By PETER OKUTU
Barr. Eni Uduma Chima, who represents Afikpo South/West state constituency at the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, is a second term member of the House now with the ambition of becoming the next local government chairman of Afikpo South LGA in the forthcoming council elections due in September. In this interview, Chima gives his blueprint on how to boost the IGR of the council among other issues. Excerpts:
What are your plans for Afikpo South LGA?
I want to bring about changes in the area of Internally Generated Revenue of the council. I have been a member of the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and I have embarked on oversight functions where I discovered that council chairmen rely so much on the allocation from the federation account and that is not healthy; they ignore other sources or avenues through which they can generate resources internally.
The modern rice mill established by the governor in Oso Edda is indeed big. Our plan is to make agriculture attractive, establish a demonstration farm which would feed the rice mill twice every year with rice paddy. So, we have to mechanize our rice farming, empower the youth and make agriculture generally attractive for them; empower people through soft loan and form them into cooperative societies to ensure that rice is produced twice a year in Afikpo South in commercial quantities and you have to be rest assured that feeding the mill will not be a problem as we will generate enough rice paddy for the mill.
Like in my local government where they tell you that they generate only N60, 000 annually as their IGR. And I know that if the potentials of the council area are harnessed we can generate a lot of money.
Do you see the governor imposing candidates on the people?
It is obvious that imposition of candidates on the electorate is counter productive; it cannot bring progress or anything good, because those who make peaceful changes impossible only make violent changes inevitable.
It is only when people cannot have their way in a manner prescribed by law, that make them to start plotting on manners not prescribed by law and I thank God that the governor has not embarked on the imposition of candidates, granted that he might give his opinion on a matter. I have never within the seven years that I worked under him experienced him imposing any candidate on the people.
What is your advice to youths towards the forthcoming election?
My advice to the youths is to shun any activity capable of causing violence; we have always preached non-violence because if you want to be in any relationship with the government of this state, especially the government of Chief Martin Elechi you must operate on the platform of peace but many times, the cause of violence is only existent on the pages of newspapers.
At times, all those things you hear about Edda are all propaganda by all those people who cannot win under a free and fair election; what they do is to try to create a reason why there should be political interventions in their favour.
How confident are you that you will emerge victorious at the polls?
If there is free and fair election, no matter the number of times it is done, we will come out victorious because the people of Edda want me.