2023 ABIA GUBER: Full Declaration Speech Of Rt. Hon. Sir Ude Oko Chukwu | READ DETAILS
2023 ABIA GUBER: Full Declaration Speech Of Rt. Hon. Sir Ude Oko Chukwu | READ DETAILS
SPEECH PRESENTED BY RT. HON. UDE OKO CHUKWU, Ph.D, FCA, FCIT, KSM DURING HIS DECLARATION TO CONTEST FOR THE GOVERNORSHIP SEAT OF ABIA STATE, 2023
My good people of Abia state, Ndi Abia umunnem
I come to you with warm and sincere greetings from my heart.
I have called you together today to share my concerns and ideas about the state of our dear State and how we can work together to improve upon the gains made so far and take our State to the next level of growth and development.
In the past few months, I have been in consultations with my family, immediate constituency and various stakeholders of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and others across the state, on how I can be in the forefront and lead us to build the Abia of our collective dream.
Aside from the consultations, I have also been receiving messages and visits from many individuals, groups and associations, especially those that have followed my professional career and public service engagements in Abia State, urging me to present myself to serve.
Before deciding to offer myself to continue to serve you in a different capacity, I have considered deeply, the enormous challenges and responsibilities that come with governing Abia State. If I stand here to tell you that it is an easy task, a jolly ride, a jamboree or a tea party, then I would have started failing myself and my good people of Abia State even before the journey starts. I understand that it is a difficult task but I have faith in the fact that the strength of leadership rests on the collective will of a people to line up behind one man who guides them with a compass to succeed in any endeavour they decide to pursue. Governing Abia and getting it right is an endeavour we must pursue collectively and I am rest assured that we will finish stronger than we started.
I have been actively involved in the affairs of Abia State in different capacities in the past 18 years. As a good follower and a true leader, I stand before you today to take responsibility as part of the success and shortcomings that Abia has been in the past years of my involvement. The beauty of my involvement is that in areas we did not do very well, I have learned good lessons for success and in areas we succeeded, I have the knowledge and opportunity to make things better for Ndi Abia.
What I have come to do today is to offer Ndi Abia a covenant of service, performance and leadership, but before I reel out the content of the covenant, permit me to tell you briefly who I am, where I am coming from and where we are going as a people. For those who do not know me, my name is Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, Ph.D, FCA, FCIT, KSM. I am from Etitiama Nkporo in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State. I am a Chartered Accountant by profession and by the grace of God, I have the honour of being one of the very few Nigerians to become a Chartered Accountant while still an undergraduate. I practised as a Chartered Accountant for many years before my call into politics and governance.
I was elected into the Abia State House of Assembly in 2003 to represent Ohafia North State constituency during which I served in several Committees in the House of Assembly until 2011 when my colleagues elected me as the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly based clearly on my sterling performance in the previous years. It is on record that the 5th Abia House of Assembly which I supervised remains the most peaceful and most productive in the history of Abia State. In 2015, I was elected into office as deputy governor in a joint ticket with the present governor, His Excellency, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu. I was re-elected with His Excellency Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu in 2019. By May 2023, I would have served as deputy to Dr. Ikpeazu for an unprecedented and uninterrupted eight years; the only deputy to have served a full two-term tenure with a governor in the history of our dear State. I remain grateful to my boss, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who found me useful and trustworthy to run with him in 2015 and 2019 and I remain grateful to God and Ndi Abia in general. I have given a brief overview of my journey through Abia to convey some sense of my involvement in Abia politics and a total and unbiased understanding of what Abia is and what Abia needs.
Abia, like other states in Nigeria, is work in progress. We have had our highs and lows, and as I said earlier, successes and shortcomings. What we need to do at this point is to ask ourselves honest questions and provide honest answers. Where are we, where are we headed to, do we have what it takes to get to our choice destination? Our dream is to provide the best possible for ourselves; food, housing, good roads, good schools, working hospitals, clean markets, adequate security, clean environment and a lot more of other things that make life worth living. Do we have the resources to do that? The answer is a resounding yes, as long as we look inwards to harness the human and material resources we have to achieve our goals.
I stand before you today with profound humility to present myself to lead us to the promised land. I hereby declare my intention to contest for the governorship seat of Abia State in 2023. The decision to contest for the governorship is borne out of personal conviction that I can lead us to take Abia to the next level. Those of you who know me closely will attest to my uncompromising stand on transparency and accountability. I will use my professional background as a chartered accountant to foster and entrench good governance in the State by ensuring that we apply the best systems of transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business.
I call on everyone here and Ndi Abia in general to have faith in the ability of my leadership. As governor I will mobilise our state’s resources and our people to rapidly confront our challenges, secure our future and remake our state to be the leader it used to be. Our challenges are enormous and keep assuming new dimensions with alarming urgency for immediate attention. Aba, the cash cow of Abia presents a special challenge. I am certainly not deterred and would build on what the present administration has done in Aba and Abia to enable it regain its dominance as the business hub of the South East even as we confront other challenges frontally. My involvement overtime gives me an advantage of experience to hit the ground running from day one. We do not have time to waste on a learning process. We have paid our dues with my involvement.
The main policy thrust of our administration would be to continue to reshape Abia in the best ways we can in line with the realities of the moment, by continuing to improve upon the gains already recorded in this and previous administrations. Our cardinal objectives are based on a SECURE Abia Agenda which stands for Security, Economy, Care, Urban Renewal, Roads and Education. I would briefly present to you an abridged version of Secure Abia Agenda’s comprehensive plan of action as contained in my manifesto which will be made available to you and Ndi Abia after this declaration exercise.
One of the basic reasons governments exist is to protect the lives and property of its citizens. The security of lives and property of Ndi Abia will remain a priority in our administration. Thankfully, one of the many successes recorded in the present administration is that Abia State remains the safest in the South East, and one of the safest in Nigeria. We will continue to improve upon that gain by continuing to work with relevant stakeholders, security agencies and Ndi Abia in general to maintain security in the State. We will provide working tools and gadgets like patrol vehicles, motorbikes and communication equipment to security agencies to enhance their efficiency. We will deploy the necessary technology in the management of the security of our dear State. Security is everyone’s business and in line with that mantra we will use appropriate communication channels and programmes to ingrain a sense of personal and collective security in all Abians. We will also revive and improve the Neighbourhood Watch Initiative to ensure that security responsibilities are localised for maximum results. In many ways, a vibrant judicial system directly affects how a society remains peaceful and secure. We will adhere strictly to the tenets of the rule of law, strengthen the judiciary to optimise its performance in the delivery of justice and reform our criminal justice system for the benefit of all.
Interestingly, the components of the Secure Abia Agenda are closely connected with one another in very unique ways that the success or failure of one reflects on the others. If we successfully grow the economy of our State, we would have succeeded in reducing if not completely eliminating the entire population of those available for the criminality that leads to insecurity. The idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop.
Our Economy Agenda is anchored on harnessing the abundant economic, human and material potential in Abia for growth and development. It will focus on five key components of rebuilding Aba, revitalising the manufacturing sector, reviving the agric sector, improving power and energy and boosting the sports, entertainment and tourism sectors.
We have the important duty and responsibility of rebuilding Aba, the economic lifewire of Abia State and the South East. Aba is a goldmine. It holds the promise of making Abia the richest State in the South East and one of the richest in the country. Once we get Aba right, then our work for the growth and development of Abia is done by half. We will put in place lavish incentives that will bring back every business that has left Aba and attract new ones from across Ala Igbo, Nigeria and the Diaspora. Be assured that we will continue to expand and rejig the old roads, build new ones, make Ariaria a truly international market by providing modern and standard facilities, revamp other markets as well, continue to vigorously support the Small and Medium Enterprises which the present administration has scaled to a high level and expand our manufacturing capabilities to become a truly industrialised State.
Any man, State or nation that cannot feed itself cannot truly be a great man, State or nation in the real sense of greatness. A large chunk of our population is agrarian and their livelihood is dependent on farming. Scaling the agric sector guarantees food security for our people, generates income for individuals and government and reduces unemployment and poverty. We will work towards making agriculture attractive to the youth by providing modern farming equipment, aids and techniques to make our farmers grow beyond subsistence level. We will take appropriate steps and partner with the private sector to revitalise the existing farm settlements. We want to produce millionaire farmers in Abia and show that agriculture which used to be the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy can regain its position. We will build on the gains already made by the present and previous administrations to take our agriculture to the next level.
Power is central to the industrialisation efforts of every nation. It is the fundamental infrastructure needed to drive the success of other sectors. We need power to run the big and small scale industries, power CCTV cameras for security and traffic management, run the health facilities optimally, refrigerate farm produce to cut wastes, power refineries and mills, light the roads at night and even to live comfortably as humans. The huge investments we have made on Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs cannot be sustained without a steady power supply. We cannot afford to lose out on the SMEs because that is the foundation of collective wealth creation. We have the privilege of an ongoing contract between Abia State government, Geometric Power Ltd and a foreign financier in the power sector which is currently providing uninterrupted power supply to Aba and its environs. We will continue to keep our eyes closely on that contract and promise to extend it to other parts of the State as soon as it is feasible.
We will grow the sports, entertainment, and tourism sectors to become major sources of income and employment creation in the State. Specifically, we will develop the Blue Sea Resort in Azumini, Ukwa East Local Government Area to a fully functional tourist centre with amenities of international standard.
The Health Agenda is a robust healthcare plan that covers the three levels of healthcare provision namely; primary, secondary and tertiary. The main thrust of the health agenda would be to make the average Abian healthy by creating unimpeded access to healthcare all round the clock. At this point, let me inform you that through the best efforts of the present administration, Abia State has the highest number of Primary Health Centres nationwide, with a reach to all corners of the State. We will continue to fund and revitalize the Primary Health Centres and General Hospitals across the State in order to maintain that proud lead. The Abia State University Teaching Hospital at Aba will receive priority attention. We will harness the opportunities available in the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS and the Abia State Health Insurance Scheme, ASHIS and make them available to our people at all levels. We will also support the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia in any way we can to help them in health service delivery to our people. On no account should any life be lost in Abia as a result of lack of access to healthcare.
Our urban renewal efforts will centre on rebuilding the old cities of Aba and Umuahia in roads and other critical infrastructure, provision of potable water for human and industrial consumption in our State, keeping a clean and healthy environment and adopting new measures of securing the environment through the use of renewable energy. We will partner and collaborate with the private sector to ensure that we rid our cities of refuse that has become a recurring embarrassment to us. We will partner with the private sector and embark on a painstaking drive at urban renewal by building decent and affordable housing estates for our people across the State. As a matter of policy, we will provide Fire Service Stations at every necessary point in the State to prevent loss of lives and property arising from fire outbreaks. The urban renewal drive would not be limited to Aba and Umuahia. The cities of Ohafia, Arochukwu, Umuoba, Obehie and others will receive the necessary attention.
The Roads Agenda will focus on the provision of good roads to interconnect the rural and urban centres for easy movement of people and goods. It is impossible to grow an economy in the absence of good roads. Availability of good roads enhances the capacity of businesses to expand, helps in urbanisation even as it drastically reduces deaths arising from road accidents caused by bad roads. We will identify critical access roads across the State especially those that directly affect the economic growth of Abia State and kickstart the Roads Agenda with those roads and ensure we extend it to all parts of the State as we make progress.
The best legacy a leader can give his people is the legacy of education. Our Education Agenda aims at providing Abia youths with functional 21st century education that would make them self-employed as well as employable at any level of industrial need. The global economy is driven by demands of science and technology and anybody that must fit into that role must be competent in the modern skills of information technology, technical skills and computer literacy at the barest minimum. It is on record that in the life of the present administration, our dear State has produced the best WAEC results in the country in the past six years. To continue to maintain this enviable lead, we will constantly upgrade our primary and secondary schools with modern infrastructure, continue to support the Abia State University, Uturu, upgrade the Abia State Polytechnic to a degree awarding institution and rename it the Abia State University of Science and Technology and give the Abia State College of Education (Technical) Arochukwu a facelift in infrastructure as well as upgrade it to a degree awarding institution.
We will scale up the Education for Entrepreneurship (E4E) Initiative to become functional and accessible to our teeming youth population. We will invest in retraining and adequately motivating teachers and other workers in the education sector. The education of every Abian will be a sustained effort all through the life of our administration.
I have taken time to open a little window into my dream of a better Abia. This is not exhaustive. It only captures the major headings of what we will do if we secure your mandate to lead. We will do more than I have promised. The elaborate programmes of action are contained in my manifesto. These programmes hold the ultimate promises for what Abia can become if we join hands and build our great State to the envy of many.
I call on our party members to extend their kind considerations to my person to emerge as the flagbearer of our party for the 2023 gubernatorial election in Abia State. I consider myself eminently qualified. My experience and capacity are public testaments known to all of you. The task and responsibility to lead Abia is a collective one. I have offered myself to provide the leadership and together, we can realise the Abia of our dream. Nobody will build Abia for us except Ndi Abia. Foreign companies will not do that, the federal government would not do that. Our destiny lies in our hands.
I use this great opportunity to assure our youths, civil servants, women, senior citizens and Ndi Abia in general that every one in our dear State will be adequately taken care of. As we approach the electioneering campaign period, I urge all aspirants to any elective position to eschew the politics of rancour and bitterness, mudslinging, character assasination and campaign of calumny against opponents.
As I declare my intention today to become the next governor of Abia State, I cannot take for granted the support and personal sacrifices of many people who have stood by me through my journey in life and politics. I thank them personally even as I seek their support for this ambition. I will start with my leader and the governor of Abia state, His Excellency Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu for the excellent, cordial and harmonious work and personal relationships we have had in the past years and going forward. I also thank and commend the immediate past governor of Abia State, His Excellency, Distinguished Senator T. A. Orji for the fatherly role and guidance he has played in my life.
I must commend the State party Chairman of PDP, Rt. Hon. Alwell Asiforo Okere, all the members of the State Working Committee, SWC of PDP, members of the State Executive Committee, SEC of the PDP, the 17 Local Government Party Chairmen of PDP, Ward Chairmen of PDP and all stakeholders of our great party for the leadership they are providing to steer our dear party to greatness.
To the past and present Senators from Abia State, past and current members of the House of Representatives from Abia state, my former colleagues in the Abia State House of Assembly, the Speaker Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji and current members of the State House of Assembly, all serving and former commissioners and others who have contributed to the wins we have made in Abia State of which I share in the glory, I say a big thank you for your continuous support and efforts to make Abia work. All serving and past Local Government Chairmen and Local Government Transition Committee Chairmen, past and serving Councillors also receive commendations from me as they continue to work hard to move our State forward.
During the time I have been away serving, my home front has never suffered for one day, many thanks to my loving wife and the mother of my children Lady Nnenna Vivien Ude Oko Chukwu. I say a big thank you to my wife. To my adorable children, I thank you for your patience and understanding. We are in this service together.
To all PDP faithful, I say thank you for your support so far. We have a chance to make our State the best we can. I ask you to trust me to lead you well and elect me as your flag bearer for the forthcoming governorship election. I would not disappoint you. It is a solemn promise.
I pray to the almighty God that brought all of us safely to this venue to take us back to our various destinations peacefully.
RT. HON. UDE OKO CHUKWU, Ph.D, FCA, FCIT, KSM
Deputy Governor, Abia State