•My vision for Patani/Bomadi Fed. Constituency
Prince Collins Eselemo, the scion of the Eselemo Dynasty in Delta State, is also the grand patron of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Worldwide, an ambassador of peace and an ex-international soccer star.
In this interview, Eselemo, who is the flag bearer of the New Nigerian People’s Party, NNPP, for Patani/Bomadi Federal Constituency in the 2023 polls, speaks on why he left the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the NNPP and his aspirations among other issues. Excerpts:
Your position on Urhobo for Delta governor in 2023 seems to have received a boost with the emergence of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborewri of the PDP, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege of the APC, Great Ovedje Ogboru of the APGA and Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi of the SDP. How do you feel?
I feel fulfilled. It was what I left with great anticipation that had happened, I have been vindicated.
But as an Ijaw man, don’t you think your decision to support Urhobo for governor in 2023 might have backlash on you?
I am a Deltan and we’re talking about Delta State politics, we’re talking about Delta democracy and we’re not talking about Ijaw party, we’re not talking about Urhobo party. If anybody has anything against me as a result of my position in the politics of Delta State, especially the anti-Urhobo campaign group, that’s your personal grudge, it goes to show that I have had a superior argument. The most important thing in this is issue is to do the right thing at the right time as a democrat, fair is fair.
Sheriff is being congratulated by some Ijaw people who are in PDP, but I was able to draw a line between a political party and Ijaw nation where the Ijaw National Congress, INC, president, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, was at the verge of being indicted by Prince Collins Eselemo if he had gone ahead to take responsibility of the entire Ijaw nation by virtue of his position to take sides as he was dragged by some people into the politics, then I would have gotten all reasons to complain of his conduct.
It is an intellectual warfare and I won because I advanced a superior argument over the Ijaw for Governor 2023 Campaign Movement.
Can you tell us how the Urhobos were able to motivate you in your campaigns?
How can anyone sponsor a grand fighter? How can you sponsor an ambassador of this country as an ex-international soccer star? This man is not somebody that anyone can sponsor, he has been around, he has been in politics for long, he has represented a bigger space called Old Bendel State where Delta State emanated from as a soccer star. So, the whole Delta State is my constituency, my jurisdiction and I don’t need anybody to sponsor me.
By the special grace of God, I’m a fifth generation of consolidated lawyer, hence, nobody can sponsor me at my age. It’s like telling me I was sponsored to fight for democracy when Gen. Sani Abacha sent me to jail during his dictatorship.
You said Ijaw should wait till 2031 during your campaigns, how sure are you that Ijaw will be opportune to govern the state then?
I am living with the great anticipation that it will happen because a similar scenario will come to play and you will be there, the Ijaw for Governor Campaign Movement will be there, everybody will be there by the special grace of God to witness it. The Urhobo people are no fools, they’re not sadists and history will recall that there was this Collins Eselemo who said Urhobo should have it then, and the question shall arise, are we neglecting the efforts and position of this Eselemo?
Ijaw in her entirety didn’t fight against Urhobo governorship position in 2023 and I believe the Urhobos will reciprocate in 2031.
You were in APC during all these your political campaigns and advocacy, what prompted your sudden decision to leave the APC for the NNPP?
It’s simply lack of sanity! Sanity is an inclusive word, it has to do with the morals of human being, even if they are politicking. Insanity on the party of the leadership of the party in the state prompted my exit. I discovered that there was a foul play against my political aspiration and when I discovered it, I knew that we were going nowhere. Then, I was able to reconcile this scenario with the exit of Buba Galadima from the party to NNPP, who I knew as a pillar of the party, then.
Again, I knew Galadima as a result of this same fight for democracy during Abacha’s regime, both of us were sent to jail by Abacha as patriots of this country and we met in jail.
Then, I was invited by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege and the state chairman of the party, Eng. Omeni Sobotie and I thought it was because of my decision and campaign for Urhobo governor and the arguments I made for Urhobo nation. But when we met, I was impressed upon not to contest for the House of Representatives seat in my constituency, but work with Omo-Agege when he becomes governor of the state, what a promise in anticipation! I asked to know why he’s limiting my political space, but Omo-Agege has never told me why I should not contest until this moment.
By all standards, Omo-Agege has no moral authority and capacity to tell the Scion of the Eselemo Dynasty not to contest election, it’s a disrespect because I’m older than him, I have more experience and capacity. So, I saw the corruption creeping into the party in my state, which has to do with backstabbing and all that. I later found out that he was doing it for selfish reasons, my ambition was traded with the incumbent PDP lawmaker, Nicholas Mutu, to avoid strong opposition from me. Mutu approached them and asked them not to allow me emerge flagbearer of the party with financial inducement.
The duo of Omo-Agege and Sobotie cannot deprive me to be true custodian of my people’s legislative rights to appropriate federal presence to my constituency and to develop the life standard of the people of the constituency. So, what I did was to look for a political party, formidable one, to still pick that ticket to win Omo-Agege, Sobotie, Mutu and whoever that is used by these people.
Now, you’re the flagbearer of the NNPP in Patani/Bomadi Federal Constituency: How prepared are you for the battle ahead seeing the ruling PDP seems invincible, particularly in the riverine area of the state, which is known as no-go area for other parties?
I would want to fault you on the phrase, no-go area in the state. In consideration of the current electoral act anything can happen. President Muhammadu Buhari was asked a similar question years back, and there was no adjective that was not used to describe the PDP then, indomitable and all that. Nigerians are awakening, the people are waking up from their slumber.
But what I’m telling you right now is that I will defeat PDP’s Mutu even before the 2023 general elections. I will not leave any stone unturned at the expense of the people of Patani/Bomadi Federal Constituency in this race, and if I do, history will not forgive me as the Scion of Eselemo Dynasty. The common wealth of Patani/Bomadi Federal Constituency will get to the grassroot with Collins Eselemo at the helm of affairs.
People would think you are doing all these out of envy: do you think your constituents will appreciate what you’re doing?
How can the Scion of Eselemo Dynasty envy any human being? I’m well-to-do and I don’t need to envy any human being. I’m doing what is proper for democracy. You need to appreciate the people that are poor in order to enjoy your wealth, and that’s the background from which I was raised, we must campaign on the platform of truth.
Your final words
The common wealth of Patani/Bomadi Federal Constituency must get to the grassroot and Collins Eselemo has been working to actualize this goal.