Olorogun Jaro Egbo is a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) in Delta State, and a frontline 2023 governorship aspirant of the Party, he bared his mind on the consistent postponement of the party congress, the unending crisis in the Delta State chapter of the party and the controversial electoral amendment bill as passed by the National Assembly, PIB and the contentious issue of power rotation in Delta.
APC at the national level seems not to have been able to put their acts together since the outset of the Comrade Governor, Adams Oshomoile. Over a year now, the party can’t organize a congress, and has been postponing its congress, what is happening in APC?
I think I will disagree that we have not been able to put our house in order because, after the exit of Oshoimole, we have been able to make some gains, we have received the Governor of Ebonyi State, he has crossed over to us, we have also received Ben Ayade of Cross River State. Recently, the Governor of Zamfara, Matawalle, joined us, and some other former Governor like Otunba Gbenga Daniels. We have gotten over 12 Senators including the Senator representing Delta North.
You followed the passage of the electoral amendment bill by the National Assembly, what is your take on the position taken by the National Assembly on the electronic transmission of results?
I think I am more for electronic transmission of results. I am a leader in APC, I don’t believe that APC as a party is against the transmission of results electronically; what I do believe is that some people who had lost touch with their Constituency, and believe that if they adopt electronic transfer of results, they won’t go back to the National Assembly or won’t go back to their elective offices are the people scuttling this electronic transfer of results. If INEC says they want an electronic transfer of results, it is not our business to say they don’t want it, if INEC succeeds with it in Ondo and Edo and now, they are saying they will use it in Anambra, what is the fear of members of the National Assembly? If INEC says they want an electronic transmission of results, so be it. I am also an Urhobo and the Apex body. The UPU also said they are for electronic transmission of results, so, if you are representing Urhobo in any position and you vote against your people, you have lost touch with your people, we are the ones that sent you there, so you must do what will profit the Urhobos.
You were once in PDP, and you have seen some of the candidates running for the governor, it was also rumoured that you are one of the aspirants who threw his hat into the Delta guber race, looking inward, do you think APC can throw up a candidate that can give PDP candidate a run for its money?
If we overcome the challenges that come up with our congresses, we have more heavyweight in APC than PDP in Delta State. And yes, I am interested in being the Governor of the State. I believe that PDP over the years has not been able to meet up the challenges of building a more united and modern Delta. We have so much potential but, we depend so much on the national level. Government is not just going to the national to collect money and spend, it goes beyond that, and that is what we have been seeing in Delta, no creativity.
We have not put Delta on the road map where we can gainfully employ our youths, where we can develop our infrastructure, our schools and hospitals. So, I believe that I am immensely qualified, but being eminently qualified is not the thing, my party is APC and I do believe that for us to win the election in 2023, some people must reign in their inordinate ambition. They must also know that power belongs to God and power belongs to the people. You don’t force leadership on the people and you don’t follow followership. If your work as a leader is impacting the people positively, then, of course, you will make a change but if it’s not, no matter how many media people you hire, it will not help you. So, I believe that if we can do it in Bayelsa before Supreme Court scuttle our efforts, we can do it in Delta. Don’t forget that in Bayelsa, everybody swam in the same direction, so the support came from everyone, people in the streets everybody, but that is not what we are seeing in Delta. My prayer is that one or two persons who have become a clog on the wheel of the party, God should touch their heart so that we can properly take over government property.
What is your take on the Ijaw nation’s position that power rotation in Delta State is not based on a senatorial district, but an ethnic basis?
I think power rotation is beyond APC and PDP. APC was not there when it started, but it has become a norm in Delta State that power should rotate. When I was in PDP, you will recall that I was one of the protagonists of Obuh for Governor because I did believe then that it was the turn of the Delta north, and when I left the party to APC, I also supported Ochei from Delta North, even though Ogboru was running, believing that after Central it goes to South and after south, it comes to North, and then back to Central, the question is that, even if power is going to rotate, we have three nationalities in the south, we have the Isoko, the Itsekiris and the Ijaws, but we also have the presence of the Urhobos in Warri south and Patani, even if the power is going to shift to the south, is it to the Ijaw nation? In the past four tenures, the senatorial district has been dominated by the Ijaws, and a deputy governor is an Ijaw man, so where is the Isokos? So if power must shift, must it be the Ijaws, where are the Isokos, he who must come to equity, must come with clean hands, that is not to say that anybody can’t contest, majority of the Ijaw leaders know that it is the turn of the central. All they are saying is that let’s have a governor who will carry everybody along, that will see everybody as an integral part of Delta state, whether an Ijaw, Isoko, Itsekiri, Delta North or Anioma man, they are looking for the right person and I think I fit the bill, I put myself forward to contest as the governor of the State.
Apart from being a politician, you are also a chief in Urhobo land, recently the National Assembly passed the PIB bill which gave 3 percent equity to the Hostcom, do you think this will meet the aspirations of oil-producing communities?
I don’t think so, because we demanded ten percent, so when the house of Representatives met us halfway by giving five percent, we were disappointed but we said let’s start with this, but to our utmost disappointment, the Senate again slashed it from five percent to three percent and the house of Representatives brought it to three percent, if you think of the three percent coming to Hostcom and another thirty percent going to Frontline exploration of oil in the north, it leaves much to be desired. So how do you explain it to your people? That it is not even the most troubling aspect of the bill, there is a place in PIB which says that the State Governors will now give the oil majors or the explorers’ power to own the land where they are exploiting the oil, after paying the three percent. It means that the oil communities will now be tenants. Niger Delta lawmakers at the National Assembly should have at least supported the course, and even vote against this clause, but they are the people who are supporting the clause because they feel if they don’t do that, the party might not give them their party ticket. I think they sold out completely, as an Urhobo man from an oil-producing community, I am not in support of that PIB bill, as passed.
What is your message to party faithfuls and the Urhobo nation since Delta is now your constituency and APC is preparing for congress?
My message is very clear, not only to party faithfuls but Nigerians as a whole, you need to go out to vote, not by shouting on social media, let them go out and register and vote who they don’t want out. Those who went against their interest should be voted out, that is the only way to deepen our democracy, not to be shouting on Facebook