Mr. Ovuozourie Samuel Macaulay
Secretary to the State Government, Delta State, Mr. Ovuozourie Samuel Macaulay, was in Lagos recently where he fielded questions from Journalists. Nkiruka Okoh who was there presents excerpts:
Why is this interactionin Lagos and not Delta State?
Today’s event is a unique one because one problem governments have continued to have is the fact that the governmentsseem to distancethemselvesfrom the people. People are afraid of being criticised;people don’t want to hear the opinion of those they are leading and so.In Delta State in the last 3 years,we have instituted the town hall meeting that is being anchored by the governor on senatorial bases.
But today,we decided to bring this meeting here, after the emergency one I held in Isoko at Ole, so that the Isoko people who are living outside, especially those of them in Lagos and its environscanhave a feel of the presence of government.They must be informed of the genuine efforts we are making to ensure that there is development in our state. we want to gauge their feelings, we want to know their problems, we want to know their expectations from government and to use the occasion to pass to them what government’s intentions and programmes are and I think that is the essence of governance.
But the Isoko people are still allegingmarginalisationin the scheme of things.Do you share theirview?
I dno’t subscribe to allegations of marginalisation because today,Urhobos will say they are marginalised, Ijawssaid they are marginalised and even the Itsekiri that have produced the governor are allegingmarginalisation. So,it has become a sing song. How are they marginalised? I am an Isoko son.What others are having, we are having also but nobody, group or section can have everything that they desire to.
On that basis,they can say they are not having enough. I will agree that they are not having enoughandwe need to have more.But come to think of it,which section hasenough? To say they are being marginalised is wrong. This government has ensured that things are equitably distributed. We try to ensure that no group or section is neglected or discriminated against.
The Isoko people are said to be looking forward to2015. What is the plan?
What exactly do you think they are looking for? I will not want to preempt what you mean.
Is it true they are bracing upfor governorship?
If you listened very well to my speech, I said the Isoko people will be what they want to be. In otherwords, what they make of themselves is what they will be. The sky is their limit and the degree of their political relevance is in their hands. I am just playing my own role.What I can do to position the Isoko people is what I am doing. What they want themselves to be is left for them. The unity among them, the level of their political consciousness, their political determination and all that, will determine how far they can go.
As SSG, to what extent can you say you have satisfied the yearnings of your people?
Well,thank youfor acknowledgingmy position asSSG of the state. I am serving Delta State, I am not serving just the Isoko people. My duty is to make sure that no part of Delta state is cheated. I go for equity, I go for fairness, that is my work as SSG. And in doing that, the Isoko people will not be cheated.That is what I can assure them.
What has been the challenge of the state government on the issue of flooding that the state suffered?
It was a big challenge for the government because the flood was not expected, nobody budgeted for it, nobody thought we couldbe a victim of such heavy disaster.But all the same,government is on top of the situation. The challenge from the Presidency to the governorship side was that of how we manage it;how we fund it.Today,I can say in all honesty that Delta State was on top of the situation that even when the Presidential Committee came to Delta State,they were happy with what was on ground;they never believed it was an emergency situation given the way we handled it.
You told the Isoko people during your address that they should forge a united front towards2015. How do you intendto sustain this aspiration as an Isoko son?
My simple assignment is to continue to preach the gospel of unity, asking my people to stop the syndrome of pull him downandcometogether to speak withone voiceandbuild bridges of better understanding. We extend relationship to other ethnic nationalities. The truth is that no matter what you want to be, no one ethnic nationality can make it on its own.So,even the nationalities in majority cannot say they can stand it alone.If they say so,then,they are making a mistake and I am sure everybody is beginning to realise that we need to build bridges of understanding if we must achieve our collective aspiration as a people with common destiny. Many people are talking about 2015 and I ask them how do we get there? You can’t be talking of 2015 when you are not united.So,you need to first and foremost,get the people united.
Are you interested inthe governorship position again?
That is not the aim of this visit. I did not come to Lagos to campaign for any political position. We are here to tell our people the giant strides of the state government, the humble and sincere efforts of the Uduaghanled-government and the need for our people to appreciate their government.