The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has said that he will resign if there is too much pressure on him on the 2011 general election.Speaking in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, (Hausa Service) monitored by Delta Focua, he said: “No one has so far has approached me with any impossible demand yet. I pray that such would never happen.“Since the day I assumed office no one has asked me to do anything against my wish and hope it will never happen because if I am asked to do the wrong thing, God knows I will never do it. I will never do anything that will make me go against the Code of Conduct and that is why I accepted this job.“So, I swore with the Holy Qur’an that I will do the job sincerely and truthfully and there is nothing that will make me do otherwise. I assure the people that INEC as an institution would never compromise. We will organise a credible election.”He insisted that no one would be allowed to manipulate the election, warning that anyone who tries it would face the law.On the controversy that trailed his trip to Bayelsa State in company of President Goodluck Jonathan to flag off the on-going voter registration exercise, Jega said nothing was wrong with traveling there with Jonathan.“My obligation as INEC chairman is to suppervise the registration of voters. I was there not because he is a presidential candidate but,because he is the President and we must accord him that respect given to him by God,” Jega said.Furthermore, he said there was need for Mr. President to register in his ward in Bayelsa because it was not possible for him to do it in Abuja.Asked if the commission will extend similar courtesy to other presidential candidates, he said: “But remember, you said the President went to Bayelsa and flagged off the voter registration exercise. That is different from a candidate inviting me to flag it off. No matter who the President is, we must give him that respect.”
Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, PDP candidate in the governorship re-run for Delta state, spoke recently on his chances, his relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan and Chief E.K Clark, as well as some of his achievements while in office, among other issues. Excerpts below.
What is your relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan?
Ans: Very very cordial. He is my President. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria . I have an excellent relationship with Mr. President even while I was in government. Also we came from the same region, the Niger Delta. It makes us to have a common ground on dealing with issues of the Niger Delta. Even as the Vice President, he always listen to me and respect my views and there was nothing I had to discuss with the President then that I did not discuss with him. So we have an excellent relationship and since the Federal Court of Appeal issue happened, he has been supportive. He stands strongly behind me. He, as the National Leader of the party, has been giving every support to ensure that PDP regains Delta State .
But some people claim you have a sour relationship with the President and is against you to re contest?
(cuts in) No no no. The President is not against me at all. Just like I said, he has been very supportive since the Appeal Court issue. We have been relating very well. I think it is some people that are close to him that are trying to do funny things but Mr. President is very good to me.
The same people are claiming that the President is imposing you on the state and that they will do everything possible to resist it?
All I know is that the people should not play God. The President is not imposing me on the people of the state. The President is the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the party has said I am their candidate. And of course, as leader of the party, he will not starts saying no don’t vote for him. Those saying the President is imposing me on the people of the state are playing God.
You visited Abraka recently where you pleaded with elders and leaders of the area shun violence in the rerun election, that what happened in 2007 should not be allowed to repeat itself. What actually happened during the 2007 elections?
In 2007, houses of PDP members were attacked. Infact some were killed including a pregnant woman. She was killed in Abraka. Many people died in that area during the then elections which was very unfortunate. My appeal to those people is that violence will not get anybody anywhere. And don’t think we should allow such violence to repeat itself in the rerun election.
The PDP has been losing its states through court rulings. What is responsible for the Governors to win at the electoral tribunals only to loose at the Appeal court? Don’t you think something must be wrong somewhere?
I think I should allow you Journalists to investigate why they won at the electoral tribunal and loose at the Appeal Courts. It is something that will be very interesting for investigative journalism. But what is worrying really is that, I know that in 2007, PDP campaigned in every nook and cranny of this state. We have the video tapes. We went to every wards and local governments of this state but some people campaigned in only three places in the whole of Delta State . They have no presence at all in the rural areas. They didn’t campaign at all in other parts of the state. And what were they doing? They were preparing for courts rather than preparing for elections. So now people prepares more for courts rather than been on the ground to campaign and it sis very worrisome. I must say it is very worrisome. I think we should encourage people to be more on ground.
Going back to the judgement, I will just tell you why some of us are worried about the judgement. The DPP said elections did not hold at all in Delta State for the Governorship but did election holds for the House of Assembly? Because the two elections were held the same day. Why did they not take a single House of Assembly matter to the court that election did not hold? Is it that election held for the House of Assembly and did not hold for the governorship? An election that held the same day. These are questions we should be asking. These are issues we should be raising. He did not take one case of the House of Assembly to court to say elections did not hold and pursued it to the Appeal court level.
So there are so many issues we really need to look at if we are thinking of improving our democracy. We must look at the whole process in totality because what we are seeing is we want to encourage people more to depend on courts rather than voting to get to the Government House.
How worried are you about ethnicity in the politics of Delta State… ?
(cuts in) Eh no. no. I am not worried. Let me tell you, in our peace and security strategy when I came in 2007, one of the areas we tried to deal with is that of ethnicity. Now there are two issues with ethnicity. One is the issue of appointment and the other centre on development. What I tried to do, especially on the issue of appointment was to try and distribute it in such a way that every senatorial district and every ethnic group got what was entitled to them. There was a time in the state when one senatorial district had 10 members out of 20 in the state EXCO. Mind you there are three senatorial districts and one of this had 10 out of 20 members EXCO. Of course there is bound to be agitation. So we tried to do it in such a way that, yes it might not be 100 percent okay, but we tried to evenly distribute appointment.
I also tried to spread development evenly. Of course, there has to be some bias in terms of development especially towards the state capital. People have had issue with that asking why we were doing so much in Asaba. For me, Asaba is the state capital. And Delta State, after so many years deserves a befitting state capital. And so we tried to do a lot more in Asaba than other parts of the state.
So with these two issues, we have tried as much as possible to handle the issue of ethnicity. So I don’t think right now, ethnicity is a major issue in Delta State . But there is no doubt that there are a few persons who are still playing ethnic cards. There is no doubt about that. Infact, one of our leaders Professor Ijeoma, a few days ago came out with a publication that has to do with ethnicity. So there is no doubt about that a few persons are still playing ethnic champions but generally it has disappeared.
Right now in Delta State, anybody from one ethnic group can move into another ethnic group, eat with them, and sleep with them, which was not the case a few years back. A few years back, one person from one ethnic group cannot move to another part of the state, they will lynch you knowing that you are from XYZ ethnic group but right now there is free movement, free association and of course inter marriage.
Why is Chief E.K.Clark on your neck? It appears he hates you so much. What is the problem?
I don’t want to play or put much emphasis on Chief Clark. Let me say however that I have so many people above 80 years of age. Infact, a few days ago, one of those elders, Chief Otobo, he is about 85 years, was the Deputy Premier of Midwest region. He is supportive. You see, the issue is about Delta State and not about Uduaghan. Whatever action you take and whatever you are doing, we should ask ourselves, how does it move Delta forward? We have very credible elders. For example, Senator Nosike Ikpo. These are the people that are above 80 years who are saying let this young man be.
I wish I have another opportunity to ask him (Chief Clark) what he has against me. I have asked him several times and he said I am his son. Really I don’t know exactly what the issues are.
Why is it difficult to resolve the infighting within the PDP in the state?
You see. From 2007, I have done so much to try and deal with infighting within the party in the state. I have personally visited a lot of elders and leaders, including Chief E. K. Clark that people that people are laying too much emphasis on. For those who contested with me, I have got a little problem here. My Secretary to State Government then, Dr.Ifeanyi Okowa we contested the primaries together but he later became the SSG. Infact in the cabinet then, I had about four or five persons in the cabinet then I had about four or five persons that contested the primaries with me. Some others who did not come into government had different roles to play in the state and all that. But a few, about three or four who insisted on going the other way. Apart from that, we also put up a committee, an elders committee that virtually went round the state to talk to those who were still opposed to us. We did a lot to reconcile but there is no ways we can have a 100 percent because there are still a few opposing us for one reason or the other and some times they can be very vocal, so people hear them a lot.
Are you seeing yourself as a victim of circumstance because Chief E.K. Clark and his group were after the former Governor, Chief James Ibori, your cousin. Secondly they alleged that so much fund has entered the Niger Delta without anything to show for it?As for the issue of the former Governor, well anybody that is trying to tie the issue with what I am having now, I don’t know how they go together. But there is a James Ibori and there is Emmanuel Uduaghan. We are two different persons, different attitude to life. Whoever is trying to tie me with whatever is happening to that person, I think is missing the point.
In terms of developing the Niger Delta states, people exaggerate the issue of allocation. Yes allocation to the Niger Delta states is more than the other states but the problems of the region is also much more than the other states. To construct a road in Niger Delta, for instance the 26 kilometer road in the riverine areas, a 26 kilometer road with 16 bridges of various sizes. You won’t see that in any other part of the country. So if you cost that including sand filling sometimes up to four metres height and the cost of sand filling alone is enough to construct some hundred kilometers of road in other part of the country. What I am saying is that in the Niger Delta, because of the terrain, the cost of construction is much higher. During the peak of the crisis, the Governors forum went to Bayelsa State for a meeting and they were showing some of the construction going on in Yenagoa, some of us were amaze because they just have to do sand filling which is a major project and sometimes cost about five times more than the total project itself.
So the cost of construction in the Niger Delta is very expensive. And even then the money coming in for the development of the region, atleast for the states, after removing wages and cost of running government, what is left is little compared to the needs of the area. The area requires heavy development and the money coming there is not near enough for the actual development of the place. And talking about derivation, NDDC, Niger Delta Ministry, there is still not enough money and coordination for the development of the region.
Why do you think people are not happy with you despite all the achievements you recorded in over three years you were in office?
You see, I was telling the story of the tortoise with some persons recently. And what is this story of the tortoise? Tortoise was given a bigger position and he thought he was doing very well and went to his mother and told her he was doing very well and was happy. But the mother asked him whether he was sure and he said yes. The mother then said to know he was doing very well, he should pretend as if he was dead. And he did that. As soon as the people heard about his death, some mourned him while some others said that was good for him. He didn’t do this for me. He didn’t do that for us.
He was surprised that some of the people that complained most were those very closed to him, that were loyal to him, that could die for him. He now found out that such people were not happy with him. I think that is where I am now. People have called me to say you shouldn’t have done this or that.
By the time the judgement came, what was your reaction?
Well. I will say that the judgement was very surprising to me just as most Nigerians because we did not expect the judgement would go the way it went. But today, our lawyers are still looking at the judgement and the lawyers told me they have issues with it. Everything is being done to deal with the issues.
The electoral tribunal ruled in favour of your party and the Appeal court ruled against. What point did they anchor their judgement on?
I want to leave that to the lawyers. What I know is that my party has said go and do another election and that is what I am preparing for now. Like I said, I want to reserve my comments on the Appeal Court judgement totally. My lawyers are looking at it and I think they will come out with something. I believe the press and the lawyers should actually look into it. Why for instance will they say a certified photocopy of documents is not acceptable in court? And secondly, even the lawyers were saying they did not submit certified photocopy, the document that was submitted at the lower court was not certified photocopy. So how did they come about that at the Appeal court level. Like I said, there are issues to be raised.
What are your preparations for the rerun election and confident are you to triumph?
In preparing for the rerun election, I am using my party platform the PDP in DeltaState. We are very much on ground. We have presence in every ward in the state. Satisfactorily I have done some things that I believe that will qualify me for the rerun election. Before the three and a half years that I was in office, I had been in government for eight years, as commissioner for four years and SSG for four years; I have gathered a lot of experience about Delta State . And in the three and half years, I have tried to refocus Delta from the state totally dependent on oil to move to a state that in the next few years, can survive with or without oil. That is the focus I am trying to achieve in the three and half years.
Yes. We are an oil producing state; we are a state in the Niger Delta that has depended entirely on oil just like the Nigerian government depends on oil. Now, Is it not possible that this oil will finish tomorrow? Is it not possible that the price of oil will drop like we recently experienced? So in coming into government, I tried to think of what to do to move the state from that phase of depending totally on oil. We have a lot of natural resources. So in doing so, I believe Delta State can be an economic hub of Nigeria . And so our focus had been that of moving to a state of economic development where we are not just talking about an improved economy but a situation where a lot of our able bodied young men have the opportunity of being employed.
In doing that, in the past three and half years, I tried to put up a three point agenda of ensuring that we had peace and security in place. I believed we achieved as much as possible. We also tried to improve on infrastructure that is required for investors to come into Delta. And basically, infrastructure strategy revolves around improving power, improving transportation, seaports, and airports and of course railway. And then also improving the ICT facilities in the state. Trying to improve the urbanization of our towns in Delta State . You must remember that the state has at least 14 urban centres or towns. That is why we are different from many other states. Some other states are just one town states but Delta State has about 14 towns that are qualified to be state capitals. So if you are developing one of the towns, you must also, whatever small measure, look at the other towns. Our second strategy really was that of infrastructure that will encourage investors.
And our third strategy is that of Human Capital Development in which we looked at human beings from the day of conception to the day the person enters his grave. What can we do to influence the woman that gets pregnant today? In that case we said the quality of the child that is born depends on how well the child is taking care of while in the womb of the woman. And many of our women do no have access to health care. They do no have the money to access health facilities so we asked ourselves what do we do and resolved to have free maternal services for every pregnant woman and that was what we did.
Once you are pregnant, from the day of conception to the day you deliver, you don’t have to pay for any health services. It is free. Even for those who have difficulty getting pregnant, they also enjoy free medical services in our hospitals, even up to surgery. For instance, a woman was recently treated of fibroid free of charge under the programme. We put that programme in place for both the unborn child and the woman that is pregnant. And there after, the first five years of the child, he has access to free health care.
For the other segment of the society, if you cannot afford to pay for health care, we have three designated hospitals to provide free health services for these people. And after five years of the child, that is when the child is of school age to about 21 or 22 years we take their education up. In the state, we have the primary, the secondary and tertiary institutions. We are designed a programme to ensure that our children are engaged in schools. For instance from primary to secondary schools, they don’t pay. It is free. You don’t have to pay anything whatsoever. Even examination fess for NECO and WAEC we pay for them. To ensure that they received qualitative education, we also improved the quality of our teachers in our schools particularly in the rural areas. For rural schools we recently employed teachers and posted to the riverine areas. We also pay them special allowances to encourage them to reside in their areas of posting.
After the secondary school level, we have increased the bursary from N10,000 to N20,000 for every child in the university. For post graduate students, we improved on our scholarship scheme. And for every child, every youth that has a first class, the government took up their education up to any level anywhere in the world. We give them automatic scholarship. So that is how we tried to assist the school age of the young population.
Of course, after the school age, what do we do to ease the problem of unemployment? Apart from direct employment we give as a government, I think it is over 14,000 people that we employed into the various arms of government, we also had our micro credit scheme for those who have handiwork. Aside that we also have an agricultural project we called “youth employment through agriculture”. We selected youths, 18 per Local Government Area, into Songhai Farm where we train them on agricultural methods and eventually set up a farm for them in their Local Government Areas either as clusters or individual farmers. All of them are into farming now. We have trained two sets of them already.
What we tried to do is to ensure that our youths have one form of employment or the other. It is not yet enough because there are so many youths to be employed but with the programme we have started, we believe that in the next few years, we will be able to deal with the problem of our youths. The next programme that we are already designing is that of social welfare for those who have retired, those above 70 years. That is still on the drawing board. So we tried to do that with our human capital development programme and I believe that with all these, we have something to market when we go back to campaign.
The opposition has alleged that over N650 billion allocation accrued to the state while you were in office and with all you claimed to have achieved you have nothing to show for the money. That you frittered away the money.
I don’t know who the opposition is but we can give account of every kobo that we got in government. Now, let me say this, when an allocation comes, we have a workforce now about 60,000 persons that we pay salaries every month. In fact, by the last month, our wage bill is about N5.6 billion. Averagely we get about N9 billion monthly. Wagebill alone is about N5.6 billion, that is one. Two, we have to give five percent of the 13 percent derivation to DESOPADEC arm of government that is supposed to develop the oil communities and that takes about N2.5 or 3 billion. so between those two, wagebill and DESOPADEC alone, we have spent about N8 billion out of the N9 billion out of the N9 billion that we have. Of course, you need to send subvention to the various ministries and parastatals.
So sometimes, we were even in deficit. The thing that tries to sustain us is our IGR which is about N1.2 or 1.3 billion. You see, by the time you finish, you have to deep into the IGR to even run the government. Therefore, when they sayN650 billion was frittered away, I just laugh because we can account for every kobo that we received. You should not forget that in this period that I came in, there had been increase in wage bill of workers by 15 percent which we had to pay and it was during that period that we started paying pension for the workers, that is seven percent of their wages.
Collectively, within this period, we have paid 22 1/2 increases in wages of workers. Then we have between 20 and 25 increases in the wages of teachers. In addition, we have also put up a programme that teachers who are in the rural areas be given additional 12.5 percent as incentive to ensure that they remain in the rural areas. Again, we had increased the wages of health worker in this new CONMTISS, we settled for 70 percent. So the wage bill increases.
We have all these increases that have come up and for somebody to say somebody has frittered away N650 billion is very laughable. Ironically, some of those who are making this claims benefited from the money. So what has happened and I think I can say it publicly is that I tightened a lot of places of places in government that made itnot possible for people to carry out what we call ‘business as usual”. I was in government for eight years before I became Governor and so in those eight years, I knew there were a lot of loopholes where people were just trying to fritter away money and of course as Governor having that experience, I gradually tried to tighten some of identified areas.
But these people that we are talking about, when I read their interviews, I laugh. They are making so much noise, how do they make their money? How did they come about building houses in Abuja , Port Harcourt , Lagos , Warri and everywhere in a period of four years. Let us appear before the television for a debate on this. These are some of the people who used to sell contract across the Niger . We are talking about some of our schools that are deplorable. Today, why are they deplorable? Contracts were awarded for those schools; did they give contracts to those who can do it? Or they sold out the contract out across the Niger . We have issues with a lot of these contractors. Ironically, it is those people who sold these contracts are now coming on the pages of newspapers asking me what did I do with N650 billion. Like I said, let us stand before television cameras for a debate.
Whoever the opposition is, the people who are leading the opposition have had one business or the other to do with government and right now that it is no longer business as usual so that opposition is opposition to a government that is not doing business as usual.
Why don’t you take legal action against the contractors?
W are taking a lot of legal steps against some of these contractors. And unfortunately too, the ways some of these contracts were awarded and were given there were a lot of loop holes to siphon government fund.. We are taking legal steps to ensure that they execute the project or refund the money back to government.
Your supporters have said that you are on vacation. How do you feel now that you are on vacation?
Well. I will not say I am on vacation. The court said I should no longer be on the seat, it is my political colleagues that say I am on vacation. So let me not say I am on vacation. If I say so, I will be going against the judgement. The judgement says I am not the Governor of Delta State and I accept it.
Are you envisaging any policy summersault of some of the policies you put in place while in office now that there is an Acting Governor in place?
Now, there is an Acting Governor and I expect the Acting Governor who was also the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. Whatever policies we have put in place were in collaboration with the House of Assembly. Since the House of Assembly was aware and part of those policies, I don’t expect that now they will reverse all we put in place.
Well it is possible they look at a few things and say ok, the way you are doing it might not be right way, let us see whether we can do it the other way. But I don’t expect very radical and major changes in what we have done because the Executive arm worked very closely with the legislative arm.
Why having two factions in PDP in Delta. What is the problem and is it so difficult to solve?
Let me give you a picture of what has been happening about PDP in Delta State . At the last time there was leadership in the party, I was already a Governor when there was that leadership change and went to congresses. The party allows consensus in congresses. Of course at that time there were two groups. One that called itself elders and leaders headed by Chief E. K. Clark and in getting at the consensus, Chief Clark, the Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe and of course Mrs. Alli insisted on producing the Chairman of the party. Infact they said they wanted the Chairman and Secretary of the party and I told them it would be unfair. So they settled to produce the party Chairman.
Well as Governor, note most Governors want to produce the party Chairman, I said for peace sake, let them produce the party Chairman. They eventually produced Chief Peter Nwaoboshi as the party Chairman. As soon as Nwaoboshi emerged as the party Chairman, I told him you are the party Chairman; I am the Governor of the State so manage your party while I manage the state. We respect ourselves in running the two institutions. We were able to work together. Now they discover that we are working together they said no. no. no. we need to change this man.
In fact they went to the National Secretariat where Chief Clark used the word that the Chairman somersaulted. Apparently, the mandate Nwaoboshi was given was to come as the Chairman of the PDP and start opposing me. But the man said why would he oppose me, that it is a PDP government. Why asked would he oppose me when I have not done anything against the party. That is the quarrel on ground now. That Peter Nwaoboshi refuses to oppose me. That we are now working together and so he somersaulted. The National Secretariat made them to understand that you don’t just wake up and change the Chairman because he somersaulted.\
The National Secretariat looked at the issue on two or three occasions and said the EXCO in Delta State has to remain because it was legally constituted but some of them have a lot of contacts, a lot of weights here and there in Abuja and they have been moving and pushing since then. That is the state we are now?
Are you sure the crisis will not affect your chances in the re run elections?
This election is about who is on ground and who is not. I can simply say that we are on ground. The division in PDP is more of those who have access to the media but when it comes to being on ground, we are on ground and this election is about who is on ground. And if you really say that you are a loyal party man, this election is about PDP, then you put your person aside, after the election you continue from where you stop again. But if you say I am angry the person the party is projecting, so I am going to work with another party that will be anti-party activities and has ripple effects.
Why is the PDP finding it difficult to sanction these people for attempting to destabilize the party?
I think the party here is in the process of discipline anybody now that carries out anti party activities because the party has decided the direction they want to go and so if they are still moving in another direction, I think the party will take a decision on that. But I don’t believe that anybody should be bigger than the party. It is only God that is bigger than the party. No human being is bigger that PDP. No human being should be playing God.
Political parties in Delta state have strongly thrown their weight behind the one man one vote campaign currently championed by the Delta state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, for the 2011 general elections.
This affirmation was made by the Delta state chairman of the Association of Registered Political Parties in the state, Mr. Peter Egwu in a chat with pressmen, after an emergency meeting between all the registered political parties in the state and representatives of the Delta state government, in Asaba recently.
Mr. Egwu, who is also the State Chairman of the Nigerian Peoples Congress (NPC), said that the concept of one man one vote was very desirable as it would help to restore the confidence of the electorate in the democratic process and ensure that only candidates voted in by the people would hold political offices in the forth coming 2011 general elections.
According to him; ‘The concept of one man one vote is quite acceptable to us because it will ensure that our people will have the confidence to come out and register and also cast their votes for their desired candidates in the 2011 elections without fear or favour’
Speaking further, Mr. Egwu said that, ‘ Some of us in the opposition have long expressed our concern over the way and manner elections have been conducted in the past where deserving candidates who got the popular votes of the people were denied from serving the masses
He however opined that he was glad that the concept of one man one vote was gradually gaining ground amongst Nigerians, adding that the situation whereby public officers were not held accountable by the masses in the past would soon be done away with.
The Chairman of the Association of registered political parties in the state hailed Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for his initiative in advocating for one man one vote and called on the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to adhere to this laudable call by the Delta state governor in the forthcoming elections.
‘I want to use this opportunity to express our joy to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for championing the initiative of one man one vote. This shows that the governor is indeed a statesman who is keen to promote and sustain a desirable electoral process for all in Delta state.
Egwu also used the opportunity to give kudos to the Special Assistant to the Delta state governor on grassroots mobilisation and inter party relations, Hon Solomon Edoja for the way he has carried the political parties along in the state.
Said he, ‘The Special Assistant to the Governor has done a good job since he came on board and the registered political parties in the state now feel a sense of belonging in the state. I want to commend him for a job well done so far and to urge him to ensure that a level playing field is provided for all the registered political parties in the forthcoming elections.”
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state is no stranger to criticism especially from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who are playing the strange role of catchup with the Comrade Governor and the Action Congress party in the state.
But Comrade Adams is not fazed by the criticism as he has firmly decalred that his administration believed strongly in public interest before private goals hence the demolition of buildings on the right of way along the Airport Road, which expansion work started in early January 2010.
Oshimhole however, said that there were some mud houses on the road, which pre-existed the road and that as at the time they were built, it was possible there was no plan for the airport so their owners would be compensated and relocated.
The governor commended the people of the state, particularly in the state capital for their support for his administration.
“I told them, you don’t because of certain interests bend the road, public interest comes first before any private interest. The road must go straight, public interest must come first, we have people’s mandate to govern…but what has interested me is that nobody has protested, nobody has taken us to court. I went round, even old men that I thought would be very angry, even those in shrines said ‘give us seven days we are going to remove the shrines’. The way people are co-operating is interesting.
“We are going to give owners of those mud houses compenastion because they are not illegal structures. It just happened that when they were built some over 50 years ago, nobody envisaged this development so those in mud houses will be compensated,” he said.
Oshiomhole explained his vision was to restore nightlife to the state capital and restore the beauty of the city with reconstruction and expansion of major roads in the state capital.
“The contractors are all moving to site now and by the end of this month, all of them would have moved to site and you will find work going on in Ugbowo Road, Akpapava Road, Airport Road, Sapele Road, Costain is already on, Five Junction, about three of five roads, including the one going through Ogbemudia’s house…we are going to find so many jobs going on simultaneously.
“We are giving our jobs to first class contractors that will restore the building of these places.
Oshiomhole said the same approach of awarding contracts to quality contractors would also be adopted in the rehabilitation of public schools