Sir Eddy Akangbou

Sir Eddy Akangbou a former member of the House of Reps and frontline Ijaw leader and also an active member of the Delta elders/leaders and stateholders forum spoke to Jon Egie during a postmortem examination of the April 26, governorship election in Delta. Although he gave kudos to INEC he observed that INEC created loopholes for manipulations and queried the results produced from the three Warri LGAs and Oghara saying they were bogus and hence infers that the election results declared by INEC in favour of Governor Uduaghan is not acceptable. For him it is not over yet until it is over.

Excerpts.

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Sir, the much chanted April 26, election is come and gone let us have a postmortem of the April 26 governorship election?

The election has come and it has gone but it has left in its wake very, very bad memories. INEC has tried but they left so many critical areas for people to manipulate. These are areas which we have pointed out before. You will recall that we had a rerun in this state and that rerun was supposed to be an avenue for acid test in order to enhance the credibility of INEC but the same fraudulent practices, the same rigging methods that were perpetrated during the rerun manifested itself again in this exercise. How can you declare such fantastic, bogus figures as your results for Warri North and the same thing for Oghara. There were no elections in these two places. And the security lapses were so glaring that it has now become a norm in this state that is being touted by INEC as a flash point as far as election is concerned in this country and yet nothing was done. There were incidents of ballot box snatching, incidents of intimidation of the youth corps members even to the extent of detaining so many of them and these youth corp members have come out to make statements to that effect and that is the area where the DPP are going to present their case before the tribunal. But we thank God that God didn’t allow the various short comings to degenerate to serious violence that would have been fatal. But what we are saying is that nobody, not even Uduaghan who is a non-performer as far as governance is concerned in this state should be allowed to impose himself on the populace. Uduaghan is unacceptable to the generality of Deltans but he keeps on forcing himself on Deltans. He has nothing to show for the four years he has been there except monumental corruption. The air port he claims to be building is still a shadow of itself and so much money has been sunk in there, the power project has not seen the light of the day, look at the roads in the state, they are all death traps; no water, no schools, no health care infrastructure in place. So, how do we continue like this? Delta State receives the highest allocation as far as federal allocation is concerned and yet they have not been able to perform. A state in the East made a joke of Delta the other day that if Delta State that receives the highest allocation in Nigeria is saying they cannot pay minimum wage, how do you expect them to survive? And on top of this Uduaghan seems to be very comfortable, comfortable in the sense that those who positioned him positioned him for a reason. We know Ibori positioned him to cover up his atrocities, unfortunately for them both Ibori, his wife, his girl friend, his sister, his lawyer are in jail and may be very soon, his financial director will join them up in jail because we know that that day is very much around.

Following the results of the April 26, governorship election does the opposition led by Chief E. K. Clark feel conquered or defeated?

You see, when you talk about conquering or defeating when you look at the scenario clearly you know that if we had a free and fair election and the results is what INEC brought out then everybody will go home and say the people have decided. But you yourself, you were here when the so called results was declared. The whole of Delta State was like a graveyard, even till now nobody is happy. It has been a very thick, uncomfortable silence that has enveloped the whole state. So the opposition has gone out of its way to appeal to the populace to take it easy because there is also an avenue to redress this issue and that is why you are noticing this uneasy calm in the state because there is a way out. If there were to be no way out, I assure you the situation would have been different.

What would you say about the personal mood of Pa. E. K. Clark over the Uduaghan victory?

Chief E. K. as an elder and a state man, he is only out for the good of all Deltans and we Deltans have approached him and appealed to him to assist us in brining about sanity into the body polity of this state. That is his goal, to ensure that the plea of the people prevail and that is what he keeps on harping by saying that Deltans will not accept anybody that is being imposed on them and that is why he is saying that he has nothing personal against Uduaghan but what Uduaghan stands for. The cabal that has put Uduaghan in place for their own selfish reason is what he is against and that is why he said that he will not accept Uduaghan imposition on Deltans and he will continue to fight it until justice is done.

Alright, on the eve of the election day there were flying text messages that Hon. Godsday Orubebe has given support to the election of Governor Uduaghan and a counter SMS by E. K. Clark that Orubebe never got the permission of President Jonathan to campaign for Uduaghan. What role do you think Orubebe played before and during the election?

First and foremost, Orubebe is a civil servant, he is an employee of Mr. President and Orubebe appears to be crying more than the bereaved. Mr. President is the national leader of PDP and Mr. President you will recall, went through the presidential election a few weeks back and from all indications the votes scored by Mr. President in this state, 1.3 million, didn’t come from only PDP. They came from all other political parties and other Nigerians. So, by implication Mr. President is the father of all and so it will be very, very improper for Mr. President to now say vote for a particular person Mr. President never said so, that is the position of Chief E. K. Clark. He said he contacted Mr. President and Mr. President never said that Orubebe or whoever should go and work for a particular candidate. That he is the father of the nation and all the candidates are his own children. You should even see the publication that was made recently, he congratulated all those who have won that he is looking forward to having a good rapport with them in government. He didn’t single out PDP candidates that won. So, anybody that is claiming that Mr. President sent them, Chief E. K. Clark said it is a lie and that is the position Chief E. K. Clark meant by his text message. You also remember that before Mr. President’s election DPP led by Ogboru, they all declared for Mr. President because DPP has no presidential candidate so they now adopted Mr. President as their candidate, so how can Mr. President turn around and say he is going work against people who have encouraged him. So, it is not true.

What do you think was responsible for that role played by Orubebe?

You know I told you, they are all civil servants, they are all employees the Mr. President. May be they think that by doing that Mr. President will appreciate the role they have played and then they will retain their jobs. They are only working for their own selfish aims, that is all.

What chance do you think that the Ijaw people have for the governorship election in 2015?

That issue of the Ijaw nation, first and foremost you will also know that the politics of this state is senatorial district based and we know that Delta central, the Urhobos generally have been having a field day, having control of the governorship seat and that was why we agitated and said there should be a rotational arrangement and that was what led to the clamouring for it to shift to South. And in the South we have three ethnic nationalities; the Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri. It will be very unfair for one ethnic nationality, the Itsekiri for example where Uduaghan comes from to grab that seat for eight years. By calculation the other ethnic nationalities may not even have that opportunity in the next 50 years. So, that was why we were saying that when it comes to the South, there should be a spread; one tenure per ethnic nationality. So, talking about Ijaw and 2015, you know politics is very dynamic, today we have not been able to resolve where the governorship ticket is going to reside for the next four years because we have just done the election and there are so many processes that are yet to be concluded as far as this 2011 election is concerned. So not until it is concluded we will now know where that arrangement actually resides. Supposing it goes to central, then that leaves 2015 open for negotiation either by the South or by the North. A lot of dynamics will still come to play but what we are saying is that there should be transparency and equity. No ethnic nationality should be sidelined. If as small as Itsekiri ethnic nationality if they can have it, why can’t Ijaw who is supposed to be the second largest ethnic nationality in the state. So, fair is fair. Come 2015 we will look at the structural arrangement again and address the issue as it will be beneficial to all of us.

Okay sir, how will you advice Deltans to forge ahead now that the election are come and gone?

I will not say the elections have come and gone you know electioneering is a process. The process is still on going. You will also recall that some of the State House of Assembly elections were inconclusive and still ongoing and we know that the elections will be completely over after all the cases are concluded in the tribunal. What happened in 2007 dovetailed into this 2011 so we cannot use the word concluded because the election of 2007 was annulled in 2010 and that was what created the re-run for the January of this year. So, not until we are through with it and what is responsible for this unfortunate issue is, I will say it here. The cost of governance in this country is too high and we encourage a lot of laziness in governance and that is what leads to this penchant by people to take electioneering activity as a do or die affair because the amount involved is too much. How can you tell me that a legislator in this country receives a salary that is far more than the salary of the President of the United States of America? Why should a legislator not be paid on the number of sittings? We don’t get people to sit down and lace themselves all over the whole place and on top of that they are contractors, they involve in all sorts of manipulation in government all in order to enrich themselves. So once we get rid of all these corrupt practices you will find that political offices will become very unattractive. In developed countries it is only those who have the interest of the people at heart and who have made it in whatever field of endeavour that are chosen and allowed to come into the political arena. Not misfits, not political jobbers, not miscreants. But unfortunately that is what we have in this country.