you can confirm these projects. My flag off is also a confirmation of the peoples love and interest in my candidacy and that was why the place was filled up with supporters. So, I am confident that the failure of the incumbent to act and make good his office, his abandonment of his mandate for other frivolous things, has endeared me to my people and made my job easier. So, I am very confident that I will be elected as the representative of Ughelli North II.
Chances of Buhari on February 16
I believe firmly that the chances of President Buhari are brighter than it was in 2015. Apart from South-West, you will recall that the South-East and South-South was won by the PDP, but today, it is not the same story. Am sure you witnessed the number of crowd that received at the Warri stadium which is a testament to his acceptability in the South-South. They believe that the candidate of the opposition has so much baggage and a testament to what Obasanjo wrote in his books that the man is so corrupt and cannot be trusted by Nigerians. But Buhari has no such baggage, he may have one or two weaknesses, you cannot the integrity of a Buhari with an Atiku.
Also, in the North, several of the PDP bigwigs have abandoned the party, and how is he going to win the South-West? He did not put them in his reckoning, coming to the South and South-east, when we did not vote for him, there are several appointments and developments there, so his chances are very bright. And when you juxtapose it with what is going on in Delta here, Ogboru’s chances are bright. We were in PDP, so we know he always wins his elections but he is usually cheated out and with the likes of us and former Governor Uduaghan in the party, it will be a different ball game entirely. Also, I know that when Buhari wins his election, typical of the average Nigerian politician, they will abandon the PDP and this will have a positive spiral effect on Ogboru’s election and also, there is the 20 years cycle of change. The PDP has been in power in the state for 20 years. Take a look at Akwa Ibom and others that are our contemporaries that were far behind us.
Our roads are nothing to write home about except those being done by the NDDC. Our hospitals are consulting rooms, look at the DELSU Teaching Hospital, Oghara, it is more or less an abandoned institution because the government of the day has no road map to manage these things. So, tell me, what will motivate a Deltan to vote for PDP in Delta State? We inherited an economy that was in doldrums. Former Finance Minister Okonjo Iweala had already confirmed that the economy was in relapse. We came out when Buhari came in, the man doesn’t talk much like others. They say we are losing jobs but N-Power alone has added about 500, 000 jobs. Oil production has gone up owing to the relative peace in the Niger Delta region. Abandoned roads are being done; let me tell you, it is the elites that do not have access to free monies that are complaining about Buhari.
On security, before we came in, Boko Haram was controlling 13-14 local government areas, but they have lost out. However, you cannot deny that there are some security lapses, so I think the president in his second term should step up on security because security of lives is supreme but that is not to say the PDP will do better because what we are facing today was caused by the PDP. PDP sustained their power for 16 years through massive rigging. Judging by the elections held in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states, you find that those results are very clear and I believe that we will witness a free and fair election as the man (Buhari) doesn’t need to rig to win elections. It is voters that will decide this election and we have their confidence.
I want Nigerians to be steadfast with APC. We have been there for less than 4 years, and in our second term, we will do better and that is why we tagged it ‘Next Level’ as the first level was to clean out the legacy of corruption of the PDP and we have gone far with that. So, in the second term, if given the opportunity, we will do better and we will take security and welfare very seriously.