Chinedu Egbenumolise is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State. The security expert in this interview, spoke on current issues in the polity.TOPE FAYEHUN brings the excerpt
One major challenge of this present government is the issue of insecurity. Don’t you think that this can work against APC in 2019?
APC party strategists are aware that a lot of people are making capital out of the issue of herders/farmers clashes in the country. I studied security and thus development is a historical issue. It is what everybody should come together to find a lasting and workable solution too. it is not an issue that should be politicised. We should stop casting aspersions that this one is supporting killings and this one is not. We should try to deemphasize those things that divide us and embrace those things that unite us. I can tell you that the issue of herders farmers clashes has a different dimension. There is criminality dimension of it, there are political, religion and ethnic dimension of the ugly development. We should be able to come together and resolve them as a people. This is not a party affair, as matter of fact, the problem predicate any political party. Therefore, we should look at it as a problem that confronted us as a people and addresses it as such a mindset.
How will you assess the performance of legislative arms of government in last three years, particularly House of Representatives?
House of Representatives as we all know, is a very vibrant arm of the National Assembly. Because it had younger people who are in their youthful age. They have done well considerably in the face of the challenges that are prevalent in the political environment. I also believe that they could have done better if not for the challenges especially in our party, who happens to be in the majority in both chambers find itself in the political problem. The people who suppose to be championing the development of the party in the chambers are the arrowhead of opposition to the good policies of the government to Nigerians. I think they would have done well apart from this. But I believe that when we that are completely sold out to the change agenda are encouraged and subsequently move in to take over the chamber, we will bring about the needed change through robust laws that will benefit the public and ensure that change the APC promised Nigerians is achieved in sooner than later.
How long have you been in Politics?
I have been in active politics since 2002. But I voted for the first time in the 1992/1993 elections between Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC). Even as young as I was then, I was in SDP. I had been in opposition since then until 2015 when the current ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), took over power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). So, we are in power for the first time since I joined politics.
Are you aspiring for any position?
Yes, I am aspiring to represent my people in the federal House of Representatives and that is Ndokwa/ Ukwuani federal constituency in Delta state under the platform of our great party, the APC.
But APC is in opposition presently in Delta state. How do you think this will be possible because usually, it is the party in power in the state that dictates who gets what in an election?
Not really. In the first instance, PDP has been in power since 1999 and you know the peculiarity of the state as oil-rich state. The state that has a robust population and high level of literacy rate which ordinarily should make the state a frontline state in Nigeria in terms of development. But that has not happened in the state. The resources in the state which we all know has not been translated to the development of the state. Deltans are aware that they deserve better than what they are getting from PDP now. APC is carrying the torch that not only we remove PDP from occupying the political space in 2019, but to also bring well deserve development to the state. Indeed we have the resources and wherewithal to make Delta state one of the best state in the country.
House of Representatives is more about lawmaking. What actually attracted you to it?
I have a desire to always be a legislator so as to attract development to my area through the robust legislature. As far back as 2007, I aspired to represent my local government in the House of Assembly. Then, I was a candidate for DPP. As we all know, that 2007 happen to be one of the worst election in the history of the country. Even the governorship election in the state was annulled and rerun was ordered by the Election Petition Tribunal. In 2015, I also run for House of Assembly under APC. So, it has always been my desire to participate in leadership using legislation as a tool to bring development to my people. That is my motivation to aspire to represent my people in our federal constituency. You will understand that we need serious legislative activism towards legislative work to bring about changes we have been yearning for. President Mohammadu Buhari requires all the support he can get from all a sundry, especially from the National Assembly that will fast-track his policies, make them into laws and ensure that it becomes programmes and policies that will benefit Nigerians.
One common thing about Nigeria politics is zoning. Does zoning favour your community?
My community has been sidelined for so many years in the sharing of positions whether in elective or appointment. By the way of zoning now, we should be number one in consideration.
If God helps you to get to the National Assembly, do you have certain bills in mind to pursue?
Yes, I am into private security. I am the Chief Executive Officer of Heroes Protection Systems Limited and I am concerned about the security of the country. I am looking at the laws and legislation that will enhance the security of the country. I am also looking at the community police model that will help the current conventional security structure to achieve better security for Nigerians, because, we have a right to life. Security of life and property is the primary function of any government. I will be looking in that area that will enhance community policing, State police and any other aspect of security area that will further boost what we have and achieve a better result for Nigerians.
Also, I will be looking at the circumstance in our environment that limit smooth running of private security in the country. What makes it none profit business oriented in the country and what limit its benefit to the country in general and what we can do to make it better to be able to serve the people of the country.
Do you have confidence in INEC as it affects how it is constituted? if not what are your biases?
I don’t have any biases in spite that there are some challenges here and there. you will recall and aware that they have improved tremendously in the conduct of elections in the country. You can see in them that commitment to make election free, fair and credible that everybody can attest to that this election is good. Then you will see that with this improvement, the election dispute is reduced. The crisis that comes as a result of manipulated elections is equally reduced. I believe that INEC is on the right track, they deserve our support and we should do more in giving them the needed support to be able to conduct elections that are acceptable to us in Nigeria.
How strong is APC in Delta state?
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is my leader. He won election to the Senate through the platform of Labour Party and in that election, great Ogburu which we called peoples general, because of his masses oriented politics, was the candidate of the Labour party in that 2015 election. He’s the leader of the party, in fact, since 2003, we have to be in his camp. Hopefully, we are expecting him to contest in 2019 and we believe that he will get it this time. He had laboured for it and he deserves it. He has won the election several time but he was rigged out because of PDP rigging machinery then. But now, PDP has lost leverage over the security agencies and INEC. We do not intend to rig, but we will not allow you to rig. Apart from the two strong leaders, we also have leaders that spread across the three senatorial district of the state who have been in positions and some have also come to join us. We are all committed that APC takes over Delta state in 2019 and bring deserve development to the state.
How strong is your party after the declaration of a splinter group called R-APC and don’t you think this is a threat to your chance in 2019?
We see the R-APC as members of the party who are aggrieved. This also happened in every group, but there is a procedure for addressing those grievances. There are also those who are in the group but in the real sense, their allegiance or loyalty lies somewhere. They may be in the group causing problems. The core members of this party have realised that those who constituted themselves has R-APC does not really mean well for APC. There those who have genuine grievances and the party will look into it. But if you said you are R-APC, you pulled out of the party today and in a short time you are already signing a document with another political party to form a coalition, you are no longer members of the party. We are even hopeful that they should make the stand known and move away from the party so that we can know that they are there and we are here and we will later meet in the field. In fact, that is what democracy dictates. It is not for you to stay at a party, causing a problem there and your one leg is outside. People bring their dirty character into politics and said politics is dirty. APC is confidence that the emergence of R-APC cannot cause any political upset in our calculation in 2019 and beyond.
What are those things you have in mind to do for the people of your constituency when you are voted into power?
My project is an anchor on four-point policies. The acronyms are ISSE. This means Amen in our language. I stand for infrastructure. We want to work to ensure that we push infrastructure into all sector of the economy whether in health, education and any other areas in the state. All these sectors need infrastructure to ensure that the lives of the people of the constituency are improved upon. The second one is Security. In recognition of the fact that we have national security challenges, we have to put serious effort to ensure that security of life and property is topmost in our agenda. The programme is designed already to see how we can collaborate and push policies that we enhance the security of that federal constituency. The third one is Sport. I am a sports person. I have a sports company and club both in my state and Abuja. The whole thing is to see how we can use the multi-sport approach, whether is football, swimming among others, to harness abundant youths talents in our area and push them into the international market. Lastly, Entrepreneurship. We want to build industries in our communities. We want to train people and give them the tools to work with so as to become successful businessmen and women at the same time grow the economy. In all, our goals are to see that we build our community into a modern society because we deserve it.
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