By Steve Unegbu
The Abia state Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 general election, Professor Uche Ikonne has assured that his utmost priority is to create a greater Abia where every Abian irrespective of the zone you come from will be proud of the state
Professor Ikonne who gave this assurance while interacting with a cross section of members of Abia online Media Practitioners Association in his campaign Headquarters Onyerobi close Umuahia,vowed never to allow any body distract him from giving Ndi Abians quality services when he emerges in 2023.
In his words,” Abians are my priority and my utmost objective is to create a greater Abia where everybody irrespective of the part of Abia you come from,you will be proud to be an Abian.
“I am an active and result oriented administrator and it is verifiable. The point is that we are talking about service to Abians and in my career I have spent many years in Abia,I have touched every places in this state,so I have the capacity to create a new and greater Abia by participatory government where every citizen will be involved in governance and we are going to use indigenous talents to develop every part of the state.
“Any body who will want to distract me from serving Abians want to play with my integrity and I can not play with my integrity at this point of my career development,I will not do that. I owe the office to Abians and with my moral integrity and all that, I will satisfy every body but you will not distract me from doing what Abians want and what we are talking about is the service to Abians” he said
Reacting to the rumours in some quarters that he is a stooge to the incumbent Governor of Abia state ,he dismissed such rumours as baseless and an abuse of intellectual capacity added that what Governor Okezie Ikpeazu did was to encourage him knowing the stuff he is made up of and as someone who will continue with his vision of transforming Abia state.
According to him,” Yes everybody came from somewhere,there is no body that went and bought form on his own,it is either a group of friends came together or some body encouraged you.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu encouraged me, for continuity of his vision and those things that he was not able to do and want somebody to do that .
” Any body who is saying that me an academician of International repute that I am coming to be a surrogate to somebody,it is an abuse of intellectual capacity.
” The question is why did this man Support the candidate of this person when he has other people around . I think you should give him credit and you can not deny the Governor the intellectual capacity and native wisdom he exhibits and non of us is more Abians than he is. What you will say is that he encouraged my candidate”
Explaining further, he pointed out that a professor who has represented at the highest echelon can never be a stooge to anybody.
” Governor Ikpeazu wants somebody he knows he will be proud of and say thank God I made a good choice,but the idea of being a stooge not at this height
” I have chaired International committees involving experts from all over the world and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu having been an academician, can not bring a former Vice Chancellor to be a stooge.
” Gentlemen dismiss that from your mind because I am here to defend the integrity of academics all over the world of which I have represented at the highest echelon.
” I am here to defend the moral justification of informed minds all over the world and I am here to defend the philosophy of the incumbent Governor who encouraged my candidate because he wants a better Abia and he has looked for somebody he knows has the character,has the competent,has the courage to do that which will move Abia forward”
Revealing some of his developmental plans for the state,the former Vice Chancellor of Abia state University Uturu, hinted that he would build a new city according to the Founding fathers of the State by advocacy and agreement made by the Founding fathers because we need to unify ourselves. We have too many prejudices that hinder development in this state and we do not need to transfer them to the younger generation.
” I want everybody to see yourself as an Abian irrespective of where you come from and you can live anywhere and prosper .
” If we do that, we are getting civilized and any other thing primordially is primitive and Abians can not be primitive after I have been the Governor” he insisted
On his plans for the youths,he pointed out that,” We have teeming population of the youths which statistically consist of 60% of the registered voters and there is no government that should not have a lofty plan to take care of the youths.
” Taking care of the youths starts from making sure that they are properly trained.
” In my government,I am going to reserve 40% for the youths in my EXCO to encourage them and I am also going to send youths from different LGAs for leadership training,it is part of human capacity building and youths will be properly engaged” he said
Continuing, Professor Ikonne promised to prioritize the welfare of workers in Abia,” We are going to prioritize staff welfare because salaries and pensions are the rights of workers .
” For me staff welfare is a priority because I do not have the moral justification to demand for quality services from workers if I am owing them salaries “
On salary arears, I can not say if there will be arears of salary ,since government is still on,but when I take over and there are still arears it will be addressed within six months”
Concerning the business people in Aba, the former Vice Chancellor of Abia state University said,” we are going to work with business community in Aba so that goods that are manufactured in Aba can be of global standard and can be exported .
“We will strategize globally how it is done globally and we will establish a school of business to train our traders to promote their entrepreneurship and trade to global standard which will help us participate in intercontinental trade “
He also promised to develop the rural roads by way of maintaining the already existing roads as well as reviving public workers department as it was in the colonial era.
He further said that part of his plans is to buy basic equipment for every local government and partner with some construction companies like Julus Berger to train the people on how to use such equipment to help in the maintenance of rural roads as well as employ the youths.
He also said he has good plans for the Elderly by building estate for the Elders where they will feel comfortable and relaxation after retiring from active services.