From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Frontline Ebonyi governorship hopeful and Candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the 2023 election, Prof. Bernard Ifeanyi Odoh has vowed to revive the fortunes of the Ebonyi people and rescue the state from its current poverty rate.
Odoh who spoke in Abakaliki recently shared what he described as Ebonyi’s current reality and the plan of his administration to create a shared prosperity for the people if voted into office in 2023.
The Professor of Geophysics said the challenges of 79.76% poverty rate of Ebonyi as the 3rd poorest State in the Nigeria federation according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is clearly mind blowing and unacceptable.
He noted that the NBS rating of Ebonyi was not completely surprising given the level of broken education system, dysfunctional healthcare system, hostile business environment, food insecurity, repressive and insecure environment for investment and misguided public expenditure that prioritizes brick and mortar than investments in human capacity building and people-centred effective governance which has been entrenched in Ebonyi governance by the powers that be.
He said that hope is on the horizon because how to strategically and significantly reduce such staggering poverty statistics; deprivation of gainful employment opportunities, human suffering and social and economic exclusion that they entail are at the nexus of why he and his running mate Dr. Nkata Chuku are seeking to lead Ebonyi in 2023.
He regretted that unemployment and underemployment rate of Ebonyi as at 2021 was 82.5% and by implication, about 2.64million population of the state has no access to jobs or employment to earn a living a situation he described as mind boggling and unacceptable.
For a start , he said their governance philosophy if elected into office will focus on reducing Ebonyi’s current poverty rate by 50% over 4 years and entrenching sustainable development of our the State going into the future.
He noted that the task is a daunting one but remains achievable with its single-minded determination, leadership creativity and competent governance that will focus on the creation of about 330,000 net jobs annually.
“We will deliberately stimulate the emergence of small businesses to consistently and responsibly create 66% of the net job required to reduce our poverty rate by 50% in our first 4 years in office. Our education and tech tourism hub will play host to investors in new universities. This venture will create over 100,000 jobs over a 4 year period. Our commitment to agricultural land preparation of about 10,000hectares will stimulate agric value-chain businesses. This will create an estimated 100,000 jobs annually;
“ A matrix to cut government spending by 30%, deploy technology to collate and manage our IGR, develop strong legal framework to protect businesses, stamp out corruption and harassment of business owners will attract Foreign Direct Investment (FD1) to create the stimuli needed to significantly increase job creation will be aggressively pursued” he said.