It will be consistent opposition even if we don’t win-Keyamo

Festus Egwarewa Keyamo, Esq., lawyer, social crusader, critic and columnist is an intriguing personality. Born in Ughelli, Delta State of Nigeria on Wednesday, January 21, 1970

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NNPC Monthly oil and gas report january 2020
It will be consistent opposition even if we don’t win-Keyamo

Festus Egwarewa Keyamo, Esq., lawyer, social crusader, critic and columnist is an intriguing personality. Born in Ughelli, Delta State of Nigeria on Wednesday, January 21, 1970 by a father who hails from Effurun, Warri, in Delta State and a mother from Ilaro in Ogun State, Festus Keyamo attended Oharisi (Model) Primary School, Ughelli, 1975 to 1981, Government College, Ughelli, 1981 to 1986 and received his Higher School Certificate (HSC) course in the same school. Armed with these certificates, he gained admission into Bendel State University, (now Ambrose Alli University (AAU)) Ekpoma, in Edo State, and obtained his LL.B degree (Second Class Upper) in 1992. He was called to the Nigerian Bar on December 15,1993 setting the stage for a colourful career in law.

Keyamo, as he is widely known, started his legal practice in Gani Fawehinmi Chambers in Lagos at the height of the agitation for the revalidation of the June 2, 1993 election. Even as a young lawyer, he was on the front row of legal activism representing icons like Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chief Frank Kokori and Ken Saro Wiwa as well as the duo of Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Anthony Enahoro who were arrested in 1994 and other NADECO leaders. These challenging responsibilities helped to build Keyamo’s confidence in trenchant advocacy emerging with the award of BEST LAWYER IN GANI FAWEHINMI CHAMBERS IN 1994.

He left Gani Fawehinmi Chambers in 1995, to establish his own law firm, FESTUS Keyamo CHAMBERS, which has since grown rapidly with the Head Office at No. 1 Festus Keyamo Lane, Anthony Village, Lagos State with branches in Abuja and Warri (Delta State), and liaison office in many states.

Keyamo has handled several controversial and landmark cases. He was counsel to the leader of the Niger-Delta Peoples’ Volunteer Force, Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari in his trial for treasonable felony, lead counsel in the treason trial of the leader of the Movement For The Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and other MASSOB leaders as well as counsel in the brutal murder of Elder Statesman, Chief Bola Ige. As one of the prosecutors for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), he has secured the conviction of six public officers by full and complete trial (not plea-bargain).

During the Abacha regime, Keyamo formed against Misguided Youths (YAMY) set up to challenge the Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA) of Daniel Kanu in 1997. He was mobilizing Nigerians on the streets to sign petitions to international bodies when Abacha died.

Recently, he initiated a probe of the leadership of the House of Representatives over alleged profligacy and mismanagement of public funds in the purchase of 380 units of 407 Peugeot Cars.

Keyamo’s brush with the authorities has been audacious. He has been detained several times in prisons and cells across Nigeria on account of his crusades for justice, human rights and against corruption.

He has helped many youths of Delta State unjustly arrested and detained by the authorities free of charge and has been working closely with his Uvwie community for some years now to challenge the warped census figures allocated to Uvwie through the Census Tribunal and is also in court to reclaim their vast expanse of land compulsorily acquired by the Army in 1975 purportedly for public purpose but now converted to private use. He was decorated with the ‘Uvwie Son of the Year’ in 2010.

A man of amazing gusto and dogged spirit, his honours include, Best Single Advocate of Nigeria Law Students, (Taslim Elias Moot Trial Competition) 1992; Honorary Alumni, of various Students’ Associations; Activist of the year (2001) by the Students Union, University of Jos; Listed in the New Who is Who in Nigeria, 2003; and nominated for the World Medal of Honour, 2003, by the American Biographical institute, in 2005. He was conferred with the chieftaincy titles of Ogba-uri of Ogor Kingdom (Strong man of the law) 2005 and Omorokaro of Uvwie Kingdom (The child who leads the way) 2011 in Delta State but prefers to be called ‘Mr. Festus Keyamo.
In this interview, the legal icon bares his mind on sundry issues including his gubernatorial ambition. Excerpt:

Sir what inspired you to vie for Delta governorship?

The inspiration is not farfetched. The inspiration is all around us. We can see the gross underdevelopment. We can see poverty in the state. We can even see the basic orientation of our youths in the state. And the orientation is that nobody knows how to play good politics in the state. The basic orientation of the youths is that you must come and give them money, peanuts, for them to follow you and vote for you. So they have since forgotten what it means to play plain politics, they have forgotten it. And this has been caused over the years by the type of leaders that found themselves into various positions in the state. So, any patriot, anybody who means well for the state, looking at all of these circumstances, the natural inspiration will come. So I am not talking about, first of all the personal desire to do well, the disgust alone that you find on the streets of Delta  State is enough to inspire anybody who has a heart for the people to come out and do something. For me, I do not even think I have a big job to convince people I have a heart for the people. As a private person over the years, I have spent the whole of my years after school fighting for human right, to fight for justice, to fight for good governance, to fight for democracy and I suffered for all of these ideals. I cannot see one single contestant in Delta State now, Aspirant, who has laid down his freedom, time to do all of these in Delta State, I can’t find any, and that is why with all sense of modesty, I think I stand head and shoulders above any other person who is an aspirant.
Under what platform do you intend contesting?

Our entire members will decide. So it’s not going to be a personal decision. The entire members will decide but we will decide as quickly as possible.
In other words, what you are insinuating is that the Delta State government is not performing?

That is an understatement. They have destroyed the state. It is an understatement to say that they are not developing the state. We should go and view the pores and streets of Delta State, you will see that people are tired. You will agree with me that people are completely frustrated. But what you normally hear is “what can we do”. The people are tired. Even the PDP members, there is no PDP member who will stand up and argue with you, they will only drag you aside and say, “There is a problem, there is nothing we can do, na them, na him hold everything oh”. So the question I have been asking is that, at what point will we say enough is enough and begin to re-claim our state. Is it tomorrow? Is it 2019? Is it 2024? At what point do we stop and say, “Look, enough is enough”. I think now is the time, and I have decided to provide that leadership, the leadership that I will provide is not a leadership that will say, “how many slots are we going to get in government” or if we don’t win, we will have to provide 2 or 3 commissioners. The leadership I will provide is one that is prepared for a long distance race. A long distance race because it is going to  be a consistent opposition even if we don’t win. And I know that’s even a low possibility because we will win, with the sentiments on the streets of Delta State, and they are not going to steal our votes this time. I want somebody to watch the drama that will unfold. Nobody is going to steal our votes because we are going to match them in every way, every inch of the way. Because it’s a long distance race we are ready for. It’s not like all those oppositions that will come out and fade. No! it’s going to be consistent opposition until we regain our state.
Is your political ambition in line with the Urhobo voice?

I’m not an Urhobo candidate. So don’t talk about Urhobo candidates with me. I am a candidate of Delta State.
Analysts say that you are just going there to talk and later, you’ll just step aside. Is this true?

For those who have studied my history, where i am coming from, they should understand that I run long distant races. If you see from the case I have fought in the past, if I hold you in the jungle I hold you in the jungle line. And those who say that, perhaps they have mis-read the mood of the state and they also misjudged entirely my determination, I want them to watch and see.
But in the past you’ve seen activist going into leadership positions and they don’t perform. They just go there, they give them money and they step aside, what’s your take on that?
I don’t agree with you. Except those activist are sendor(sic) activist. But l’ve seen so many of them e.g. Oshiomole, and others, they are doing well in their positions and are coming up for what is right. 
You have been criticized by the Delta State government over your ambition, are you not worried about it?

Well, first of all, I think that the DFU has adequately addressed that question. I don’t want to add to that. Those who believe in our course have shut their mouths up for now. The only thing l’ll tell you as to whether I am worried or not is that I am rather excited and happy. First of all, it tells us clearly that they have already shortlisted the names of those they want to occupy those positions. And if they see anybody outside that list they have, first of all as a potential candidate they are intimidated. In fact, they are intimidated by anybody who comes out that is not under their list. That means my announcement first of all intimidated them, as if I am not a free born of Delta State. So I have no further sympathies, I have no language again to explain to the people of Delta  State that this is what is happening than what they said. Their statement just has campaigned for me. They just told the people of Delta State that they have an agenda for one of those people. So it is now left for all of us in Delta State to decide, do we fold our hands and allow them to continue this circle of brigandage. Do we allow them or do we just keep quiet or we put our best efforts forward to see if we can regain our state? That’s the question facing us. Because if we all agree that this is not the way to go as we are going now. The next thing is what should we do? If you see somebody with the requisite heart, the requisite clean faith and the requisite clean hand, who has not been soiled by Asaba, would you not rally around such a person? At least to see whether it can be done.
Shed more light on what you have for Deltans If you want me to go get my blue print now, l’ll give you some tip of the ice-berg. First of all, the issue of corruption’ I want to address thoroughly the issue of corruption in the state, the state has attempted to set up a due process unit, have a god-father as due process because I prosecute for the EFCC and I understand due process more than even those in government because I have prosecuted people for lack of due process in their award of contract from the contract group. First of all, they have set up a due process but they have not put it into effect, we want to revive that due process unit. There must be competitive building, real advertisement, open process and there must be competent and all of that. The first bill I will pass in the house of representative is a bill that will be the replica of the public procurement act because we need that bill in Delta State. Apart from that, l’ve said before that whatever the bill that public procurement is doing in the state, I will also publish contract alert and awards. The persons that get the contracts or the companies, the amount at which they got there will be published for everyone to see, the duration they have to perform will also be published for everyone to see. This will be the most open government that Nigeria has ever seen so that we can challenge our figures. It’s going to be open there for everybody to see, corruption is going to be the first thing l’ll address in the state. l’m also going to address agriculture, l’m going to focus on agriculture because every local government have enough agricultural scheme to employ the youth, to get the youths off the street by massive employment programmes at local government level and even at state level then massive infrastructural development. You can see that some major areas in the state are not even developed in terms of road infrastructures and bridge. l’ve not seen one new bridge constructed in the state for how many years. These are the tip of the ice-berg. If I should give you expo now, it will be unfair to other people.
Delta North believe it’s their turn to govern Delta State. What do you think?

We have intelligent people in Delta North, we have extremely intelligent people in Delta North, we have hardworking people in Delta North. First of all, all those arrangement we talked about is precisely PDP arrangement. It really has nothing to do with the people of Delta State. The PDP people cannot come and impose their party arrangement on Delta State. Secondly, l’m aware that in all the families that participated in elections from 1999-2011, all of them, the people of Delta North participated and they were defeated. So if you participated and you were defeated, was there an arrangement and you are still participating? Well the assumption is that you shouldn’t have participated because there is an arrangement in place. So, I expect that the people from Delta North, in fact, the politicians should not believe in all these things they’re talking about. They are just using this as a measure to promote themselves in office. “Our turn is not a justifiable reason as to why we should associate with “Our turn” is negative. “Our turn” could mean it is our turn to make our own money, “our turn” to steal etc. now I ask, what is the objective of our turn? I mean if someone should come and ask, why you want to get into position, would you say it’s because it is our turn? Indeed, that answer is funny.
Supposing you lose the election, what will you do?

First of all, I will not lose. I can assure you I will not lose but since we are humans and not God, I can tell you that the platform of opposition will design in the state. We are going to be what is called the new opposition government in the state and we are going to keep it consistently for another four years. Evil does not last too long. We will begin a long distance race in the state. I’ve devoted my life to build this career and the other part to develop my state till I expire.
Tell me more about the Delta Forces United.

It’s just a platform to bring people together who think alike. DFU is just a precursor to go into a major political party and so it is nothing but a forum where we just come together to say “we are all thinking alike, are we? We all like the same thing. We all want to see the same development in the state; these are progressive thoughts. And so when we move into a political party, we know exactly those within that party that think like us. We are not going to divide the party into two but at least we know that we can steer that party towards progressive thoughts and direction. Because we will be fighting for numbers within the party, to steer them towards our progressive thoughts and rules. 
What is your message for them?

It’s simple, a very simple message. Look at your neighbor, Edo State, how they freed themselves. Take a cue from them and liberate yourselves also. Chase away the god-father. That’s all. 

NNPC Monthly oil and gas report january 2020

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NNPC Monthly oil and gas report january 2020