Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), a former Senate Leader in the 7th National Assembly, is the Chairman, Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). In this interview with select newsmen, he speaks on his desire to return to the Senate and other issues. TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI brings the excerpts:
Four years ago, when you attempted to return to the Senate for the third time, it appeared you were blocked and it also appeared that you were unhappy. Now, you seem to have confidence that this time around, you will return to there. What gives you this confidence knowing that there are other political heavy weights you are going to contend with in the 2019 general elections?
It is only God that can tell what will happen the next minute and as I speak, I cannot tell what will happen the next minute. As an individual, what I can do is to look at the situation and then take my chances, but I am confident that I will make it. What is the basis of my confidence? My records! When I was in the Senate, we were always going round inspecting projects. Do we still inspect projects?
As a senator in the Seventh Senate, you facilitated two projects; worthy to be mentioned is the Iruan Dam Project in Boki Local Government Area of the state and the Specialist Hospital in Ikom Local Government Area via the NDDC. Since you left, nothing has been heard about these projects. Can you give us an update on the projects?
For the Iruan Dam, I will confess that I do not have any information. It is an ongoing project. For the Specialist Hospital in Ikom, I am able to answer because by providence, I am the chairman of the NDDC that is building the place. The original design and scope of the specialist hospital was very limited. You had that huge edifice and there was no provision for a mortuary, staff quarters. So, we took a second look at it and decided that we must include those facilities. Unfortunately, it took the threshold of that project beyond our level and so it had to go to the Federal Executive Council for approval and we are still waiting for their approval, but certainly the project will be completed and it will be of a more comprehensive design than what you have now.
About this time in 2014, there was this rancorous relationship between you and your successor in the Senate, John Owan Enoh though you are friends now. What really went wrong then?
It was not between him and I, it was between Imoke and I.
Now that Onah has left the PDP for APC and is running for governorship, are you likely to work together? Also, what is your relationship with Senator Liyel Imoke like
I will not bother answering the second question, but the first one, yes, Senator John Enoh is now in the APC and we are working together to ensure the victory of the party at every level. So we are bound and obliged to work together because we want to see the victory of our party at different levels. But let me say this, in spite of the very painful experience in 2014, I never made any public comment. I took it as God’s will. You must have pain and joy, that’s life. What makes one a man is the ability to accept things as they come. I am a man of very great faith. I have never bought or fired a gun in my life. My father was a lover of guns and there were guns all over the house, but I never touched them. My weapon is my rosary, so I accepted everything as God’s will. I lost six local governments and gained nine states.
In your bid to seek re-election to the Senate, tell us the kind of new idea you intend to inject in the course of making laws that will bring succour to the lives of your constituents and Nigerians in general?
Let us go back to our verifiable history. I was in the Senate for three terms, out of these, for two terms I was in leadership. First as deputy leader and then as leader. For two terms under the Senate Presidency of Senator David Mark, there was no scandal in that Senate. There was no rancour that became public. Remember, especially during the tenure of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, may God bless his soul, when he was absent, we were on the precipice of a major constitutional crisis and it was the Senate that held the balance. Historically, that is the role of the Senate, the Senate is supposed to hold the balance for the country during crisis. Yes, the National Assembly is an independent arm of government, but it is still an arm of government and the three arms need to work in synergy with some cooperation for things to happen. I think that to move the nation forward, the legislature and executive must work out a system of promoting national interest.
Let me say this, the presidential system of government is designed with conflicts inbuilt because without the conflicts, you cannot trigger checks and balances. So, the answer is constant dialogue and finding ways round problems. So, the difference I will make is to get the Senate to appreciate its responsibilities and at the same time, know when to work with the executive to move the nation forward. And in any case, I have so many bills that were not passed, so I intend to work on them and get new ones passed.
What is your view about the current face-off between two former governors of Cross River State, Donald Duke and Senator Liyel Imoke? Won’t this threaten good governance in the state?
There is nothing wrong about the quarrel. Friends can quarrel. There is a saying in Yoruba that 20 children cannot play together on the same field for 20 years. And for me, I think those disclosures are actually healthy so that Cross Riverians can know the details of what actually took place. It will help our future conduct in public office.
Assuming you are asked by the people of Cross River Central senatorial district how you have fared as the Board Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), what would your scorecard look like? And, as you seek to represent them in the Senate and what is your view of the current administration in the state?
I think that at my age and level, I should be discussing national and international issues. The younger ones are the ones who should have views about Cross River. When I was young, for those of you who were here, I had very strong views about issues of governance in the state and if you could recall as Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), I took on military regimes and even got a military governor removed in this state. I got to a certain stage where I had to yield ground for younger people and so let the younger people be discussing Cross River State.
For the NDDC, I think in less than two years that I have been there, I have done quite a lot and if you recall when I went in, the Calabar-Itu and Ikom-Ogoja roads were totally impassable. So, there are so many things we have done and we’re hoping that we have time to commission what we have done so that people can see what we have done in less than two years.
The post My Record As Senator Gives Me Confidence –Ndoma- Egba appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.
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