By Festus Ahon
CHIEF Amos Itihwe, KSC, is the Commissioner representing Ughelli South, Udu, Uvwie and Urhobos in Warri South Local Government Areas in the board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC.
He is one of the contenders for Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu federal constituency seat at the National Assembly in the forthcoming 2019 general election on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
In this interview with Sunday Vanguard, he speaks on the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, President Mohammadu Buhari, his 2019 aspiration and other issues of interest.
President Muhammedu Buhari has declared his interest for the 2019 presidential elections. What does his declaration portend for PDP?
Well, I think Buhari declaration is another open door for PDP to reclaim the Presidency, because I believe he is not the type of person Nigerians need again. He has been tried, tested but failed us and I know his declaration was not out of his mind but from those benefiting from him.
We all know Buhari did not perform. I think his reign witnessed the highest killing in this nation, and not that we are in a war but through the Fulani herdsmen. And he has also this I-don’t-care kind of attitude over the welfare of his people. His declaration no doubt will enhance the chances of PDP because I know Nigerians will not be there for him this time.
Considering the nature of our politics, don’t you think he will use the power of incumbency to retain power in 2019?
Like I have rightly said in one of my interviews, there is going to be a lot of surprises in the 2019 general elections because the electorate have learnt their lessons, bitter lessons, especially this three years of Buhari’s administration. I believe our people have learnt much and that is why there is this call on all to go and collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), so that the electorate with the power of their PVCs will vote in the right candidates whether incumbent factor or not.
So if Buhari and APC feel they want to use the power of incumbency, they must turn the country upside down first. Our votes must count and if our votes must count, bad leaders will be voted out by the electorate through the power of their voter’s card.
Though, they claimed PDP is corrupt, yet the people benefited more in the PDP-led administration than in APC administration where they say fight against corruption is their slogan and cardinal agenda yet the corruption is building up every second.
The Federal Government recently released list of looters with names of top PDP members after your party chairman, Uche Secondus, apologised to Nigerians. Don’t you think the release is part of the game plan to unsettle your party ahead of the 2019 elections?
Of course, you and I know that the apology made to Nigerians by the national chairman of PDP is not because they looted funds. The apology was on the fact that PDP may have made some errors in their 16 years of governance and a guarantee that when PDP is voted back to power again, those mistakes will be corrected.
Majority of those in APC today, governors, ministers were all in PDP, but surprisingly their names were not there. This is to show that it is a design to frustrate PDP but I know that design will further strengthen the PDP.
Now everybody is crying that you release list of those who looted, how about those in APC who were in PDP. Thank God the national chairman has gone to court, let us wait for the outcome of the court.
I know the APC is just there, they don’t have agenda on what to do to better the lives of Nigerians. Nigerians have come to know that the lists they released were not true.
Let’s look at your home front; Do you see the APC unseating the PDP in Delta State in 2019?
That is a dream that cannot be fulfilled. First, I want to say that the incumbency factor can only survive when the incumbent leader is doing the wishes of the people, but I can only assure you that incumbency cannot survive when incumbent did not perform to the people’s expectations. You were in Delta during the PDP primaries, an incumbent sponsored candidate but the people voted against him, so also it iwill happen to those who believe in incumbency factor .
Look at Rochas Okorocha who was trying to use incumbency power to sponsor his in-law, what happened to the dream, it died the day it was raised on the floor of the House. The truth is that the electorate have the power through their voter’s card.
Any plan for APC to take over Delta, is a dream that cannot come into reality. We know that APC has no structure in Delta State, the only area APC seems to exist in Delta is Ughelli North because they have an appointee in NDDC, another area you will see APC again is in Aniocha North where we have Ibe Kachikwu, Minister for State for Petroleum. Or is it those who left PDP today, tomorrow they are in APC.
The truth is that they are noise makers and any noise making people is just to get money from the national pocket.
What now gives you the confidence that Okowa will win in 2019 when the APC is controlling the government at the centre?
If I say it, you will say because I am a PDP man, but the truth is that there are no APC members in Delta and they don’t have structure to win elections and they know it.
My confidence that Okowa will win again is that he has performed creditably across the 25 local government areas of the state. If you take a walk round the local government areas of the state, you will see state government projects commissioned and ongoing and that is the proof of a working governor, and our tradition in PDP is that when a sitting governor is performing we give a speedy endorsement, so we are waiting for his swearing in since there is no rival party in Delta State, PDP all the way.
If they think because they have the president, so for that they will use the power of incumbency to influence it that the true votes of Deltans will not be announced, that is going to be the beginning of another war.
I am sounding a note of warning to APC national leaders that any attempt to manipulate results in Delta will fail, because they know that Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa are PDP states. So if they want to use power of incumbency, we will resist it with the last drop of our blood.
There are rummours that you are warming up to run for the federal House of Representative to represent Ughelli North/South and Udu, is this true?
Yes, presently, am consulting with my people on my ambition to run for the House of Representatives to represent my good people Ughelli North,/South and Udu Federal Constituency. My desire is borne out of the concept that our people have long been in the dark without federal government presence being felt in the area. Our representatives may have done their best but yet we still lack a lot in the area and that is why l have come to submit myself to the people to send me to the National Assembly and l will go and give them full representation. Without mincing words, if you go to the length and breadth of this constituency, you cannot discover any project embarked upon by the federal government.
What l think and why l decided to go for the context is that the constituency need a vibrant person with voice to represent them at the national assembly and which has been missing but l know it will not be so if am giving the opportunity. Now, let me use Isoko as a case study, if you go to Isoko, the development will explain to you why representation is very necessary, it is just the matter of having a good voice there.
This voice is not to go and antagonize the government but to show that this areas that are producing the resources of this nation need to be developed.