• Condemn killings, promise to dialogue with IPOB
Three candidates in the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State have agreed that there was too much waste in the resources of the state, stressing that they would deploy technology to ramp up the state’s Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR).
The candidates, Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prof. Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Chief Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who also agreed that the people of the state deserved more, insisted that there was need to remove leakages and wasteful ventures to create a more enduring economy that could lead to the development of the state.
They spoke at a live telecast governorship debate organised by Arise Television in Awka, yesterday. They all agreed that there was a need to dialogue with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a group agitating for the secession of the South-East from Nigeria.
Ozigbo, who accused the incumbent administration of the state of inheriting about “N75 billion in cash,” said it was leaving a huge debt profile of “about N130 billion.”
He said that if elected, his administration would improve on the ease of doing business and block several leakages to improve the revenue of the state.
He said: “There are certain things IPOB does through agitation that I support. But when they get to some extreme, I condemn them.
“The real issue is where is the heart of all of this? If not for the way the states and the Federal Government have handled IPOB, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
“Let’s start by accepting responsibility. We created extremism. So, we need the right person to inspire hope for that dialogue to happen. When they see you as the problem already, you can’t be the one to negotiate.”
Soludo, who stated that the state government had improved the IGR from N10 billion to N28 billion, promised that he would set up the Anambra Development Fund, improve on the ease of doing business, as well as set up strong institutions to attract investments and improve the economy of the state. He said: “The group deserves to be heard. I am on record to have said that IPOB deserves to be heard.
“We need to have a dialogue, bring everybody to the table and discuss those specific issues that are their agitation.” Uba, who spoke on IPOB and their agitation, said: “I believe in engagement. If you don’t engage them, how will you know what their problem is? I believe in engaging in dialogue because their problem is work.”
SIMILARLY, other aspirants, including Geoff Onyejekwu of Allied People’s Movement (APM), Chief Ben Etiaba of Action Alliance (AA), Dr. Chidozie Nwankwo of African Action Congress (AAC), Chief Akachukwu Nwakpo of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Dr. Obinna Uzoh of Social Democratic Party (SDP) harped on the need to secure the lives and property of the people of the state.
They expressed optimism that this would naturally culminate in a more viable economic environment. The aspirants spoke during a debate organised by Prime Business Africa to provide insight into their blueprint for the people of the state.
The debate, titled “Anambra 2021: Security and Economy in Focus, was hosted by Chief Executive Officer of Newstide Publications Limited and Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Prime Business Africa, Dr. Marcel Mbamalu and moderated by the duo of Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, a Development Communications Consultant, and a Canada-based Professor Nduka Otiono, an
Internationally-acknowledged author, researcher and educationist.
The governorship candidates, who gave the assurance that women would be ably represented in their administration, said that gender-based issues and stereotypes in the society had not sufficiently been addressed but would receive attention should they be voted into power.
Etioba said: “This is the opportunity to save the South-East from political mess.” Nwakpo lamented that one of the issues affecting the development of the state is incompetence in handling its resources.