Uduaghan: Senate Ambition Dismissed as Dubious Strategy to Avoid Prosecution
As widely reported in the media, Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, submitted his Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for the Delta South Senatorial district at the People’s Democratic Party State Headquarters Asaba, on Thursday, 30 October 2014.
The forms, bought on 17 October 2014 at the National Secretariat of the PDP, Wadata House, Abuja, were purported to have been paid for by some of his “political associates in G3,” a political platform in the senatorial district, comprising Isoko, Ijaw and Itsekiri.
Describing his running for senate as “history in the making,” 60-year-old Uduaghan revealed that his desire was not borne out of a personal ambition, but “to heed the calls of my people who have severally urged me to go to the Senate after my tenure as Governor of Delta State.”
But going by the barrage of negative reactions on social media, most commentators are not particularly convinced that Uduaghan, who they see as the worse Governor Delta State has ever had, has the significant support of his people nor is pursuing his senate ambition in good faith.
The main argument is that taking the senate route is a dubious strategy by Uduaghan to avoid prosecution for his eight-years of executive recklessness and financial mismanagement. He is, therefore, “running away from EFCC,” Stanley Nwanze posts on the comment page of Stella Dimoko Korkus blog.
Stanley is apparently referring to the controversial immunity clause in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution that “shields the president, vice president, and governors and their deputies, from all form of litigation on any conceivable crimes while in office.”
The reasoning in many quarters is that becoming a senator will shield Uduaghan from being prosecuted, perhaps for another eight years, for all his wrong doings while in office, since his immunity cover will be lifted immediately he ceases to be the governor of Delta State on 29 May 2014.
To this, Believe Erurere, in his reaction to Uduaghan’s Status update on Facebook, waxes philosophical: “Greatness cannot be measured by what one has achieved materially, but by the number of lives one has affected positively by true motive. Mr Governor u did nothing for Deltans and the State.” Okonye Iyke re-echoes Erurere’s position by this declaration: “wats on ground does not match d resources dat d state has received in ur tenure. GOD will judge all of u.”
In spite of these scathing criticisms of Uduaghan and his senate ambition, the Secretary of the G3 group, Solomon Funkekeme, is adamant that Dr. Uduaghan is the “best the district can present at the National Assembly at this critical moment of the nation’s democracy” because of “his wealth of experience and leadership qualities.”
It is not clear what the incumbent senator, James Manager, who has indicated interest to contest for a fresh term, will do in the face of this formidable opposition. Formidable, not when he is pitted against Mr. Manager in a free and fair elections condition, but because “the guy [Uduaghan] sabi RIG election o! Na specialists for that matter,” writes Emojevwe Faith Umukoro on Uduaghan’s Facebook Timeline.
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