17th October, 2013
The All Progressives Congress Candidate in the November Governorship election in the eastern Nigerian state of Anambra, Dr, Chris Ngige, at the weekend unfolded his blueprint for the development of the State to Anambra business community in Lagos saying his return to the Government House would enable him complete the work he began in 2003.
Speaking at a fundraising dinner in Lagos, Dr Ngige said his manifesto contains the remainder of the programmes he began in the State in his 33 month governorship of the State, pointing out that his eight-year blue print to develop the State was jettisoned abruptly with most of the strategic projects left undone.
Pledging to utilize the abundant human and financial resources of the State to make it a livable place for everyone, Senator Ngige declared, “When they ask what I forgot at the Government House, I tell them I forgot my work plan for Anambra State. I will dust the blueprint when I get back there to rebuild Anambra State”.
“Security has to be restored in Anambra State as well as unfettered freedom of movement, equity and fairness”, the APC Candidate said adding that with his team of dedicated people he would complete the implementation of all that was left undone in his blueprint.
Debunking the notion that APC was a Yoruba party, Senator Ngige said, “The All Progressives Congress is not Party for any tribe. It is not a Yoruba Party and Yorubas can never own it. It is not Hausa party; the Hausas can never own it. It is not Igbo Party. Igbos can never own it. It is a Nigerian Party for the progress of Nigeria. I say this because of the propaganda being peddled by the APGA government in Anambra State ONLY”.
He added, “It is not about me. It is about our children and the future of the State. We have the human and financial resources to make Anambra State a place everyone would like to go to. Statistics don’t lie. While I was there, Anambra was the richest State in the country, today we are the 20th in poverty ranking in the country. We must look at people based on who they are and their ability to deliver. The Party they belong to is secondary”.
Noting that Anambra citizens are afraid to come home for fear of being killed or kidnapped , the APC Candidate told his audience, “Our people now engage a retinue of policemen and soldiers to accompany them when visiting home. This never happened when I was there. I want to bring back those glorious days. You must begin to visit your homes. This is the primary function of any government. Any government that fails to secure life and property has failed”.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), in his remarks at the occasion which also had in attendance, the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, called on the people of Anambra to vote enmasse for Dr. Ngige saying he is the most experienced of all the candidates being fielded by political parties for the position.
Governor Fashola asserted that out of all those who have offered themselves for the governorship of the State, Ngige was the most experienced man for that job, adding that experience is key to the business of governance.
The Governor told the gathering of prominent Igbo businessmen and women at the Lagos House, Marina venue of the event, “Experience is very key in this business. So, if you support him things will happen quickly because he has held that office before and that is experience. He has Federal Civil Service structure experience; he served as a director in the Federal Civil Service. The driver of Government is the Public Service. That is experience”.
“No government will survive or succeed without Parliamentary support. Dr. Ngige is now a Senator so he has also had the experience of the other side so he knows what it means, especially serving as an opposition Senator, to reach across the axles to do things and to get the government going”, the Governor said.
Citing his experience on being elected Governor in 2007 to emphasize the importance of experience, Governor Fashola said because he was in Government of the State for four years as Chief of Staff to his immediate predecessor, assuming duties as Governor was not stressful because he already had the experience of office modalities.
“When people ask, what is the secret here? I say I was in Government, in the Governor’s Office for four years; it was a quick platform from which to take off. That is experience. So on day one, I knew what to do with the file. That is what is on offer for you to choose in this election”, he said.
On the insinuation that the All Progressives Congress was alien to the Igbo of the South-East, Governor Fashola said the important thing was not the name of the Party but what the Party stood for and has in stock in terms of development programmes for the people adding that the APC stands for rapid development and for change.
“Our candidate has alluded to the fact that some are saying this is not your Party. My question first is to ask you, are you happy with the APGA government in the State now?. My own take is that even shoes when they get worn out they are changed. Our candidate has made his point clear by saying he brings to you a message of goodwill that calls for development that calls for change and for me, that is the message from our Party, the APC”, he said.
Noting that the 36 federating States in the country are independent to control their own destinies, Governor Fashola declared, “Wherever you see the signature of our Party, starting from the ACN and moving now from six states to 11 states, unmistakably, undebatably and unquestionably you will see development”.
“It is not accidental. It is planned; it has succeeded in one place so it is learnable and expandable to other places. And we do not do just what we like because not only do we have a leader in Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, we also have a consortium where we exert ourselves as Governors, we push ourselves, we query, we go and give help. So once you are in this family, you will never be left alone”, the Governor said.
According to him, “We started first here in Lagos and others are racing to catch up with us, so if we don’t increase the speed, they will overtake us. That is the kind of competition that has brought the development across all the states. It is a silent, healthy rivalry and competition to outdo one another in Public Service. So we are not keeping money in the banks”.
Giving other reasons why the choice of Dr. Ngige as Governor of Anambra is important, Governor Fashola, who said he has travelled severally to the East at various times, expressed sadness that development has largely eluded that part of the country as a result of lack of the right leadership.
“Travelling across the East, going to play football, going to visit friends, going for wine-carrying, I know some of the problems of erosion, I know some of the problems of insufficient infrastructure, I have heard of the Second Niger Bridge for almost all of my adult life. I don’t know how long that bridge is.
“But in the six years here, we have built an Okota Bridge, we have built a Lekki Bridge, we have finished an Ajao Bridge, we have finished Agiliti Bridge. So I don’t know how long it takes to build a bridge. In less than 24 months, my colleagues in Ogun and in Oyo have built bridges where none has been built for over 13 years. So what really is the rocket science?”, the Governor asked.
He continued, “The problems are human; so human beings can solve them. But they must go with the right materials, with the right equipments, with the right tools. I think Dr. Ngige has those tools. He has the experience, he has the network across this country to facilitate the development, because no state, no country can develop on the strength of its own resources alone. There must be a continuous mix and interaction of ideas”.
Urging the people of Anambra to donate generously to the fund to ensure total victory for Dr. Ngige, Governor Fashola, however, told the audience that although money was important in any election, what was more important was for them to be ambassadors of the cause which is to change Anambra State from Conservatism to Progressivism.
“The funds are very important, election requires money. But it is not just the fund, it is the belief in this cause that you must take away from tonight and begin to build an army of support for this cause because it is your own cause. What is possible is visible. It has happened in six states, it has expanded to eleven states. The logic to ask yourself is why then should Anambra be an exception? I will give it a try if I were you because I can see it”, he said.
In an interview later, Governor Fashola said the event was an APC move to expand development to Anambra State pointing out that the Party’s brand from Action Congress of Nigeria, All Nigeria Peoples Party and Congress for Progressive Change clearly showed that they were responsive to the needs of their people.
“The word out there from the people we talked to is that they want change in Anambra. We represent that change. We are galvanizing support from here but the decision lies with those who are eligible to vote there. We are urging them to vote for experience, to vote for progressivism, to vote for development which clearly and undebatably all the people we spoke to want”, he said.
In his opening remarks before presenting the candidate, National Leader of the Party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, described Dr. Ngige as “a good man, very committed to the welfare of the people and committed to the progressive calling”, adding that during his first coming, there were serious challenges which he was able to handle in addition to the many achievements of his administration.
He had the challenge of an incumbent President who would not be his friend, the challenge of insecurity and the challenge of workers. At the same time he was able to concentrate on the peoples’ welfare. Teachers’ salaries that were not paid for over one year were paid. The arrears of pension and allowances of retired people were paid”, Asiwaju Tinubu recalled.
Noting that Anambra is more or less a Civil Service State, Asiwaju Tinubu declared, “If you take away the salaries from people, the ordinary housewives and traders in the market will not make money. Without salaries, they could not sustain families and if they could not sustain families that would create greater challenges such as insecurity. The fact that he tackled it and solved it was a sign of a committed individual with good vision”.
Urging the people to vote for Dr. Ngige, Asiwaju Tinubu pleaded, “I appeal to you to accept Ngige as an actualizer who could change Anambra. If you give us Anambra and you give us Imo in the Progressives, you will see the entire East will change. Go round the Southwest you will see performances. All you need is a catalyst, a good example that will be now widespread”.
The Dinner attended by Anambra businessmen and women, professionals, nollywood stars and leaders of various Igbo socio-cultural groups in Lagos including the president of Aka Ikengha, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike offered a platform for close interaction between the APC candidate and the dignitaries who pledged their support for change and development in the State through Dr. Chris Ngige.