From Mokwugwo Solomon, Nnewi
Mrs. Chidi Onyemelukwe is the first daughter of former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. She was deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2017 Anambra governorship election, and one of the three female aspirants for the November 6, 2021 election under the PDP platform. She speaks on her ambition, and what she has in stock for Anambra, if elected.
What informed your decision to join the Anambra State governorship race?
Governance values in Anambra State are badly eroded. Anambra is fiscally broke and morally broken. Our people have experienced leadership, trust, fiscal, economic and infrastructural deficits. In 2017, we missed the opportunity to fix the state. We must do so now!
What would be your priorities if elected governor?
My priorities are to restore trust and confidence in both leadership and governance; to get our state and our infrastructure working again; to sustain and protect existing public infrastructure and public amenities, and to complete abandoned projects. Anambra has very good road networks. We shall sustain and expand that road network. We must restore availability of pipe borne potable water to our cities, towns and villages. We shall explore alternative and climate-friendly energy sources. Under my leadership, Anambra will be fiscally secure and solvent. This is a solemn pledge. We shall govern with the fear of God.
Offering better life to Anambra people is imperative. Anambra shall be an equal opportunity state for all. Our governance mantra, ethics and values will be premised on accountability and transparency, which is the grund-norm of any good government. We shall offer opportunities to our people to get affordable healthcare, good education, gainful employment and dividends of democracy. We shall implement political and gender-based equity in elective and appointive positions based on 60:40 ratio. We shall seek to reinstate cordial relationship with our international development partners. Most of these opportunities shall be targeted on Anambra youths.
Since the time of Peter Obi’s government, Anambra has been at the top as far as education is concerned. How would you sustain the tempo?
Quality and affordable education shall be our priority. Via education, we shall promote the welfare of Anambra youths by consolidating employment and empowerment. Under my watch, Anambra educational system shall be e-based, assertive, and human development driven. We shall invest aggressively in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Primary and secondary education will be mandatory and free up to the junior secondary level; to lower out-of-school and dropouts. We will devote UN prescribed budgetary allocation of 26 per cent to education.
What’s your agenda for industrialisation of the state to make it truly industrial and economic hub?
The fundamentals required for industrial revolution already exist in Anambra. My government will partner with the Organized Private Sector to make Anambra the industrial hub of Nigeria, using existing facilities and technological competences that already exist in the Onitsha-Nnewi-Awka industrial axis. Anambra is an oil producing state; we will actualize that nomenclature and derivations arising there from. We shall enhance the automobile and motorcycle industry and make Anambra the auto spare parts capital of Nigeria and West Africa. We shall also reform and strengthen our governance institutions to serve the public interest, and the common cause. Only such an approach will guarantee investors’ interest and confidence, capital flow and sustainable development. Our policies will be people-driven.
Again, we shall expand enterprise, trade and commerce; support and patronize fully privately-owned industries, thus, boosting Public Private Partnership, and Small and Medium Scale Industries. The Anambra Cargo Airport, hopefully, will soon become operational. We shall build on that facility to orchestrate Anambra’s industrial renaissance, and the importation of assets and equipment for the oil sector and mechanized agriculture.
How would you work on the currently ailing security system to ensure that your dreams come true?
We shall implement fully the government’s responsibility to protect life, property, economy, institutions, community and environment in Anambra State. We shall collaborate and support federal security agencies, while also strengthening state and Anambra Vigilante Groups. My administration’s security architecture will include human security, security from hunger, deprivation and protection of human rights and human dignity.
What is your message to Anambra electorate as the state goes to the polls come November 6?
I appeal to the electoral college of the Peoples Democratic Party and the wider Anambra electorate to vote a leader who will govern with the fear of God. Surely, all the aspirants presenting themselves for consideration, especially under the platform of the PDP, are eminently qualified to govern the state. But I will appeal to the PDP to make efforts to nominate a flag bearer, who will see the opportunity of governing Anambra State as a service to God and to humanity.
Politics is a male dominated environment, and in Igboland, people see politics and governance as games for the men. What is your opinion?
It will be wrong to use gender as basis to measure competence. Even as a woman, I have the exposure, requisite street and administrative experiences to drive this broad vision of restoring Anambra on the right path to greatness. Four years ago, in 2017, I was considered suitable to co-fly the ticket of PDP, having met the requisite educational training, exposure and experience in government at the national and state levels. My sole motive is to provide selfless service of good governance to Anambra people; while upholding the tenets of our founding fathers. I have great passion for the advancement of the society through education and creation of economic opportunities. And, as you well know, I served as a Special Assistant to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. It was under my watch that Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) was birthed and established in Nigeria. I had also served as the Chairman, Board of Directors, Federal Housing Authority, where I commissioned over 2000 housing units built by the authority, including initiating the over 104 units of Site and Services in Anambra State.