16 March 2011

Nigeria: I Believe in Sapele Port's Resuscitation - Ewherido


Former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Olorogun Pius Akpor Ewherido, is the Delta Central senatorial candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party. In this concluding part of the interview with SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, Sunday Apah, the former governorship aspirant, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2007, speaks on his senatorial ambition and why he opted out of the PDP. Excerpts:

What are your plans to work with aggrieved party members after the primary?

The party has set up a committee and there are groups of leaders and elders that are talking to aggrieved persons. In every political process there must be problems, that is why we are human beings and so there are committees to resolve all problems that we have in DPP in such a way that before the elections we will have a united house.

Now that you are in DPP, what machineries have you put in place to checkmate the PDP in terms of manipulations?

Well, I am today an advocate in DPP for justice and fair play. The only way to speak against is to change it, how to change it is a top secret because we don't want them to look for another way of doing it.

As a future senator, how do you intend to play up the Urhobo ethnic nationality?

There is no other thing a lawmaker can do apart from true lawmaking through the activities of the House by shaping and reshaping government policies and also help in enlightening its people to the front burner both in the House and government.

If as Urhobo people we call ourselves the fifth largest ethnic nationality and there are things we have not done well, it is left for the senator to make things right. For instance, the Sapele Port was working effectively in the 70s, all of a sudden in the 80s, the port was closed down and converted to a Naval Base. I don't think that was right because I believe in the resuscitation of the Sapele Port. I don't also believe in the under-utilisation and under-production that is going on in DSC. You and I know that in the early 80s, DSC employed so many people but now when you go to DSC, it is a shadow of itself even though production is still going on in the name of privatisation.

Let me also talk about the gas line. We all know that the oil that is in Delta central is onshore; more oil in Nigeria is offshore. The people that occupies the coastline enjoys from the derivation principle because the oil is closer to them. Delta central people have oil that is onshore, so what comes to us in form of derivation is smaller and that is what you see in DESOPADEC in terms of quantum. I will not complain about derivation in terms of oil but that of gas, we have more and so there is need to agitate for its derivation. Gas should not just be flared away like that rather it should be geared towards economic benefit by way of using it to power industries and generate revenue. In that same way we will get employment for our youths, attract infrastructural development to the areas.

As a Senatorial candidate of the DPP, how would you convince your followers to vote for Mr. President come April?

My people are in support of Mr. President and I don't think that there is any need to convince the people of the Niger Delta on the necessity to elect their own. This is because Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is a Niger Deltan and he feels our pains and understands clearly the hopes and aspirations of our people. And he cannot empower us properly without a term of his own, so there is need to support him so that he can properly do those things he has always appreciated in the Niger Delta. We believe that Nigerians should allow Jonathan to emerge as a way of compensating the Niger Delta people for all their years of neglect and sufferings. So it won't be a difficult campaign in the Niger Delta for our people to vote for Goodluck Jonathan.

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