Buhari’s Probe Of Jonathan In Order – Omene | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari’s Probe Of Jonathan In Order – Omene

Posted: Aug 6, 2015 at 12:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Joseph Orode Omene, President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), in this interview with JOHN DUGBE, speaks on the restructuring of the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and other sundry issues. Excerpt:

Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has just dissolved the DESOPADEC Board, saying he wants the chairman to be on part time like that of the NDDC. What is your take on this?

Governor Okowa is right. If he says that the DESOPADEC chairman should be on part time as well as the commissioners on the board, and the Managing Director to be on full time, there is nothing wrong with it. If the system of the previous administration is faulty, the governor has no choice than to restructure the commission. It does not matter whether it is the turn of Urhobo to produce the chairman of the commission. What matters is that the commission should be run for the good of the people of the oil producing areas.


The present system in DESOPADEC allows the Urhobo to have three commissioners. But the new Bill to restructure the agency, which the governor has sent to the state House of Assembly, provides for only on commissioner from the ethnic group although the Urhobo are 51 per cent of the state’s population. What is your view on this?

An Urhobo man is the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. If the Urhobo members in the House allow their people to be shortchanged, or mortgage their people’s interest, it is up to them. Urhobo has 10 legislators in the House. It will be on record that the Urhobo were shortchanged during their time as legislators representing Urhobo in the Delta State house of Assembly.


Why should many people be struggling to become chairman of the commission?

Many Deltans are struggling to become chairman of the commission due to their own selfish interests and not for the interest of the people in the oil producing areas. Why is it that people do not want to serve on the board of Adult Education or Pilgrims Welfare Board?


Do you think that the restructuring of the commission will bring about the desired results for which the commission was established?

Yes, the commission when restructured, will be run as a company and this will make it achieve the aim of establishing it as an interventionist agency that will embark on projects that will touch on the lives of the people in the oil producing areas in the state. The former structure of the commission was faulty when the chairman is the chief executive officer of the commission. The first chairman of the commission, Chief Wellington Okrika, ran the commission as a one-man show. Should the faulty structure of the commission be allowed to continue? No! Power cannot be concentrated in the hands of an individual. It should be decentralised.


Most Nigerians are agitating that President Muhammadu Buhari should probe former President Jonathan’s administration. What is your take on this?

Probing of former President Jonathan’s administration by President Buhari is in order. But the probe shouldn’t be limited to Jonathan’s administration alone. Past administrations should be probed. Anybody that is corrupt should be made to cough out the money, and possibly go to jail. The probe should not be selective just as Obasanjo did. During the Obasanjo administration, we heard about the Halliburton probe. Probing former President Jonathan without probing other past leaders will mean President Buhari is victimising former President Jonathan because he is from a minority region of the South-South. When the present Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi 11, was the governor of Central Bank, he picked Oceanic Bank owned  by a South–South man, Chief Michael Ibru, for auction despite the fact that Oceanic Bank was more solvent than most banks in the nation. I say that all corrupt government officials in the country should be probed, it shouldn’t be limited to one administration. Are you saying there are no corrupt ministers or government officials in Obasanjo regime or in the regime of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua?.


President Buhari in an interview during his recent visit to the United States said that he would ensure that every Nigerian gets justice. But, he said that was going to appoint ministers from states that voted for him, adding that without their votes he could not have become president. What is your take on this?

I can fault the President on this statement. A good leader should be magnanimous in victory. Late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa was incarcerated for 27 years. When he was released, he had all the opportunities to punish those who imprisoned him. But he did not do that. It goes to show that the late Mandela was magnanimous in victory. That was why he was mourned globally on his demise. I want to appeal to Mr. President to be magnanimous in victory. One credit nobody can take away from former President Jonathan was that he was the first President in Nigeria to concede defeat, even when the final result of the presidential election of March 28, 2015 has not been announced.