Former Delta state governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is running for the Senate seat in Delta South Senatorial District, he officially announced Monday morning.
Uduaghan, 63, withdrew from the senate race in 2015 to ensure that peace reigned in the state, maintaining that peace was more important than electoral victories.
” The serious security challenges that existed in 2015 are no longer there, he said in his first formal public appearance announcing his bid.
Many in Delta state says with Dr. Uduaghan’s potential arrival in the senate comes notably real tension between him and the man now occupying the seat : Senator James Manager.
” James Manager is my friend, he was the first PDP state chairman in Delta state and we were neighbours while serving together as commissioners, so there’s no problem and I don’t envisage any problem, he said.
” I have the capacity to do the work of a senator, assuring that he is going to the senate to expand opportunities and fight to improve the lives of everyone in his senatorial district.
” I intend to hold periodic town hall meetings with my constituents in a bid to listen to them and get their views regarding legislations that concerns them. He termed it “Citizens/Senator contract’.
The former governor also addressed the issue of militancy, saying “I was the first state official as Secretary of Delta state government to travel to the creeks to negotiate peace with the militants.”
“I did it severally when I was the governor of Delta State. At one of the outings, it was even the soldiers that pointed AK-47 at me when I was coming back.
“Sometimes, I would come back at night from negotiating peace, so I know the place in and out. I have been there in the day and at night, in fact, at one of them, I was sitting on a chair with about 20 of the boys with their guns, they were drinking, and we were there for three hours negotiating peace. I know the challenges; let me just say this, what we did and what the government has been doing is having what I call two boxes in managing the problems,” he explained.
He promised to ensure the rule of law in the Niger-Delta region.
Uduaghan also touted his ability to work across the aisle in his time as a PDP governor in Delta state as an asset.
” I am running for Senate because I truly believe that we’re better than our disagreements and troubles suggest.”
” I want to continue to serve – to give something back to the people.
“There are things we cannot do alone and must do together in community. Things like educating children, building roads, providing security, assuring justice, seeking fairness, stewarding our shared resources, caring for the vulnerable. These are good things, and working together to achieve them is necessary for any society to prosper.
“We had the other box of enforcement; that is, using the military, the army, the police, navy, etc. One will think that with the two boxes, that would be enough to deal with the problems, but they are still there and re-occurring in different forms, some criminality and some genuine agitation; we still have the Niger Delta Avengers bursting pipelines; sometimes, we have those hijacking boats and sometimes ethnic quarrels,” he said.
According to Uduaghan, from his experience, the military, as an enforcement body was not a permanent solution to the problems in the Niger Delta as they were not very familiar with the terrain, “so, when the thing is really happening, it requires mobilizing the young people to show them the terrain or to prevent the crisis.
“For us to move forward, we must have an enforcement body that includes the community; especially the youths in the community, since they know the terrain. It is easier for people in that area to try and carry out enforcement or execute security challenges; it is easier for people in that area to know those who are involved in illegal bunkering. There are two parts to it, there is the part of genuine agitation, which has now been mixed with criminality and the criminality seems to have overshadowed the genuine agitation.
Emmanuel Uduaghan was a founding member and Chairman of the All Nigeria Congress Association for the Warri South Local Government Area, a founder and executive member of the Grassroots Democratic Movement, (GDM), and a foundation member of the PDP. On 6 August 1999, he was appointed Commissioner for Health, Delta State. In this position he improved the pay of medical staff and upgraded infrastructure. On 6 June 2003, Uduaghan was appointed Secretary to the Delta State Government.
He was sworn-in as governor of Delta state on May 29, 2007.