By Ovasa Ogaga,
A foremost political economist and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Professor Pat Utomi, urged Deltans to embrace their diversity and unite for the future task of rebuilding the state.
Utomi, while speaking in an interview in his Ibusa country home, Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state, said that the multi-ethnic composition of Delta State is not her problem but a corrupt political elite who continually hoodwink the people for selfish tendencies using tribe and politics.
Reacting to a question about the need or otherwise for Ibo-speaking Anioma (Delta North Senatorial district) to produce the governorship candidate of APC in 2019, he said that propriety and natural justice makes the case for Anioma governorship compelling in 2019.
According to him, “there is a large cross-section of Deltans encompassing the three senatorial districts that were enthused about the prospects of power equilibrium, adding that any political party that seriously wishes to take over power from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta State needs to think about this as part of its overall strategy for winning the election.”
Noting that Delta Central and Delta South districts have had a fair share of the governorship slot for eight years respectively, Utomi said that the desire of the Anioma people to complete 8 years should be taken seriously.
Professor Utomi however cautioned that in the quest for a Delta North gubernatorial ticket, antecedent, merit and character are important prerequisites, and expressed confidence that proven integrity and track record of performance marked him out as one for the job at this particular time.
The renowned academic added that he has the capacity to rescue the oil-rich state from years of maladministration and rudderless stewardship by successive administrations.
According to him, “governance in the neighbouring Edo state which shares iconic history and destiny with Delta has worked efficiently because of vision and sustainable policies. Same with Lagos”
He pledged that with his knowledge, skills and global network, he would develop industrial hubs that would drive the local economy, reduce mass poverty ravaging the state and create wealth for jobless youths in the face of government’s over-dependence on oil money.
He further said his strident criticisms of successive governments in the state was based strictly on patriotic persuasion. “I have no personal differences whatsoever with Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan or Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. One is my friend, the other my brother. I engage whoever on principles”, Utomi noted.
The gubernatorial hopeful further admonished politicians who have done twelve consecutive years in power to step aside for younger leaders to take over, assuring that he would serve a single term of four years if elected Governor in 2019, which is all he requires to lauch the economy of Delta state on the on the path of sustained growth and development.
On Buhari’s anti-corruption war, Prof. Utomi stated that it has brought appreciable sanity to governance hitherto desecrated by the greed of public office holders at all levels.
He said only dubious traducers of the President who have soiled their hands hold a minority view that his anti-graft initiative is targeted at “political enemies.”
Utomi stated that no society can survive without a strong moral fibre in its social, economic and political life, explaining that self-discipline and accountability were the enduring values of leadership.