An All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship aspirant in Abia, Gen. Ijioma N. Ijioma (rtd), has appealed to delegates to the party’s primary election to vote for the future of the state.
Ijioma made the appeal at a news briefing in Umuahia on Saturday, where he unveiled his manifesto for a five-point development agenda and tagged the 5-R.
He said the 5-R represents: Rescue Abia; Repair Abia; Rebuild Abia; Restore Abia and Rebirth Abia.
He urged the delegates to vote according to their consciences and not for the highest bidder.
He said: “Delegates to the governorship primary are the employers rather than employees.
“And the congress is an opportunity for them to select between the best candidate and the unqualified, who chooses to offer a bribe to get employed.
“If they chose to accept bribes and elect somebody that is not qualified, it means the ugly narrative of hunger, unpaid salaries and pensions, unemployment and lack of infrastructure will continue to haunt the state.”
He described himself as the best governorship candidate among the rest across all the parties.
“I am the best among the first 11 and the four of us in APGA. Primus inter pares. We are all good but I am better than the rest.
Ijioma, who retired two-star general in the Nigerian Army, said that none of the candidates had what he had.
“They may have doctoral degrees but they cannot be a general,” he said.
He spoke on the issue of insecurity, saying that he would tackle the menace, using intelligence-based and technology-driven strategies.
He also said that he would enunciate sound and proven policies to create enabling environment for the private sector to invest and drive the Abia economy.
Ijioma said that he would strengthen the judiciary to promote the rule of law and efficient administration of justice for a better society.
He said that he would develop the hospitality and tourism sectors to become viable revenue earners for the state.
He further promised to develop the Azumini Blue River and link it to the Atlantic Ocean and Arochukwu Long Juju to serve as major tourist sites in the state.
He also said that he would build five-star hotels in Aba and Umuahia, in addition to a state-of-the-art international conference centre, if elected governor.
The governorship hopeful also promised to build an efficient transportation system with an airport in the state, in addition to quality roads and other physical infrastructures.
He also promised that his administration would build a 400-bed capacity hospital in Umuahia, 200 in each of the senatorial districts and 100 and 50 in each local government and ward.
He said that a department would be created in the Ministry of Women Affairs to cater to the welfare of widows if given the mandate.
“These widows are mothers, who suddenly became the breadwinners of their families with the death of their husbands.
“So, the department will be saddled with the singular task of making life more meaningful for them,” he said.
He further promised to embark on an agricultural revolution to create job opportunities and ensure food security in the state.
He said that he would initiate pragmatic measures that would help to harness and channel the “bubbling and bustling energy” of the youths into positive ventures.
He said that he joined the governorship race to provide quality leadership that would bring positive change in the state.
He said: “I decided to contest the governorship election not for self-aggrandisement.
“The leadership deficit in the state compelled me to come out of my retirement to see how to rescue the state.
“It is not for selfish reasons like other politicians but from my heart to restore the humanity, which has been taken away from Abia people.
“Our people have been impoverished and dehumanised.
“They are hungry and angry against the leaders.
“I have come to provide food to quench their hunger and quality leadership to end their anger,” Ijioma said.
He argued that Abia people outside the state no longer take pride in identifying with state as their place of origin because of the appalling state of infrastructure and misgovernance by successive administrations.
He said that as the number one state in alphabetical order and code-named God’s own state, Abia ought to rank the best and most developed state in the federation.
He said that with its abundant human and material endowments, Abia had no reason to suffer infrastructure deficit and gross underdevelopment.
Ijioma said that he had the capacity to win the election and defend his votes, adding that any mandate given to him shall never be stolen.
He said that the contest for the party’s ticket would not ba a do-or-die affair for him.
He gave assurance that he would congratulate and support any other aspirant that would emerge through a transparent, fair and credible process, organised on a level playing field.
He said: “I am proud to be in APGA, which parades the best aspirants compared to other parties.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ijioma is in the race against Chikwe Udensi, Prof. Greg Ibe, who defected from PDP, and Mr Etigwe Uwa (SAN).
The primary election is slated for Sunday, May 29.