Delta 2023: PDP will win with wide margin, says Nwoko
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for Delta North (otherwise known as Anioma), Prince Ned Nwoko, spoke to
GODWIN IJEDIOGOR on his ambition to return to the National Assembly and the party’s disagreement with the Integrity Group (formerly G-5).
…Wike is not bigger than PDP, he’s out of his limits
What should the people of Delta North senatorial district expect from you if they elect you to represent them in the senate?
I was in the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003, shortly after my return from England. I did my best, sponsoring 23 Bills. I knew that being in government meant serving the people and I knew what I wanted to do then, like the dualisation of the Asaba-Benin road, bringing the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and National Industrial Court of Nigeria to Asaba, all of which were non-existent before, and which I succeeded in doing.
A good politician lobbies for things, I am surprised when I hear lawmakers say they are only there to make laws for good governance, because that’s just part of the responsibility of a lawmaker.
I am not just going to the National Assembly to sit in chambers and make laws; yes, I am capable and comfortable doing that, but there are many things that we need, as Anioma people, and hopefully they would be addressed properly now that I know a lot more on how to go about doing things.
For example, the road that was done at that time would be rehabilitated and we are going to have service stations on both sides of the road to make it safer for users and get all the trucks and trailers that park at night, causing accidents and discomfort to other road users, off the major lanes.
The flooding that occurred recently across many states, especially in the Niger Delta, didn’t start and end in Delta State; it’s a national disaster that also affected parts of Anioma, including Illah, Oko and virtually the whole of Ndokwa, among others, so we would want to look at a holistic solution to it. If it’s about building dams to manage the water, we would do so. If it’s about dredging of the River Niger, it will be done.
I have always wanted to build embankments from Ebu to Oko (Oshimili South Local Council) as a kind of shield of the land from the water and then take a road from Oko to Aboh (Ndokwa East Local Council) all the way to Isoko up to Warri. That road has to be built. We would settle all the people in the riverine areas there that would be affected by the road construction.
Of course, there’s something I have also discussed with our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, massive empowerment of the youth, which has to be done. The youth today are clamouring for some other candidate because they are dejected and hopeless.
I have chosen to be an ambassador for the youth all through my first term in the Senate and the first Bill that I will sponsor will be about the youth and empowering them. It will involve the establishment of an agency to take care of young entrepreneurs, irrespective of their area of endeavour, especially if they employ at least five other youths. We must get the youth out of the bottom-line where they are currently and give them hope for the future.
It will be a Business Bill, with an agency that would manage a special fund and see to the disbursement of sufficient amount of money to each young beneficiary, who must be an existing entrepreneur, no matter how small.
I am happy that my party is already doing something like that in Delta State; that is the more reason it should be the PDP all the way as we take it higher to the national level. Luckily, most of those seeking political office at the state and national levels are experienced and that would make things easy. So, for me the focus would be on the youth.
And you are very sure of defeating incumbent Senator Peter Nwaoboshi of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?
Oh, sure! Go round Anioma and find out if it would be difficult for me to beat him. I am a man of the people; when you were coming here, did anybody stop you on the way? I am open to the people and they know what I am doing to assist them already.
Since I left the House in 2003, I have not contested any office or held any political appointment, so whatever you see here or read or hear about Ned – the Sports University, malaria project, tourism project and others – are my personal efforts. What has Nwaoboshi done outside politics?
After your first tenure, most people had expected you to seek re-election or even vie for the Senate. What happened that you didn’t contest again?
I didn’t want to go back to the House of Representatives, because I was frustrated and had many Bills, as but most of the members of the National Assembly then were not interested in beautiful Bills; they were more interested in making money for themselves.
And there were too many members in the House; how do you handle about 360 members? It was difficult. For example, the Bill on the Sports University was Number 18 in my Bills, but then most members didn’t see it as a priority or anything important. That is why I told you I have learnt and now know how to get what I want for the people.
When I began the Paris Fund refund case, many people told me it was not going to work, asking how could I take the British or French or American governments to court. But I told them I’m a British- trained lawyer and having practised there, I knew what to do, that they should just give me the instruction to go ahead.
So, I am not afraid of trying the impossibilities or what people consider impossible.
Some people thought it would be difficult for PDP to put its house together until recently when former governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, broke the ice by openly supporting your governorship candidate, Sheriff Oborevwori. How do you feel about this and the fact that we are yet to hear from a leader of the party in the state, a former governor, Chief James Ibori?
Ibori is a leader of PDP in Delta State and even in the country; Ibori is not a Wike, his daughter is contesting for the House of Representatives under PDP. Apart from that, I am confident that Ibori will support the party he helped to bring to Delta State. He would do the right thing; Ibori would not because of his support for one aspirant pull the rope down, I am sure he would not do that, but would support Oborevwori and PDP.
PDP would win the next elections in the state with even a wider margin than in the past.
How will you advice Olorogun David Edevbie, who has gone back to the court, despite the Supreme Court ruling, over the emergence of Oborevwori as the party’s governorship candidate?
Edevbie is a long-time friend and I know him to be a reasonable person. Court case can be withdrawn any time. PDP is one big family and I know that Okowa, as governor, is doing everything possible to reach out to him and others who feel aggrieved one way or the other.
I also know that Oborevwori is reaching out to all PDP stakeholders in the state.
What is your take on APC’s candidate and Deputy Senate President, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege’s allegation that Oborevwori is a stooge of Okowa?
Oborevwori has been in the House of Assembly representing Okpe State Constituency, is Okowa from Okpe? Power is shifting from Delta North to Delta Central, who decided to support Oborevwori. They could have chosen to support Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi or Peter Mrakpor, but they chose to fight individually and Okowa said every aspirant should go to the field. At the end of the day, Oborevwori emerged and Okowa at the end of the day has the right to support him if he wants.
The primary that produced Oborevwori was very free and transparent, and nobody is contesting that. Omo-Agege is trying to make himself acceptable and can say whatever he wants to say.
Do you think that PDP and Okowa have done enough for Delta North to make the people vote for you?
Within the available resources, Okowa, and indeed PDP, have done well in the state.
What is your fight against Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike all about? Is it because he is not supporting Atiku and Okowa in their bid for the Presidency?
No, no, no! People think it’s because of Okowa, but I have never discussed Wike with Okowa, never. And I wouldn’t; why should I? I am a man of my own; I have my own mind about anything.
I am a PDP member and stakeholder and if somebody else is a nuisance to the party, I cannot talk about it because of Okowa? I am my own person and a stakeholder in PDP and want my party to win the elections in every state, if possible, and produce the next President. I see somebody trying to pull the house down and people expect me to keep quiet because I am from the same place as Okowa? No!
I am fighting for Nigerians who are also in PDP and feel that Wike is taking his fight too far, even though he has the right to air his views. You must have seen a video where he said, tufia kwa, I would never be a vice president. Is that the kind of person anybody would choose as running mate? Later on when he lost the presidential ticket, he began to lobby for the vice presidential ticket and it became a do-or-die thing for him.
And he lost out. If Wike had been chosen as the vice presidential candidate, would he be asking the National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to resign? No.
He is not fighting for the South; Wike is fighting for himself and the few people who are around him. They are trying to destroy a party in which I am a stakeholder and I shouldn’t keep quiet. He thinks he is a bigger stakeholder, but he is not; every stakeholder in PDP is important and he is hurting all of us. And he has to stop it; he cannot be junketing all over the world displaying anti-party activities. What has he not done to hurt the party? Wike is out of his wits!
Will the house collapse if PDP reins in Wike and others?
Well, you should be asking PDP. I met the Deputy National Chairman (North) at the airport some time ago and I asked him why they were talking about doing the needful. There are ways of handling these people and others will sit up.
He is not untouchable; he is like a bull in the China shop, and when you have such a situation, you remove the bull from the shop. I am in that shop myself that he’s trying to destroy and that is why I am not keeping quiet. That is an insult.
You alleged that Wike squandered Rivers share of the Paris Club Fund refunds, but no court has found him guilty of any such offence?
You don’t need to wait for the court to know that somebody squandered money; I spoke about it because I am directly involved. I know how much that went to the Rivers State Government and the local governments in Rivers State. I have also spoken to some people there to know that Wike did not use that money for the people of Rivers State.
If he did, I can tell you that every hospital in Rivers State would have been very well equipped and have constant power supply and those innocent children wouldn’t have died in the hospital because of absence of power supply.
But not every hospital in Delta that also received the same funds is well equipped?
I am talking about Rivers State. In any case, there has been no such kind of deaths in Delta State due to lack of power supply. I am talking about a governor who is pretending to have done excellently well in the state, calling people to come and commission projects.