My Senatorial Ambition, To Give Back To Delta South – Uduaghan
Former Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, says he has decided to accept the call to represent the Delta South Senatorial District so as to give back to the people of the region.
Uduaghan, who made his decision known during a recent chat with newsmen in the state, said he will soon make an official declaration to contest the senatorial seat.
“I have not declared but I have decided to run. The official declaration is going to be very soon,” Dr. Uduaghan said.
During the media chat, the former governor explained why he shelved his decision to contest the seat in 2015.
He said, “Despite the pressure from the good people of Delta South in 2015, I decided to step down, but looking at the horizon now, the issues that caused the security challenges that made me to shelve my ambition in 2015 are no longer there.”
Uduaghan, who is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), further gave reasons why he is the most qualified candidate to represent the senatorial district in the next Senate.
“I was commissioner for four years under Chief James Ibori and I was closed to him. I knew what he was doing in terms of peace issues. I was the first state government official to enter into creeks to meet Ex-militant chief, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo in the heart of the Niger Delta as SSG to start negotiating peace with him. I did it severally when I was the governor of Delta State. At one of the outings, it was even the soldiers that pointed AK-47 at me when I was coming back.
“Sometimes, I come back at night from negotiating peace, so I know the place in and out. I have been there in the day and at night, in fact, at one of them, I was sitting on a chair with about 20 of the boys with their guns, they were drinking, and we were there for three hours negotiating peace. I know the challenges; let me just say this, what we did and what the government has been doing is having what I called two boxes in managing the problems,” he explained.
Speaking further on how his administration dealt with militancy in the region, the former governor said: “We had the other box of enforcement that is using the military the army, the police, navy etc. One will think that with the two boxes, that will be enough to deal with the problems, but they are still there and re-occurring in different form, some criminality and some genuine agitation; we still have the Niger Delta Avengers bursting pipelines; sometimes, we have those hijacking boats and sometimes ethnic quarrels.
“For us to move forward, we must have an enforcement body that includes the community; especially the youths in the community, since they know the terrain. It is easier for people in that area to try and carry out enforcement or execute security challenges; it is easier for people in that area to know those who are involved in illegal bunkering. There are two parts to it, there is the part of genuine agitatation, which has now been mixed with criminality and the criminality seems to have overshadowed the genuine agitation.
“To deal with it, we need the local people to be involved in the security arrangement and that will require legislation. The Waterway Security Committee I put up for instance, there is no law backing it up, so we need to put up laws that will help us in moving forward in solving the Niger Delta crisis.
“All these engagements we are doing, we need to promulgate laws backing the engagements, there are lots of environmental damage going on. There are laws backing the environment, but we need to tidy them up. What I have done is to get a team of lawyers, they have looked at the laws and brought them out as it affects issues in the Niger Delta.
“Nobody has been prosecuted so far, first of all, you cannot catch them and the people that are supposed to catch them don’t know how to catch them. I am going there to put up an enforcement body of people who know them and can get them and take them to court. If we are not serious of law and order in the Niger Delta, we will continue to have crisis.
“Right now, there is no law and order in the Niger Delta and we need to come out with and remind ourselves of the existing laws and tailor them towards the issues in the Niger Delta so that we can have permanent peace. A lawmaker is to make law and that will be my cardinal point. Also, there is the issue of attracting things to your area. There are very few people in the National Assembly that I don’t know. I have the capacity to attract things to my area more than anybody on the field today.
“Also, Nigeria has invested in me. Being in government for 16 years is a lot of investment. I think I should pay back by going to serve at the national level,” he explained.
“I am going to sign a contract with my people; the Senator-Citizens Contract. I have a group of lawyers who are already working on it,” he added.