Barrister Benson Amuwa, the immediate past representative of Ondo State on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), is a governorship aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He speaks with ABIODUN AWOLAJA on his vision for the state if elected.
HOW would you rate the chances of PDP in the forthcoming election?
The chances are very bright and there is no doubt about it. Through the help of God, PDP will win this state again. The question is, if don’t want PDP, what is the alternative? Is it the noise people make? Have we not heard enough of the noise and the after effect of the noise? Yes, it is good to hype, but anybody that wants to hype should not only tell us that this state is not running; but we must be told that xyz must be done to make things better.
I have not seen anything anybody has said that is even up to what PDP is doing in Ondo State. Are we doing change for the sake of change or to move forward? We have done change for the sake of change and we have seen where it has gotten us. Ondo people have seen PDP at work at various times. The preponderance of politicians in Ondo, local government by local government, are still in PDP. You win and lose election on the basis of the number of people you have on your side. I have not seen anything in this state which will make PDP not to win the election.
We have had a worst case scenario, it was worse than this in 2011. The election was so hyped, and many forces were against the sate when we were still in the Labour Party (LP), and not now that we are under the big umbrella. I donft see this state being taken away. When you are going to woo a lady from the boyfriend, you must convince her that you have something better than what the present man is offering. But I cannot see the offer matching that of the PDP, let alone a better offer. I see PDP, by the special grace of God, again clinching the state.
What is your vision for state if you become governor?
My vision is to build on the very good foundation laid by Dr Olusegun Mimiko. It is an attempt to differentiate that makes governance to crumble. The present government is doing well and has done well. We just have to build on it.
For example, we don’t need an event center in Akure again. We have one. The road to Ugbo has been asphalted. Must you go and start asphalting that again? All we need do is to look at and identify other critical areas of need. Water is being made available to Ilaje people. We need to see if it has been completed and if not, we focus on how soon we can complete it.
We will also focus on basic needs of life like food, water, electricity, security and shelter. And in all of this, the present government is doing its best. We will synergise and put up a system that will not bring about disruption in the smooth operation. You can expand and add one or two things in critical areas you have seen that requireattention. Every part of this state requires roads; every part of the state requires water.
We still have a number of rural areas without electricity …?
Every part of the state requires electricity. With rural electrification projects, the whole place will be electrified. For electricity to come is the function of the state government. We only need to put infrastructure in place. It is this infrastructure people will tap from to make money. If infrastructure is not there, people will have to drive on bad roads, the cars will get bad and things will go bad. All we need to do is to build on existing foundation.
We will build on existing things because that is what is being done in developed world. Government is a continuum. If a particular government comes, it does the work up to a point and another comes and takes over from there. But here, when a new government comes and says we are going to scrap this and scrap that; no nation grows that way. Every nation will grow on systematic developmental process, which is continuous. What we will do is to continue with the legacy that this government has put in place to touch lives.
We will expand and take things to new heights. If we do it now and we don’t succeed, there is always another time. I know Olusegun Agagu contested against Baba Adebayo Adefarati in 1999, he did not win. In 2003, he won. Mimiko in 2003 wanted to contest. As a matter of fact, he had bought his form and submitted it. But the goalpost was shifted after the goal had been scored. The party came up with a policy after aspirants had submitted their forms to zone the position to the Northern Senatorial District. The man said no and quickly walked away because there is always another time.
Today, he is the governor. Ditto so many other persons. Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari contested four times before he won. We must run this race and have it at the back of our mind that that if I fail this time, there is always another time.
Killing ourselves, mudslinging, calling people names and making it look as if there can be no other time. Only what God says will be will be.