By Chimezie Godfrey
A People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chieftain, Tive Oghenerioborue Denedo has flagged off his campaign to contest for the Udu/Ughelli/Ughelli South constituency seat.
Denedo noted that his decision to represent his people at this level of governance is borne out of his desire to address the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment in the constituency.
He said,”It is with an immense feeling of boundless joy and gratitude that I arise today to officially flag off this campaign to contest for the Udu/Ughelli/Ughelli South Federal Constituency Seat in the House of Representatives. For me there is this understanding that it is a privilege offered first and foremost to me by the Lord and those of you, who are the citizens of this constituency.
“The Udu/Ughelli/Ughelli South Federal Constituency which I have Christened as the “Triple U Constituency” is unique. It is unique in the sense that it is situated at the heart of the Delta that is replete with human and material resources that are capable of radically reshaping our present conditions and transforming the future for a meaningful living.
“However, and most unfortunately, this home to an abundance of men and women of uncommon drive and vision has wallowed in the cesspool of poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment. The reason is simple and like in most places across Nigeria today, the trend has been to send men and woman without the basic understanding of the nexus between politics and development to represent the constituency.
“That lack of understanding has helped in the failure of our representatives in negotiating for the essential ingredients required for the elevation of our constituency from the bottom rung of the national ladder. With all that we are blessed with, we have worked like the elephant and has fed like the ant. It only goes to confirm the words of the scripture which says ”my people perish for lack of knowledge.”
Denedo pointed out that there are certain principles that undergird democratic political participation and representation across the world, adding that they include but are not limited to inclusiveness and equality, citizenship, consent of the governed, voting rights, freedom from unwarranted governmental deprivation of the right to life to life and liberty, and minority rights.
“For any representative of the constituencies to uphold these principles, he/she must be imbued with an uncommon sense of empathy, courage, fairness, knowledge, wisdom and understanding of human beings and the social contract that binds them within the democratic system.
“Currently, politics is without principles. Representation has become an opportunity for rent seeking, a platform for self-aggrandizement and a vehicle for primitive acquisition. Representatives see the constituents as ladders for climbing to social affluence, popularity and opulence.
“Once elected they see themselves as a different breed and become so distanced from the people, invert the process and only represent themselves and their cronies. What is left is the flight of commonality and relationships.
“Representation is a social contract between the citizens and the elected. It demands a two-way traffic of giving and taking of ideas, understanding, empathy and tangible and intangible gifts,” he said.
He added,”In today’s representation, there is no exchange between the citizens and those elected to represent them. The quality and character of representation is below par.
“Representatives lack courage to confront the challenges facing the constituencies. Empathy has dried up, convictions have been offered on the altar of convenience and for all of over two decades, the representatives have alienated the people. The result is a frightening level of apathy that has fragmented society into two parallel sections of the representatives versus the electorates.
“The representatives have by their action and inaction, framed the narrative in such a way that it has become acceptable that the government is at all times against the people. There is massive disenchantment, disillusionment and depression among citizens.
“At the heart of bad governance, is representation that has mutated to become an elected representative becoming lord over those that voted for him or her. The pursuit of good governance in the Udu/Ughelli North/Ughelli South Constituency and by extension Nigeria should focus on electing representatives that are trustworthy, competent and has capacity and ability to honour the friendship and relationship that was the original point of contact during campaigns.”
Denedo stressed that representation should bring succour, it should assuage the thirst of the people for community and commonality.
“It should provide bridges that connects and not wedges that divide the people. It should offer inspirations for dreams to be actualized and not desperation for revolt. Representation should engender love and not fear.
“Representation should be about providing hope for a better tomorrow. Representation should add value to the lives of the people and not devalue it.
“Representation should be more than being hailed as honourable in village squares and in city events centers. It should be more than being able to wear designer’s clothes, throwing lavish parties, organizing expensive burials and weddings and drinking choice wines at the expense of the deprived population. It may not also be about poverty and deprivation because it is a wealth that should be common to the people,” he said.
He noted that the Udu/Ughelli North/Ughelli South Federal Constituency is at a cross road..
According him, the most vibrant of its population; the youth is held by the jugular by the most insidious and perfidious type of criminality and its attendant chilling and brutal companion of ritual killings.
“As the scripture puts it, the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the teeth of the children are set on edge.
“It is a huge disservice to this community of people that the future which is symbolized by the youth is mortgaged on the market of negligence, disdain and disregard for the people.
“The youth of the Udu/Ughelli North/Ughelli South must be pulled with all resources available to us from the jaws of the slow and gradual destruction that awaits them if nothing is done.
“There are alternative wealth sources that they can tap into and still live a life of financial fulfilment. Today’s youth are making waves across the world using the instrument of ICT, media, entertainment and sports. We can design a future for them through these sources.
“There is the pervading economic crunch and hardship that was worsened by COVID-19. The negative impact was devastating. A well planned and properly executed response is critical through the establishment of enterprises that can make men and women within this Constituency feel human and connected to humanity once more.
“This constituency is a land of opportunities that have been neglected for too long. As a community situated by the coast, concentrating on the development of marine based and non-forest resources will turn on the light of economic growth once more.
“Through creativity and innovation, the available resources shall be used to create a ripple effect of economic stability among men and women of the constituency. A climate change and hydro-carbon resistant economic model built around micro-credit will be very suitable for the constituency,” he noted.
He stressed that the challenges are many but expressed optimism that can be tackled, adding that this is the reason why he offered to represent his people.
He said,”The challenges are many. Yes. But can they be overcome? Yes. That is why I offer myself through this flag off, so that the Udu/Ughelli North/Federal Constituency should send me as their representative.
“Many have said I am a new kid on the block and that is the strength that I bring to the table. I come with a fresh perspective and refreshing gust of air to deodorize the stench that has pervaded political representation for a long time. I offer myself to be held accountable in the discharge of my duties.
“My background in the media and the development sector is an added advantage as they provide for me so many networks, people and institutions with immensurable resources, opportunities and influences that those who had occupied this office could not have accessed.
“Representation is primarily about bills and motions at the National Assembly as well as oversight responsibilities. This requires a person with not just the understanding of the rudiments of the legislative process but of the negotiations and horse trading among peers within the hallowed chambers to ensure that laws and practices that are inconsistent with social, economic and political development are reformed.
“At the secondary level, the Constituencies have become more enlightened about their constituency projects and I will prioritise regular stakeholders meeting to give feedbacks and receive inputs on the various stages and status of projects that should benefit the people, improve their standards of living and make life more pleasant again.”
He added that representation should not breed strong men and women at the expense of the institution of the Constituency.
“Representation should not elevate the individual above the community, rather representation should be about community and commonality of the constituent parts that are custodians of the powers that has been transferred to the chosen and elected representative.
“I bring with me a sense of commitment to serve rather than to be served. The representation style I bring emphasizes collaboration with relevant stakeholders including women, youth, men and the physically challenged among the people. In choosing me to represent you, you are choosing competence and capacity over primordial sentiments, transparency over opacity, selflessness over selfishness.
“In choosing me, you are choosing the road less taken. In choosing me, you are choosing a mental and generational shift for you and your children; both living and yet unborn. In choosing me, you are choosing new vibes, new values and a new direction.
“We have lost the yesterday and today of our representative duties. We have a tomorrow that we can use to re-write our history and overcome our mistakes. There is a popular saying that a man cannot continue to do something the same way and expect a different result. For so long the future has been commercialized through accepting peanuts from aspirants and there has been no profit to show in the people and in the communities.
“In conclusion, I pledge to serve with all of my strength and heart, that democracy dividends which has become a much-maligned word in the ears of citizens becomes a word that would make citizens to smile,” Denedo assured.