By Jude Atupulazi
The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, for the November 6 governorship election, Valentine Ozigbo, says he is in the race to better the lot of his people and lift them from their current hardship. Ozigbo stated this at a Manifesto Defence Event organized by Kwechiri Forum in Awka, September 24, during which he presented his Ka Anambra Chawapu Manifesto
The event saw candidates of several political parties take turns to present their manifestos and answer questions from a cross-section of judges. Dr Reuben Abati, a former presidential spokesperson and Arise News anchor, led the panel.
Mr Ozigbo, while presenting his manifesto, said he decided to leave his comfort zone in the corporate sector to run for office because he was grossly dissatisfied with the state of affairs in Anambra State.
His words, ‘I am here because I am pained by the feedback I get from the people on the street. When you ask the younger ones and women how they feel, you get tales of pain and suffering.
‘Anambra deserves more, and I am confident that if we do the right things with the type of resources, people and intellect we possess, we will set a new standard.
‘With the proper framework, we take care of the basics and shift our mindset to exalt Anambra to become an exemplary state that we can all be proud of.’
Ozigbo, the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, explained that in crafting his Ka Anambra Chawapu Manifesto, he consulted widely with Ndi Anambra.
He described the ‘Ka Anambra Chawapu Manifesto as a product of his engagement with Ndi Anambra after visiting all 21 local governments in the state.
‘In most cases, I visited seven times. When I engage our people, my simple question is usually, ”What do you expect from your next governor?”
‘When we were done with our fact-finding, we realised that the needs of Ndi Anambra differ based on location, age and gender. So, we crafted the Ka Anambra Chawpu Manifesto, which tackles the core needs of Ndi Anambra through three approaches to development – The Cluster Approach, the Sector Approach, and the Partnership Approach.
‘For the clusters, we will concentrate our energy on creating value based on unique demographies, with peculiar economic potential, and we have mapped out five clusters in our dear state.
‘We will transform the Onitsha Cluster into a world-class commercial hub guided by discipline, law, and order. We will raise the competitiveness of Ndi Anambra, generate more resources, and make our people more prosperous. We will look to improve the infrastructure, quality of human capacity index, roads, and security of the Onitsha axis.
‘We will create an industrial hub around the Nnewi, Ihiala, and Ekwusigo Clusters. We will leverage the industrial prowess of Ndi Anambra and ensure that people are employed.
‘Our plan for the Awka Cluster is to transform it from a glorified village to a modern capital city. I will not abandon projects and start new ones because I want to have signage. We will leverage existing projects, like this venue, Dora Akunyili Centre and others like the International Conference Centre. We will ensure that the tourist, education and health infrastructure, are all working within the Awka metropolis,’ he explained.
For the Omambala Cluster, comprising Oyi, Ayamelum, Ogbaru and Awka North, Ozigbo said he would move agriculture from the peasant level to processing and ultimately to export, as well as situate a technology hub in the Old Aguata Cluster.
He said his Sector Approach would solve the basic needs of the people and create a meaningful, lasting impact like education, healthcare, security, and infrastructure.
On the partnership approach, he said he would leverage the resources of Ndi Anambra, noting that if any wealthy Anambrarian used personal funds to provide infrastructure in their locality, his administration equal the investment of the private individual.
‘This will bring about competitiveness and rapid development,’ Ozigbo, who described himself as a great team player, said.
Other candidates who attended the event were Nze Sullivan Akachukwu Nwankpo of the African Democratic Congress (ADC); Mr Ben Etiaba of the Action Alliance; Dr Godwin Maduka of the Accord Party and Arc Col Geoffrey Onyejegbu of the Allied People’s Movement.
The candidates the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), were absent.