Mr Peters Omaruaye, who hails from Gbaregolor, Ughelli South LGA, Delta State, is the Delta Central Senatorial candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA. In this interview, he spoke extensively on his aspiration to represent the district and give them quality representation at the Senate. EXCERPT:
What can you tell us about your decision to contest for the Delta Central Senatorial districts?
Well in politics, when you are vying for a certain position, you should know that the essence is to come and serve your people, most importantly to give them quality representation.
Making them have that sense of belonging that they have somebody out there who can bring dividends of democracy to their door steps through legislative means. There is also what you call time and chance. I think in the last twenty years there has never been a time in the political dispensation where my people have not come to ask that I run for an elective position.
Before now, all our energy was geared towards starting from the Executive arm of government and my aspirations for Delta state has always been in line with Chief Great Ogboru’s aspiration, so it’s been about supporting that vision for a better Delta state driven from the Executive. In the coming 2023 general elections, there are a lot out there believing Ogboru political family may not have the position we are aspiring for over the years.
This is not because we have not won it, but there has been this conspiracy against us, we all know we have won it several times. Indeed a lot of people have won several seats from the Delta State House of Assembly to the Senate, and I know Deltans and Nigerians can testify to it.
So, at this point in time, I also thought that it is time for us who have been in the forefront of the struggle for better Delta state to come out and take up some of these elective positions and more importantly, this is the time God has approved for us in APGA to go.
Nigeria elections have always been characterised by rigging and other fraudulent acts, so what is giving you the confidence that this election will be free and fair?
Well, in the first instance we have won elections not once or twice in the state, starting from House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senate. of course you know from the last ten to twelve years the Delta Central Senatorial seat has been occupied by DPP, L.P and now APC through the ladder and influence of our leader, Chief Great Ogboru and his political family.
So we have always been very popular in the grassroots only that in the governorship, they have always denied us, which some persons who had won election twice through Chief Great Ogboru had confirmed in the open right in his village and in the presence of APC members.
Now, if you follow the trend of elections in this country even more recently, the Ekiti state governorship election, you will see that it is against the past where people just sit at home and write results. Now you will have to have the people, and be popular before you can win elections, this is now more magnified because of this new electoral act.
In the past, INEC had tried to better the system but they couldn’t have their way because of the electoral act.
Previously we used the card reader in the last two elections in the state and we won those elections going by the revelation of the card reader reports but because we didn’t have the legislation to support or back it, it was thrown out in the courts.
But now with the new electoral act and the additional technology of BVAS which is bimodal in operation, we are sure of winning, unlike in the past when people say if you cannot vote with the card reader, you use incident form, this situation cannot arise anymore.
So now you must be a popular candidate and you all know that we are the most popular in the state.
We have seen that with this new electoral law, rigging would have been reduced drastically but the major concern is this vote buying, don’t you think it will still affect the 2023 elections?
The issue of vote buying and outright writing of results have been there over the years. But the question is how many votes can you buy to win an election? For instance the just concluded Ekiti state elections the total number of registered voters was about 900 000, those who collected PVC was about 700 000, then the Valid Votes of total parties was less than 400,000.
Ekiti state is not a big state compared to Delta State. But even at that what it means is that if you want to buy votes, how many votes are you going to buy without having the grassroots? So what I know is that we are popular and our votes will stand. You see what happened in the Edo state governorship election before, so it’s getting better by day and the better they are the better for us because we are popular.
So what are the areas you are looking at to address if you become the Senator representing Delta Central?
Yes, we have had several senators from Delta Central and they have tried but you see the structure of Nigeria today is such that every region must have to take from the federal government. As a serving senator, you must sit down and have alliances with other of your colleagues, negotiate for your people, work on whatever you have on ground. Delta Central for instance, where you have eight local governments, I am aware that a lot of the things that came in from the federal government to Delta Central seem to be concentrated in only one local government, so where is the equity?
I am from Ughelli South but l have to attract development equitably to the whole local government areas of Delta Central because we can’t concentrate in one place, we must ensure that whatever comes to Delta Central must be shared among the eight local governments. I will change the narrative in Delta Central if given the mandate. So that it is going to be the ground on which we are going to drive the processes. There is also huge youth energy in this country today, that energy I will also bring to the table.
There are views that APGA may not have the structure that PDP and APC has for the 2023 elections, what is your take?
This is based on a wrong perception. What is structure? Structure is made up of people. You can’t be popular if you don’t have the numbers.
If you follow what is happening in Delta State APGA in the past three months, and you are honest to yourself, you will attest to the fact that since we took over APGA it has been something else. First and foremost we have done it in AD, DPP, LP and then what you have in APC today is our strength which we will also move.
APC Delta state will soon become a carcass as our people move enmasse to APGA. What has happened in APGA now is like a revolution, if you don’t have the people there is no way you can, have 29 house of Assembly seats in Delta, 10 Federal constituency, three Senate, and the governorship candidates clearly beating the INEC deadline.
So if you don’t have the people, and you are not popular, you can’t turn things around in such a short time. So when you talk about structure, it’s about the people, we have the people in and outside the party.
The Delta APGA governorship primaries, which was a delegate election, was supposed to be about eight hundred plus delegates but it was a mammoth crowd at PTI and we had a herculean task ensuring that only the delegates got into the hall.
The delegates were there but the number of people that came was unimaginable. So we have the people and we have the structure and the good will of the people is overwhelming.
Let me tell you something; you cannot take God’s blessing from the people, we have that blessing and you can’t take it from us. And I promise you only APGA, Ogboru can give Deltans the needed change come 2023.
You have two major opponents to contest with in APC’s Chief Ede Dafinone and Chief Ighoyota Amori of PDP, how do you intend to battle both?
Okay, both of them are sons of Urhobo nation, I think every son of Urhobo above the age of 35years is qualified to contest the senate position but election is about popularity, it is about your connection with the masses. Everything about Great Ogboru’s political family is the masses. It hasn’t been about ourselves but about what better deal we can get for the masses in Delta State. So with the combination of the popularity and the ability to cut across the elites through the aid of BVAS and backing of the masses, the vote will count, come 2023 general elections.
We have won Delta Central back to back in the last 16 years. We won it with the DPP with late Sen. Pius Ehwerido, then Chief Ede Dafinone came in as the flag bearer during the bye election but we lost. Then Ovie Omo-Agege came and we won in the Labour Party and won again in APC running his second tenure. So it’s about the masses and the Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru political family and they all know.
Finally, what is your message to Delta Central?
For those of you who haven’t registered, go and register for your PVC. People have been disappointed because over the years they have voted and their votes didn’t count. But things have changed now, the country has changed, elections in this country have changed. People are going to vote and their votes are going to count.
So for those of you who haven’t registered, please go and register. I understand that INEC has extended the registration time, so please go and register and then come out to vote because this time, your votes will count.