"I am nobody’s fool" – Tony Obuh (Guardian Interview)

Sir Obuh Anthony Obuh is one of the aspirants eyeing the Dennis Osadebey House in Asaba, Delta State, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Until a few months ago when his posters and billboards appeared on the streets of the three senatorial zones, he was not well known in the political movement of the state. Yet, he is believed to be the “anointed one” for the job of governor after Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, reports Odita Sunday. 
IT is rumored that you are an appendage of Governor Uduaghan, isn’t it?  
  I am a 57-year-old man and for the 57 years, no one, traditional rulers, religious leaders or otherwise have said that I don’t know what I am doing. At 57, I am full-grown and mature to know what is right and wrong. I am mature enough to know what I am capable of doing or not. 
  I know the environment I operate and I know my capacity. If there is opportunity to take over the mantle of leadership in Delta State, I think I am better than any other person that has come out now to contest. 
  So, if any person tells you that I am somebody’s appendage just because I want to continue the good job the person has started, I don’t see anything wrong being the person’s appendage but I am nobody’s fool.   
  My decision to contest started 22 years ago. I couldn’t have been any person’s appendage when I decided to join the Civil Service instead of going to become a court Judge, or run a personal business. 
  There was no attraction in the Civil Service because there is no money there but I decided to serve the public and after 32 years, I still have the energy and capacity and experience to serve better and that is why I am seeking for a higher public service office to continue serving. My decision to contest was taken by my personal self.
Do you believe in godfatherism?
  Even in the church, we have godfathers but why do we have them? It is because we are looking on to them as our mentors. If you have a godfather that is disciplined, that believes in good governance, and that believes in equality and justice, why not godfathers? 
  I am looking for a godfather that will not subvert the rule.
Are you a pan-Delta or Anioma candidate?
  I am from Agbor in Delta North. So, I am a full son of Delta North but I am not contesting because I am from Agbor. I am a candidate that stands for Deltans and not for one ethnic group.
  I am contesting because I am from Delta State and I have an agenda that the three senatorial districts and five ethnic groups, which constitute Delta State, will live in harmony as brothers and sisters. 
If you win the election come 2015, where will you draw your experience?
  I worked as a civil servant. I have gone through a lot of training and retraining. In the last 10 years in the Civil Service, I worked in the office of the Secretary to the State Government. Security has been my primary concern. 
  So, if I have been involved in interactions in all the security matters and management of security, then I do have the experience to run the state as the chief security officer. 
Delta beyond oil means industrialisation of the state; what is your plan to secure investors?
  Delta beyond oil is becoming a phenomenon; even the Federal Government is also working towards beyond oil. Everybody now appreciates that oil is exhaustible; it will dry up one day. We need to delve into other areas. 
  We need to develop our place and development will not come where there is no security. Security is very necessary because I can’t put my money where I know it will not be secured. I will not put my investment where I know that the lives of the people and property cannot be secured. 
  Here, we are looking at the future where industries will be established. We believe that foreigners will come and invest in our community. How do we ensure that they will come? 
  For me, the major attraction we have in Delta State is security. We are enjoying the level of security that no other state is enjoying. 
The incidence of kidnapping is at the beret minimum. What we will do is to sustain the level of security and improve upon it. 
  At the moment, we have what we call waterways security committee. It is put in place by the present administration of Dr. Uduaghan. The committee is making sure that people go about their business without fear of being attacked during oil exploration. We know that the waterways are secured but we need to sustain the tempo. 
  Similarly, I think we should establish an upland security. The committee will be a grassroots one that will understand the local government areas very well. We will pick seven men from each community, making sure that they are abreast with the security of their areas. They will relate the information on security threats of their community to the appropriate quarters. 
  The locals know their areas and the people who live with them very well. They know strangers, businessmen and those who are passing by. So, if they notice any suspicious behaviour, they are in a position to report to security agencies. We will give responsibilities to indigenes to contribute to the security of their areas.
  Beyond that, we will involve the traditional institutions in the issue of security. They are highly respected by their subjects. It is the culture that traditional rulers are respected and obeyed when they give instructions. 
  If I have God’s blessing and the opportunity to be the governor of the state, I will enhance the powers of the traditional rulers. I will give them responsibility and authority. By this, they will be responsible for whatever that happens in their domain.
  Of course, we have the Nigeria Police just like we have other security agencies. We are not taking over their responsibilities but we will collaborate with them. We will support, mobilise and provide them with the necessary logistics to carry out their duties. 
  We know that the level of trust for the police is not at its best but we are going to improve in the area of trust so that when we say the police are our friends, we are sure that they are our friends. 
  Public confidence in the police will be renewed. We will enhance their welfare so that they will protect life and property. 
  We will give attention to employment. When we create jobs, the youths will be taking out of crime. Unemployment is not peculiar to Delta State; it is a global phenomenon. That is not to say that we will fold our hands and watch our youths exhibit hoodlumism just because they are not gainfully employed. We will ensure that the problem of joblessness is tackled. 
  We need to change our educational system so as to make sure that during training in the schools, we expect to give our children life-enhancing education that will enable them to cater for themselves and their families, something that will make them independent persons.  
  They will be able to stand on their own with or without government employment. From primary school level, we will ensure that our children are trained in different vocations if they are table to go beyond secondary school. We will train them in skills acquisition. 
  If they go beyond secondary school or tertiary institutions, they can learn higher skills in their specialised courses. We will ensure that we have institutions that will have specialised courses. We will provide facilities. 
  We will have resource persons and professionals to impact the skills. We will take care of the lecturers so that they will be at their best to enable students to complete their studies and be marketable. 
  If they decide to be on their own, they will be able to stand the test of time. If they are looking for employment, they will be gainfully employed. 
  We will also give incentives to people in agriculture. We will encourage them in preserving their farm produce in order to add value to the products.
(Culled from Guardian Newspaper: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/features/policy-a-politics/184922-i-m-a-pan-deltan-candidate

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