Chief Ayebaesin Edoghotu-Omoh is the pioneer Deputy Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of
Assembly. In this interview with JOHN ODHE in Yenagoa, Edoghotu speaks on why he is the most qualified aspirant for the Bayelsa East Senatorial District in the next election.
Who are you, sir?
I am Chief Ayebaesin Edoghotu Omoh. I am a native of Agrisaba-Mini in Constituency 111 of Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state. The pioneer Deputy Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and a frontline politician.
For some time now, it seems you went on a political holiday. What happened?
Politics is a game whereby if you win you become the focus of every eye but if you lose, you are out of sight. When I finished my first tenure, I wanted to go for a second term when the powers that be conspired against me and I lost that election. Since then, to borrow your words, I was hibernated as it were. That does not mean that I have not been active. I have been very active. I have been a member of the Bayelsa state House of Assembly Commission. Today, I am a special sdviser to the governor. So, I have been at the periphery though but very active.
Now that you are back in the game, what is your next political prospect?
I have been in the game. My background is that I am a journalist. I practiced for 17 years with Radio Rivers in the old Rivers State. Then my people called me to contest and I became the deputy speaker. After then, I have been in politics. I have not gone back to practice my profession. Now my people have called me again that having looked round, I am the most qualified to represent them in the red chambers. So, they have asked me to contest for the Bayelsa East Senatorial District.
Fortunately for me, it is a rotational seat. One term each for the three local government areas that make up the district; though some people are arguing that it should be at least two terms to give the senator some time to perform his job. But for now, it is going round and Nembe Local Government is the last turn.
The argument is that it should get to Nembe first then we can begin the two terms each. For now, Ogbia has had it twice, Brass has had it twice. In Nembe we also want to have it twice. Since it's rotational within the macro senatorial district, we are also arguing that there should be a micro rotation too from one constituency to another. It has been so in the two other local government areas. In Ogbia, it was constituency 1, then it moved to constituency 11. In Brass, it was constituency 1, then it moved to constituency 111.
In Nembe, it was constituency 1. Our argument is that it should now go to constituency 111 because constituency 11 has produced House of Representatives member for several years. It is only my constituency that has not produced anybody in the national assembly.
If the PDP, your party, gives you its ticket, will you be able to contend with political heavy weights like Opuala Charles and others?
Opuala Charles is not a politician. He has not contested an election before. He was only brought in by the former Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva as a technocrat and was made commissioner for finance. This is his first outing. It is those of us that have contested, won and lost elections that should be regarded as political heavyweights. Politics is not how much you have.
Do you think you can clinch your party's ticket where you have the likes of Sen. Barigha Amange and Hon. Bright Erewari also in the race?
In PDP, we are a family. Amange and I will always agree. There is no acrimony between us. Our argument like I said earlier is that since it has rotated in other LGAs from one constituency to another, it should rotate from constituency 1 where Amange comes from to constituency 111 where I come from. Already, constituency 11 has been producing the Reps member for several years. Constituency 111 that has lied fallow all this while should also have a feel of the pudding. We are applying rotation, so, we should apply it to the latter. That's my argument. Both Amange and Bright Ereware are from constituency 1. So the PDP as one family will sit and arrive at an agreeable point.
How sure are you to secure victory?
Bayelsa East Senatorial District is a core PDP area. It is the district of the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yes, violence has come into elections these days but going by one individual, one vote, victory is mine. We are not a violent party. Like the former president (Goodluck Jonathan) used to say that his election was not worth the blood of any Nigerian, the same is our position. My election is not worth the blood of any individual. That does not mean that they should come and shed our blood. Election is not a war. It is a game and in any game, there must be a winner and a loser. But if you lose and begin to go haywire, that is no longer a game. That is war.
You were in the state house of assembly. What will your people remember you for?
If you were in Bayelsa state then, I am not trying to derogate the present assembly, you will know that our time was when assembly was assembly. They are doing their best but the credit goes to us. We started without any reference materials but we were able to hold our own. Everybody knows me as somebody who has integrity; somebody who is honest, who is sincere and I was in touch with my people. I never took any decision without consulting with my people. Consultation was a key. I was always at home. Whatever I did, right or wrong, they are aware of it. That is the basic element of representative governance and I gave it to them.
Why do you want to go to the Senate?
Because I am eminently qualified; because I know the problems of my people. I know the difficulties we are having in assessing federal projects. I am not saying that those who were there did not do their own. They did their best but everybody knows what I can do. I am a persistent fighter. I will make sure that my people get better than what they are having. My focus is education, education and education because we are going down the drain due to lack of education. Our people must have the best of education. Then it will go to provision of health facilities and sanitation. Our area has been bedevilled by this 'kpo fire' thing. Our area has been so polluted that it is yearning for remediation. In my going to the National Assembly, I have the problems of my people at the back of my heart and I am going to doggedly fight for their interest.
What will be your greatest challenge in the race?
Finance. Like you said, I have been at the sideline for a very long time. I am just coming into the fray. With the bigwigs and all the moneybags, I am counting on God. With God, anything and everything is possible.