Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, Labour Party (LP) Gubernatorial Candidate in Enugu State, for the 2023 election, has blamed high level of poverty and unemployment in the state to bad governance by successive administrations.
He said this at a Town hall meeting, organised by the Enugu State Chamber of Commerce Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA).
Edeoga said that, if elected, he will change the narrative by committing to private sector-led employment generation.
He said that successive administrations deliberately failed to address the issue of poverty and income generation which has led to high unemployment rate and huge income disparity in the state.
Edeoga said his key agenda was to work with other South-East Governors and business leaders to make the zone a single, robust market.
According to him, it was unfortunate that successive administrations in Enugu State have weaponised poverty for their selfish political advantages.
He said that with her enormous human and natural resources, Enugu State should be one of the most vibrant economies in Nigeria.
“The South-East should be a huge thriving single market by now, but the opportunities inherent in this have been ignored, largely because of the ego of some of the leaders.
“But, I will work assiduously to lower the imaginary boundaries that are erected to divide us.
“In doing this, I will collaborate with the governors and business leaders across the South-East and South-South to ensure that, the losses that have been incurred in the past are reversed through cooperation in the interest of the people,” he said.
The LP flag bearer said that past excuses that Enugu was a civil service state have become untenable.
“My focus will be to make Enugu State a business hub, catering to diverse commercial activities in manufacturing and processing, agriculture, tourism, commerce and technology,” he said.
He said his focus will be to integrate all the people of the South-East who have chosen to make Enugu their home, into the affairs of the state.
“Enugu was built with the talent and resources of all the people of the old Eastern Nigeria.
“We are one and the same people and my government will demonstrably welcome everyone to the rebuilding process.
“I will ensure that commissioners and other competent people that will work with me are selected from all the people that have chosen to make Enugu their home, irrespective of their states of origin,” he said.
On his plans for agriculture, he said that, his administration will focus on the acquisition of land across the state and allocating same to businesses interested in farming.
“This is with the view to solving food production challenges and ramping up processing of goods to maximise the value chain,” he said.
According to him, attention will be given to crop production; poultry and livestock; cashew and the peculiar spices that grow in the state as well as palm produce.
Edeoga, who began his career as a journalist, said he would bridge the rural-urban divide by creating new cities across the state.
“Linking the rural areas with motorable roads and ensuring that Enugu capital is organically decongested and spread to other areas.
“The focus on Enugu urban for development is both unproductive and unsettling.
“We will expand Enugu beyond the GRA and make land available on demand to discourage the reselling and racketeering that has made land prohibitive for investors in the state,” he said.
Edeoga said that, as a member of the House of Representatives (1999-2003), he played a key role in the establishment of the permanent site for the Enugu Trade Fair Complex.
He said that part of his plans for agricultural revival would be to deploy Local Government Areas staff to work in facilitating productive agricultural and industrial ventures.
He added that, his government will not tolerate redundancy and truancy among civil servants and public officials.
Edeoga said the current decadence in public Education system in the state was alarming and vowed to return the state to glorious heights through training, retraining of teachers, and through regular supervision and monitoring.
He said it was unfortunate that education has not been getting its due attention in the state over the past years.
“But, just as in other areas, we will make all the needed interventions to reverse the decadence.
“All of us were products of the public school system and we owe it to our conscience and posterity to make things work again.
The things that made us to achieve our renaissance under the late Dr M. I. Okpara and the great Nnamdi Azikiwe will have to be reinvented. We want to return power to the people,” the Labour Party candidate said.
Responding to Edeoga’s presentation, the President of ECCIMA, Barr Emeka Nduagwuike, thanked the guest for his frank presentation and wished him success in his electoral quest.
“We are impressed by your show of courage here. We are even more impressed that you did not come here to read from a manifesto someone could have written for you.
It shows that you are speaking from the heart and from your convictions on what will be done to enthrone a new era of prosperity for the people of Enugu State,” he said.