• I’ll align with whoever supports my vision
By Oviri Kelvin, Abuja,
Delta South Senator-elect, Chief Joel-Onowakpo Thomas has dismissed claims that the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu has endorsed certain persons jostling for the leadership of the Red Chambers of the 10th National Assembly.
Joel-Onowakpo said like his name ‘Thomas’, he is duty-bound to classify any sort of endorsement, as reported by the press, as mere speculations and advised the press to abstain from giving the incoming 16th president of Nigeria “unnecessary baggage”.
In an interview with newsmen in Warri, the metropolitan city of Delta state, where he spoke about several issues including his upbringing, expertise and sojourn in politics, Joel-Onowakpo appealed to the varying interests to adopt a transparent process through which the house leadership should emerge.
“I am not aware, I have heard it just the way you said it. To me, like my name, ‘Thomas’, I consider this as mere speculation,” Joel-Onowakpo said. “And I want to beg the press not to give the President-Elect unnecessary baggage. The issue about the leadership of NASS is a sensitive one.”
The tax expert of international repute and erstwhile chairman of Delta Board of Internal Revenue, who also addressed his expectation from the National Assembly and how he intends to represent Delta South qualitatively, condemned intricacies that would term the National Assembly as a “rubber stamp”.
“I will expect that whoever emerges should be so from a process. It is the duty of the candidates to earn the respect and trust of their colleagues. These colleagues should be able to take ownership of the leadership. Doing anything to the contrary will amount to the President-elect taking sides.
“So, if asked, I will say that the President-elect, Senator Ahmed Tinubu, has not endorsed anybody to my knowledge. The field is free for all who are qualified to aspire.
“The last thing that this NASS won’t want to be associated with is that “they are rubber stamps”. Even if we want to be a rubber stamp, I am pretty sure that we will do it with some level of dignity. Therefore, let the best man win,” the tax expert added.
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He, however, condemned insinuations that he has pitched a tent with a certain camp by explicitly stating that he is still assessing his option which is guided by the benefit it will be to his senatorial district.
He continued: “I currently don’t have any candidates. I just came back, and I am still assessing my options, and I will finally align with the person who will support my vision in developing my senatorial district and give the Senate the best of leadership.
“I have only one vote, I have no control of other senators’ votes, and I intend to use that vote wisely,” Joel-Onowakpo stated.
The Senator-elect is determined to leave office fulfilled by impacting positively on his senatorial district, adding that his manifesto “DUE”, which is an acronym for Drastic Infrastructural Development, Unique Empowerment Initiatives, and Effective Legislation, was anchored to address salient issues bedeviling the district despite laying the “golden eggs in terms of revenue generation of the treasury of this country”.
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