“Weep not for Imo but be insightful and decisive to make the needed sacrifices and investment as we wake up to rebuild our state…,” Ihedioha declared.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, has urged Imo people not to weep for the state anymore as his administration is determined to give the state the kind of governance that would make it an economically viable one, if he is elected the governor in the 2019 elections.
Ihedioha who was speaking at a grand reception organised in his honour, by Imo citizens in Diaspora, in Washington DC, USA, last week, to unveil his political agenda, promised to make Imo the regional ICT hub in the South East, by establishing a fully equipped and funded state-of-the-art ICT Village, in partnership with U.S, international aid agencies, corporate bodies and individual ICT professionals of Imo origins in Diaspora.
Bemoaning the situation in which he said Imo citizens in particular, and Igbo people, in general are educated only for paid employment rather than to be wealth creators, the governorship candidate vowed to reverse the trend, if voted into power, by reviving the state’s technical colleges and making them centres of excellence for critical technical skills like welding and fabrication, bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, electrical installation and repairs, etc. “These are skills that provide immediate employment especially self-employment,” he noted.
To this end, he promised to establish trade, business, technology and governmental partnership with the governments of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. “We shall also form cultural and friendship connections with these states,” he said.
“Imo State government will create an atmosphere in which economic development and tourism, agricultural and political, health and industry, transportation and environment can be explored, implemented and strengthened with the government of the states,” he said.
He added that the Imo government under his watch will pursue the necessary steps to formalise the relationship between the governments of District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia and to involve appropriate individuals, groups and businesses in developing cultural, educational, technical and commercial exchanges.
“Given the Washington DC prominence in the world and concentration of medical specialists, diplomatic corps, universities and other educational institutions, there are clearly many avenues for commercial initiatives between Imo State government and the governments of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Besides, there will be other opportunities for mutual visits of delegation, students exchange programmes, cultural enrichment or curriculum enhancement should result from the relationship. These I believe will broaden opportunities for our citizens,” Ihedioha added.
He also promised to make Imo a medical centre of excellence in Nigeria by establishing a Medical Village to facilitate research particularly in tropical diseases.
“According to records available to us, the state Hospitals Management Board presently has only 52 medical doctors, 9 pharmacists; 7 medical laboratory scientists, 2 x-ray technicians and 172 Nurses for the 19 moribund General hospitals across the state to service 4.9 million Imo citizens,” he said.
He further said “and these are just numbers; we haven’t talked about the proficiency. Under our watch, we shall consider affordable health care the least obligation that we owe our people. It should not be a luxury for a privileged few. To this end, we shall resuscitate the health sector by establishing a specialist centre in each zone as centres of excellence for tertiary medical care, intern- ship, training and research. We intend to adequately equip our hospitals and staff them with appropriate personnel. We are deter- mined to reverse medical tourism as well as save lives of Imolites who die as a result of lack of quality health care.”
Other important sectors he promised to give priority attention to, if he is elected the state governor, include agriculture, security, tourism, sports, infrastructure, energy, water and sanitation. He urged professionals and investors of Imo origin in Diaspora, in these areas, to be prepared to partner with him to achieve whatever may be his administration’s set targets in these areas.
“To encourage our people particularly those in Diaspora to take advantage of this opportunity, we shall initiate a confidence building framework to be known as Imo Diaspora Bond, to boost inflow of funds for infrastructural development. As many of you know, this is comparable to how various states and provinces of India, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia etc. and many other nationalities teamed up to create the well-known Asian economic miracle.
“The challenge for all of us is that we have the physical, moral, intellectual capacity to influence the course of events positively at home for our common good and we should not shy away from addressing the fundamental matter of the day – that we all desire good, accountable, responsible, respectable, effective and efficient government of the people, for the people and by the people,” he added.
To achieve the aforementioned, he urged all hands on deck and to choose carefully during the forthcoming general elections. “We must be bold and courageous to ask the right questions – who, amongst the prominent governorship candidates today possesses the discipline; sense of contentment; goodwill; knowledge; reach; honesty of purpose and sense of patriotism to lead our beleaguered state at this point in time?
“Weep not for Imo but be insightful and decisive to make the needed sacrifices and investment as we wake up to recover, rebuild our state and secure the future for our children and generations unborn,” Ihedioha declared.
He called on the international community to show more than a passing interest in the preparation and conduct of the 2019 elections, stating that the country needs to conduct a credible election where people’s votes will count like it happened in 2015.
The former federal lawmaker however expressed doubt about the outcome of the next year’s election, despite the fact that the president, had, at different fora, in recent times expressed his government’s readiness to conduct a free and fair election.
To Ihedioha, events of recent months cast reasonable level of doubt on the government’s claim of commitment to a free and fair election.