Blasting Of Oil pipeline, Installations Is Not The Best Way To Get Government’s Attention --- Delta Deputy Speaker

By kenneth orusi, The Nigerian V, Asaba
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The Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) Rt. Hon. Friday Ossai Osanebi has advocated that destroying oil installations and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta Region was never the best option to get government’s attention. The lawmaker who represents Ndokwa East in the DTHA also believes that power comes from God and He gives it to whoever He wishes.

In this interactive session with the media, he spoke on several national and state burning issues among other things, Kenneth Orusi, was there.

The suspension of Ndokwa local government chairman got us amazed because you were supposed to be the representative of her local government in the House. You are also been accused of been behind the crisis in that local government area. Sir, what is your reaction? This issue has been boiling for so many months. You see, for those that doesn’t know much about how this things works, I am a legislator representing Ndokwa East, the chairman is the chief executive officer of the local government, she has a councillor and by the grace of God there are 15 councillors in the local government. I legislate for the good governance of the state. As a House of Assembly, we check and we do our oversight functions that is our duty.

So, ordinarily I don’t have business in what happened in councillors issues with the local government chairman. First, I don’t have a hand in what is happening in the local government, when you are leading or when you are in a position of power, people accuse you and call you all sorts of names and your ability to defend what you know about it, that is what makes you a man.

The issue of the chairman did not started today, when councillors get to the total number of their vote and passes a vote of no confidence on a local government chairman, automatically, you are not doing well and this is not the first time. You see first, I was thinking that you should have asked me how did I managed the crisis of the local government before today. First, I believed that most of you people witnessed a shutdown protest done by the same councillors from Ndokwa East to the House of Assembly. A petition was signed by 13 people that the local government chairman should leave and we managed it nobody heard about it, she was not suspended, there was no protest on this particular incident that happened.

So, how come, why are you asking me about this one that there was no protest, same councillors signed that the chairman has been either according to the councillors was not doing what she is supposed to do and whether you like if you want to give somebody a fair hearing you must call on the people and what did we do as a House? We didn’t just wake up and suspended Nkechi, we are following the rules. Thirteen councillors called for impeachment, first thing they say they were calling for income and expenditure and as a House, we are investigating it. You cannot prosecute somebody when you have not gotten a clearer picture of what she has done.

So, what is happening in the local government is all about politics, I am thinking that either the chairman is not been open to the councillors even though there is no money, I think that everybody that works with you deserve a view of what is going on in the local government. First, I need to let you know, I don’t have a hand in what is going on in the local government. We did not impeach the chairman, she is on suspension, the House is investigating the matter and when the report is out, the report must be made public.

The federal government said it is going to give pipeline vandals in the Niger Delta region like Boko Haram treatment and people are saying there is going to be militarization of the Niger Delta like it was done before back to the joint task force who provide security for the pipelines in the region, what do you think should be the role of the communities in providing security for the pipelines? We will like to know you opinion and as a former chairman of Ndokwa community? Well, first, in Ndokwa East we are not into blasting of oil pipelines or oil installations. You see just as you said the President said he wants to treat vandals as Boko Haram, they say to be fore warned, is to be armed. First, we will not allow the President to treat us as Boko Haram because we are not one and it is good since you have heard from the President of the Federal Republic, we are going to be the same people that will take the message to the grassroot, blasting of oil pipeline is not the best way to get the attention of government.

We are discussing it today that what Delta State is going through, the lean allocation we are facing is because of what happened in Focados terminal about the blast. It is not easy, we should not encourage oil sabotage. As a person I must keep telling our youths in Ndokwa nation and not just in Ndokwa nation that anything that will bring negative effect on people we should not go into it. So, I want to call all Delta youths that they should please shun any vices and stop destroying installations. It is our duty to protect what belongs to us, it doesn’t belong to the federal government.

Every oil property that belongs to us, let me use my community as an example, I know that the more the company produces the higher we get benefits from them. So, it is our duty to protect the installations in our communities not even the federal government. We will protect what belongs to us because the 13% we are benefitting today, is the higher the production increase, the more money we will get. So, I want to beg all of us that we should please protect the installations in our communities. Let us not wait for the President to start treating us before we start protect it and by the grace of God, we will protect what belongs to us.

From experience we know that when a member is doing empowerment it is limited to his constituency. Why do you choose to go beyond Ndokwa East in your empowerments? Thank you very much! I started by using the word that power comes from God and he gives it to whomever he wants. By the grace of God, they have elected us to represent the good people of Ndokwa East and I own my people good governance and I believed that between now and three years to come what we have or what we must do is to make laws and bring development also stomach infrastructure to our people that have elected us so that by the end of the day we can boldly say I have done well, where will I go to? That is one.

Two, there is difference between my foundation and politics, I was telling the media team that came to me. Thank God that the person who asked this question knew me as a member of the House of Assembly and I know that there were some pressmen that knew me when I was a youth leader and I started empowerment when I was a young boy. I keep saying it either because of my upbringing or the church where I worship. I believed so much that when you give to the less privilege, you will receive back from God. It is a principle. The poor should learn how to give, if you don’t give when you have billions. If a man can get N1 million and he cannot give out N100, 000 even if he gets N100 million, he cannot still give out. So, the principle of giving is in the receiving, when you give out to the poor, there are blessings that are attached to it.

To my foundation, there are a lot of issues that came on board and I keep saying it because I told people that who talked me into this foundation thing was my adviser from Libya and he told me that Oga this thing that you are doing I was thinking that there is need to put them together and push further. I said that I know what people will start saying as a Deputy Speaker that anything I do, they will capitalize and they will kill it because they want to demoralize you and there is something that I know, whoever God has blessed, no man can curse. Whatever thing I am giving out today to the society, is the blessing that God has put upon my life, I am not doing politics.

My foundation is to empower the less privilege, there are a lot of people that are going to school today and at the end of the day, they don’t have money to pay for the school fees. There are school dropout and I said how will I reach out to these people? And the only avenue to reach out to these people so that politicians will not see it that you are over stepping your boundary is to do via foundation that was the major reason I brought out this Friday Osanebi Foundation.

Yes, it was true that a House of Representatives member started running around and that I was running for the House of Representatives. My brother, today is not to discuss whether we are running for position, we are been elected to do things. It is on us that we make sure that we do it and does it well and if you don’t know, there is the news flying since two days back or yesterday that I am going for Senate now no longer House of Representatives so that is to tell you that people must always speak but the most important thing is that when you are in the right direction, don’t be distracted. As I have promised my people that elected me, I am representing Ndokwa East, they should please be patient with us. Whatever thing I am supposed to give to them, is it not what I am sharing for other people? I am doing for a reason that our governance and the government of Governor Okowa as of today needs all of our support.

And the support may come through anybody, when you are empowering any Deltan, automatically you are empowering the indigene of Delta State via anywhere it come from. So, whatever I am doing, I am supporting the government Dr. Okowa to grow the youths of the state.

There is a huge infrastructural decay in Ndokwa Nation, especially in public primary and secondary schools. What are you doing to bring the needed change in that area? Before now I have gotten 14 completed schools in Ndokwa East, we have 10 wards, I have built one school each round the wards and as I speak to you now, six schools, four completed, the other two to be completed in less than one month. All these schools I am talking about now are in Ndokwa East. Don’t forget, Ndokwa East is one out of the 25 LGAs. So no amount of thing you will do that my local government that they will complain because they have gotten so much from my own person but the other one that has not gotten anything must complain about it.

So, governance is something that we all must first and foremost understand how it runs. As a constituency project, my projects are either three or four. So, automatically you should agree with me that if I am going to share my four constituency projects, am going to share it for the four wards so the other six wards that got nothing will come to us but I am telling you as person I have done so well for my people in terms of the schools you are mentioning. There are some schools that I have given so much attention today but there are some that we are working towards but one thing you must know is that we cannot get to all the schools at same time but those schools that have not been touched this year by next year constituency project, it will get to them but I am not promising that we must go round the whole schools but am going to tell you that before the end of my tenure, there is no ward that will say they did not get any school built by this government.

At the national level in the last election, your party, the PDP lost at the federal level. What do you think was responsible for that lost? Can I just answer your question? Thank God you said my party and you noticed that we lost and I want to crave your indulgence to please. If I tell you the reason why we lost that means by the grace of God we are going to lose again so let it be our own little secret. We have acknowledge that we lost and we are doing everything possible that we take back what belong to us. Let it be our secret that we have accepted that we have lost. I don’t want to criticize the government, but you and I believe that everybody is seeing the difference between APC and PDP. In 10 to 11 months, people do not want to say out but I know that people are not happy but who will lead the team but as a PDP, I believe the government and I know we are putting everything together to take back power come 2019.

Are you saying that the government within the last 11 months has not performed up to expectation? (He cuts in) do not say I am saying it. Are you seeing it?

The issue of DESOPADEC N20 million been given to the youths, I would like you to react to that and what is your opinion on the step down power from Okpai? Well, let me talk about the youth money, you see, I thank God that the same people that questioned me on this issue of youth money are still here today and they remember what I told them. I say leave whatever these persons are saying that what goes up must come down and you will agree with me that the pressure you saw before, you see them no more. Reasons because when a man is sure of what he is doing in life, people must criticize you but be as it may, if you are very sure of what you are doing don’t divert your attention.

What you saw them doing at that particular time was that they were dragging attention to either for the governor to pull out from what he was supposed to give through me to other persons that was what you saw that day. There was no amount of money that they did not mention, N1.2 billion and I said, you don’t give what you don’t have. This money I need to explain it. First, it is not N20 million, it is N10 million as at now and the money I gave it that name ‘operation feed your neighbour’ and this money is being given to the oil communities of Isoko, Ndokwa, Ijaw etc.

Ndokwa, every month that we finished sharing our money, we print it out, names and numbers of beneficiaries are already showing in the system. At the end of the day over N9 million is been shared and I said the remaining N300 to N400 should be left for the secretariat and pressmen so that they can showcase what we have done because it is like an empowerment from the government angle. So, today nobody is even shouting and even those people that were shouting, I believe that they are still benefitting from the money.

But all those things you were hearing calling me all sort of names is because they knew that when this money comes to me rather those people that believed that the money should be shared for group, their aim has been defeated. How did we shared this money? Every community youth leader should liaise with the leadership of that community and submit at least 10 names. So, any name that you saw, I challenge any community that make up Ndokwa Nation to say there is nobody benefitting from that money.

But today, the campaign has changed. Why can’t we use the money to do development? It is not meant for development. It is stipends meant for the youths. First thing to protect the pipelines in our area that was the aim of that money.

You talked about the issue of step down light, same thing goes to them. I keep telling them to don’t say good morning when it is already evening because the man will see it maybe that you are trying to insult his person. We are agitating for step down light. Yes! Ndokwa should have light and I keep telling them for those that want to know today those communities that have light in Ndokwa, I was the person who single-handedly did it. You should find out from them without even shouting.

Everything have a time and when the time comes, nobody can take it away from you. Yes. I urge everybody that want to draw the attention of the step down light for Ndokwa Nation, I support them but I was telling them that what we are praying for is that the federal government is shouting for the increase in the Megawatt of electricity and Okpai is one of the major place giving this nation light today 480 megawatt and I know that everything is been put in place for IPP second phase. Ndokwa, let us be patient to wait for this second phase that when this second phase comes our campaign will be no stepping down light for Ndokwa Nation, no second phase and people said no that I am trying to bring politics into it. It is not everything you must play politics, I want to assure people that by the grace of God all things been equal, Ndokwa will have light.

DTHA is known to be one of the most vibrant House of Assemblies in the country but it seemed that it is turning to a rubber stamp as it Okays everything the governor brings. What is your reaction? Well, first thing I need to say this that I am very happy that we have a governor that always send Bills to the House of Assembly why because the governor is a legislator and he knows it all. Let me use that word, I say this because he was a former senator and he knows the true process how a Bill should pass through. And it is not true that the House of Assembly is a rubber stamp to the governor.

Check those Bills that the governor brings, we scrutinise them, we do what we are supposed to do as legislators. Check the number of Bills that had been sent by Dr. Okowa, it is even more than what the former government had sent to us. Reasons because he knows more about this law making than even us but by saying we are rubber stamp, we have never returned a Bill the way it was sent to us. We do our own amendment. Bill that you send to the House, whether you like it or not everybody has its own interest.

The interest is not on the Bill that was sent from the government house. Every Bill that the governor is sending to us, the governor has never sent a Bill on Tuesday and it will return to him on Wednesday. No, it must pass through scrutiny, we must do the needful. The ones that we are not supposed to pass, we will keep it aside but the governor has never sent any Bill to us that we complain. Maybe you are talking about the anti-kidnapping Bill. What happened to the anti-kidnapping Bill? The Bill was shared into two parts and last week, we passed the anti-kidnapping Bill and the other one is already in due process.

So, it is not true, we still remain the most vibrant House of Assembly in the country and when need comes and there is anything that as a House we must do, we must resolve and we must act as it pleases the House.

I believe you have an understanding of the 2015/2016 budget as the Deputy Speaker of the house. The HOST communities of Nigeria are accusing this House of N16 billion that disappeared from the 2015 and resurfaced again in 2016. They are claiming that the ambiguity in the budget which already has been passed and signed into law is telling seriously on the HOST communities and that development in the HOST communities are very slow that projects are not going as it should be (cuts in) let me throw more light on the DESOPADEC budget. First, it is not fair for HOSTCOM to start accusing the House because if they accuse us that means they are not fair to us. First, the budget has not been passed. Budget assent is a proposal, let them wait until we return back the budget before they start accusing the House.

The budget was sent via DESOPADEC to the governor and the governor sent it to us. Every ethnic nationality is working on the budget to submit back to the House for committee of the whole and you people agree with me that our committee of the whole in the chamber, everybody see what we do, we announce it and we make it public. So, I don’t think or see reasons why they will start accusing us because of carrying budget from 2015 back to 2016 but if I may understand where they are coming from. I am not trying to defend anybody.

You know that last year DESOPADEC budget, contracts were not awarded. So, let me believe that what they were thinking is that the same budget job that were in 2015 resurfaced back but one thing that I know that governor Okowa will not take corruption and he has zero tolerance in this government. Any project that was done, certified and has not been paid that is how budget works, if you did a job in 2015 and maybe your money is N10million and they were not paid and you have a certificate automatically the budget of 2016 must capture that amount.

So, we need to understand how this thing works so that nobody will say they have paid you money and they are returning it back to the House. So, I can assure you that let the HOSTCOM be patient with the House of Assembly, we will scrutinise the budget, what were not supposed to be in the budget, I can assure you that we will make sure that every HOST communities will be proud of the budget at the end of the day.

I want to feel your pains about the herdsmen killing. What are your pains?Well if you ask me how I feel, I feel very horrible and I am very sad about it but we should not take laws into our hands. It is an issue that we must be very careful how we manage it so that it will not trigger into crises. I want to beg and we will keep begging the herdsmen that please in as much as we accommodate everybody, they should not leave the north and start killing our people because the lives of everybody is very important to his/her own community that the person is living in.

This early morning I got a call from Obiaruku, that they have started shooting people there. I tried to reach the chairman but she has not returned the call. Maybe she is in a meeting with the herdsmen I don’t know but I want to beg our people I won’t say we should accommodate them the more but we should always keep away from them for now. The government is putting everything together to make sure that they bring all these people to book because the thing is getting to the stage whereby you must protect yourself but let us not see that way.

We should protect first our communities, let them stay on their own for now and as a community, always advice your community not to take laws into their hands because when you notice what is happening, the moment one of them dies, the Hausa people, it looks like a national issue but today our people are crying that they have been killing them but I will not advise anybody from Ndokwa Nation to kill any herdsmen rather we should tell them to leave their communities peacefully.