WHY CLARK IS UNHAPPY WITH UDUAGHAN - OKOLOUGBO, DELTA PDP CHIEFTAIN
KEN OKolougbo a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, in Delta State was a member of the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Council. In this interview he debunked claims that President Goodluck Jonathan's inability to have fully appointed his ministers, is an indication that the president is slow. He noted that the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria is an ideological problem, adding that it requires a special security approach. Okolougbo also spoke on other issues.
Are you satisfied with the first steps of the new administration in Abuja?
We were inspired by his vision. The way he handled issues then, gave me the impression that he would not joke with his agenda. And I had the privilege of seeing him from an advantaged position. Among our expectations, we want him to tackle the issue of power.
This, he must do because it was among the vision he enumerated that attracted us to work for him. The issue of infrastructure and security, requires his urgent attention. We are passing through a challenging period.
If he can tackle these three things, I have do doubt that he would succeed in writing his name on the mind of every Nigerian.
The matter of not attaching portfolios of would be ministers has been criticised by many., even the Senate President recently expressed worries about this development. Do you think it is a healthy idea for the senate to assess ministerial nominees without
All the president needs to do is to nominate thirty six ministers from each state of the federation. And he is doing that according to section 42 of the 1999 constitution. Attaching the portfolios would be nice, but all we need are round pegs in round holes.
What about if he attaches the portfolio and later realizes that a particular person would be better off in another ministry. If you ask me in all honesty, I would say that attaching the designation of ministerial nominees, would have been the best, because it would afford the nation to know the capacity and ability of the nominees to carry out their ministerial duties professionally, but it is not a constitutional requirement.
It is believed in some quarters that the President is not being decisive about the growing insecurity in the country as represented by Boko Haram. Do you share that opinion?
The president is going through a trying period because of the Boko Haram issue. People were blaming him for making his reaction to the October 1, 2010 Abuja bombing, but he is the chief security officer of this country, so intelligence reports get to his table before anyone. from preliminary report, you can tell, whoever is responsible for some acts.
But intelligence has failed over a period of time. The intelligence failure is because Nigeria is experiencing a wave of terrorism for the first time. This is unlike some countries that are used to experiencing terrorist activities, and know how to checkmate it. The 911 in the United States, necessitated the formation of the Department of Homeland Security.
It was formed despite the fact that there was FBI, CIA and Military Intelligence. There is an urgent need for the establishment of our homeland security outfit. This agency will have as its primary duty, to forestall terrorist acts in the country.
Terrorists are so bad that they are difficult to track. You heard what the British Defense Secretary said recently that Al Qeada can not be defeated. al Qeada is an idea, just like Boko Haram. And you cant defeat an ideology, because even after the leader of the sect had been killed the group is waxing stronger. This is contrary to expectations that his death would mark the end of the militant group. All these have political undertone, because they want the country to appear as if the president has failed.
Would you say that you are satisfied with the kind of leaders that emerged from your state, especially at the executive and legislative level at the recent general elections?
I used to be in the opposition. I contested for the House of Representatives in 2007 for the Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal constituency under the platform of Alliance for Democracy. I know what it was like then, the elections were rigged and horrible.
But if I compare what happened in 2007 and now, I will say that there is a strong difference. For instance, I was in the tribunal in 2007 and had no result sheet to present. In this election we had nine members of the opposition DPP in the House of Assembly. We have lot of people from the opposition, who were elected into the Senate and House of Representatives. That is to tell you that the process in Delta State this time, was on the positive side. the people that emerged are the people that we wanted.
The ministerial nominee list that was submitted by the Peter Nwaobishi led Delta PDP, does not seem to go down well with some stakeholders in the state. Would you say that everybody was carried along in this process?
It can not be a win-win situation for everyone all the time. The governor, who is the leader of the party in the state and other stakeholders, sat down and came up with names of those that can properly represent the state.
And it is binding on every party man to accept that position. A lot of people felt that the list would have been a little better. But such divergent feeling is normal with all human decisions, as some will agree, while others will disagree. One thing is that the governor remains the leader of Delta PDP and Chief E.K Clark is a respected elderstatesman in the party, whose views can never be ignored.
Chief Clark is not happy with the governor because of the governor's person or policies, his grouse is that he was allegedly imposed by Ibori. But then, Uduaghan has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is competent. Governorship elections, have been held twice and Uduaghan was returned twice, he should be allowed to concentrate on governance. This man should be allowed to focus on job creation, wealth creation and security.
Would you say that the political equation in this dispensation, viz a viz, the sharing of sensitive state and federal positions favour Delta North Senatorial Zone, where you come from?
That is a good question. Honestly, we are better represented now at all levels. The speaker of the House of Assembly is from Delta North. In appointments, we have a good share of representation.