Tuesday, February 3, 2015 12:33 pm
Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is the governor of Delta State. In this interview with AYORINDE OLUOKUN and JETHRO IBILEKE, he spoke about the changes that have taken place in his state since he was elected in 2007, the politics of Peoples Democratic Party and Delta State and other contemporary issues. Photos: FEMI IPAYE
People are apprehensive about the 2015 general elections, what could happen after the election. Do you also share the concern that the outcome of the election may signal the beginning of trouble for Nigeria?
Yes, there is a lot of concern about 2015 elections. The concern really started from a prediction by certain persons in America that Nigeria might disintegrate in 2015. Of course, the major activity that can lead to disintegration in 2015 is the election. So that build up has been there for years, and then we are getting to a situation now where various candidates have emerged, campaigns are going on, utterances are being made that are worrisome and actions are taken that are also worrisome.
So if one says that worry is not there, I think one will be deceiving oneself. That worry is there that after the 2015 elections, we might have some violence. But I think the good thing about that is that it also puts us on our toes to also do everything possible to avert any form of violence after the elections.
Many are of the opinion that your party, the PDP, did not manage its primary elections well. You also said at the recent thanksgiving service of your state governorship candidate that your party needs to do some house cleaning. In view of this, do you think PDP could retain Delta State in the coming elections?
Yes, some challenges have been thrown up as a result of the primaries from even the delegates’ lists to the national delegate election to local government council level, the House of Assembly elections, the National Assembly elections, the governorship. Each of these stages threw up some challenges. In certain areas, they were fairly bad, but in most areas, although challenges were there, they are manageable. Now what the party has done is to put up teams to go round the state to identify the problems in the state to see how reconciliations have been carried out by the committees and if not possible, and where not possible, they will take their findings to the national body of the party so that the national will do something about it.
So, there is a higher body looking into it. Now, as for our state, like I said, we need reconciliation, because as a result of the primaries, certain persons are aggrieved, some have even moved to other political parties, to get tickets to the Senate or House of Assembly. If it is possible to bring them back, we will bring them back, and we are making moves to bring them back. You know, in bringing people back at that level, there must be something that is very solid that they are looking up to. If it is an appointment, you sort of tie them down to that appointment that if we win, this is what you get. But generally, that is difficult to manage. So it’s just to find other ways of giving aggrieved people hope of not being abandoned in the next dispensation and that is the challenging part of it.
With what has happened, do you think PDP will be able to retain its position as the dominant political party in Nigeria after the 2015 elections?
It is even worse in opposition parties. Yes, the one of PDP is maybe more publicised, but in APC, the internal problems are worse.
Are you also aggrieved by the outcome of the party’s primary because your preferred governorship candidate did not emerge and you also failed to secure Senate ticket as you would have loved to?
No, I am not aggrieved; I need to correct that impression. If I was aggrieved, I would have made moves for people to know that I am aggrieved. If you are aggrieved, you must seek ways of redress. I’ve not sought redress from anywhere; I don’t think that anybody has heard that I am seeking redress. No, I am not. I may have my reservations about how some of the things were handled. For the governorship, I tried to provide a free and fair environment, which happened, activating security and all that which was my primary responsibility. There is no doubt that as a governor leaving office, I will be lying if I said I didn’t have an interest, but you must subdue your personal interest under the overall interest of the state. I think that was what happened.
There are areas I don’t agree with; like the primaries to the House of Assembly. But what we tried to do was to get a delegates’ list that was transparent, which everybody agreed on, and with that, all the other process will just flow. So we used that for the House of Assembly election. Unfortunately, the panel that came was already bought over, very hostile and disappeared even before the election finished, and tried to compile the result in Abuja. And I resisted it, I said no.