My policies’ll impact people – Ebonyi APGA gov candidate

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The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance for the 2023 elections in Ebonyi State, Prof. Benard Odoh, has pledged that if elected the governor, he would implement policies that would directly impact the people.

Odoh spoke on Sunday while responding to questions from young residents of the state at a National Civic & Political Summit, tagged, “Civil intelligence and political re-engineering for Nation building,” held at the Women Development Centre, Abakaliki, saying he would run a transparent administration that would show empathy with the masses in handling the affairs of the people.

The former Secretary to the Ebonyi State Government said his administration would prioritise excellence by creating a system that would hunt for those who were best in what they did, noting that, “we have people who have talents in all kinds of things. If we don’t incubate these talents, they decay and die off.”

He said, “This is an opportunity for us to know what we need to know as a people. As a young person in this state, if you make a first-class today, nobody is interested. There is nobody on scholarship in this state. If you are the best in football, nobody cares. I addressed young people at the stadium the other day, and I said, under us as government, annually, we must see to the exit of 20 players who will go to Europe for trial and if they succeed, they hire them. The cost of doing that is minimal. What Ronaldo earns in a season is more than the state’s budget for eight years.

“We have people who have talent in music. We have people who have talents in all kinds of things. If we don’t incubate these talents, they decay and die off. So, under us, we will show and live with empathy. We will be transparent to our people. We will take our people to where other states will respect us. Currently, we are looked down upon everywhere, as poor people and people who don’t know anything.”

On why Ebonyi State is riddled with communal crises, Odoh told the participants at the summit that undue political interferences were to be blamed for the menace, just as he also linked it to high rate of poverty in the state, saying, “I speak with facts and they are verifiable. Anywhere you see crisis going on, that crisis is instigated. A hungry man is an angry man and there is extreme poverty in this state. This narrative has to change.”

While pledging to ensure respect to citizen’s rights, Odoh said, “I will run a state where every citizen will have freedom. As your governor, I won’t have any business in putting the chairman of a town union in your village or chairman of rice mill or Abakpa market; I have no business with that. I have to pursue policies that will bring resources here. That’s the job of a governor. So, I’m prepared for this assignment and I know the issues.

“And we have painstakingly recruited the best brain for this assignment. My running mate, Nkata Chuku, is one of the best medical economists in this country today. He is from Okposi. Working with him, we will attract global funding available for health exploration, for education, for food security and sustain a growth plan that will see Ebonyi out of poverty in the next six years,” he added.

Odoh, who told the participants at the leadership summit that there was need to take an urgent action to liberate Ebonyi as a people, said, “If you go to Enugu now, if you count 20 hawkers at Ogbete main market, about 10 are from Ebonyi State; go to Abia, Aba, Onitcha, PortHarcourt, Abuja, Lagos, it’s the same trend. There is something we can do. So, we are in a situation that requires urgent action and the only thing that’s is required is action.

“The action we need to take is to get our Permanent Voter Cards to ensure you participate in the next elections. Some said votes do not count, but it counts, because if it doesn’t count, why are they buying the votes?

“If you want Ebonyi where young people will have access to quality education, it starts now; if you want Ebonyi where anyone who is sick in Anambra or any other states within the region and beyond will say, where can we find the best hospitals and they will say it’s Ebonyi, this is the time to start; and if you want Ebonyi where availability of food is assured, this is the moment to start. Tomorrow may be too late, because the next four to eight years of Nigeria’s economy and economic issues is going to be turbulent.

“Most countries are now moving from fossil fuel to clean energy, the implication is that the demand for our hydrocarbon is going to decline. This is not the time to look for people who will blow siren, it’s time to look for people who have the capacity to network global resources to do governance and works.

On the hostile business environment in the state, the former university Lecturer, said, “give us the opportunity, we will make businesses to thrive and the mass exit of people and businesses out of state will come to an end. Many are going because there is hostile environment for businesses here.”

Asked what he would do to develop Ebonyi rural communities if elected, Odoh said, “Many governors in Nigeria want to do things that people will see and clap for them over, and they concentrate them in the urban areas, but the real growth comes from the rural areas. And that’s why I spoke of about 10,000 hectares of land preparation for agriculture. The most reliable rapid way to exit plan is agriculture because that’s where we have our comparative advantage.

“Ebonyi has 5533sqkm of land. The inhabited is less than 15%, the rest are farmlands, less than 2% of the farmlands are in plantation, yet our people are fighting for land, the land is not in use. We, as a government will have to create opportunities to put those lands in use.”

“As a Professor of Geophysics, I know where the solid minerals are, we are going to map them, migrate from export for processing to processing before export to give it value.”

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