Although he is optimistic about returning back for a second term, he stressed that if he ends up not getting the ticket from his party to run, come 2019, he will be ready to work with whoever the party mandates to be their candidate, and not seek another political platform to pursue his ambition.
Is it true that you have bowed out of the race for the House of Representatives for a second tenure?
It is not true that I have no interest to return for a second term. Those peddling the rumor that I have bowed out are doing it to cause mischief. They are unnecessary detractors. This is not an election year. It will be a disservice to the people who elected me for my first tenure to be shifting focus from the mission of taking the dividends of democracy to their doorsteps, to presumptive political activities. I have broached my intention to return to some prominent party leaders but for now, I intend to use the better part of the remaining years of my first tenure to work more for the people instead of dissipating my energy on a second term that I know is the very people’s right to give. I will be judged by the people politically, based on what I have done with my first term.
So far, how has your emergence as House of Reps. Member representing Ethiope Federal Constituency benefited the people in the area: can you pinpoint some constituency projects you attracted to the area?
Right from the day the House was inaugurated on the 6th of June, 2015, I left no one in doubt of my determination to bring quality representation to the people of Ethiope Federal Constituency, in line with my electoral pledge to at all times, uphold the interest of my people by being responsible and responsive. My interests, for which I have become accustomed, border largely on general welfare for my constituents in particular and the entire Nigerian citizens in general. I am also primarily concerned about matters that will uplift and better the lot of the Niger-Delta people. As a lawmaker, my primary and secondary duties do not entail execution of projects or provisions of infrastructure, these are for the executive. However, a legislator can influence special projects to be carried out in his constituency, by branches of the executive arm and private companies. In certain cases, a legislator can stretch his personal purse to site projects in his constituency. It is in this connection that I, through the Zonal Intervention Project Scheme (ZIPS), have executed the following projects in my constituency: hand-pump water project at Mosogar and Jesse villages in Ethiope West LGA; hand-pump water project at Ovu and Egbo communities in Ethiope East LGA; solar-powered street illumination in Ethiope West and Ethiope East LGA’s; and self employment training of over 200 constituents, in skills such as fishery and soap making, with each trainee given N50, 000 as start-up package. More of these ZIPS projects are still pending, and I am not leaving any stone unturned to ensure every part of my constituency benefits from this scheme. Besides the already mentioned, I also executed personal schemes that include empowerment of my constituents. I organized a Human Rights Sensitization programme on violence against women in Idjere, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, a community in my constituency. Also, I offfered scholarships to lots if indigent students, and amongst the most grateful ones are Enyamuke Ese, a native of Oviore, to whom on the 21st of February 2016, I presented sponsorship documents/a return ticket to further his studies at Maryland University for International Studies and Diplomacy. On the 16th of August 2015, I engaged constituency aides and placed 22 elders on monthly stipends, in pursuant of my electioneering promises of empowering my people. Numerous others have been helped into government jobs at the state and Federal levels. During an unscheduled visit to the State University Teaching Hospital, I brought succor to Mr. Senseman Oyibo, an amputee from Kokori in Ethiope East LGA by settling his outstanding medical bills in full, gave him a new set of clutches, a TVC Tricycle (Keke napep) and some cash for his upkeep. Another of my philanthropic gestures was to a young lady, Onome Akporode, in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital to whom I gave a cash donation of #50, 000. I also went round the various wards in the hospital where I gave monetary assistance and encouragements to ailing indigenes from my constituency. Furthermore, I have also given out commercial motorcycles (Okadas), sewing machines, grinding engines and generator sets to many of my constituents as part of my empowerment agenda. It will also interest you to know that I donated cash, chairs and past SSCE/NECO GCE questions and answers to Ovu Grammar School, Ovu. I have kept my campaign promises of empowering my people. Finally, to show my loyalty to my party, I also donated a befitting party secretariat to PDP in my constituency.
If given a second chance, what areas would you look into as a matter of priority?
Peace and security of the people of Ethiope Federal Constituency. I have previously hinted you how I tabled a petition at the National Assembly against a company which is using security agents to harass and intimidate the people of Eku. We are still on this matter. And in my 2nd term, I will ensure that nobody, not even government takes land from my people and hurts them. This is not to say I will not focus on making good laws and shaping benevolent policies. I will also ensure development and good welfare is continued in Ethiope Federal Constituency.
You have strong contenders for the seat such as Ben Igbakpa and Godfrey Ishegbe. Does this portend a threat to your 2nd term ambition?
We operate democracy where the person that gets the highest votes gets the party tickets. My brothers, Ben Igbakpa and Godfrey Ishegbe are good men too and I have never and will never see them as political rivals, but as political associates. We are on the same boat to better the lot of our people. It is a good thing that my party, PDP, has them on board. They are both among my constituents who voted me in 2015, and for that, I will continue to be grateful to them.
If not given the ticket in PDP, is there the possibility of you moving to another political platform?
My loyalty to my party is based on political principles and not on ticket. If I am dropped from retaining the PDP ticket, I will bear it with all fortitude and work with my lucky successor.
James Ibori is presumed to be a deciding factor of who-gets-what in Delta Central. Do you have his blessings?
The political sagacity, reach, and astuteness of His Excellency, Chief James Ibori, cannot be questioned in anyway. All I have to say is that, he is my political mentor to whom I owe my political education. His mentorship of me is not done yet. I have much to learn from him in years to come. I am happy that we are from the same political constituency.
Some see you as too much of a gentle man and also conclude that the seat needs a more vibrant fellow. What is your reaction to this assertion?
Being described as being a gentleman is a virtue, not a vice, and being too much of a gentleman means I have this virtue in abundance. This clearly shows I am not and can never be a rascal. I want to correct one impression here: unnecessary noisemaking should not be mistaken for vibrancy. Always getting in the news for controversial issues cannot translate into good representation for the good
people of Ethiope Federal Constituency. As a legislator whose primary duty is to make good laws for the betterment of the Nigerian citizens, with modesty, I can say I have been very active in this aspect. My contributions to plenary debates are legendary; so-much-so-that I still remain one of the National Assembly poster-boys on some National Televisions’ introductory broadcasts. Evidence of my legislative industry and vibrancy is adumbrated below and the list is not even exhaustive of the Bills, Motions and petitions I have initiated, both solely sponsored and co-sponsored at the National Assembly.
BILLS- Welfare and Social Impact Partnership Act Bill; A Bill for an Act to Establish a Federal University of Petroleum in Effurrun (co-sponsored); Bill to Amend the Centre for Black and African Art and Civilization Act; Bill for an Act to establish the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and for Related Matters; Bill to Amend the National Orientation Agency Act; Bill to Amend the National Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act; Bill to Amend the National Industrial Court Act, etc.
MOTIONS- Need for the construction of overhead and pedestrian bridges at Oghara town along Lagos-Benin Expressway; Call for the investigation of the violations of the right of first refusal in the award of oil and gas contracts in Nigeria; Call on the Federal, States, and Local Government establishments, parastatals, and agencies, to stop rejecting Corp-members posted for service. Motion on a case of double jeopardy being perpetrated against Chief James Onanefe Ibori by the British government, Call to investigate the delay in the issuance of National Identity Cards by the National Identity Card Commission; Call for the provision of enough manpower and health care facilities in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; Need for the provision of infrastructure in Mpape, Durumi, Lokogoma, Galadimawa and other Districts in Abuja metropolis being developed by private Entrepreneurs; Call for an end to the violation of the Mining Act of 2007 by mining companies, individuals, and regulatory bodies; Co-sponsored motion against the Ban of the use of 200 Horse-Power Outbound Engines in the Niger Delta; Need to decongest Abuja metropolis by relocation of some government agencies, parastatals, departments, and ministries to other area councils outside Abuja Municipal Area Council; Urgent need to review (or scrap) the disparity inherent in the National Common Entrance Examination cut-off marks into Unity Schools/Federal Government Colleges; Urgent need for immediate repairs, renovations and re-construction of (1) Sapele-Eku-Agbor/Ewu Road and (2) Abraka-Ugo-Evboesi/Benin Road in Delta State; Urgent need to investigate and take consequent actions on and against medical officials in the Ministry of Health over their roles in the unfortunate matter of allowing N1.8 billion worth of HIV drugs meant for ailing Nigerians to expire without distributing them; Motion to review the period of payment of salaries to Nigerian workers from monthly to a shorter period, and Motion on the investigation of lack of patronage of Nigerian companies, and local content violation in Nigeria.
PETITIONS- Sponsored a petition from Eku Traditional Council on the inhuman treatment of inhabitants of Ovre-Eku community in Ethiope East LGA of Delta State, by officials of Presco Plc. and men of the Nigerian Army led by one Lt. E.D Oworobo with the “A Save our Soul Call” for intervention; Initiated a petition on Britain callously disregarding Chief James Ibori’s right to personal dignity, subjecting him to double judicial jeopardy and thereby impugning the sovereignty of Nigeria; and Sponsored a petition before the floor of the house on an allegation of non compliance with environmental and safety standards by a British company, BOGEL which was awarded a contract by NPDC to drill 2 wells in Ovwruworu Community in Oghariki in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Secondary Legislative Duties
Under this heading you see legislative duties that are not primarily law making, but part of my responsibilities as a lawmaker. I have been very active in plenary sessions of the House of Representatives. We cannot forget so soon the national and positive waves I made (aired widely by mainstream audio and visual outlets), when I boldly and with plausibility dissected the fiscal aberrations, anomalies and inelegance of the 2016 budget. My position and that of many of my colleagues tallied and the budget had to be returned to the Executive. I am a very active member of the following important Standing House Committees.
I am the Substantive Chairman of the House Committee on Nigerian-Brazil Relations and when the Brazilian Ambassador paid me a courtesy visit recently, I opened talks on how the bilateral relationship between both countries can be used to the advantage of Nigeria in general, and Delta State in particular. Other Committees I am in are: Committee on Petroleum Resources( Up-Stream); Committee on Appropriation; Committee on Solid Minerals; Committee on Public Petition; Committee on Works; Committee on FERMA; Committee on Privatization and Commercialization; Committee on Local Content; and Committee on Interior.
As a member of these committees, I have never shied away from my responsibilities of participating in the over-sight exercises on the activities of the ministries, agencies, parastatals and departments that fall within the legislative jurisdiction of these committees.
I have also participated in many capacities as member of Ad-Hoc Committees.
I am a member of the Special Committee currently investigating the missing Nigeria’s $17 Billion oil money. My experience as a man who grew up in the oil corporate world is valuable here.
What is your word to your supporters as we approach 2018, the pre-election year?
Due to the economic hardship and recent recession, intended projects for constituents and my constituency were not fully realized. We thank God things are gradually picking up now. The National Assembly is up and doing. My constituents who are my ultimate supporters will not be disappointed in 2018, with the packages of hope that NASS is preparing for the people. I want to use this opportunity to thank my teeming supporters for their invaluable patience and support. I will continue to ensure I do not fritter away their goodwill, as that is the bedrock of my political sustenance.
What is your message to members of your constituency as we approach the yuletide season?
I have nothing else to say that I have not said. But, most important of all said already is that I thank my good people of Ethiope Federal Constituency from the bottom of my heart for not only electing me to represent them at the Federal House of Representatives, but for the invaluable support I have enjoyed from them in course of my representing them well. Thank you all and may the blessings attendant on the yuletide permeate every household and family in Ethiope land. Have a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year celebrations.
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