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DTHA 2023; I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO GIVE QUALITY REPRESENTATION-Festus Ofume

DTHA 2023; I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO GIVE QUALITY REPRESENTATION-Festus Ofume, Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) Top Aspirant On The Platform of All Progressive Congress (APC)

That Ika nation has benefited immensely from the All Progressive Congress (APC) led Federal Government is no longer in doubt. The APC led Federal Government appointed Ika illustrious sons and daughters into very strategic/critical of the government.

Checkout the scorecard; Godwin Emefiele, the current Governor of the Nation’s apex bank (Central Bank of Nigeria) was not only appointed but had his second term renewed. A feat no one has ever achieved in Nigeria right from the nation’s independence in October, 1960. Before the excitement raised by the development could settle, another one was up. This time around, General Irabor, another Ika son was named as the nation’s Chief of Defense.

And very recently, Felix C. Morka, Senior Special Assistant on Legislative and Legal Matters to the nation’s Deputy Senate President was again elevated by the same party to the position of National Publicity Secretary of the party.

What is however newsy and fascinating is that while these achievements are daily recorded at the Federal level, the party is not relenting. Rather, it is working very hard and taking critical steps and decision to takeover power in the oil rich Delta state presently regarded as a People Democratic Party (PDP) conclave.

This development was recently made known by Festus Ofume, Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) Top Contender On The Platform of All Progressive Congress (APC). 

Ofume aspires to represent the good people of Ika South local Government in the State House of Assembly come 2023.

Regardless of what anyone may think or say about him, the truth is that the interview more than anything else revealed sterling qualities about Barrister Ofume. The aspirant has created a space for himself among all the aspirants. And it is obvious that if elected, will activate a paradigm shift in Ika South politics.

Ofume’s education and professional excellence supports this claim.

 He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law (LL. B) from the University of Benin and a Master of Laws degree (LL.M) from the prestigious Osgoode Hall Law School, New York University in Toronto, Canada. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2003. Barrister Ofume going by his testimony is rich in exposure, having worked as Senior Consultant in the Education, Oil & Gas, Municipal and Provincial Government sectors in Washington DC, USA and Alberta, Canada.

Aside from answering all the questions that was thrown at him by Jerome-Mario Utomi, Ika Weekly Newspaper’s Special Project Office, the eloquent Ofume explained that everything good created in life, that God has created has an element in it that is meant to destroy it, and concluded that PDP as a party in Delta state has triggered that element that is meant to destroy the party (PDP) in the state.

It is a delectable interview. Enjoy it!!

IMG-20220329-WA0037 DTHA 2023; I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO GIVE QUALITY REPRESENTATION-Festus Ofume
FESTUS OFUME

Question; available information at the public domain indicates that you are lacing up your shoes to represent Ika South Local Government Area at the Delta state House of Assembly (DTHA).

Answer; that is correct

Question; so, in the interest of our teaming readers, I ask; who is Festus Ofume?

Festus Ofume is a Nigerian lawyer born to the family of Hon. & Mrs. Isaac Jombo Ofume (JP) of Alihame Agbor, Delta State. He had his early education in Agbor, where he attended Erigbe Primary School and the then Gbenoba Grammar School now St. Columbus Grammar School.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law (LL. B) from the University of Benin and a Master of Laws degree (LL.M) from the prestigious Osgoode Hall Law School, New York University in Toronto, Canada. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2003.

Barr. Ofume is rich in exposure, having worked as Senior Consultant in the Education, Oil & Gas, Municipal and Provincial Government sectors in Washington DC, USA and Alberta, Canada.

He has worked at the International Development Institute (IDI), Washington DC; Athabasca University (AU); Alberta Ministry of Environment; The City of Edmonton and University of Alberta (U of A) all in the province of Alberta.

Back home in Nigeria, Festus is a founding partner of the law firm, Aequitas Partners LLP where he currently works and practices as a lawyer. He is also an astute business analyst with years of experience acquired from both Canada and Nigeria. These qualities have so far distinguished and still stand the youthful leader out within the legal profession, as he is equipped with the dexterity to combine both commercial and legal values into his work.

Festus is an excellent advocate both within and outside the court room and possesses excellent drafting skills in the legal profession. A vocal member of the Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association, Commonwealth Lawyers Association and International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

Mr. Ofume has served humanity and Nigeria in a number of capacities, amongst which are – one-time President of the Nigerian Association of Alberta; one-time Vice President Nigeria Advancement Institute all in Canada.

READ ALSO: DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY IN IKA CULTURE BY ONYEKPEZE

He ventured into mainstream politics about 5 years ago, where He was the Delta State Chairman of Young Democratic Party (YDP) and subsequently became the Party’s gubernatorial candidate for Delta state at the 2019 General elections.

Maintaining an ideology that drives for excellence, he joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2020, to build, strengthen and contribute to politics and good governance in Delta state and Nigeria at large.

He is a stickler for details, an enthusiastic team leader/player, an all-round strategist and result oriented personality who maintains a passionate disposition to progressive politics and is committed to youth empowerment and a new lease for young Nigerians.

Festus Ofume is a family man and a recipient of awards, honors and recognition from within and outside the country, including:

Niger Delta Awards – Special Recognition Award (2017). Intercommunity Awareness for Change and Development Initiative (IACDI) – Africa’s Distinguished Patriot Award (2018). ECOWAS Youth Parliament Certificate of Affirmation 2019. West African Student Union (WASU) Award of Excellence 2020. National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) Icon of Hope Award (2020)

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Students Representative Council (ABUSRC) Award of Excellence as An Icon Of Humanitarian Services (2021). Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Post Graduate Representative Council (ABUPRC) Award of Excellence As An Icon of Educational Transformation and Humanitarian Services (2021). Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA) Certificate of Recognition as “Jagoran Matasan Arewa” (Leader of the Northern Youth) for contributions to Youth Welfare and Empowerment in Northern Nigeria. Centre for The Development of Leadership Integrity and Purpose (Teach House) Special Leadership Recognition Award (2021). Unified Nigeria Youth Forum (UNYF) – Patriot Recognition Award (2021). Nigeria Youth Senate (NYS) Ambassador of Peace (2022). Oodua Youth Parliament (OPY) Certificate of Excellence as “Mayegun of Oodua Youth Parliament” 2022.

Question; is this your first time of vying for public office?

A, in 2019 while I was the Delta State Chairman of Young Democratic Party, I was also the party’s flag bearer for the gubernatorial election. So, this should not be my first time.

Question; But this is the first time on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC)?

Answer; yes, this is the first time I am running on the platform of the All Progressive Congress. I joined the party in 2019.

Question; Sir Currently, there is an Ika South son at the Delta state House of Assembly representing the local government?  Is that assertion, correct?

Answer; that’s correct.

Question; so, what do you think that he is not doing right/well that you want to go and up the game Sir?  The purpose of this question is to enable you marshal out before our readers your aims/objectives in ways that will make them see why they should switch from him to you?

Answer; It is not about what he is doing wrong. It is about that since his being there, he has been doing his best –giving the maximum of his capacity. He has gotten to the peak of what he can offer, what he can do. So, we are not saying that he is doing anything wrong. But what we are saying is that there comes a time in the life of people when you have to go back to the drawing board and actually see where to strengthen yourself- areas that need to be worked on. And it is very clear that the rudiment of enacting law is best understood by those who are trained in that field and not by getting into the legislative arm and then learning from the scratch and learning from the fact that you have been there once and second time and on.  We are looking out for people with very high pedigree, people that have what it takes to give quality representation. And that is what I am bringing to the table; I am bringing my vast experience both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria, of being into the public domain drafting bills for legislative members, working as a stakeholder in several projects’ implementation life circle, working as a stakeholder in community development.

I believe that I have what it takes to give a better representative to the people of Ika South. I believe that the party which I am running on, the All Progressive Congress Party (APC) has the better control over their representatives in offices as against the People Democratic Party where the current representative is actually coming from. We are saying that the office of a lawmaker is actually to go there and project laws that change policies that affect the lives of the people. Lawmakers are actually not going there to award contracts or pick contracts from the government at all. He is just there to make policies.

And then, what we have seen currently is a situation whereby somebody who is in the state House of Assembly coming out to brandish roads and other projects that they have lured him to do.

Question; isn’t that part of the constituency projects?

Answer; there are constituency projects and constituency projects should be done and everybody knows what constituency project is.  But we have seen a situation whereby members of the Assembly are going around telling people that they have constructed roads. They have rehabilitated roads; they have brought several roads within Ika local government Area they influenced personally.

When we look that those comments, we laugh because we know too well that those things are not true, they are not correct. We are looking out for people who will go in and actually present the matter the way it is so that people will understand the role in terms of the separation power. The role of the legislative arm of government is primarily to go in there and see how you can sponsor, influence proper bills to become laws that will affect the people of your community which is your constituency that you represent. This is the things I am bringing on board. So, I am bringing in a better representative to Ika South as against what we have always had under the auspices of the People Democratic Party (PDP).

Question; Thanks very much. We will definitely get back to the PDP/APC dichotomy. But before then, for the sake of clarity, what should the entire people of Ika South/nation expect from you if elected?

Answer; The Ika people should expect that they are electing someone who is going there to serve and not somebody who is going there to act as the conqueror and take the people who has voted for him to become the conquered people. So, my going there, you are going to expect a representative for the first time where the representative will always be coming back home having grassroots consultative forum with his people to actually ascertain what the needs of the people in particular are and also help the people to be projected towards becoming better deltans in Delta State and better Nigerians at large.

The people should expect that for the first time, a member of the House of Assembly representing Ika Federal Constituency will not be doing constituency project based on my own personal conviction. I will do constituency projects based on the need assessment and identify that there are gaps in my constituency and those gaps need to be filled.  That is what we are going to do and that is a kind of representation that I am going to bring them.

  1. Perfectly well. I very obviously appreciate your position. But sir, I need to draw your attention to this fact. In past, we have seen people dish out magnificent promises/strategies, but as soon as they got there, they turn against the people and become the primary reality that the people worry about?

Looking at this fact, I ask; what strategy or tactics are you putting on ground to ensure that you will not deviate or renege from these promises.

A; yes, you see the major reason why that happens is that most of the people that have represented Ika are not qualified to be there. In one way or the other, they bought those positions. They bought that office from their political party. And having spent so much in getting that position, when they get to the office; the first thing they look into is how to recoup the money that they have used. So, the kind of politics that I am playing, if you see or if you can ask around, I have been in politics, I am enlightened. I have played politics in Canada. I was one time the President of Nigerian/Canadian Association for two terms. So, I have met lawmakers, I have met with politicians in the Western World.

And that is the kind of politics that I am bringing; politics that is devoid of money.  I have started my politicking over three years ago. Let the people understand that this is where we are going. And by the special grace of God, we are gaining ground not because we are dishing out money to the people but because we are able to tell them, convince them that with us, we have what it takes to give the representation that will mirror what we have in the developed countries- the western world. So, by the time we get there, knowing fully well that it is all inclusive, every Ika indigene that participated in one way or the other will understand that I have the responsiveness to my people. We want to turn it around; we want to see government responsiveness to the people and not the people being responsible to the government.

Knowing that there is going to be all hands-on deck, we are not looking out for one rich man to come and sponsor us or to come and sponsor me. We are convincing people and we are gaining ground. And people are registering, collecting their PVC because this time around, they want to vote the actual change; they want to vote someone who actually has what it takes to turn things around.  And it is time, it is high time that we do that, and that is what we are putting on the table. I have the full conviction that comes in 2023 general election; it will be landslide victory for us.

Question; your ideology is perfect but as a people, we must never disconnect from history as history is the bedrock on which we lay the foundation of the present. So for us to succeed presently, we urgently need to look into what made us fail in the past.

Answer… that’s correct.

Question; So, what I am trying to establish in effect is that whether we like it or not, no matter how we look at it, electioneering in Nigeria is capital intensive. At least, if not today, on the Election Day proper. How do you plan to get this arrested?

Answer; that is what I have just told you.

Question; this people you are re-orientating, by the time other aspirants starts dishing out N2000, N3000, they may fall for it Sir. So, are you telling me that the orientation so gained will see them through without falling into this ‘traditional’ temptation?

Answer; that is what I am telling you now.  We have started when the money bags are hoping that on the day of the election, they will bring out money to share. We have started way before them eating into the minds of the people; eating into the conscience of the people-educating them that for a long time, they have sold their birth rights on the altar of two, two thousand Naira or three thousand Naira on the Election Day. And I tell you that these people are beginning to see the light. In short, they have seen the light. You can see what is happening everywhere; the sensitization of the youths. How people are coming in to register and collect their Permanent Voters cards (PVC). People want to vote in the forthcoming election. Not only vote, they will vote and stand in the polling unit to make sure that their votes are counted.

And let me tell you something; if I have spent three years making friends with you, coming from Abuja on every occasion that you call in for, coming around, being with you, washing plates with you, building tent with you, and on the day of election, I tell you that this is your friend that you have to work and vote for me.  I don’t think that whoever comes that day with ten thousand Naira, you will sacrifice what we have built in the past three years on the altar of ten thousand Naira.

That is what we are doing. That is what is working and that is how we are going to turn things around. So, we are taking Ika South as a case study, as a pilot project. It will happen and thereafter, there will be a turnaround situation in Nigeria where the issue of money politics will be buried completely.

“We are taking Ika South as a case study, as a pilot project. It will happen and thereafter, there will be a turnaround situation in Nigeria where the issue of money politics will be buried completely”

Question; Thanks so much. I salute your courage and share in your vision. But at the same time, Delta state as we know is a People Democratic Party (PDP) controlled state. That is a factor that we must not wish away in the forthcoming election coupled with the fact that the current Honourable Member of the House representing Oka South Local Government Area has also indicated interest for re-election.

 

Bearing this fact in mind, the question may be asked; how do you intend to unseat him?

Answer; where was PDP in 2015 at the Federal Level when APC took over leadership with all the so-called Federal might.

APC won that election because of one thing; because there comes a time in the life of the people where they understand that this is where they are heading to. And they will clinch on it like a drowning man in the river to make sure that they actualize that goal. That time has come in the history of political terrain of Delta state.  It is time that the people of Delta state have understood that it is not about the APC now or PDP. It is about the quality of the person that is coming out.

If you look at all those that are going to run for the House of Assembly currently even in the PDP and other parties, what I have in terms of my educational qualification, in terms of my experience cannot be beaten at all. Even in terms of public debate and all, in terms of all-round qualification, I believe that I possess way more than them-lets display what we have.

‘What I have in terms of my educational qualification, in terms of my experience cannot be beaten at all. Even in terms of public debate and all, in terms of all-round qualification, I believe that I possess way more than them-lets display what we have”

A few weeks ago, I displayed my CV, my resume for people to see and judge if truly this person has what it takes to provide a quality representation.

So, we are not perturbed, we are not afraid by the fact that PDP is presently controlling Delta state. And if you can see, let me tell you something; everything good created in life, that God has created has an element in it that is meant to destroy it. Find out clearly what is happening in Delta state. PDP has triggered that element that meant to destroy the party (PDP) in the state. And from the look of things, where PDP is headed, it is evident that the party is headed for destruction.

Question; Sir, for a better understanding of this conversation, kindly tells us, what is that element that the party has triggered?

Answer; wait you will see. It will happen, you are a journalist, and you are not unaware of the things that are going on in the state. PDP cannot stand. PDP is having a lot of crises in Delta state as it is.  Even back home in Ika Federal Constituency, PDP has already been destroyed. That is why they came up with the slogan that; ‘where Okowa go, we Go’ because they are already afraid.

“PDP has already been destroyed; that is why they came up with the slogan that; ‘where Okowa go, we Go’ because they are already afraid.’’

 

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