Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Delta State, Elder Godsday Orubebe, in this interview, spoke on why President Goodluck Jonathan should be handed a second term in 2015 and his governorship pursuit among others. Excerpts:
On President Jonathan’s perceived reluctance to seek re-election?
I played a key role in the election of President Jonathan in 2011 and I am still playing that key role to make him by the grace of God, the president of Nigeria again, to complete his eight years.
I do not think the president is reluctant to come out again to contest, there is always a time for every activity and he is waiting for the right time to come and declare to Nigerians as he did in 2011. The president surely will contest.
That he is contesting for the presidency of this again for re-election is non-negotiable. Even if he was not going to contest, we will draft him to come and complete his eight years.
This is the first time somebody from the South-South has come on board to preside over the affairs of this country and I think it is only reasonable to allow him to complete his two terms of eight years, particularly when he is doing very well to take Nigeria to the next level.
How is he taking Nigeria to the next level?
From 1960 to the time he took over, power infrastructure was completely dead but he has brought in the private sector, there is a power master plan now on how Nigeria can get power so that we can key into the global industrial revolution.
Today, the trains that were dead over the years are working, our roads are better. The East/West Road that was meant not to be completed is about to be completed now, every arrangement had been put in place.
In the education sector, there is no government in recent time that has given concern to the education of young men and women. The other day when the education minister was having a meeting with the vice-chancellors and when they gave their reports, I was marveled that a lot is being done in our educational institutions.
Economic empowerment programmes are being put in place for our young men and women to keep them engaged and employed.
This president has done very well in many areas; talk about aviation and agriculture, there are a lot of programmes being enjoyed by grassroots farmers and today people now see farming as a good business unlike in those days when farming was considered as a vocation of poor people.
President Jonathan has done very well and he is moving this country forward and my appeal to the rest of the country is that Mr. President should be allowed to complete his eight years. For me, it is not negotiable and Mr. President must have to complete his eight
years to give to Nigeria what God has invested in him.
On comments that President Jonathan is worried by the opposition from the North, hence his reluctance to declare his re-election bid?
So many people do not actually know the kind of president that they have. If you get close to the president the way some of us have been close to him, you will know that the president is not jittery but he is a president that is calculating, a president that believes in the rule of law and that as a president of this country, he needs to show good example and that is what he is doing. He cannot come out to declare now considering the regulations that have been put in place by INEC.
On chances of Jonathan at the polls
Mr. President is going to win massively. Nigerians are becoming more aware, it is not a situation where somebody somewhere is coming to tell stories.
They are aware that our railways have started working, our educational institutions are getting attention, our airports are better and agriculture is seen as a serious business now.
For the sustenance of what is on ground, Nigerians will definitely vote for Jonathan.
On his aspiration for the governorship of Delta State
It is on and I am waiting for the INEC’s timetable to declare to the good people of Delta State that I am humbly willing to come and offload what God has deposited in me from the councilor level to the presidency level.
With the people of Delta State, we are thinking of bringing a new concept of governance, concept of love and we all working together.
Concept of governance
We will take from the past activities of previous governments and build on them to be able to contribute our quota towards the development of Delta State.
On the necessity of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan embarking on new projects a year to his hand-over
The only time Governor Uduaghan should stop working is the day he hands over and that is May 29, 2015. Government is a continuum. If that is what they are saying now, then immediately after swearing in and the man knew that after four years he would go, people would have expected him to stop from that day. The man has to work till that day. Governor Uduaghan has been a friend right from when I was the chairman of Burutu local government area of the state. He is man that is well calculating. He started very well and he is finishing very strong.
I cherish a lot of things that he is doing, particularly this new programme, ‘Delta beyond Oil,’ I think that is a noble programme. Here you have a governor, who is already thinking about the future of his people, there is nothing that can be compared to that.
By the grace of God when I take over from him that is one of the programmes that we are going to run with to be able to provide a secured future for the people of Delta State.
On whether he had mended fences with Chief Edwin Clark
I never had problem with my father and leader, so the issue of mending fences does not arise. Chief Clark remains my father yesterday, today and tomorrow.
On comments that he is at war with Clark over the structure of PDP, especially in Burutu LGA where they both hail from
I don’t think that is true. First and foremost, my leader is not involved in local political activities. I think the problem we have was that the chairman, who won the election from day one had some issues with some leaders in Burutu LGA, the thing changed and the man went to court.
The leader was aware when they went to court and when they won the case I told the chairman that this is a family activity. Whatever we do in Burutu LGA, it has always been my style to go to the leader to ask for direction and then I go and work with his directive. In the same way, it has been a family activity, no victor, no vanquished. I will soon meet with my leader and whatever he directs is what we are going to do and that is what it is going to be.
I have always work with Chief Clark and I will continue to work with him, even in this case whatever he directs is what we are going to do in moving the party forward in Burutu and beyond.