Awka – Valentine Ozigbo, the flag-bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 6 governorship election, was outstanding when he presented his ‘Ka Anambra Chawapu’ blueprint at a manifesto defense event held for all governorship candidates in the November 6 Governorship election in Anambra state.
The event organised over the weekend in Awka, by Kwechiri Forum, saw candidates of several political parties take turns to present their manifestos, answering questions from a cross-section of judges.
Kwechiri Forum is a social-political group formed from the desire to demand accountability and curtail many of the excesses of public officeholders. The group also seeks to inspire active and responsive citizenship.
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 job in the corporate sector to run for office because he is grossly dissatisfied with the state of affairs in Anambra State.
“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 added.
Ozigbo, the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, explained that in crafting his Ka Anambra Chawapu manifesto, he consulted widely with Anambrarians.
According to him, “The Ka Anambra Chawapu manifesto is a product of my engagement with Ndi Anambra. I visited all 21 local governments in Anambra, in most cases 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 Cluster. We will leverage the industrial prowess of 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, the Dora Akunyili Center and others like the International Conference Center. We will ensure that the tourist, education and health infrastructure are all working within the Awka metropolis.
“For the Omambala Cluster, which includes Oyi, Ayamelum, Ogbaru and Awka North, will move agriculture from the peasant level to processing and ultimately to export. We will situate a technology hub in the Old Aguata Cluster.
“The Sector Approach will solve the basics needs of Ndi Anambra and create a meaningful, lasting impact like education, healthcare, security, and infrastructure.
“We will focus on the quality, affordability, and relevance of education. We will ensure that the knowledge we impact on our young ones will enable them to solve modern problems with 21st-century methods.
“We will improve the quality of primary healthcare and make sure we give the proper budgetary allocation to the health sector. We will prioritise the welfare of health workers to boost their morale and exploit the power of Anambrarians in the diaspora to make sure that the proper infrastructure is in place.
“I will bring my experiences of managing multiple institutions to bear. I was the MD/CEO of Transcorp Hilton, one of the most secure pieces of real estate in Nigeria. We will provide more funding for our security forces and partner with the right embassies to translate our intelligence into creating a security structure that will stand the test of time. Our long-term security goal would be to ensure that regional, state and local policing is well architected.
“On the partnership approach, we plan to leverage the resources of Ndi Anambra. If a wealthy Anambra person uses personal funds to provide infrastructure in their locality, our administration promises to equal the investment of the private individual. This will bring about competitiveness and rapid development,” Ozigbo.
Ozigbo said on November 6, Ndi Anambra have a choice to abandon the retrogressive, ineffectual, divisive things done in the past that have never led the state to anywhere and cling on to freshness with an abundance of competence, capacity, character, and compassion.
“I am placing my bet on the collective intelligence of Ndi Anambra, and by the grace of God, behold your next governor,” Ozigbo declared to rapturous applause from the audience.
Other candidates who attended the event are 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 Peoples Movement.