Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, yesterday, told Abians what he intends to offer if elected as governor, during the Abia State governorship election debate, organised by CARITAS and Justice Development and Peace (JDPC) Catholic Diocese of Umuahia.
Present at the debate were Dr Alex Otti of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Blessing Nwagba of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Dr Okezie Ikpeazu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was absent.
The keynote address was delivered by the Chairman of the Debate Committee, Dr Mike Chike.
He told the audience that the debate was about giving candidates of major political parties in the contest an opportunity to tell Abians what they will do to leverage the state. He insisted it was about issues and no mudslinging.
ON THE ECONOMY
Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah said he has a strategy that includes partnership with the private sector. According to him, “we will be partnering with the private sector. All they require is someone they can trust. As one who has been part of the private sector, I think I understand their language and I know what they require to move their investment into our state. Once they have the enabling environment they will come in. In addition to that, I will revitalise moribund industries in Abia State to create thousands of jobs”
“What I am saying in essence is that Abia State is a private sector driven economy, long before now our economy was dependent on the private sector. But due to lack of government encouragement and decaying infrastructure many of them left. So in solving the economic problem of Abia, government needs to create the enabling environment by providing infrastructure, security and other incentives that helps them create wealth. Having known this and having been around, I know exactly what they need to bring their investment here and support the growth of our economy”
“Again, when you give our youths the opportunity to put their skills to work, you will be amazed how much they can contribute to our economic development. For example, if a young man has the opportunity of living in a 2 bedroom flat in ULONNA FARM SETTLEMENT as a farmer and makes about 100,000 monthly and he is presented with the same salary to live in Lagos, he will most likely prefer to live in Abia State because he will maximise whatever he earns from being a farmer in ULONNA FARM because his cost of living in Abia will be drastically low. Moreover when you provide him with infrastructure, he will be happy to be here and his input and contributions when added to that of others like him will help sure up the Abia economy”
ON THE CIVIL SERVICE
Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah stated that, “first, there is the need to be transparent as a governor in order to get civil servants to open up to you. Secondly, you need to provide enabling working environment that is comparable to a typical working environment in a corporate business. When you give them the honour due to them and carry them along in planning the state they will respond to you well”
“Again we must ensure that our workers are paid a good wage and that they are paid in due time. They also require additional incentives like housing loans and their retirement benefits and pensions we must pay. When our workers are adequately motivated, when there is transparency in government and they know that after working for government they will retire happily and get their pensions paid always, they will give their best and there will be less motivation for corruption in the service”
ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION
Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah says he believes in local government autonomy. According to him, “I believe in the independence of local government. I will conduct local government elections as and when due. I will ensure that credible people are elected into office at the local government because it is the government closest to the people. I will make local government offices centres for service delivery. Some of our local government offices are dirty and dysfunctional. Some local government chairmen hardly go to their offices and they careless about people in their localities. This is why I am going to insist on credible local government elections that will see the right people emerge. Whoever wins will be the People’s choice, no manipulations, even if candidates of my party losses I wouldn’t mind; as long as we get things right at the local government level”
He said ” I will partner with the church. We will retrain teachers. We will improve teaching environment. We will remunerate teachers well and demand quality teacher delivery from them. I went to a Catholic school and I believe that has been instrumental to my moral standing. Hence, I will encourage moral standardisation as part of our educational reforms.
We will also improve our curriculum and learning environment. We will reform technical education and skills development”
ON PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah reveals that “Abia has a master plan already but I have a new master plan that reflects our new realities. For example the former plan did not really see the possibility of having a seaport. But my master plan for Abia State has incorporated a seaport in Azunmiri, very close to Aba.
The team of professionals I brought together after surveying the entire state realized that we are just about 40 nautical miles away from the deep sea. Dubai went up to 280 nautical miles to bring the sea to themselves. Why can we not have a seaport in Azunmiri?”
“So I have incorporated that into my plan to expand economic opportunities for our people. I have a new plan for Umuahia, Arochukwu, Ngwa, Ukwa and Umunneochi. The type of infrastructures we will locate in these parts of Abia State will help trigger development across the state. All entry and exist roads into our state capital will be expanded and neatly paved with street lights and green areas to encourage social and night life and make Umuahia a beautiful city that will attract people to come and do business in Abia State.
Aba will witness massive infrastructural development, there will be the Abia ring road and every road into our local government areas will be made a priority and local government chairmen will be guided to build roads in their local government areas to open up our communities”
Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah said “my plan is to build health centres in all communities in Abia State, cottage hospitals in local government areas, 3 supper hospitals, one per senatorial district and one international hospital that will be built in Umuahia in partnership with foreign partners to encourage health tourism and play host to specialists from across the world”
ON HOW TO ERADICATE HUNGER IN ABIA
Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah spoke of his visitation to ULONNA FARMS SETTLEMENT and his “plan to revitalise, modernise and mechanize it along with six others scattered across Abia State. I will use them as models to develop others whilst giving incentives to local farmers to improve their yields.
I will encourage offtakers who will ensure readymade market for their products. This will help tackle hunger in Abia State and provide opportunities for our people to export their produce and make more money”
ON HIS FINAL NOTE
Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah referred his audience to his manifesto, a document that readily shows what he intends to do in every sector of the economy.
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