Chief Sunny Onuesoke is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Special Project Director to the immediate past governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan. He is also a former governorship aspirant in the state. He spoke with SYLVESTER IDOWU on varied issues, including what Deltans should expect from the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
The election has come and gone. What do you expect from the governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa?
I would not use the word expectation. Uduaghan recently unveiled a lot of mega developmental strides that he promised Deltans. I am appealing to Deltans to work with Senator Okowa, and I am telling you, they have not seen anything when it comes to developmental strides. I want to assure you that as this government has been inaugurated, we will begin to see real development in the state. It will be pronounced like the rainbow.
Okowa is one man I give kudos to when it comes to leadership and administration. He is somebody that has shown his worth in all the offices he has handled. So what I am saying is that Deltans should expect marvellous developmental strides.
A lot of people are of the opinion that he has been part and parcel of the same cabal that held the state down, and that he is not going to do anything different from what they have been doing. Are you saying us that he will not disappoint Deltans?
Okowa is going to be different because though we belong to the same party, our personal views on issues are different. Fine, Ibori remains a political Iroko in the state right now. He actually started PDP in the state, and so we cannot give the history of PDP in this state without mentioning the name of Ibori. Ibori is a leader that steps into any place and there is a change. So I believe Okowa has the same carriage too. The Okowa I know will not disappoint Deltans. I served under Okowa for four years when he was SSG because he was my direct boss. Then I was the Special Project Director, and I report to him directly. So I know his reactions towards issues. He is a very calm and calculative person.
What area do you think the new governor should give more attention?
The first thing I see is wealth creation. I am not talking about the civil service because it is over bloated. Nothing seems to happen in these government offices. I am not saying that government should not employ, but are they going to employ people to be idle? The governor should concentrate more on the creation of wealth because when you create wealth, the wealth will in turn employ people. We have to develop the resources we have within. We have to be vigorous in terms of internally generated revenue. We need to look backward to source funds beyond oil. We are going to pursue things that will create jobs for the people apart from the civil service. I am very sure that he already has a master plan for that.
If there is creation of wealth, there is going to be peace and security. When a man is well fed, he thinks positively. You cannot create peace when the people are hungry. For you to have total peace, you have to create industries, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. When there is peace you do not need security. That is the way I look at it. One thing I keep telling Deltans is that Okowa is not going to exhibit arrogance in power. All his lieutenants are going to be servant-leaders. Gone are the days when people showcase arrogance while in power. That will not be tolerated any longer because these are things Okowa does not like.
Uduaghan left behind a lot of uncompleted projects like the Ughelli/Asaba road and Osubi/Eku road, what would you expect the incoming governor to do as regards these uncompleted projects?
We all know that everywhere in the world, governance is continuous. So it is left for the incoming governor to complete those projects. He is going to have his own scale of preference among all these projects, and he will decide which one to complete and which one not to complete.
How do you feel knowing that the Ughelli/Asaba road which you supervised was not completed and commissioned?
Like I said before, governance is continuous. Someone else will come and complete it. There are lots of projects that he did not complete like the Ode/Itsekiri bridge which had a lot of challenges. So it all depends on the challenges faced in those areas.
Three governorship aspirants are now in court challenging the victory of Okowa in the just concluded elections, what do you make of this?
Like I keep telling people, I do not know these personalities, and I would not like to accuse anybody as a serial loser because I may be quoted wrongly. They are entitled to their views. If I were them, I would not have contested the results considering the landslide victory of the PDP. Great Ogboru should realise that this is the first time he had the lowest votes in Delta Central. So what is he contesting for? Then, Olorogun O’tega Emehror is a neophyte. He would not have just come here because he knew that APC has no footing in the state.
So what is he contesting? Did Emerhor win his unit? So what is he contesting? Did Emerhor win his ward or his local government? What is he contesting? Is he a politician who cannot win his unit and ward? First and foremost, he has a home based credibility problem. He has ward and local government credibility problem. I do not want to sound prejudiced, but let us look at it this way; you could not win your unit, ward and local government, why do you think you can win Oshimili, Isoko, Ijaw or Itsekiri?
Some Deltans are of the view that those who have gone to the tribunal should withdraw their cases for the development of Delta, what is your reaction to this?
That is a very good suggestion by Deltans. It is a welcome development. Nothing is wrong if Emerhor and Ogboru withdrew their case, especially Ogboru because I am not particular about Emerhor. APC is an insignificant factor in the political diagram of Delta State, and the name Emerhor is even strange. He is from my local government, and he is my brother, but his name is strange in Delta politics. Ogboru could be a colossus and a big serial loser, agreed. But he is a man of factor. I will gladly appeal to Ogboru to withdraw his case in the spirit of statesmanship like what Goodluck did for Buhari, and join in the development of the state. Ogboru has a lot of things upstairs which he can use to draw development to the state in conjunction with PDP.
You are still in PDP despite the massive defection from the party, what are you still doing in there?
First and foremost, I do not know how to dance two brands of music at a time. I am a man of principle and too civilized to cross from PDP to APC. Let me instruct you a little. Have you ever heard that a Democrat defected to the Republican in the US? It is absolute crap. The defeat of PDP is a sign of maturity because it happens everywhere. Why should I leave the party that I sow seed on? If you are looking at the next generation that is going to lead the party in the future with bigger appointment, where are you going to get them if everybody abandons the party? I have been the most consistent follower of PDP since its creation in Delta State. I am a foremost builder of PDP in Delta State, who has continued to stand firm for the party. It will be foolish and suicidal for me to leave the party I helped built.
So how do you intend to rebuild the PDP structure in preparation for 2019?
We have already started doing that from the state level. One thing I have been praying for is to function at the national level.
You were one of the major campaigners for the re-election of Jonathan in the last election, how will you describe the man Goodluck Jonathan?
He is a perfect gentleman, and somebody I have so much respect for. He has come and gone and he is part of history.
What is your advice to President Buhari?
He should be focused. He should be progressive. Instead of taking little, little steps he should take giant steps. The first thing I expect him to do is to be focused, and stop talking about probe here and there.
What advice do you have for Nigerians?
Let’s embrace everything that happens to us. There is nothing that happens that does not have God’s hand in it. We should give Buhari the chance to rule the country.