Okorocha Is An Error –  Jerry Chukwueke

By KayCee July 26, 2014 22:26

One of the governorship aspirants in Imo State and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Germaine Group, Chief Jerry Chukwueke, spoke with Amby Uneze, about the 2015 elections and his ambition to govern Imo. Excerpts:
As the Chairman of PDP Mobilisation Committee in Imo State, what has changed since the visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to the state?
Our great party, the PDP is strong and on the ground in Imo state and our people are being mobilised day by day. Without a doubt, PDP will win the 2015 elections in the state. We have successfully exposed all the weaknesses of the current administration in the state and their lack of performance, which is the consequence of poor vision and unpreparedness to govern.
We have also been able to show and demonstrate to the Imo people that what we have is an accidental government that thrives on deceit. Imo people are now aware that the House of Assembly has been emasculated; that there is no due process; that the community government system is a ruse and what obtains in the state is government of the family of Governor Rochas Okorocha by his family and for his family.
In Imo, there is massive unemployment, as general unemployment is over 90 per cent and youth unemployment is over 98 per cent. The educational system has collapsed. Imo State University for instance, which ranked among the top ten in Nigeria is currently ranked 110 in Nigeria. To compound this awful situation, Imo State University within the last three years has lost accreditation including Law and Medicine. Imo is 98 per cent dependent on federal allocation and Governor Okorocha has wrapped up the debt of over N140billion. No wonder he has refused to publish even one financial statement/report since he became the governor.
Governor Okorocha since inception of his administration has not understood the importance of due process and does not respect court ruling and resolutions. Now we have a situation in Imo where a lawless governor unilaterally sacked 27 local government chairmen and 305 councillors. You can imagine the confusion and stress on the system should all these people rise to demand the enforcement of their rights as established by the apex court in respect of Abia State. It will be a disaster indeed.

What is your view about the security situation in Nigeria and Imo state?
Well as you can see, all the state has to show for Governor Okorocha’s romance with the APC brotherhood is Boko Haram insurgents, which has worsened the already bad security situation in the state. At the national level, Nigerians have come to realise that Boko Haram is largely political. Their sole aim is to make Nigeria ungovernable and to hound President Jonathan out of office.
But apart from President Jonathan, the Igbos are the next target of Boko Haram because they know that Jonathan’s major support base is the South-east and they therefore, imagine that they can by intimidation and terror coerce the South-east into abandoning Jonathan. But the Igbos are resolute and will vote for Jonathan in 2015.
The current Security situation in the country, in my view, requires an holistic approach. It must be a carrot and stick issue. The stick part of it is that President Goodluck Jonathan is making progress in strengthening security network in the country as he continues to make significant investment in further equipping, tooling, and recruiting more personnel into the security in an effort to overcome the Boko Haram insurgency.
On the carrot part, the transformation agenda of President Jonathan particularly in the areas of agriculture revolution, privatised power, housing revolution, investment in quality education, improved health care services, etc.
These and many more are important aspects of the carrot approach in managing the security situation. I commend the president on the setting up of the Danjuma Committee to raise funds to assuage the hardship of the victims of Boko Haram and the hundreds of thousands of displaced Nigerian (internal refugees). President Jonathan is showing commendable leadership indeed.
As for our internal security in the state, the way out is to upgrade the community policing from what we currently have to a high standard security organisation in terms of quality of personnel, equipment and tools and proper coordination of their activities at the state level. What we have now as Imo Security Network is a group of ill-trained and poorly equipped young men without strategic coordination. Besides, their orientation is more political and less professional.

Do you see the governor’s policy in education as a form of empowerment?
Instead of adopting strategies to fight unemployment and poverty, the governor resorted to glorifying and perpetuating the culture of poverty and dependence. He goes about public primary and secondary schools sharing stipends of between N100 and N300 to innocent school children in public. Now, he has ordered that parents queue beside their children as they receive these scandalous handouts.
These handouts he claims runs into hundreds of millions of naira monthly. The governor should have channelled our scarce resources into investments that will create economic opportunities for Imolites instead of destroying the psyche of our innocent generation and perpetuating a dependency syndrome which is both dehumanising and alien to the Igbo culture. Besides, the stipends shared is unbudgeted and unaccounted for and seen by many as another avenue for defrauding the state.

You claimed that private-sector experience is the best for governance but Governor Okorocha has the same private sector background and you still insist he has not performed. How?
Not every businessman is private-sector driven. I’m a key private-sector player with interest spanning the areas of auto sales/services, logistics, properties/investments, agriculture, oil and gas consulting, fast food and retails, hospitals and pharmaceuticals. I understand job creation, wealth creation and economic empowerment and have continuously created jobs and empowered people in the last 30 years.
In fact my partners and I are employers of over 20,000 Nigerians nationwide with an average of four dependants each. To create jobs is not to allocate or share employment; it is to create an enabling environment for private sector investment and businesses to thrive. It is to identify the natural assets and endowment of our people and systematically develop and convert them to economic opportunities.

But do you think the PDP is able to wrest power from the incumbent given the few achievements against its name?
Virtually all the people that matter in Imo state are members of the PDP, and those who left earlier have returned and our party is swelling in numbers by the day and with strong grassroots support. I am proud to say that my grassroots support in Imo is growing tremendously and the victory of 2015 will be grassroots-based. The question now is how we in PDP will manage our success and that will depend on the existing understanding in terms of power rotation or political balancing, and the quality of the candidate that will fly the party’s flag.
From our field experience, Imo people are looking for a grassroots candidate, more importantly, they don’t want to recycle old names. They are desirous of a new direction and are fed up with the same old story by recycled names. They want a focus on Imo economy, economic empowerment, jobs and more jobs. Grassroots will be the key and in my view, there lies the future of the PDP in Imo State.

The number of governorship aspirants from Owerri zone is alarming and not many are thinking of the senate. Aren’t you considering the senate as a fall back option?
We have had delegations offering us the senatorial position. I have only one answer to that: I’m running for the governorship of Imo State because I’m a private sector man and I believe that today’s governance should be private-sector driven. And those whose only experiences have been legislative and appropriation should go to the senate and let operators like us run government. Let those who appropriate go to share. I am not a sharer, I’m a baker. Let them go to share in the senate, while I bake for Imo.

With a private-sector driven background, what would be your priority within the first 100 days in office if given the opportunity?
My priority will be jobs, more jobs and more jobs, and how will I achieve that? I will immediately set up an Imo Economic Council that will include distinguished Imolites from the private sector, top professionals and representatives of government. All Imo billionaires will be part of this council which will fashion out an economic development plan and investment strategy for our state. We will start with local investors who will also attract foreign investment.
We will set up agricultural zones in each local government of the state and focus on commercial production on cassava, yams, corn, fruits and vegetables in order to achieve food security for Imo and for export to other states and countries abroad. We will turn the Imo Concorde Hotel into a training facility for the hospitality industry. This will include bringing the Concorde hotel up to a three-star level with internationally certified staff, so that young Imolites can be trained in customer service, bar-tending, catering, chef services, house-keeping, etc.
We will turn the Oguta Blue Lake and its environs into a true tourist resort of international standard. We will maximise the potential of the Concorde Hotel and Oguta Blue lake opportunities. I will create thousands of good paying jobs and Imo will become a safe and viable tourist destination in Nigeria. We will quickly achieve a pool of trained and qualified manpower to deploy to the hospitality industry locally and internationally, thereby providing jobs for our people.
You know of course, that I’m an automobile person; so we will immediately take advantage of President Jonathan’s new Nigerian automobile policy. I’ll set up a fully equipped and functional automotive engineering department at the Imo State University in partnership with major vehicle manufacturers. This will be a training ground for our youths in automotive engineering particularly in engine overhaul, transmission repairs and overhaul, etc and a launching pad for the setting up of an auto assembly plant in Imo State.
We will also set up a School of Nursing with European Union and US certification where young graduates can be trained by globally certified staff in nursing and health care delivery. This will not only provide qualified and competent nurses for our health care system, but we will have a pool of globally certified health care providers to export to Europe and America where on the average, a certified nurse earns as much as 50 to 80 thousand dollars annually. This is just a tip of the iceberg. A hundred days is too long to begin to perform as Imo governor; I will be ready to deliver from day one.


Source: Thisdaylive.com



By KayCee July 26, 2014 22:26