Onyegasi: Only youths can change Nigeria’s fortunes
Peter Olise Onyegasi is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to represent Aniocha North constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly come 2023. He spoke to OMIKO AWA on his aspiration and some of his programmes.
What is prompting you to go to the State House of Assembly?
After a series of consultations, the people in my constituency, Aniocha North Constituency, appointed me to represent them in the Delta State House of Assembly. They see in me the virtue of being able to contribute to making good laws for the people and also to restore hope to the people — the poor and the rich, the young and the old. They believe I can effectively be the mouthpiece of the grassroots people, apart from helping to make policies that would open up the various local council areas. They know I have all it takes to speak to power, get things done and properly represent them on all fronts.
For how long have you been in politics?
I am not a greenhorn in politics. I have been a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since1999. I have participated in the party’s activities right from the chapter to the wards level. I would have contested for the councillorship of Ward 2, Onicha Ugbo, Aniocha North local council in 2012, but had to listen to the elders of the party to step down. This time around after a series of consultations, the people have given me the mandate to represent them in the Delta State House of Assembly because they know I have what it takes to be there.
Why is it that some youths shy away from politics?
Many youths before now shy away from politics because of the internal rigmaroles and the lack of funds to pursue their ambition. But, this is now changing with the current leader, Iyorchia Ayu, changing the narrative. He has made things easier for youths to embrace the party in their numbers to the extent of going for elective positions to represent their people. The current leadership knows that the only way to move the party forward is to overhaul the party and bring in more youths. Not just bringing them into politics, but encouraging them to contest for elective offices. It is as a result of this that young people of my age and financial level are contesting.
Are Nigerian youths really prepared for this challenge?
Currently, Nigerian youths across the globe are doing great things in their various fields, from Architecture, ICT, medicine, engineering to sports, and arts and entertainment. The youths are prepared to take on the challenges of leadership. So, a good number of the youths are ready for the task. They understand the problems on the ground and are ready to proffer solutions to them too. The Nigerian political space is not strange to them, they understand the problems and are ready to solve them.
It is only the youths that can turn this country around for good. As one that has been in the building sector, I will tell you that architecture opened a new chapter in 2004 when AutoCAD software was introduced into the Nigerian school curriculum and from then the Nigerian building plans have never been the same again. If the youths could drive this innovation, what next would they not do? Nigeria and Nigerians are waiting for the youths to come into the political space and turn things around for good and it is until this is done that the country will change for good. The new Nigeria lies with the youth and they are waiting to kindle the ‘Naija spirit,’ a vision of light and progress.
How can this happen when many youths are unemployed in your state?
Tackling unemployment at the state level is a simple task to achieve if given the opportunity to be in the House of Assembly. I must appreciate Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who has connected the villages with good roads and provided other amenities, but we need to follow up this good work with a development action plan to create jobs.
We have to resuscitate some of the moribund industries like the Asaba Textile Mills, Delta State Leader factory at Issele Uku, Delta Glass, Sapele Plyboard among others. Reviving these industries, as well as floating Delta State power station and modular refineries to refine petroleum products, will generate over 45 per cent new jobs and increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Do you support the yearning for a South-South presidential candidate?
For equity and justice, I am very sure that the PDP leadership is doing the needful to select a sellable presidential candidate that will rescue Nigeria from the backwards state it has been taken to.
PDP in 2023 will give Nigeria a new face and a new vision. The party will come up with tested and trusted people to rescue the country from its present failed system. We shall move the country from the poverty headquarters of the world to the largest economy in Africa that it used to be. PDP will again rescue Nigeria.