Posted by News Express | 29 November 2014 | 3,612 times
Prof. Amos Agbe Utuama, a Senior Advocate Nigeria (SAN) and a Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (FNIALS), is the Deputy Governor of Delta State and a governorship aspirant for the 2015 general election in the state. Prof. Utuama had served as the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice for two consecutive terms of four years each and has been Deputy to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, CON, since May 29, 2007. In this interview, he explains why he is the best man for the job.
Question: You entered the race rather quietly and some people even considered it somewhat late. What are your chances?
Prof. Utuama: My chances are very bright. I can say, with all sense of modesty, that I am known across the state. I have been here and have firsthand experience of the workings of government. First, as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, I held that portfolio for two consecutive terms of four years each. That makes it a total of eight years.
Then, in 2007, I returned as the Deputy Governor of the state and I have held that position up till now. I am very familiar with the process of policy formulation and implementation. Most of the delegates to the primary election which will take place on December 8, 2014, know me and my capacity for hard work and transparent service delivery. They are the ones who will hand the ticket to the person who will fly the party’s flag. I know very well that these people want the best candidate for the state. They want a man who is dependable, a man with capacity to deliver, a man with character, a person who is tested and trusted. A man they know and I fit this mould. So, my chances are very bright.
As for the timing, as long as it was not in breach of the timetable set by my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it is fine by me. Don’t forget that it is a marathon. Those who initiated the idea, the Peoples Network for Utuama, did considerable consultation; they weighed all available options very carefully before they settled for me. Then as an individual, too, I had to also seek the face of God. I was waiting for God’s call because without God I cannot be where I am today. With the conviction that God is on our side we launched out.
Tell us exactly why you think you are the best choice for Delta State going forward.
I am the most properly positioned to take the state higher. From what I have stated earlier, I have the requisite experience, I have the exposure, the education and practical knowledge of the workings of the system. You can’t buy experience; it is what makes the difference. I represent a purposeful and exemplary leadership; I represent a visionary, transparent, integrity-driven and people-oriented administration that will serve the best interest of all Deltans both at home and in the Diaspora.
Look, given the outstanding performance of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Delta State needs a Governor with proven ability to perform and the vision to transform dreams into reality. Our dear state, at this time in our history, needs a Governor who will accelerate to new frontiers the ground-breaking works of Chief James Ibori and the developmental strides of Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, CON. Our state needs a Governor who will be able to unite Delta State further and who will respect its diverse interests. Our state needs a Governor who has every corner of the state in his heart and who can pursue a broad development agenda that will serve the interest of all Deltans irrespective of where you are coming from. I believe I fit best, the bill of the kind of governor Delta State desires at this moment.
There has been so much talk about an alleged zoning arrangement in the state. What is your position on this?
I don’t know of any zoning arrangement. We all have been here since 1999; I challenge anybody who claims there is a zoning arrangement to prove that at a particular election in the past in this state, all aspirants and candidates were all from only one zone. Of course, there is none.
If at all there is zoning, it has been honoured more in breach than in observance. For the good of this state, we must emphasis those things that unite us and make us act as a family and not fan the primordial embers of division based on ethnicity or district. Our state is one and belongs to all.
What would be your appeal to the delegates as you go into the primaries on December 8?
Thank you very much for that question. My appeal to our honourable delegates is that they must see themselves as the people who will show the direction of our state in the next four years. As respected and responsible delegates, I know they are very much aware of the fact that the politics of our state has changed from that of mere ethnic and moral sentiments driven by personal gains to the politics of issues that is focused on development, progress, job creation, food security, security of lives and property, industrialisation, shelter, health, education and other good things of life for all.
To get these things for our people, we need somebody who has experience, credibility, capability, somebody who is dependable, somebody who is politically humane and effcticve to harness our state’s great potential for the good of all. I joined this race not for any personal gain but with one purpose in mind – to truly provide and care for all Deltans from Anioma to Kwale, from Isoko to Ijaw, and from Itsekiri to Urhobo. I believe I am properly positioned to lead all Deltans to dream, turn those dreams to reality and benefits of democracy for the improved well being of all Deltans. I joined the gubernatorial race with one message and one expectation. The expectation is that I am going to consolidate the gains of democracy since 1999 till date, add to it, and move Delta State forward for the good of all. Anything good that has happened in Delta State will be consolidated, for the good of all, irrespective of your background and tribe, because I am a Deltan. So I appeal to them to please vote for me.
Delta Beyond Oil has come to represent a major policy thrust of this state. There are fears in some quarters that it may be jettisoned if a politician and not a technocrat takes over from the incumbent. What have you to say to this line of argument?
To start with, I think the policy of Delta Beyond Oil has come to stay and nobody who loves Delta State will reverse it or abolish it. Not with the way crude oil price is tumbling in the global market and other recent economic developments across Africa and the globe. It is the way to go. One can improve on its policy implementation. And I don’t see the next Governor of the state doing that be he a politician or a technocrat, to use your word. The determination to sustain the policy of Delta Beyond Oil will not be because somebody is a technocrat or a politician.
•Photo shows Prof. Utuama.
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