Writer, political analyst and Chairman of the United Rivers Alliance, Hon Dason Nemieboka spoke with news men on the side lines of a road show organized by the Action Alliance in Port Harcourt. Here are excerpts of that interview.
Que: Honourable sir, you have become fully partisan by joining this road show of Action Alliance.
Ans: You are my friends and colleagues, and so I am obliged to frankly respond to you.
Technically, you haven’t asked a question but I will not just confirm your assertion but explain my involvement.
I have always been partisan, but I am too conscious to agree to be in bondage, in the name of politics. What do I mean? I joined the political party, PDP in the year 2000. I aspired for the chairmanship of my local government council in 2007 and in 2011 I sought to represent my people in the House of Assembly. In both cases I wasn’t rejected by the people, but denied by a section of the local cabal.
In 2004, we had reason to believe that presidential power should go to the North after Obasanjo’s two terms. And that would be, we thought that the vice presidency should come not just to any of the three southern zones but to the south-south, which at that time had never produced a president.
In the south-south, we noticed that had several ethnic concerns and so, we evaluated them. And found that the Ijaw had a more pathetic case. Regardless of its size. We factored that there were Governors Victor Attah, Peter Odili who had their eyes fixed on the chance. And they were in control of state resources. So, we founded the Ijaw Vice Presidential Project, IVPP. Now, with such a vision, you would reduce partisanship.
So, at every political epoch we are moved by what we perceive as best for our political constituency (in this case, Rivers State). So, the United Rivers Alliance is a Special Purpose Vehicle. Yet, members free to belong to political parties of their choices.
Que: You were in PDP, then APC, then Accord and now Action Alliance?
Ans: But I told you I am by the grace of God too enlightened to be live in bondage.
As undergraduates, one of the reasons that kept us away from cultism, after the morals infused in us at home; was the desire preserve our liberty. And we heard that once you joined a cult, you can’t elect out. So, I can’t now be so committed to any party to the point of blind loyalty.
Parties are vehicles, and vehicles have a singular purpose, conveyance.
Que: Sir, what is the attraction to the Action Alliance?
Ans: Well, Action Alliance is one of the eighteen recognized parties in the country, so, it is an option. It has a very reasonable slogan, let the masses live (well). But am sure you know that isn’t the attraction.
I was attracted to the APC by the prospect of that party fielding one of its best human resource in Rivers State for the 2023 governorship race. Then, it lost him by its poor handling of the selection process.
Some of us reached that epitome of decency, to say, your desire is to serve Rivers people, not your political party or any leader. So, if the party can’t read the handwriting, then you have a right to find another platform to ask Rivers people.
A man of prayer and deep commitment to God, he spent time praying and seeking counsel from credible and respected church leaders across Rivers State and beyond. And when it was obvious that he had to move, he did, and we followed.
So, in one sentence, the attraction to Action Alliance is her Governorship Candidate, Dr Dawari George.
Que: Were you not worried about the size of the party and it’s structure in the state? It is not one of the big parties.
Ans: Fair question, yet, that is the clearest proof that Dr Dawari George is a big deal in Rivers politics. Some, had written him off because of his humility and simplicity.
Someone recently said to me. “Dawari doesn’t have a deep purse, he isn’t spending on the media as others, yet, he is in every discussion and permutation.” Another respected leader in the state said. “As in the national, we have four serious candidates, so do we in Rivers State and Dawari George is one of them.”
Dear friends, we are Nigerians. Should a Nigerian be talking about parties anymore? The supposed big parties, are they not responsible for the sufferings in the land?
You are covering the road show and the stop and greets. See hunger, pain and desperation everywhere. You are hearing the concerns of the people first hand. There is no good in the same sinking boats. Have you stopped to think? If the candidates you have in the said big parties are asked to run on a small party platform, can they with all the money at their disposal generate half the energy Dawari is generating in Rivers State?
So, if you think it’s about parties, our people are tired. They want a man; they know and can trust. His antecedence, pedigree and accessibility are what they are considering. The governorship is still a close call. So, when I said he is now a big deal, if is verifiable.
Que: So, what will Dr Dawari George do differently if elected Governor?
Ans: That is like asking me to reel out his well-thought-out manifesto and developmental blueprint, under this scorching sun. However, I will give you a few things to expect in the incoming administration to be led by Dawari George.
The next Government of Rivers State with Dr Dawari as Governor, will revolutionize our work culture and experiences, stimulate serious investments in the critical sectors with the triple aims of creating jobs, increasing our revenue base, and checking insecurity. He has stopped saying, the future of the youths can only be guaranteed if we focus on establishing a tech-based economy. So, its ICT, integrated rural and metropolitan development and enhancement of the living standards of the people.