Hon. Michael Diden was Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan's Special Adviser on Security Matters between 2007 and 2011.He is currently representing the governor's ethnic Nationality (Itsekiri), in the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC). In this interview with DOMINIC ADEWOLE, he spoke about the commitment of the governor to peace and security in the state and also gave reasons why he bagged the award of excellence bestowed on him by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council.What endeared you to accept the union's award sir' Thank you. I had to accept it because of the credibility of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) at national and state levels.The award made meaning to me as the union has seen me as somebody who has served creditably well to have deserved the award, following my contributions to youth empowerment in the state.So, I am not surprised that the hall at the venue (Nelrose Hotel, Asaba) was full to the brim by eminent personalities including the Governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Comrade Ovuzorie Macaulay, the Asagba of Asaba, Professor Chike Edozien, politicians of note, top government functionaries, businessmen, media executives, bureaucrats, bankers and people from all walks of life. The August occasion was significant to me for it was the first time the NUJ, Delta State Council, was honouring a commissioner in DESOPADEC since its establishment several years ago. What did the award bring into focus in your life' The award also brought into focus, my variousremarkable achievements as the former chairman of Warri North Local Government of the state and recent past Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters. The chairman of the state council, Comrade Norbert Chiazor, in his remarks gave an insight into how the awardees were selected.If you still remember, he vividly said that the award involved discreet assessment of the achievements of persons selected for the award without their prior knowledge and maintained that it was after a quiet assessment of my various projects and programmes at the local government and security initiatives that the union settled for me. As if that was not enough, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), a pioneer chairman of the state council of NUJ, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay paid tribute to my achievements, describing me as 'a Deltan whose excellent track record in various fields, including governance, community development and administration, constituted the basis of the state's pride.' To me, the award was not only another milestone, but also a resounding recognition by a reputable union (NUJ) of my high quality contribution to the development of this state. The award has not only elated me as a commissioner but humbled me. I see the award as a call to duty because there can be no better way of doing this than to pay greater commitment and dedication to the progress of the state.I feel more challenged to push further in the task of making life worth living for my people. You were Governor Uduaghan's Special Adviser on Security Matters for four years, briefly assess the state's performance on the peace and security as encapsulated in the Governor's three point agenda' The prevailing peace in Delta State today cannot be compared to what we read, hear and saw happening in other parts of the federation. Aside that, inter and intra-ethnic conflicts and militant activities have been brought to their barest minimum, the high rate of armed robbery, blowing up of banks and industries with dynamites and other explosive devices, kidnapping, either of innocent citizens, politicians or oil expatriates, assassinations and other criminal activities, that we hear and read about in the national dailies, especially that armed robbers have seized some parts of the South-West geo-political zone, have been nipped in the bud. So, the governor has really delivered on his peace and security agenda. He succeeded because he takes advises seriously and deploy sophisticated means to tackle emerging crisis. You saw the way the governor responded and tackled the recent Uzere crisis' He did not waste time in visiting the troubled spot and constituted a think-tank committee to investigate the remote cause, estimate the effects and proffer lasting solution to it. Two years ago, when Mike Okiro was the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), you witnessed the donation he made to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the four Armoured Personnel Vehicles and over 50 Patrol Vans were actually commissioned by Okiro, for effective policing of the state by men of the Delta State Police Command. The governor did not donate this for political patronage or because the state has surplus funds to throw around or to satisfy personal ego, he did it for peace and security delivery, for safety of indigenes and residents in the state. The over 500 brand new Toyota Hiace buses for Delta City transit were not bought for jamborees and other nefarious activities but for the security of the people of the state. The road constructions scattered across the three senatorial districts of the state were not being contracted out to reputable construction firms for selfish reasons or to boast party manifestos, of course, the projects were embarked upon to uplift the peace and security standard of the state. Over 46 schools are being upgraded across the state while work has commenced on 10 model ones, all these are being done to prepare the young ones for futuristic peace and security challenge. I am not saying that there were no security challenges since the governor assumed office but I made bold to say that within the years under review, His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has performed creditably well on the mandate that produced him in 2007 and delivered the dividends of democracy to the various ethnic nationalities that make up the state via his peace and security, human-capital and infrastructural agenda. What are the short and long term plans of the new DESOPADEC, which you are part of now' The law establishing the DESOPADEC was unmistakable in its mandate ' that is, to extensively develop the oil producing areas of the state with approved and gazetted 50 per cent of the accruable 13 per cent derivation funds from the federation account. The mandate is expected to employ, ab initio the public relations tools of interaction, interface and networking in first and fundamentally assessing the individual but unique needs of the various oil producing and impacted communities of the state. Our focus in the short term is to ensure that the Host Communities are more developed, more people are employed in both government and private sectors and in the long run, to see that we have a cleaner environment, and that Delta State is translated to a mini-Dubai. The state government and DESOPADEC should regard HOSTCOM as partners in progress and friends so that together we can make Delta state a better place to the envy of all. Click here to read full news..