Enugu: While presenting his manifesto tagged “Reigniting the Coal City” to Ndi Enugu, on Saturday, the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA in the state, Frank Nweke, Jr lamented the “infrastructural and leadership decay witnessed in the state in the past seven years.
According to him, “Under this Ugwuanyi’s PDP Government, Enugu has become the poverty capital of the South East; having 52.91% unemployment rate and 58.13% poverty rate.
“Two-third of Enugu live in urban slums. If we are truly interested in changing Enugu, we must from these slums; Iva Valley, Jamboree, Ugbo Odogwu, Ugwu Aaron, New Jerusalem, Abakpa Nike, etc, not Independence Layout and GRA.”
He stated that any serious Governorship candidate in the state ought to visit those slums, like he himself did, so as to appreciate the plight of the masses of Enugu State.
On Human Capital Development, he showed the picture of a naked little boy, he saw at Ugwu Peak, Iva Valley, amidst hoodlums and drug addicts.
“I framed the picture and put in my campaign office to constantly remind me of the plight of our poor children, who are hungry and out of school”. He vowed that his administration, shall prioritize the upliftment of such urban slums, referring to their inhabitants as the real Ndị Enugu.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership. Nrashi egbuwo Enugwu; ayị egbuhu nrashi, nrashi e gbuo ayị (Nrashi has killed Enugu; if we don’t kill nrashi, nrashi will kill us). (Nrashi is a slang en vogue in Enugu State meaning chop – I – chop or corrupt enrichment).
Poverty, in the state, he stated was caused by weak Government institutions and what he described as “greed and everything being controlled by one clique”.
“Under my watch, the infrastructural decay in the state will be addressed. Hotel Presidential which has become an eyesore shall be resuscitated and the abandoned International Conference Center, ICC shall be completed.
“Today, Enugu roads are all so terrible that after driving, you have to take Panadol. Also, at the end of the week, your car has to go to the mechanic, to take its own Panadol.
“Under my watch, that will be addressed seriously”
The former Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, said his Government shall “keep it simple”
“We’ll keep it simple, no long grammar. We know what the issues are. After tackling one issue, you go to the next.
“Michael Okpara is my icon, my hero and my compass because of what he stood for. Within the space of eight years, he spearheaded the industrialization of Eastern Nigeria, present day South East and majority of the South South.
“He built Hotel Presidential, both in Enugu and in Port Harcourt. He built Niger Steel and Niger Gas, Emene, Enugu. He built Obudu Cattle Ranch, Golden Guinea Breweries, Umuahia, etc. Yet, he remained honest and insisted that public funds must only be used to work for the public. He died not having a house of his own! “
Nweke pledged to establish a Michael Okpara Institute of Leadership in Enugu State, if elected as the state Governor.
“My father, Late Igwe Frank Nweke taught me that I cannot afford to live in a world where people will be pointing accusing fingers at me. He taught me honest and enterprise. As a Minister, he wrote me letters, reminding me of who I am.”
On the issue of Local Government Administration, he said, “In the past, we had brilliant people serving as council Chairmen, some of them having Ph.Ds. Now, it’s the dregs that serve there”
He expressed his full support for Local Government Autonomy, pledging that under his watch, “All funds accruing to Local Government councils will be given to them untouched”