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OGBUEFI ALEX Nnamdi Onwuadiamu is the Director General of the Victor Ochei Campaign Organization.

In this interview, he speaks on the Delta North senatorial election and the chances of Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei. Excerpts:

Considering the fact that Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is from the same senatorial district as your principal, do you think you will be able to deliver him on March 28?

Very well. We are confident that come March 28, Rt Hon. Victor Ochei will emerge the senator-elect representing Delta North.

He is of the Accord Party. Only last week, the people of Akwkwu-Igbo endorsed Chief Peter Nwaoboshi as their senatorial candidate and also endorsed all the PDP candidates. Don’t you think this will affect his election, considering the fact that he is also from this federal constituency?

Let me first and foremost tell you that the issue of the people of Akwukwu-Igbo endorsing Nwaoboshi is a non-event. It is just the way they chose to run their campaign. At what point did the people of Akwukwu-Igbo come together to consider aspirants and what is the basis for their adoption? It is just the way that particular fellow chooses to play his politics. It is a non-existent adoption, I can tell you. It is my local government area.

After the gubernatorial primary, there was a level of good relationship between your principal and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. At what point did they part ways?

There is nothing like parting ways. From my own knowledge, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Rt. Hon Victor Ochei still have a robust and intimate relationship

With your principal in this area, are you sure Okowa will be able to get votes from the Aniocha local government area?

Fortunately enough, I am the Chairman of Anioma Agenda, the political pressure group of the Anioma people at the forefront of canvassing for Anioma governorship and I can assure you that, at that time, towards the governorship race, we had Ochei and Okowa as two prime aspirants. Okowa, having emerged the governorship candidate of PDP, and Victor Ochei, at the primary, did handsomely well, scoring 185 votes, I think the general mood of the Anioma people is that our first eleven should represent us at the Senate, not second eleven. We don’t see any clash.

The Anioma electorate is enlightened enough to distinguish between good and bad; to also understand the fact that in Nigeria, political party affiliation is a question of convenience and the fact that Okowa is going to be governor by God’s grace does not by any means stop Ochei from becoming senator by God’s grace. We know the difference and I think Anioma people are very happy with those choices.

Why do you think Ochei stands a better chance than Peter Nwaboshi in the March 28 election?

Elections, particularly that of Senate, some things come to play. They include experience and political pedigree. In terms of experience, Ochei has been a legislator for the past 12 years; two years and nine months out of that, he has been Speaker, indeed the longest serving Speaker in the history of Delta. Going by that, if he gets into the Senate, he will be a ranking senator. His opponent does not have that experience. And when it comes to political pedigree, I think we have a sellable pedigree; a much richer political pedigree than that of the opponent and the people of Delta North recognize the difference and they see this difference as a determining factor in an election and that is where our confidence emanates from.

Don’t also forget that Peter Nwaoboshi was Chairman of the PDP for about eight years and he was a Commissioner in this state, he was the founding Secretary of the PDP in the state. Do you really think that Ochei will be able to defeat him? What are the factors you think will work against him?

First and foremost, Nwaoboshi is a product of an inconclusive party primary. We recognize the fact that he has been Chairman of the PDP, he has been Commissioner and all that but he has never had an elective position before. He has never contested an election before and that is a very big minus. This is perhaps his first election and I don’t know, if after this he would want to contest again. We look at it generally as an easy contest in the sense that both aspirants stand apart. There is no basis as such for comparison of a legislator par excellence whose works at the Delta State House of Assembly speak for him. It is a clear distinction to someone who is a two-time party Chairman, two-time commissioner and all that.

Your principal today is campaigning for Mr. President and Okowa, don’t you think it is a ploy to get sympathy of the Delta North people?

It is not a ploy, it only exemplifies his belief in his unflinching faith in the Anioma governorship; not just for the person of Okowa.   All of us from Anioma take it personally that an Anioma person has to be the governor of this state because we are a part of this state and that is what he is keeping faith with; it has nothing to do with his own election. He has enough good standing to win an election on his own. If it were possible that in Nigeria we have independent candidature, he will run as an independent candidate and he will win.

Should he emerge as senator today, what are your expectations of him?

First and foremost is to take time to look at Delta North, take time to do another series of consultation so that you get the expression of the people as to what direction you want them to go in terms of representation. You try to take a summary of the needs of the people and then you try to work with the governor of the state, because the sitting governor is going to come from Delta North by God’s grace and then you define the kind of legislation you would want to push; the kind of infrastructural development that you will want to influence, using the instrumentality of the National Assembly.

No doubt he is going to be a minority member in the parliament considering his party affiliation. Do you think he will be able to perform well as a senator in the opposition?

Whether you are in the majority or minority party has nothing to do with the content that you have to offer. We all know that Ochei has been a very good legislator and we see him fairing very well at the National Assembly. He has the experience, he has the political sagacity to be able to cope.

SOURCE: Vanguard



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