Udu, Ughelli South, Ughelli North Constituency has not experienced quality representation since 1999-Buluku

Kelly Omavuaye Buluku is a legal practitioner cum politician. In his days at the University, he was actively involved in student unionism and later be

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Udu, Ughelli South, Ughelli North Constituency has not experienced quality representation since 1999-Buluku
Kelly Omavuaye Buluku

Kelly Omavuaye Buluku is a legal practitioner cum politician. In his days at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, he was actively involved in student
unionism and later became a foundational member of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in 2013 before joining the Democratic Peoples Party(DPP) a few years ago. In an exclusive chat with Fresh Angle International, he bared his mind
on several contemporary issues affecting the polity and why is contesting in the
2019 polls to represent Udu, Ughelli South and North federal constituency.


May we meet you, sir?
I am Kelly Omavuaye Buluku. I hail from Gbaregolor Town, Ewu in Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State. I am a practicing lawyer of over half a decade.

Why are you contesting for House of Representatives?

First, as I indicated earlier, I joined the APC back in 2013 with my ex-boss before I joined the DPP with an expectation that there would be sweeping and dramatic
change across the country. But, to my disappointment, there has been a reversal of my hopes somewhat, particularly in the quality of representation of my
constituents in the Green Chamber. I have noticed with significant dismay that since our nascent democratic experiment in 1999, there has never been quality and productive representation for my people in the Green Chamber. We have not seen bills, motions that have positively targeted the interests of my constituents,
causing them to become disillusioned and hopeless about their future and their society. As a consequence, I chose to take up the challenge against great odds
and run in this election for a mandate to give my people the kind of representation and leadership that can generate a positive and useful impact in
my constituency. You see, one of the fundamental differences between leaders in Western
democracies and African governments, notably the Nigerian government, is that leaders in the West focus or spend State resources on the people from whom they derive power. The people's welfare lies at the very core of governing. On the other hand, our leaders over here expend State resources on themselves and family members and cronies. For example, it was accurately reported a while ago
that House Representatives received the sum of N323 Million naira in the last 3 years for constituency projects. Regrettably, in all that time, not a single project was cited or established in any of the local governments forming my constituency. So I am running to right that wrong and restore transparency and accountability, which constitute vital ingredients for a thriving democracy.
Secondly, there has consistently been conspicuous absence of advocacy on the floor of the House on issues plaguing my constituents and indeed the country at large and that stands in sharp contrast to what we ought to see from Representatives. The House of Representatives is appropriately called the
people's parliament because it is believed to be more representative of the interests and voices of the people. As such, the House is supposed to be peopled
by people who can competently engage in polemics, eloquently articulating the people's interests, marshalling out effective arguments on issues affecting the people and the country as a whole. You see, I have been a vocal social reformer for such a long time dating back to my days as a students' union activist in OAU, Ife where I passionately championed the interests and plight of students on the
floor of the parliament and around campus. Having also worked with the likes of Festus Keyamo (SAN), I believe with every fiber of my being that I can and will
be an effective mouth-piece for my constituents. Moreover, I think what's evident from my trajectory and pedigree is that I am hugely consumed with engaging in the people's cause because it always imbues me with great passion
and personal fulfillment.

What exactly do you intend to achieve if elected?

Well, I am unable to give you an exhaustive list of the programs I intend to pursue in this interview because of insufficient space. However, let me just give
you a summary of some the items I intend to accomplish.
First, I intend to sponsor a number of bills that give effect to some provisions of the Confab report. For example, the Report recommends the abolition of the
practice of the police parading criminal suspects in the media. I believe this is in grave breach of the constitutional principle of presumption of innocence.
Secondly, I intend to sponsor a bill to amend section 6(6) (a) of the Constitution that makes it impossible for the public to sue the government if it fails to fulfill
the provisions of chapter 2 of the Constitution. For the benefit of my lay audience, the provisions of chapter 2 relate to the rights to health care, basic infrastructure, well-paid employment. etc, basically spelling out the development ideas and architecture that government programs must revolve around to meet the interests of the citizenry. If passed, my bill would allow for class action law suits against the government in respect of those essential programs that concern
the economic well-being of the citizenry. My rationale for this lies in my belief, which I consider to be widely shared, that we now live in emergency times and
government must now be forced to work by the threat of lawsuits. Finally, I intend to lobby the NDDC in providing street lights along the Udu Express way.

In politics, it is believed that a candidate has to be tested and trusted. What are your antecedents you believe should attract the people's vote
of confidence in you come election day?

As I pointed out earlier, I actively engaged in student activism on campus back in Ife and belonged to a number of organizations where I passionately fought for
the interests of students. I have also handled and won a couple of probono or what you call free of charge cases for the less privileged segments of society,
sometimes collaborating with renowned Human Rights activist Oghenejabor Ikimi, Esq in our quest to bring social justice to those who cannot afford it, using the instrumentality of law. I also coordinated Festus Keyamo's political brain child (The Delta Forces United) back in 2013 in Ughelli South Local Government Area when he was running to be a Senator, which eventually coalesced into the APC.

Do you mind telling us the immediate needs of your constituency and how you intend to accomplish them?

Sure. I have observed that there is a growing disinclination on the part of some of our youths to pursue an education, in part because their parents and guardians cannot fund their education. And so, they have grown frustrated and are having to find outlets in cultism, internet fraud and so on so forth. To
address this challenge, I shall establish a scholarship foundation in partnership
with indigenous corporate and international organizations so that individuals from less privileged backgrounds can have access to quality education.
To address unemployment and lack of opportunity, I shall also set up wide-ranging skill acquisition programs where our youths can be equipped with entrepreneurial skills in a number vocational endeavors. As a youth myself, I will try to be a role model to my people and a source of inspiration to them.

What would you do differently from those who have held this office in the past?

I absolutely have no doubt in my mind that I will be very vocal and articulate in championing issues affecting my constituency and indeed the nation in general.
That will be unprecedented. I will also hold town hall meetings with my constituents on a fairly regular basis, giving them feedbacks, taking questions, suggestions and constructive criticisms from them so as to give them a sense of
belonging. I will also set up a website through which I can update constituents that are outside the State or overseas so they too can keep abreast of developments. That way, not only are we going to be able to concretely introduce the ideas of transparency and accountability into our politics, but we are also going to be able to translate from the realm of theory into the realm of reality the idea that democracy is a self-governing and participatory system
involving all of us. These are things that we have not seen before and I believe will make my representation unique.

Which platform are you contesting under?

I am running on the platform of the Democratic Peoples Party(DPP), which has recorded election victories in the past, including for the likes of the late Senator Pius Ewherido, Hon. Ogbabunonro, Hon. Keston Okoro, Hon. Joseph Osheivure,
to mention but a few.

Is DPP still evident in Delta State?

Of course, it is. We have candidates for virtually all the positions, including Engr. Richard Kimeku who is our gubernatorial candidate.

Does DPP have the capacity to displace the APC and PDP House of Representatives candidates in this election?

I am confident that we can dislodge the other candidates in this race. To begin with, ours is the only campaign in this race that has released a manifesto in this election. None of my opponents has deemed it necessary to disclose to the
electorate the programs they intend to pursue when they get elected, which is not just in violation of electoral norms in saner climes, but is quite frankly an insult to the voters.

In conclusion, what message to you have for your people?
I would urge them, particularly the youths among them, to come out en masse to vote for me on election day so we can have incompetence replaced with
competence, ineptitude replaced with transparency, greed and avarice replaced with altruism, consideration and, above all, skilled and hard working youths
injected into the system. Let's change the narrative in this election and give life to the truth contained in the legislation that indeed we are not too young to run.

What you ignore you empower. Time to change the story and sustain this evolving generational shift in our politics. Martin Lurther King jnr once said: Human progress never rose run the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God".  Thank you.

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