Hon Solomon Funkekeme is the Director General, Delta PDP Campaign Organization. In this interview with MICHAEL OLADAPO on this year’s election, he speaks on PDP Campaign strategies and why Governor Ifeanyi Okowa will be re-elected. Excerpts:
The National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshionmhole, has vowed to win Delta for the party. Is PDP jittery especially when APC has won Osun and Ekiti State recently?
How can he win Delta?, Has he finished with Okorocha?,Has he finished with Amosun?, Has he finished with Yari?, Has he finished with Rotimi Amaechi?. He has enough on his table, so why is he worried about Delta? Delta and Edo State are brothers and Oshiomhole would not cause us to make trouble. That is why we do not respond to him. You cannot give him so much attention; he has enough to contend with. Does he have a party in Delta? Ask him, maybe it would add to his height. We do only need to bother about that, the Bible says in Joshua, “Fear not, be of good courage. We do not need to worry about Oshiomhole, we are worried about how we would get enough resources to develop Delta because we are going to win.
APC has regarded the Senatorial rotation policy used by PDP as a policy to enslave Deltans. What is your view on this?
Rotation is a Delta State policy, not a policy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). There are people who are in APC now that used to be in the PDP and had enjoyed the rotational policy. Therefore, can they in good conscience say that they were not part of it, it is not possible?
What has the state benefitted from such rotational arrangement?
When democracy came, we were finding how we could establish ethnic cohesion as a State and one of the policies that came to be examined and accepted is rotational Governorship. It has brought down political unrest; there was a time some people who came from the other side of Delta could not sleep in Asaba. They would have to go back to the other side of Asaba every Thursday but today, almost everyone is settled here. It is a policy that is beautiful, a policy that talks about equity, fairness.
But some stakeholders are saying it is not constitutional but PDP arrangement?
In fact, the policy is constitutional; section 14 of the constitution says that, “In the administration of any part of the state thereof, every part of the state must be made to have a sense of belonging”. That is what has brought about cohesion, it is a beautiful policy only someone who either does not stay in Delta, who stays only in Lagos and comes to Delta periodically contest the validity of this policy. More so, a village or a town or a state does not make a people, it is the people that make village or a town. So those who are in APC now were also in PDP or vice versa. Some of the highest people in the APC were beneficiaries of this policy, that is why someone that comes from a very minute ethnic group can become the Governor of Delta State because of this equity.
How confident are you on the chances of the incumbent to win the Governorship come February 2019?
For us, we have done well and Deltans are massively behind the re-election bid of Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as the sole candidate of the PDP in Governorship election in Delta State. I am not expecting anybody from Delta North to be his enemy, if so then the person is a rebel and a rebel is witch and a witch is not supposed to live, it is Biblical. So Delta North is already for him. Those of us that are from Delta North, Would you shoot yourselves in the foot? In that vein, Dr Okowa already has consolidated vote in Delta North and he has me in Delta South and his Deputy in Delta South.
You sound absolutely confident over the victory of Senator Okowa, are you planning to buy votes?
We do not need to buy any votes, Deltans future is in their hands and they know the choice before them. The choice is voting for good governance, voting for continuity, voting for performance, voting for equity and a future that is assured or voting for an unknown fellow, who is a serial contestant. Individuals who contest as a business, a serious person would know that becoming a Governor of a state is not a tea party as a result we are very settled. We know God is with us, God does not like confusion or disorganisation.
God knows the policy of rotation has come to settle Delta State peacefully and anyone who wants to truncate that peace and cohesion is anti- God. We would not buy any votes because we are not afraid as God is on top, we are not afraid of anyone. The Bible says, you will not be afraid of their faces, they can have anybody and intentions. The intentions are for them, their human intentions and the intentions of God are more and God believes in the stability of this state.
This state has become stabilised and he would not allow anyone destroy the stability. God said it in Malachi that he would separate those who serve him, those who serve him are those who like peace. Those who believe in the rotational governorship are the peacemakers and those who want to change it are the troublemakers and God would go after them, not just after them but everybody that is involved in it. According to Isaiah, even their helpers would fall, so we are very confident about that. If you read 2 chronicles, chapter 20 it says the battle is not for us, it is for him. It says do not worry set yourself and see if I would not strike.
With accusations that APC buy PVCs in recent elections, will the PDP follow the trend to win in the Governorship election in Delta State?
As for PVC, we do not need to look for PVC. The PVC is a right of an individual, so why would a party wants to force people to take their PVC, is the person not alive? So, a Deltan who knows that he has a right to vote would go for his or her PVC. It is not the place of the government or the PDP as a party or we in the campaign organization to make it as our point of duty. It is the duty of the INEC to enlighten people and the Civil society to enlighten people. We are partisans, so the PVC are available for those who are ready to collect them. If we have just 1,000 people to vote, we would win. It is simple majority, if we have just 100 votes in each 25 local government and they are the only people available, that is all. It is by accredited votes, valid votes and then the ones counted. As far as I am concerned, I think that Deltans whose PVC are still outstanding should collect them, we would not force anybody to collect it because it is personal to the person. I will urge the press to help us enlighten people on the need to collect their PVCs.