Mr. Paul Odili, Manager, Communications to Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, in this interview picked holes in comments by Mr. Festus Keyamo that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP government in Delta State in the last 13 years had performed below compared with available funds. Excerpts:
What is your reaction to Keyamo’s comments that PDP governments have under-achieved in Delta State since 1999?
I have no wish to join issues with Keyamo as such, but serving in this government and aware of so much that has been done, I feel I should correct his poor attempt to ridicule the achievements of the Delta administration and the performance of Governor Uduaghan. I think Barrister Keyamo is a neophyte in politics and from his comments you can tell that he has either lost touch or is not in touch with his community. For too long he has lived in Lagos without realizing how much has changed.
He may have schooled in Delta but the truth is that a lot has changed since he left to sojourn in Lagos. Had he been in contact with the grassroots he would have realised how much transformation has occurred in the state. He would have seen the sparkling new roads many of which are dualised and new bridges dotting the landscape of Delta.
Had he been in touch he would have seen the brand new schools some of which are in Uvwie, his local government and the roads and hospitals that have been constructed by the Uduaghan administration in that local government. Had he been in touch he would have known that thousands of people from his local government has benefited from the free maternal healthcare programme, free under-five healthcare programme, the thousands of people that have benefited from the micro-credit scheme and first class scholarship and other incentives to spur our youths to take to education.
Actually, if I know how to reach him, I would like to send him a pamphlet containing lists of projects and programmes in his local government, which he can verify. His opinion of Uduaghan administration is completely off the mark. I am certain Deltans who are on the ground and even those who are in Diaspora that find time to visit will not agree with him and will have no hesitation commending and appreciating Governor Uduaghan for taking the state on the right path to growth and development. In just six years, the administration built an international airport in Asaba and is building another one in Osubi, Warri.
We are talking about an administration that is building a power plant at Ogharaki, a multi-billion naira industrial park in Warri, an ICT park in Asaba. We are talking about an administration that has built and remodeled over 18,000 classrooms and 140 super model primary and secondary schools with more on the pipeline this year. You are talking about an administration that has completed and operationalised the Oghara teaching hospital, classified by the Nigeria Medical Association as easily the best teaching hospital in the country.
What is your take on his opposition to Delta North demand for the governorship?
The Delta North political class can agitate for a power-shift and they are doing so through consultation and negotiation.
They have to do so because they cannot by themselves become Governor of the state after 2015 general election without the support of the other senatorial zones. That is politics. You engage, persuade and you negotiate. He acknowledges that zoning is a PDP internal arrangement, which is true but other parties have also copied it. But beyond that, Delta is a strongly leaning PDP state and will almost likely produce the next Governor after the current one, having performed creditably well to the satisfaction of the people.
Don’t you think that Keyamo’s Delta Forces United could be a threat to the PDP?
The only force in Delta Forces United is only the force in its name. Actually I am confused, is that not the name of a local football club? Anyway, it does not exist on the ground and cannot be a threat. What does not exist is no threat. By the way is Delta Force a political party? If it is not, which party is it in? I really cannot rate an imaginary force.
Do you think Delta State is where it ought to be in terms of development giving the resources at its disposal?
Delta State under Uduaghan is moving to where it should be, to make it competitive in the 21st century society. The reason we are de-emphasizing oil dependence and are investing heavily in education, transportation, healthcare, power and urbanization is to make Delta a destination of choice for investment. So the administration is fully on course and I am satisfied that the right things are being done. Deltans in the state and elsewhere share the same views with me and are commending Governor Uduaghan.