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Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the Imo State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate, at a major policy speech at the prestigious National Press Club in Washington DC, unveiled a detailed plan on how he would grow the Imo State economy and create jobs.
At the well attended lecture, sponsored by the Professor Eddie Oparaoji led Imo Global Alliance for Good Governance, the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives asserted that lack of ability to effectively harness Imo State’s resources and not lack of it, is the cause of the economic crisis facing the state.
He said “Imo is a potentially rich State, but momentarily poverty stricken and decadent due to defective governance structure and processes.”
“Ours is a state of approximately 5, 530km2 of landmass. Buried underneath it is a huge oil and gas reserve as well as lead, calcium carbonate and zinc. Imo with an approximately 60-80 inches or 1,500mm to 2,200mm of rainfall can be considered remarkably fertile for massive agricultural production and therefore has no business with food insecurity for its approximately 4.9m people.
“Instructively, according to the 2010 UNESCO survey, more than half of its population who are above 8 years old can read and write, compared to other States with less than 15.5%. This confirms the fact that our people are not only educated but traditionally sophisticated, intelligent, enterprising, industrious and ever prepared to help government fast track development through self-help projects…”.
“I must add also that a great number of our people in the diaspora are highly educated professionals, particularly in the medical, engineering, Finance and Management sectors, given the right environment. They are ever prepared to contribute tremendously to fast-track development process in the State in addition to their unimaginable goodwill to attract foreign investment. This fact is incontrovertible.”
“Our inability to harness and maximize these potentials has left our State poor and completely dis-articulated from the global economy and consequently, only able to currently achieve a GDP of only $18 billion, which is approximately less than 5% of Nigeria’s $375 billion GDP. All the critical sectors such as education, health, basic infrastructure, water and sanitation have equally deteriorated beyond the threshold of manageability, simply because the present government not only lacks imagination and tact but is fundamentally deficient, ignorant, directionless, lawless and apathetic.”
“Consequently, also because the fundamentals of the governance structure do not inspire investors’ confidence, investors have deserted the State, businesses have closed down, unemployment and the attendant poverty are on the rise while only mortuary patronage statistics has gone up. The once Eastern Heartland and pride of the Igbo nation is lying prostrate and a shadow of the Dee Sam Mbakwe era and indeed an embarrassment to our forbears.”
“Suffice it to say that this pervasive and rebounding challenge of bad governance in our State as a matter of fact, justifies the call for the elevation of conversations about the forthcoming elections beyond just gaining access to power but to providing leadership. I dare say that governance and leadership are not synonymous, but far apart.”
“This is the background that inspired my concerns for the future and the impetus to offer myself for the service of our State. I am confident that I fully understand the times, including the level of hopelessness, frustrations and agony in our land. I have the capacity to provide the right leadership, and inspire international and domestic investor confidence in our State. I bring you hope. I am here to assure you that I am determined to bring back our State and our pride. I want you to share with me the optimism that together we can rebuild Imo and get our State once more articulated back to the global economy. This is my dream, this is my drive and this is the reason why I am seeking your support.”
Rt. Hon. Ihedioha, while in the US, visited Maryland, Texas and North Carolina.
He was, according to Hon. Uche Bonny-Life Ndu, the Chief Convener of the Ihedioha Diaspora Thinktank Support Group and Organizer of the Ihedioha US tour, welcomed to the New Jersey/New York axis by Imo State indigenes resident in the Tristate for a Mega Sensitization/interaction Town Hall meeting.
He was also a guest of the Newark Mayor and was received by City Council President, Mildred Crump, who presented him a Resolution & Proclamation from Mayor Ras J Baraka and the City Council.
During the Town Hall session, he received another Proclamation from the first Nigerian/American Councilman in the City of East Orange, Councilman Christopher Awe, who presented the accolades on behalf of the City of East Orange and revered Assemblywoman, Britnee Timberlake.
Rt. Hon. Ihedioha later delivered a comprehensive and compelling policy speech/world press conference at the Prestigious National Press Club, Washington DC Thursday, December 6, 2018.
The theme of his presentation was ‘Rebuilding and Repositioning Imo State in the Global Economy.’
He was also a guest of the County Executive & Prince Georges County Economic Corporation, where he received a presentation on Economic Development potentials between Imo and Prince Georges County/DMV.
At the different meetings where he shared his vision for the State, he invited the international community and Imo indigenes in the diaspora to show more interest in elections in Nigeria, insisting that “the failure of government is our collective failure if we fail to engage in the electoral process.”
The consummate politician pointed out, strongly, that the best efforts Nigerians must make this election cycle should be to make Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the next president of Nigeria.
He assured that his government would open up Imo State for business, stressing that “I will restore trust in government; I will bring transparency and accountability to governance; I will institutionalize rule of law in Imo state.”
He promised that he will ensure the autonomy of Local Government Areas, revealed plans to make Imo the center of Medical tourism in the country and pledged to promote technical education in the state so that graduates from the system would become job creators rather than job seekers.
He noted that he belongs to the right generation to provide good governance in Nigeria pointing out that he also has the right education and leadership apprenticeship to provide good leadership in Imo state.
He told his appreciative audiences that “I know I have the courage, goodwill, knowhow and service. I am ready, prepared and will be deliberate. I cannot afford to make mistakes,” stressing that “I have a very good sense of discipline, I am impatient to malfeasance” and very importantly, that he fears God “and will govern with the fear of God.”