Posted by News Express | 13 May 2019 | 1,673 times
Dr. Festus Okunbor was the Chief of Staff, Government House, during the administration of former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in Delta State. He is currently an appointee in Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration. In this interview, he said the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a gang of fraudsters and a non-stop lying machine at all levels, maintaining that Governor Okowa deserves a second term, going by his giant strides.
Does Governor Ifeanyi Okowa deserve a second term in office, not to talk of winning his re-election bid?
I have a fair understanding of what executive role should be in any society. I was the Director of Protocol to Ibori; I worked very closely with him. I was also his Commissioner for Health and Commissioner for Information.
I also worked very closely with Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan as his Chief of Staff, which meant that I worked extremely closely with him. And I am still working closely with the incumbent Governor Okowa.
So I am in a position to judge the three governments on who has done very well in this state. They have all done very well. But I make bold to say that resource for resource, time span for time span, Dr. Okowa has done best amongst the three PDP governors that have served under in Delta state.
And if the first two deserved a second tenure, it will be easy for you to deduce that in my opinion, Dr. Okowa deserve more than a second tenure.
Let me tell you something, if you have never had the opportunity to go through very strict parenting you will never understand until you become a parent and you begin to value some of the things you thought were harsh on you.
But a time will come when you begin to recommend even the things you hated most for your children. As you become a parent, you will begin to understand that in the life of your parent and your own life so far, that managing abundance and managing scarcity are two different ball games. When Okowa first came in, what was given to him to share in application for the growth and development of Delta State was akin to what we used to pray that God should not allow our friend to give us an ant to share amongst us. And he did that creditably, he did that without crying in public. He has done very well, and deserves overwhelmingly a second tenure.
If you are not a card-carrying member of PDP, would you not have supported the need for a change of political governance in Delta State?
I would never have said so, and I will tell you why. I have come to realize that when I die, I will occupy my grave alone.
So nobody’s life will strengthen my decision on how to live my life. I believe that politics is the affair of men, and I believe that men are the highest creations of God. And therefore the business of politics must go along with the highest of ethics, must go along with the highest morality because you are going to be dealing with the highest creations of God.
The God that I know is not an unstable God. If somebody says ‘all of us have the same God,’ I will usually not respond in public but when I go into my room, I will knock myself and say ‘Festus, don’t listen to what he said.’
One God that I serve is the Father of Jesus Christ who was brought to this earth by Mary and Joseph. He died, was buried, he rose from the dead and he will come again. The other God has prophets that are not the one I am serving.
My own has a son called Jesus. You cannot say that all the parties are the same, and I always say we must decide what we want in this country. If we say we are playing party based politics, you cannot be jumping from one party to the other when they are not the same in focus, they are not same in history, they are not the same in operations, and they are not the same in anything. You cannot be deceiving us.
So very thoughtfully, I elected to be in PDP and I can tell you that PDP and APC are two different ball games. In my own humble analysis, the APC is a gang of fraudsters. The APC-led Federal Government is a non-stop lying machine, and that is not me.
So, I am in PDP, I am happy to be in PDP. Look as a man, my father once told me that you cannot walk on any road that is too smooth. For a road to be unstable, it has to be necessarily rough. So jumping for ease, from one party to the other cannot be recommendable to my children. I am happy that I will recommend the PDP to anyone at any time.
On Dr. Uduaghan, my answer is that you know well that I was his Chief of Staff, that he was my boss. By training, you don’t write the confidential report of your boss. So I am not going to talk about him but about his choice. For me, Dr. Okunbor, why will I leave PDP? So why would I approve for anybody’s vote to be given to APC? Not to talk of anybody joining APC?
From Asaba to Zamfara, APC is all trouble, crisis everywhere. And in any case, they are not the same as PDP, they cannot be the same, I cannot leave PDP to join them for any reason whatsoever.
And PDP has had the opportunity to govern, and rightly or wrongly, by perception or otherwise, the people decided that they will try another party. Any serious minded politician that was made in PDP ought to have sat back, reflect to see what went wrong and restrategise, refocus, reposition, re-strengthen the PDP for better performance.
Or be brave enough to stay back in the PDP and take the beating, the punishment for his misbehaviour. It is only in Nigeria that when a man is caught for armed robbery, he begins to plead for forgiveness that he has repented. He should be man enough to say I did it, give me the bullets.
How did Delta PDP manage to prevent what happened in Ekiti and Osun states?
You will agree with me that Ekiti, truly speaking is not Delta State. In Ekiti, virtually every family has a professor, and when they are talking, they talk very calmly. While in Delta, when we are talking, if you are a visitor, you will think we are fighting. Our voices are basically just high. Anybody who thinks that what happened in Ekiti can happen in Delta is a day dreamer. It cannot happen in Delta State.
First of all, we will not even let it happen, not to talk of complaining after it might have happened. They won’t do it here. We were, therefore, extremely vigilant at any point in time, we were monitoring, keeping a close eye on all agencies involved in elections.
We are aware of some of the things they had wanted to do. You will find out that about three Commissioners of Police exchanged batons before the governorship elections. And all sorts of redeployment took place.
But what is important is that anyone going to be involved in the elections in Delta State should know that this is Delta State, and that things must be done properly.
We will do everything to help them to do things correctly; we will do everything to discourage them from doing anything wrongly. We will do everything we can to apprehend them if they choose to do what is wrong before they do it.
Looking back, what has become of APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole’s and Rauf Aregbesola’s boast to take over Delta State?
I regard their outbursts as their legitimate right of dream. It is a free world. It is their mouths. Were they found near any polling station in Delta State on the election day? No, because they are not registered voters here. Their claims can be related easily to the APC.
They have shown that they are more in the business of propaganda than telling the truth. Otherwise, by our knowledge of dynasty, which Aregbesola spoke about, an Ibori from Oghara, an Okowa from Owa-Alero and an Uduaghan from Itsekiri land cannot be of one dynasty. You are looking at APC, for instance, in the last three or four elections in this state, Ogboru has been their flag bearer. So who qualifies more to be called dynasty?
If there was an honest man, they would have called APC a monarchy but they have not done that. I tell you the truth, just like in any organisation, for you to succeed, the key leaders must operate in unity. Where you are divided, you can achieve little or nothing.
So the fact that there is unity among members of PDP should serve as a plus. And in any case, the party has its own system where people grow, where people learn.
Many people come in at the beginning, many will be given opportunity, some mishandle it, and those that handle well will be promoted, and those that excelled will be further promoted and they throw up to leadership positions.
An organisation that is able to throw up leadership should only be praised. Do you expect politicians in one political party to be enemies?
Do you expect them to be in court every day? Do you expect them to be fighting every day? How will they govern? That is the difference between the PDP in Delta State and the APC in Delta State. That one has imbibed the modern theories and practices of good governance – the need for unity, unity of purpose, unity of mind, unity of action as a deliberate basis for achieving governmental success, while the other still believes that we must live in a crowd kingdom where everybody must pull everybody down and nobody climbs up.
Is Okowa financing the crisis in Delta APC?
I have not heard of such an accusation but if they saying we are planting moles among them; it is only a proof of their laziness. How can somebody say that somebody is making her husband to betray her?
First of all, the bucks stop somewhere, the bucks stop in their table; it is their duty to ensure that their party is run on the altar of probity, integrity, inclusiveness and honesty.
If for instance, all these had been met and they are still in crisis, maybe you can begin to make inference but, ab initio, there is no honesty, no probity, no integrity, no inclusiveness, no respect for one another, they are all fighting each other.
Why would there not be crisis? I don’t need to be a prophet to prophecy that that is a party of crisis, seeing the wrong actions that evident from the local level to the national level. They are bound to be in crisis. And in any case, why would I who is not their member, help them to stop the hemorrhaging? It is not my duty to do that. I have no business to stop the hemorrhage. But if they are brought to me, instinctively as a medical doctor, I will treat them.
Did Okowa spearhead vote-buying and result sheets falsification during the 2009 General Elections in Delta State as alleged?
Vote buying is a new terminology in our electoral lexicon. It is wrong. All we can do is to appeal to the voters to value themselves and value their votes correctly.
The cost of his vote is the value of his own life, and if his life is invaluable nothing should make him sell his vote because therein lies the power for us to achieve a great country or for us to continue to wallow in the path of mediocrity that we are witnessing today.
It is wrong, and fighting it is what we must do collectively. Talking to ourselves continuously and loudly is the right thing to do.
It is only a blind and insane person in APC that will link Governor Okowa to vote buying. His achievements in road construction, health, education and other infrastructural development are enough to speak for him. It is only a failed government that usually engages in such act. The Okowa that I know will not join the fraudsters in APC to pre-load and swap original election result sheets. He is someone who has track record of performance. (New Telegraph)
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