Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The people of Mbaise in the United States of America, have pledged their unflinching support for the governorship aspirant of the Labour Party in Imo State, Gen. Lincoln Jack Ogunewe (retd.)
They made the pledge during a town hall meeting with the Labour Party aspirant in the US.
Some of the prominent Mbaise indigenes in the US visited by the retired General during the trip included Dr. Sylvester Ugo, the former governor of Bank of Biafra and former Vice Presidential Candidate to Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC; and former President of Mbaise USA, Dr Law Osondu.
Others were Prof Edward Oparaoji, Chief Emma Epeagba, the newly re-elected President of Mbaise Progressive Union, Dr Vitalis Ojiegbe, and Dr Ebenezar Ogbonna, among others.
Gen Ogunewe’s trip started with a courtesy visit to 92-year-old Dr. Sylvester Ugo in Maryland who was happy to identify with his Imo gubernatorial aspiration.
Dr. Ugo recounted the role of General Ogunewe’s late father in Enugu as the Army Commander during the civil war. The sage also recalled how he left Nigeria with late Nze BSC Nzenwa on the same ship to Liverpool in 1955 from where he left for the USA. He narrated how he met Sam Mbakwe who was a student in the UK.
Ugo bemoaned how South Korea and Nigeria were at par in 1959, and regrets the level Nigeria has degenerated compared to the former and prayed for emergence of new patriotic leadership in Nigeria.
Speaking at the town hall meeting, Ogunewe decried the precarious security situation in Imo State and promised to end the misery of the people if voted into power.
“Given the security situation in Nigeria and Imo State in particular, I am convinced that there’s no better time to serve the good people of Imo State other than now when insecurity is the biggest problem,” he said.
Continuing he said: “For development to thrive in Imo State, we must first solve the problems of the bandits, the kidnappers, and the wanton killings going on in Imo State.
“If security of lives and property is guaranteed, any investment in agriculture, education, businesses, healthcare, youth, and women will be successful.”
The retired General said his motive in joining the governorship race was to fix Imo, and not because it was the turn of his people.
“I am not coming out to contest for the governorship position of Imo State because it is the turn of my clan. I am coming out to contest as a citizen of Imo State who by his training and calling, knows how to tackle our insecurity problems and bring peace to Imo State. I am the man who will give Imo State good governance.
“I am the only governorship candidate who can solve the insecurity problems in Imo State. As governor, this will be my job from day one.”
The Labour Party aspirant further promised to solve the challenge of food insecurity, poor health care and fix the education sector.
“My development blueprint will hinge on Food Security, Education Security; Job Security; Healthcare Security; among others.
“We will invest in our youths. We will start sending our young people to study overseas and to bring back new technology and businesses.
“We shall make Owerri the technology capital of Nigeria so that young people can set up their technology companies, study digital technology and like India, earn dollars and Euros working in Owerri and from their villages.
“I will make Imo one-city state by creating satellite towns in the 27 local Government areas of the State thereby urbanizing the rural areas.
“Women make up half of the world’s population, therefore, women will have adequate representation in decision-making positions in my government. My government will pay equal attention to girls’ education.
Other programs that are on my top priorities include: Modern agriculture – Greenhouse planting and harvesting all year round; Mechanized agriculture -Development of Rice farming.
He promised to replicate the success story of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, while he was Anambra State Governor.
“I know Mr. Peter Obi will be the next President of Nigeria. I am already studying his Anambra blueprint, Michael Okpara blue print, Ndubisi Kanu blueprint, Sam Mbakwe blueprint among others.
“I will join him in fighting corruption in government and, especially, reducing the cost of governance.
“The money we ‘ll save will be used in developing Imo State. It will not be business as usual!”
On why he chose to actualize his ambition through Labour Party, he said: “I joined the Labour Party instead of the other political parties because the main focus of a Labour Party anywhere in the world is workers’ welfare and security.
“It is about making sure that workers work under humane conditions with rights and privileges and receive their pay as and when due! That is why I am in the Labour Party and my government will fulfill that promise to every worker in Imo State. We shall train and retrain our public servants both at home and abroad to give them self-esteem.”