Deputy Senate President and the Delta State gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has said that his government will provide equal opportunities for all Deltans and residents irrespective of their religion or ethnicity.
Omo-Agege said that if elected as the governor of the state come March 11, 2023 elections he will ensure that no Deltan or residents are discriminated against in all aspects of government business.
The Delta Central lawmaker who gave the assurance at a Town Hall meeting with the Muslim Community and Non-Indigenes in the State, at Effurun, Uvwie local government area of the state, decried a situation where people who live and do business, pay taxes to the state should be discriminated against on the bases of their religious beliefs or ethnicity.
The APC governorship hopeful said that as the governor of the state he will ensure that merits become the major criteria for gaining employment and other government interventions.
He added that any persons, as long they are residents, do business and pay taxes to the Delta State government, are equal stakeholders in the State and therefore, will enjoy equal benefits without discrimination.
While frowning at the reported discrepancy in school fees paid by indigenous and non-indigenous students in the State, Omo-Agege promised to abolish such policies when elected as governor.
He further assured that the APC-led state government under his leadership will sponsor and extend the same treatment given to their Christian brothers who go on pilgrimage to Israel to the Muslim community.
According to him, “I want to commit to you, that whenever we decide as a government to make an appointment to the Pilgrims Board I will consult you. I will not on my own as a governor decide to make an appointment to the Muslim Pilgrims Board without consulting you.
“Let me also tell you, there is one thing I like about Asiwaju Bola Tinubu when he was the governor of Lagos State, he appointed Christians and Muslims, he appointed people who came from other states, as we speak now, we have an Urhobo man as a Commissioner and another Urhobo as a member of House of Reps in Lagos State, Tinubu started it and other governors after him have continued in that tradition.
“My friend, Governor Nasir e’lRufai of Kaduna State did the same thing, once you can deliver on your task, where you come from is immaterial, he appointed an Isokoman as Special Adviser, and we are going to replicate that here in Delta when we assume office by the grace of God.
“The Muslim community is a very big block in Delta State, so you will have someone speaking for you at the State Executive Council meeting as a Commissioner, that can assure you.
“As far as you are in Delta State, whether you are a Christian or a Muslim, you will pay equal school fees for your children. You are all Deltans, you reside here and pay taxes so you are equal stakeholders and you must enjoy equal benefits.
“If there is a job opening both children of Christians and Muslims are free to compete and have equal employment opportunities. They will all be considered equally, with no discrimination.
“The same principle of fairness will be applied to pilgrimages. As the State government sponsors Christians to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage, so, we will sponsor Muslims for the pilgrimage to Mecca.
“I assure you that I will carry you along. There shall be a Special Adviser from among you Muslims to interface between my government and the Muslim community, and also in terms of farmers and herders relationship.”
Speaking earlier, the Chief Imam of Oghara, Alhaji Mohammed Maija, lamented the poor treatment of the Muslim community by successive PDP-led governments in Delta State, noting that they were marginalized in job opportunities for their graduate children, and payment of school fees in the State-owned tertiary institutions.
Responding on behalf of the Muslims Community, one of the leaders, Alhaji Yusuf promised that they will mobilise their members across the state to vote for the APC governorship candidate and other party candidates.