A former Minister for Information and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Enugu State, Mr. Frank Nweke Jr has faulted the adoption of “Continuity” as campaign slogan by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state ahead of the 2023 governorship election, saying the party whose administration failed to perform in seven years does not deserve another chance.
He declared that the last seven years in Enugu State “has been a disaster of great proportion” saying the present administration had been unable to lift the state beyond where his predecessors left it.
Nweke, who interacted with members of Enugu Professional Online Publishers (EPOP) at his GRA residence in Enugu, said that it was wrong for anybody seeking the mandate of the people to publicly declare his intention to continue with the activities of the administration that has failed to move the state forward in terms of economic development.
“Most of the problems we are facing today is as a result of leadership failure. Why do you aspire to lead? What is your vision?. Do you understand what service means – is it about you, your cronies, family and friends? Do you know the essence of governance and do you understand what it means?
“My position is that the last seven years has been a disaster of great proportion in Enugu and all the indicators and indices of development point to that fact. Water crisis in Enugu has persisted, insecurity is at an all time high…,” said Nweke, who was also Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG.
Continuing, he said: “I always wonder what people mean when they begin to preach continuity to us in Enugu state. What are they continuing?” Is it continuity of land grabbing, poor infrastructure, potholes in the capital city, and bad governance? We need to know.
“This was how one man told us nrashi in 2015 and we never asked what is nrashi? But today we might have seen the meaning. His government has nothing to offer and someone is campaigning with continuity.
“We should ask those adding Continuity to their posters to come out boldly and explain what they want to continue. For me, this is exactly what Enugu Professional Online Publishers and all media practitioners should be interrogating”.
Frank Nweke Jr
The APGA governorship flag bearer, who said he has deep knowledge on what governance entails especially in a state like Enugu having participated actively in governance, expressed his intention and eagerness to create a conducive business environment and boost the wellbeing of the people.
He said: “The responsibility of a good government is to maintain security, law and order, improve the welfare and wellbeing of the citizens for the economic progress of the society.
“The welfare and wellbeing of the citizens cannot exist if there’s no law and order. Farmers will be unable to go to farm which will result in food insecurity, hunger, poverty.
“Man by nature will tow the part of least resistance if there are no consequences for certain action. Every state must retain her coercive powers. The moment you begin to share those coercive powers, it becomes a classic symptom of state failure.
“The reason for the lack of investments in Enugu is very simple, the current state of affairs is not conducive for businesses to come. This also is the cause of the increase in unemployment because there aren’t so many jobs that the government can provide. Giving 200 young people ‘Executive Assistant’ jobs is not enough. I believe in sustainable jobs and this can be done through investments.”
On his plan for the transformation of the state economy, Nweke Jr said: “The knowledge economy is the new economy and through technology you can catalyze thousands of jobs and Enugu can be transformed as the technology hub of southeast of Nigeria.
“And how do we do this? We need to create the enabling environment. The access to land must be easy. The acquisition or receipt of certificate of occupancy must be easy. I mean, what will you be doing as a commissioner for land? So as a governor, if you cannot guarantee the issuance of a certificate of occupancy to a potential business within 48 hours to one week maximum, what exactly are you doing?”
According to him, the APGA government would “establish what I call a Geospatial Land Management System, similar to what was done under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in the Federal Capital Territory. And these things don’t require geniuses. It is the political will, it is the vision, it is the determination and then it can work.”
Nweke praised the determination and commitment of past leaders of the state, who, he said, left indelible legacies, noting that their efforts created conducive business environment and economic development which the current administration had failed to sustain.
His words: “When our revered Senator Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo was in government, he built Nike Lake Hotel, established the then Anambra State University, Sunrise Flour Mills, Anambra TV, Premiere Breweries, Anambra Vegetable Oil Product and so many others within 4 years. Think about the number of jobs that were created.
“The 40 billion Naira Ama Breweries built during the government of His Excellency Chimaroke Nnamani is a testament to how jobs can be created and other businesses established because of the conducive business environment.
“Under the government of Governor Sullivan Chime, the Mexicans established a major farm in Enugu which led to exportation of pineapple products, bananas and others.
“Regrettably, most of these businesses have shut down within two years of the emergence of the current administration, as a result of the unfriendly and obnoxious policies of the government. The key to job creation and economic regeneration is in a very strong partnership with the private sector underpinned by a conducive business environment.”
The former Information Minister, however, advised the electorate to make a wise choice in next year election, pointing out that voting for anyone in PDP or APC “is as good as backing impunity and bad governance in Enugu state.” He described APGA as one of the best options for the political revival of the southern states.
Explaining his campaign slogan which is “Arise, Let’s Build Enugu’, Nweke further assured that if he is elected into office, he will invest hugely in the Knowledge-based economy.
“If you look at the theme of my campaign, it is simply “Arise, let Build Enugu” because I realized that we need the partnership and support of the people. I will keep it simple. Sustainably resolve water crisis, clean up our city, patch the roads and open new roads where necessary.
“I will invest heavily in technology infrastructure, and my first shot will be on knowledge-based-economy where you will have youngsters who will be in Enugu and have the opportunity to work for companies all over the world using available I.T infrastructure”.
He further added that he will market Enugu, and attract investors due to the peculiar nature of the state and position in the Southeast adding that with many institutions in the state; both local and foreign investors will make Enugu the first choice.
The spokesman added: “Election is not a war nor do or die affairs, but a game of numbers based on candidates’ pedigree and acceptability before the electorate.”
According to him, nobody has the monopoly of violence but that courtesy demands that people of Kogi should be allowed to peacefully choose the person they want to govern them on Nov. 11.
The director general said that Bello’s administration has failed the citizens, who he claimed has decided to vote in Muritala Ajaka to rescue the state from poverty and hunger.
“We want the quick intervention of the President to save the lives of innocent citizens before they are brutalised and destroyed by sponsored political thugs,” he pleaded.
Responding to the allegations, Fanwo, the APC spokesperson, debunked the SDP’s claims, saying: “We are a Government and our priority is to protect all the people of Kogi State, irrespective of political leanings.”
Fanwo said that all allegations without proof are as good as no allegations.
“As a Government, our concern and responsibility is to create an enabling environment for all to pursue their normal businesses.
“The SDP is a nest of funny birds that cry by the pain of their losses rather than the action of anyone.
“We won’t glorify them and we won’t be dragged into their frivolities, gasping lies and lack of direction,” he said.
On its part, the Kogi Police Command’s Public Relation Officer, SP Williams Ovye-Aya, said that he was yet to be briefed on the alleged Tuesday night attacks by the Respective Divisional Police Officers in Anyigba and Ankpa towns.
•Former Governor of Enugu state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani
National Assembly election tribunal sitting in Enugu has struck out the petition filed by the former Governor of Enugu state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, challenging the election of Senator Kelvin Chukwu of the Labour party.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Chukwu, who replaced his late brother murdered during the campaign ahead of the February 25, 2023, as the winner of the Enugu East Senatorial district election. He scored over 69,000 votes to defeat Chimaroke Nnamani who secured about 49,000 votes.
Not satisfied, Nnamani alleged that the election was marred by over-voting, irregularities, election malpractices and non-compliance with the electoral guidelines and petitioned the tribunal and urged the tribunal to declare him the rightful winner of the election or cancel the election.
Giving its ruling today (Wednesday), the tribunal which consists of 3-man panel led by Justice Nusirat I. Umar unani upheld Chukwu’s victory and awarded a cost of N500,000 against the petitioners in favour of the three respondents, Kelvin Chukwu, Labour Party and INEC.
The three man honourable Justices unanimously dismissed the petition for being vague, lacking in merit, incompetent, generic and academic exercise.
…Says Bello brought his cousin, Ododo of APC, to elongate his grip on Kogi resources
Ahead of the November 11 governorship poll, a former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, has declared his support for the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Yakubu Murtala Ajaka.
Achuba, who served under Governor Yahaya Bello, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), told journalists in Abuja at the weekend that he decided to back Ajaka because of his pedigree and capacity to retrieve the state from maladministration.
He charged voters not to be intimidated by the spate of kidnapping and killings that has permeated the state since the commencement of the electioneering.
Also, he tasked the people of Kogi East in particular to desist from causing mayhem against the people because of political gains.
According to him, Governor Bello brought his cousin, Ahmed Ododo, of the APC, to elongate his grip on the resources of Kogi State without any commensurate development.
“If this is allowed to go through, his wife may become our Governor in 2027. God forbid!!!. We call on all well meaning Kogites irrespective of political ethnic and religious divide to rise up and resist the evil seed being plotted in Kogi State.
“It has been 7 years and 8 months of reckless plundering of our state resources without any tangible legacy to show for his two tenures.
“Rather, all legacy projects by his predecessors has been sold off without reinvestment. I know as a matter of fact that about fourteen billion was paid to Kogi State by the Federal Government for a road constructed by his predecessor.
“Can the successor of Bello expect such legacy fund? It is like daydreaming to think so. He had the opportunity to write his name in gold but turned it down. He will be remembered for bad governance and violence perpetrated in Kogi State.
“Kogites have mastered your tactics and are at the game wisely. The result of the election come November 11 will prove to you that you have so much to learn.
“As you continue to receive decampees, we wish you state the disappointment that follows. Take note that your antics of violence and manipulation not withstanding, this time around will fail.”
He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to be diligent in the discharge of their functions.
“We wish to call on INEC to be free and ensure that the election is free and fair. Thank God we have BVAS, Glory to God.
“Anywhere there are votes beyond what the BVAS has accredited the agents are expected to protest.
“On the issue of security, we wish to call on the inspector general of police and the chief of army staff to keep a close eye on Kogi.
“When I was a still the deputy governor in 2019, the State House of Assembly raised the alarm over importation of military software. What concerns a civilian government with military software? Sincere then, there has been killings and kidnappings. We cannot continue like that.
“We urge Kogites to face the evil and terminate it. November 11 is by the corner. We urge the people to reject bad administration through the ballots.
“We call on INEC to check what is happening. I want to ask the youths in Kogi East why have they accepted to be agent of the devil? They should stop destroying the property of their brothers and sisters. The intention of this is to make sure that the votes in Kogi East are suppressed.
“If you endorse it, your children will suffer it . You may enjoy it for now but later you will suffer it. Instead of using the money to develop the state, he has pocketed it. This time the voices of the people will be loud and clear,” he added.