SPEECH DELIVERED BY HON UCHE ONYEAGUCHA AT THE EVENT OF HIS DECLARATION TO VIE FOR THE GOVERNORSHIP SEAT OF IMO STATE 2019 UNDER THE ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE (APGA) AT THE PARTY SECRETARIAT EGBU ROAD, OWERRI
In the past 7years we have seen Imo State brought into a state of hopelessness. People’s properties have been destroyed in the name of so called Urban Renewal without compensation. Civil servants have been paid less than their due salaries. Pensioners have been denied their emoluments. Markets have been destroyed at the peak of trading seasons. Displaced traders have fled to rural markets only to have their new stores demolished also.
Artisans and Keke operators have been impoverished via forced relocations. Standard of education has been debased under the guise of free education. Basic institutions such as hospitals have been destroyed without replacement while the governor continues to lie about none existing 27 general hospitals. Water has been taken away from people who cannot afford to have their own boreholes as there are no more existing city water schemes.
Our State is in serious trouble. The government of Ethelbert Okorocha is at war with our people. In the midst of this impoverishment and depression, our governor has been extremely corrupt, excessively greedy, plan-less and very dishonest while reducing governance to a family affair with an offensive self-succession agenda.
Fellow citizens of Imo State, I present myself to run for the position of Imo Governor 2019 conscious of all these anomalies just mentioned. It will not be an easy task but I believe that as your servant-leader we can get ourselves out of this mess. Under these critical times and circumstances, I hereby offer myself as aspirant for governor under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Given the opportunity, I promise to lead our people politically, economically, educationally and socially where they want to go.
As an incoming Governor, I am well aware that there lies the onerous job of healing our land and pacifying the wounded. It will require the collective effort of men of goodwill. Restoring the confidence of the masses in its government will not be an easy task. My manifesto which would cover in clear measurable terms what I intend to achieve in the areas of Education, Housing, Markets, Micro/Small/Medium Scale Enterprises, Security, Youth and Sports Development, Integrated Participatory Community Development, Local Government Elections/Administration, Diaspora Brain/Capital Repatriation, Imo State Comprehensive Pension Scheme, Medicare/State Health Insurance Scheme for Students/Minors/Senior Citizens, Economy and Agriculture shall soon be published. The key concepts of the impending Manifesto can be fitted into this address only in outline.
Under my watch Basic Education shall be free, qualitative and compulsory. It shall be a crime for any parent or guardian to keep any child of basic school age out of school especially househelps. On tertiary education, our government shall encourage and support religious bodies and private investors to set up several additional tertiary institutions to satisfy the demand by our people. Religious groups like the Catholic Diocese of Orlu will be supported to realize their Trinitas University Project at the fastest possible pace. The Old Teacher Training College Egbema and Ahiara Technical School shall promptly be upgraded into a College of Education and Polytechnic respectively.
On Healthcare, my administration shall drastically reduce the number of people inflicted with cholera, malaria and other preventable diseases plaguing our people. To this end, we shall cooperate and collaborate with all local and international intervention agencies with like aspiration, to achieve global basic primary health standards for our people. We shall invest in providing a State Health Insurance Scheme to cover both primary and secondary health related issues for all citizens and residents of Imo State irrespective of status. We shall promote investment in secondary and tertiary medical research programs.
On Businesses, I shall require that all legitimate businesses operating in the State be registered for free, and captured in a new comprehensive database for purposes of certification and support. I believe that it is not the duty of Government to run businesses. It is in the interest of government to support and grow every existing legitimate business under its jurisdiction. Government is a stakeholder and shares from profits made by every private enterprise through taxation. A thriving business environment begets a thriving public administration. All forms of taxation shall be streamlined to enhance efficiency and reduce undue molestation of legitimate businesses in the State.
My administration shall be based strictly on the principle of RULE OF LAW. Human Rights shall be guaranteed in Imo State under my watch. I shall apply myself to enthroning all the political rights and privileges I have fought for all my adult life, such as freedom of information, gender equality, right to education, child rights, environmental protection, rights of physically challenged persons, freedom of conscience, press freedom etc. As a lawyer and activist, the ways to achieve these ideals are very clear to me. I shall conduct Local Government Elections within one year of my assumption of office.
On Agriculture, we shall pursue a policy of vigorous mechanization of the Agro-business value chain and processes to boost and ensure local food security and reduce the burden placed on local farmers still using primeval farming implements.
We will not trifle with the security of lives and property of Ndi Imo and residents. I shall stridently engage the Armed Forces, the Police, other Security Agencies and experts in the Land as well as Community Leaders to fashion out the most effective and most efficient security architecture for Ndi Imo and their property. A safe and secure Imo State cannot be negotiated away.
I sincerely acknowledge and appreciate my brothers and worthy sons of Imo State who are aspiring for this same office in my Party APGA and I deeply commend them for stepping out and deploying their hard-earned resources to show Ndi Imo the better path. We are contending with a despot who is anxiously engaged in the unholy cause of perpetuating himself for a third and fourth term in office. Our aspiration is driven largely by indignation and disgust of this scenario.
The delicate fabric that holds the tripod zones of this State has been stretched to its very limits and our beloved Imo is now tethering on the precipice. Never in the history of this State has its government been so brutal, so sadistic and so mean. The blood of dead innocent traders, artisans and pensioners is crying out for justice - all this because of the wickedness and greed of one family.
I had earlier apologized to Ndi Imo for whatever role I played in the run-up to the 2015 Governorship Elections which brought Gov. Okorocha back to power for a second term. I found myself in the same party with him when my former party ACN (as one of the then Legacy Parties) merged with the defunct CPC and ANPP in 2014. Okorocha came along with a faction of APGA then. Our coming together was beyond my personal control.
In all our campaigns at that time, he never promised traders in Ekeukwu Owere, artisans in the two mechanic villages, Auto dealers, businesses at the New Market, traders in Amaraku, Nworieubi, Orlu Hardware and other Markets, etc that he would destroy their means of livelihood and send many of them to their untimely deaths, if they voted Ethelbert Okorocha back into power. He courted pensioners and civil servants and did not promise them that he was coming to embezzle their pensions and salaries. When he met with Keke Operators, he assured them that he would strive to enhance their welfare. We pledged that we would protect and preserve the dignity of the human person and his property back then. He did not tell Ndi Owere that he would grab their lands, sell them to the highest bidders and share proceeds among the members of his family. We did not tell Ndi Imo to wave goodbye to monthly allocations to the LGAs.
I am very certain that if Ethelbert Okorocha had revealed these and other inordinate desires of his heart at that time, he would not be Governor today. He would not have had my support for sure. He lied to all of us. Once again, for my role in making him governor in 2015, I sincerely apologize. All my life I have fought against hypocrisy, insincerity and official abuse. Through the mid 1980s to early 90s when General Babangida deceitfully elongated his transition program, I was there at the frontlines to challenge his fraud.
When Abacha took over, imprisoned MKO Abiola and truncated the 3rd Republic, I was there.
I have fought against every third term agenda in my struggles as a pro-democracy activist. When Yar’Adua took ill and became invalid to run the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I was there to charge the illicit Cabal that held sway to leave immediately. Now that Gov. Okorocha is seeking to perpetuate himself in power hiding behind his fledgling son-in-law, I am here to stop him.
Rochas has boasted before me about his capacity to rig the upcoming general elections. Such a false sense of canal security is what has given rise to the arrogance and swagger which he and his cronies currently display. I dare him to rig it. I urge Ndi Imo to please go and register to vote and obtain their voters cards, vote on the day of election, ensure that their votes are counted and tallied, and leave the rest for APGA. Together we must join hands to reenact the indefatigable and unassailable Igbo spirit that abhors impunity and greediness.
Now one must ask, all things considered, what do Ndi Imo want in 2019
I believe Ndi Imo want someone who has capacity to remove Rochas and his family from the commanding heights of State power, recover the monies and property they have stolen, punish him and his cohorts for the harm they have brought upon our people, compensate those who unjustly suffered loss and injury in accordance with existing laws. Ndi Imo to my mind, want someone who can mobilize the quantum amount of money required to remove this unholy family from office. Ndi Imo want a final stop put to greedy family-centric governance. They want an end to nepotism in our public administration. Ndi Imo, like all Ndi Igbo everywhere want unfettered legitimate freedom to pursue their destiny and happiness. They want a level playing field to compete cleanly and fairly across every field of human endeavor.
Ndi Imo finding themselves at these crossroads are now agonizingly asking “Whom shall we send, and who will go for us?” Then saith I, “Here am I; send me”. I have the requisite capacity, I have requisite support, I have the courage and I have the prayers of all men of good conscience in Igboland to stamp out this rampaging locust.
Given the ticket and voted into power, part of my immediate goal shall be to redeem and to restore. It shall be to recover and replace all traceable properties forcibly and illegally grabbed from innocent Imo citizens. Gov. Okorocha knows I will do it. At the risk of sounding immodest, I make haste to say that I am the only aspirant who can eventually hold him accountable if found guilty and punish him for the high crimes he has perpetrated against the people of this State. Crass wickedness should never be overlooked or else it soon becomes traditional. This battle is the Lord’s.
I shall direct that a register be opened to gather up knowledge of all the facts, sufferings and abuses put upon our people by this present administration…also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained, both of character and personal injuries, as well as real property. This should also contain the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions as far as they can get hold of them and find them out, for future use. Never again should Imo citizens and its residents suffer such official abuse and diabolical rascality. I shall sponsor an Executive Bill that will make executive imprudence difficult if not impossible, going forward.
From today onward, I shall commence to reveal with cold indisputable facts and figures, evidences of massive looting perpetrated by Gov. Okorocha and his wild family against the people of Imo State. Starting with Orlu, Oguta and Orsu LGAs, hear this: Okorocha used Agben Supplies Ventures with Reg. No IM10174 – a company wholly owned by one Prof. Anthony Anwuka of 5/6 Achike Udenwa Av., Owerri – which company according to Corporate Affairs Commission, was registered on 29th Aug. 2013, to defraud your LGAs of a total of Nine Hundred and Twenty Million Naira (N920,000,000) under the fictitious head of Abandoned/Revoked Roads Projects (find evidence attached). Every LGA was looted in like manner under this head and I shall reveal their details in due course. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Finally, I state unequivocally that the APC governments both at the Centre and the State have failed Ndi Imo and Ndi Igbo generally and something has to give. My name is Uchechukwu Onyeagucha and I am presenting myself to this great Party, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) for nomination as Candidate, and to Ndi Imo for Election to the position of Governor come 2019.
Thank You and God bless you all.
Uche Onyeagucha Esq.
APGA 2019 Governorship Aspirant for Imo State
Dated March 29, 2018