OTUARO: My ambition to succeed Okowa is divine, says zoning does not exist in Delta
The Deputy Governor of Delta State and governorship aspirant on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 election, Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, has described his ambition to succeed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as divine. Speaking in an interview in Asaba against the background that no deputy governor has ever succeeded his boss since the creation of the state, Otuaro said he was in the 2023 race to break such jinx, insisting that he has what it takes to build on the successes of the Okowa administration.
You have gone round the state on consultation, what has been the response of the people towards your aspiration?
I want to thank all Deltans because we have been on consultation and engagement with all critical party leaders, delegates across the 25 councils of the state. The solidarity, support, prayers and thoughts for the Kingsley Burutu Otuaro (KBO) objective have been very amazing, overwhelming in all the councils we visited during the consultations. The responses they gave have given us the impetus to gear and rev up the machines of our campaign.
What is your take on the contentious issue of zoning of the governorship seat to Delta Central which is not your senatorial district?
The phenomenon of zoning is neither here nor there; we have all been critical, active players of the state. And the governor had said in some of the press engagements that as far as he is concerned, he has been an integral part of the politics since inception; it is not to his knowledge what you bandy as zoning, had ever existed in the state. That was a comment made in the public space, and I stand to identify with his thought processes on that as one that has been a player of the politics of the state from 1999 till now. There is truly not one gathering where it was unanimously resolved that we would be having a zoning arrangement in doing XYZ as it were. So, I would not know what your concept of zoning is. In any case, I am a Deltan, I am a Nigerian. And the enabling laws of this country and this state entitle me to aspire, it gives me the right of franchise, to vote and be voted for. So I don’t truly know what you are talking about. In addition, the governor has promised to provide a level playing field for all aspirants to express their potentials, abilities and the level of followership he/she has. I think that position was made very clear which is antithetical to whatever zoning formula you are claiming.
Have you informed your boss, the governor of your ambition, and what was his response?
Yes, Okowa is my boss. Suffice it to say that my coming to deputise the governorship ticket with him is absolutely divine, the records are there. He is a man we all hold in very high esteem. I could not have embarked on this project without having prior consultation with him. I have effectively consulted him, we had mutual discussion and engagement on it, and I have his bidding to go ahead to do what I am doing.
Considering your background as a deacon in the church, and your quiet and gentle nature, do you have what it takes to be steadfast in this race?
I truly don’t know what you try to put together, people get to look at people at a distance and have their perception. But your perception about me as quiet, gentle, I don’t know, is there anything wrong in being quiet? I don’t know where you have your concepts of quietness and ruggedness but if you truly look at me… the most quiet people are the strongest people. When you see a man that is quiet, his inner strength of character cannot be undermined. Let me leave you at that, you can undertake further studies about quiet people, perhaps you will appreciate that you have a quiet, handsome man as governor but not one to be toyed with, I dare say.
In the political history of the state, incumbent deputies have never succeeded their bosses, why would your case be different?
There is a word you call jinx, and jinxes are meant to be broken. They are jinxes because they have ingredients that make them breakable. And they are so breakable when you truly have God in you. I have God in me. That is the strongest asset I have, He inspired me into what we are doing, and I don’t see what in your own opinion might constitute obstacle, I am seeing the end from where I am standing.
There are rumours that the governor has asked you to step down. What is your reaction?
You said it is a rumour. The phenomenon of rumour is not something that should be taken seriously. When a thing is a rumour like you have alluded to, it should not be finding spaces in our discourse. But the point is this, I have truly come a long way with Dr. Okowa. The Lord in his sovereignty, threw us up to run this state and steady its ship. And in the course of this journey, we have transcended beyond a boss and a subordinate. He is an older brother to me now. If you are able to pry into our discussion and engagement, you would not be able to distinguish. I talk to him as an elder brother that he is, and he answers me as a younger brother I am to him. That is the much close we have come thus far. And I may also say that one very significant virtue that has brought us thus far and has knitted us together is the fear of God that we both have. You recall that the governor had many a time said in public fora, that he needs God’s direction on what to do. And at some point he asked us to join him in prayer so as to be led aright as to what to truly do on the subject matter of succession. He has also said that if we do not do it God’s way, there will be problem because the sovereign hands of God had always determined the enthronement of leadership in Delta State. So whatever rumour or information you have in the public space is immaterial, all of this is subject to God’s underlining reasoning. That becomes the question, if a man has been praying and at some point requested us in joining, knowing that it was critical to get it right, and doing otherwise would spell disaster for the state. Off course records have in the past showed that ABC never wanted DEF and God wanted DEF and it truly prevailed. We pray not to undermine what God has chosen to do, and I dare say without prejudice that I am the chosen one.
What are your plans for the state if elected?
As you are aware, I came into government and governance by sovereign divine orchestration of God’s spirit in 2014, scaling up to 2015 where I was made to run the governorship ticket with the governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa. And from 2015 when we came into the mantle of leadership, God has been faithful and together we have been able to steady and steer the ship of state and governance. May I use this opportunity to thank all those who have stood strong by us all the way to where we are. May I also say that the Okowa administration truly meant well and we have been dedicated to serving our people. So far so good, I make bold to say that we have done exceedingly well by providing good governance for our people as exemplified in the infrastructure development we have across the state. Beyond that, we have also been able to bring together Deltans from all walks of life, from every ethnic divide into one inseparable entity, and that is what government and governance is all about. This was possible because of the painstaking effort the people made in supporting us without which we would not have achieved these successes I am recounting now. I have a very robust relationship with the governor, and together we have brought the state thus far. I am completely prepared to take up the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2023. My inspiration is absolutely divine and defies some form of explanation with ordinary words. I am poised on it and so far we have done the bits we have been able to do and we are pleased to say that God is with us, He is giving us all the necessary support. We know that Delta is a very special state in the heart of God. Records and evidences over time have shown that God is interested in this state and has been responsible in the enthronement of who truly leads Delta State. We are focused truly to ensuring that we enthrone a very strong, prosperous and secured Delta State for ourselves and for the future. That is what we stand for. We stand for industrialisation, we stand for ensuring the refurbishment of our moribund industries; we stand to ensure that we create jobs and wealth for our people and move Delta State to where it ought to be. We are focused, very dedicated and committed to ensuring that we enthrone good governance just as the Okowa-led administration has done.
How would you address the issue of resource control as a sub-national government, if elected?
This is very critical against the backdrop of the fact that we have so many subject matters that are boxed up in the Exclusive Legislative List that ought truly not to have been there. And that can be said to be one of the fundamental challenges we are facing as a country. So, it is a constitutional matter, and as a sub-national government, we will certainly add our voices to ensuring how this which we consider some form of abnormality, having all of this stuff in the Exclusive Legislative List is being attended to through engagement and dialogue.