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RIGHTSView: 2015 polls: Issues in Delta State

By Emmanuel Onwubiko on 25/10/2014

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Few days to the much anticipated primaries of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there are visible evidence of high-wired political campaigns at the levels of major powerful political blocs by the different aspirants, to the diverse positions that would be up for grabs in the 2015 polls, especially the office of governor, which in Nigeria's political terrain is seen as one of the most influential positions ever.

The position of a state governor comes with a lot of responsibilities and considerable influences, given the fact that the bulk of developmental strides that shapes the overall economy lies squarely on how well the 36 state governors are able to pilot the affairs of their respective states, which under the extant constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are afforded  lots of independent and interdependent privileges and federalist powers, to determine what programmes and projects to embark upon. The position of a state governor, to a large extent, is a major platform for such a holder to put in place measures to ameliorate the sufferings of the majority of Nigerians who are impoverished and economically weak.

To demonstrate the influence and power exercised by the holders of the prestigious offices of state governors under the current Nigerian democratic experimentation, the various parties that hold sway in the different segments of the Nigerian federating structures are regarded as leaders of their respective political parties. The undercurrents that characterise the events that are taken place ahead of the party governorship primaries show that those gunning for the offices of state governors are seriously engaged in intense lobbying.

Delta State is particularly interesting, going by the fact that apart from the role it plays as one of the centres of rich crude oil deposits, it is also fascinating because it is the only state whereby a woman of national significance and influence, in the person of Mrs Ngozi Juliet Olejeme, has indicated interest to govern the state. Most analysts are finding it difficult to write her off because of her unprecedented political profile and her closeness to the most powerful segment of the ruling national party. Besides, Ngozi Olejeme is one of the fiercest loyalists of the PDP to have indicated interest to run for the office of state governor, not only in Delta State but in Nigeria as a whole.

In Delta State, the senatorial zone where Mrs Ngozi Olejeme hails from, Delta North, has never produced the state governor since inception. So the social justice pendulum swings favourably and positively towards Olejeme and her other compatriots from her Senatorial zone that have indicated interest to run in the next year’s election, for the office of the state governor.   

Fortunately, the Anioma people of Delta State have endorsed the candidature of Dr Olejeme and three others for the governorship position of the state, come 2015. This endorsement was made recently in Abuja during the visit of a high-level delegation of ‎Anioma sons and daughters led by the Asagba of Asaba, Prof Chike Edozien, to President Goodluck Jonathan.

As variously reported in the popular press, the meeting which held at the State House, Abuja, was to express the support of the Anioma people to the second term bid of President Goodluck Jonathan. Also, the meeting provided a veritable platform for the delegation to seek the support of Mr President towards getting an Anioma person as the next governor of the state.

Briefing State House correspondents, after the closed-door meeting, Prof. Chike Edozien, confirmed that the agitation for an Anioma person to be elected governor of Delta State is very timely and was very crucial in their discussion with the President. “The issue of an Anioma person becoming the governor was one of the issues we discussed and I hope an Anioma son or daughter will be elected governor of Delta State in 2015,” he said.

Sources close to Presidency, however, disclosed that the delegation of the Anioma people presented four people as potential governorship candidates. Top on the list is Dr Ngozi Juliet Olejeme, who is on record as the only woman serving as chairman of the board of two sensitive Federal Government establishments. Others are Hon Ndudi Elumelu, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Victor Ochei.

Dr Olejeme seems to be riding on the crest of the desire of the people for real change come 2015. She is a successful entrepreneur, an astute politician and administrator of repute. A boardroom guru with a wealth of experience, she has a proven record of success in administrative governance and business management. Olejeme has received several recognitions in Nigeria and abroad for her impact in the society, but the reward for her excelling contributions for a better society is not just in the plaques that dot around the wall, but in caring for the less-privileged and seeing equity in wealth distribution. Supporting women build back their economic and social life are some of the projects that fires up her passion. No wonder as governorship candidate in Delta State in 2007 her campaign was configured on ending poverty and improving quality of life for all in the oil-rich state.

Her Ngozi Olejeme Foundation, underscores her passion for social security. It caters for the widows,  empowers women and the under-privileged. Also her role in the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, (SURE-P); a programme derived from the partial removal of subsidy for fuel, speaks of her capacity to care for the poor through adopting poverty alleviating policies.

Beyond humanitarian services, Olejeme has invariably proven to be a great asset in public service; both at the state and at the federal levels. In 2009, she was appointed for a four-year term as board chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). For her transformational leadership at NSITF, she got reappointed for another term of four years in 2011. She is also chair of Pension Trust Plc, a subsidiary of NSITF, which strictly administers pension matters. She was instrumental to the enhanced services of the NSITF, where she fought for and won the acceptance of Employee Compensation Scheme (ECS) and the passage of the bill into Act. The scheme protects all categories of workers, both in private and public sector, across Nigeria. The scheme simply makes provision for compensation to employees and their dependents for any injury, disease, disability or death arising in the course of employment.

On the other hand, the incumbent governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has pitched his tent with the candidature of Mr Anthony Obu and Charles Emetulu. Nationally, the pendulum is swinging towards the emergence of Ngozi Olejeme as the PDP governorship candidate.

RIGHTSVIEW appears twice a week on Wednesday and Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

Source News Express

Posted 26/10/2014 01:26:18 AM

 

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