Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Dr Festus Okubor is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State. He speaks on politics of the state.
How would assess Governor Okowa’s performance in the past three years?
I was the Director of Protocol to Ibori. I have also been lucky to have been a council chairman. So at least, 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. Uduaghan as his Chief of Staff which meant that I worked extremely closely with him. And I am still working closely with Dr. Okowa. So I am in a position to judge the three governments which have 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 Delta State. And if the first two deserved a second tenure, it will be easy for you to deduct that in my opinion, Dr. Okowa more than deserves a second tenure. Let me tell you something if you have 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 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 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 PDP member, would you have supported him?
I have come to realise 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. You cannot say that all the parties are the same, and I always say that 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 the same in history, they are not the same in operations, 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 not the same. 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 any road that is too smooth, you cannot walk on it. For a road to be usable, it has to be necessarily rough. My father was an English teacher, and once you got promoted to form five, the first lesson he gives you is that may your road be rough. So jumping for ease, from one party to the other cannot be recommendable to my children. I am happy and I will recommend the PDP to anyone at any time.
Former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola said Delta is run by a dynasty and that Deltans are ready to vote PDP out. Is he justified to make such a claim?
That is merely a claim that you can relate 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, 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 a dynasty? If he was an honest man, he would have called APC a monarchy but he has 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 is that there is unity among members of PDP, it 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 excel will be further promoted and they throw up leadership. 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. While 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, the other still believes that we must leave in a crowd kingdom where everybody must pull everybody down and nobody climbs up.
How prepared is Delta PDP to prevent rigging?
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 visitor from outside, 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 it happening and we are complaining. They won’t do it here. We are therefore extremely vigilant at this point in time, we are monitoring, keeping a close eye on all agencies involved in elections.