Chief Ede Dafinone, a chartered accountant of repute, is eyeing the Delta Central senatorial seat, through which he hopes to engender development and prosperity to the area. In this interview with journalists in Lagos, he said would bring his professional knowledge and experience to bear on a wide range of public policy. He also aired his views on the 2015 governorship election. Excerpts
Why are you in the senatorial race?
The answer to that question is quality representation. I can represent my people at the highest level in the country. I want to bring development and prosperity to Delta Central.
Some people still harbour doubts about your senatorial bid. How do you intend to build confidence in people about your ambition?
Every individual brings a different set of skills and experience to the polity. My background, education, professional experience as an accountant and consultant, my experience in rubber export and plantation, my experience in the insurance industry and in the retail or shopping mall business are all success stories in their own right. I believe that the totality of these experiences will enable me to add value as the senator representing Delta Central.
How do you react to the view that you are daddy’s boy?
I want to thank God for blessing me with youthful looks. I will be 52 on my next birthday and I think in terms of years spent on this planet together with my collective experiences, I am qualified to occupy this position. Those calling me daddy’s boy clearly do not know me or worse still do not know my father Chief David Dafinone.
Considering that politics in Nigeria is on cash and carry basis, how do you intend to fund and actualize your ambition?
Politics has become an expensive venture especially in Delta State. Good enough, I have just mentioned an array of successful businesses which will assist in financing the campaign. In addition, I will also call on friends to support in any way they are able. I will want to emphasize that the focal point of any election is having a greater number of voters to cast their votes in my support. However, despite the popular rhetoric, Nigerians have learnt to vote with their conscience and not for money. Indeed, this is the background to the success story of DPP today.
Ahead of the primaries, what are the challenges facing you?
Party primaries are always a tense time in every political party and DPP is not an exception. I have taken my message of Urhobo unity and the development of Delta Central to the villages, the towns, from the wards to the local government areas, to the youths, to the women and to the elders. I believe that they will recognize that I offer a quality representation in the senate. I also have a network of friends throughout the federation in both the public and private sectors that will assist me to provide the best quality representation.
What has been the response?
All the groups I have met want me to represent Delta Central at the senate.
Are you not intimidated by the senatorial ambition of some people in the race? I contested in the last primaries in Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) against Late Senator Pius Ewherido. I lost by a total of 17 votes having joined the party two and a half weeks prior to those primaries. I was new to the party at that time. Since then, I have fully acquainted myself with my party at the local government, state and federal levels. I believe I am the candidate to beat.
What is your reaction to the rumour that you are eyeing the Delta State governor ship seat in 2015?
This issue was first raised by a couple of young men who went to press early this year to endorse me for the governorship race in 2015. I must say that I have not shown any interest in that position and the endorsement given by this group has led to significant confusion as I prepare for the senatorial bye election. Let me say that come 2015, the natural progression will be for me to stand for re-election as a senator representing Delta Central. The period left before the next election will leave a lot of work planned for the office uncompleted. Equally, the position of the party’s gubernatorial candidate for 2015 will easily be filled by our leader Chief Great Ogboru by popular acclamation by the rank and file of the party.
What is your message to the political leaders?
I am a popular grassroots politician. I started my political career in 1998 where I campaigned for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from markets to community leaders across the whole of Delta State. I am experienced in both public and private sectors and will unite the party to ensure victory at the polls.
What is your message to the people?
The empowerment projects that I have undertaken under the Dafinone Foundation since 2006 have successfully empowered over 2,500 men and women in three local government areas . The empowerment has been through skill acquisition programmes covering hair dressing, tailoring, catering, aluminium bending and welding and computer education. The projects of the foundation demonstrate a commitment to serve which can only be magnified as the senator representing Delta Central.