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From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Seventeen of the 37 candidates from various political parties contesting the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra on Wednesday presented their political manifestoes.
The event took place during a debate, organised by Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Anambra State chapter. It had as its theme: “Moving Anambra forward: The task that must be done,” held at Professor Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka.
Among the governorship candidates who participated were: Dr. Stephen Obiora Mbah of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP); Yul Edochie of the Democratic People’s Congress (DPC); Youths Democratic Party’s candidate, Ogbuevi Nonso Ozoemena; Mrs. Praise Okechukwu of the Mega Peoples Progressive Party (MPPP); Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo, A.D.P; Emmanuel Nwibe, D.A; and Uju Ozoka, A.A., among others. Former governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, was the occasion’s chairman.
During the debate, the candidates were restricted to only issues about governance, as mudslinging or any disparaging statement against the incumbent or past governors of the state, were not allowed.
Even though manifestoes presented by the candidates were divergent in some areas, they all agreed that security should be paramount in governance. For instance, Dr Mbah of the PRP said he would pursue the issue of security through creation of jobs for Anambra teeming youths whose population would be statistically determined and commensurate number of employment opportunities created both in agriculture and other areas of human endeavour.
He said he would equip the local vigilance group, to enable them work in tandem with police and equip the courts under his jurisdiction where criminal offenders would be charged and prosecuted.
Dr Mbah presented a 10-point agenda his administration would execute religiously, if elected.
Apart from security, he said he was going to revolutionalise agriculture, bringing in his experience as a mechanized farmer himself, pay attention to infrastructural development, free antenatal care for pregnant women and nursing mothers. He said that his administration would ensure that workers’ salaries and those of pensioners were paid as and when due.
Mbah further explained that his government would have zero tolerance for corruption and would live up to the name of his party whose mission was to redeem the Anambra people from the clutches of leaders who could not take care of them.
He also promised that he would within six to nine months of his administration conduct local government election in the state and ensure that council chairmen who embezzled public funds in the present and past administrations in Anambra were prosecuted.
He also insisted that any child that was of school age must go to school and would ban children hawking wares when their mates would be at school studying. This he said would be achieved through compulsory free primary and secondary school education in Anambra.
All the candidates also agreed that local government autonomy must be guaranteed for grassroots development and democratisation of the rural communities.
Candidate of the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Mr Onuoha Basil Onyeacholam said his administration, if voted into power, would create three million jobs, saying that Anambra State would be turned to green to make sure that there was huge amount of food production through subsistence and mechanized agriculture. He noted that with that number of employment opportunities, criminal activities would be put at bay.
Mr Edochie of the DPC said it would assist industrialists in the state to expand so as to help in job creation as part of the measures to fight insecurity. He said he would leave his comfort zone as a Nollywood actor, and use his experience to develop Anambra State. He also assured that his administration would have zero tolerance for corruption, if given the mandate.
Rev Rufus Ezeokonkwo of the KOWA Party said his mode of fight against insecurity would be through prayers. He noted that it would be the foundation of his government.