Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said that a good senator who is ready to attract federal projects and achieve his developmental goals for his constituents must be prepared to do more of lobbying.
Uduaghan, who is seeking to represent Delta South senatorial district at the Senate in 2019, said holding committee chairmanship post or any powerful committee position doesnâ€™t make one a good senator.
According to him, only those who know how to network and possibly lobby with contacts built over the years and can attract projects to their people are the real senators.
Uduaghan, who narrated what he did as a governor during the dark days of Niger Delta militancy, as well as quelling communal crisis in the state, said he personally engaged stakeholders, key actors, traditional rulers as well as negotiated for peace in the state and the region.
Speaking at yesterdayâ€™s media parley with selected members of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Warri, Uduaghan said as a former governor who had garnered much experience in governance, he is better positioned to represent the people of Delta South in the Senate in 2019 than any other person jostling for the seat.
According to him, â€œLegislation is about lobbying, and being a legislator, you must have the ability to lobby. And lobby is easier when you know who you are talking to. Many of the people in the National Assembly are my former colleagues, and also in the executive arm. Many of them are my friends and they are people I have played politics with for a long time.
â€œIt is easier for me, for instance, to take up my phone and call Fashola for one road project somewhere in Isoko than any other person in the race to do that or call Amaechi that I want this port here than any other person to do that.
â€œIt will be easier for me to talk to them one on one whether I am a senator or not. I will get an appointment for us to meet and talkâ€¦ So what Iâ€™m saying in the essence is that if you have the capacity, it will be easier to get things to your area because it is easier for you to lobby and attract development to your constituency. And I think I have that capacity to lobby and not just to pass whatever bill Iâ€™m presenting, but to attract development to my constituency.
â€œOne other thing that I think is critical for the National Assembly is that there are a lot of national issues that are raised in the National Assembly. They are national but they affect various region of this country, and if you donâ€™t understand the politics and depth of this country, you might just stay there and not be able to contribute and get the benefit of that particular issue raised to your area.â€
He added that â€œSometime, you see people who have being in the National Assembly for four to eight years and you ask what they have actually done? He was chairman of this, chairman of that committee but what has he actually done for his people. There are deep things in this country that people donâ€™t understand except you are part of it. Of course you know I belong to a governorâ€™s forum for eight years. There are things that are discussed in the forum that we will never tell you (media) because we donâ€™t allow journalists to come inside but at the end, we do a press briefing on things that are of public consumption.â€
The medical doctor turned politician said only those who understand the intricacies and complexity of Nigeria can make good legislation and be able to attract development to their area.
Uduaghan, whose administration left an indelible mark in many areas in the state, and may likely square up against the incumbent senator representing Delta South, Senator James Manager, who has been in the upper chambers for 15 years and a Delta State House of Assembly lawmaker, Mr. Michael Diden, in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries, said he has gotten a broaden knowledge of the happenings in the country to aid his legislative voyage in 2019 than any other contestant in the district.
â€œMy experience as a governor for eight years has broadened my knowledge of this country. I have knowledge of the intricacies of this country and this country is very complex. I refused to talk about what happened recently (snatching of mace in the Senate), and I think it is deeper than what people are see.
â€œSo we need to get somebody there who understands the issues so that when the issues are raised, you will not just look at it from the surface but also ensure that your area is not short changed. So those are the things I think qualify me to go into the senate race,â€ Uduaghan said.
The former governor, who met journalists in Warri the first time since he left office in 2015, said his aspiration to represent the people of Delta South senatorial district is not ethnic based but anchored on his capacity to deliver to his people.