Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party’s, PDP, governorship primary election scheduled to hold on the 28th May, 2022, the immediate past Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, Dr. Gabriel Ajah has called on the party’s delegates to vote for competence, equity, justice and fairness by considering his candidacy and blueprints for the State.
Dr. Ajah who made the call in Enugu after the election of the 3-man ward delegates which held across the 360 wards in the state on Saturday, 30th May, 2022 lauded the process as transparent and exemplary for other parties to emulate across the country.
Ajah while addressing pressmen expressed hope that the forthcoming primary election would be free, fair and transparent as the party’s leadership had promised that every aspirant would be given a fair playing ground to participate in the election.
The former SSG is essentially parading his credentials and experiences in the public service as assets that would endear him to the delegates and people of the state. Ajah, a member of the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, also bagged a doctoral degree in Educational Management from Enugu State University of Science and Technology, and Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Nigeria.
Assuring the PDP delegates that his administration would run an all-inclusive government, the former Executive Chairman of Enugu State Science, Technical and Vocational School Management Board also promised to continue from where the governor would stop in 2023 and further consolidate on the legacies of the present administration. Stating that he has always been part of the Ugwuanyi’s administration, the retired super Permanent Secretary reassured the people of his loyalty to the governor whom he described as a “father, mentor, principal and role model.”
Asked whether he had the capacity to muscle other aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party to clinch the party’s ticket, Ajah sounded confident and affirmative that he had the qualifications to clinch the ticket and be voted the next governor of the state. In his words, Dr. Ajah stated that “Experiences, capacity, honesty, integrity and dedication are all needed in public service and leadership, and having served 3 consecutive civilian administrations of former Governors Chimaroke Nnamani, Sullivan Chime and incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi without any iota of blemish and dent; these experiences gathered in public service since 1999 to date would be brought to bear in contest.
“It is a clear fact that the people of Enugu state and indeed the delegates of our great party are aware of my capacity, my honesty, my integrity, my character, my humility and, importantly, my pedigree which are assets in any public contest as no other contestant could say to have better qualifications and experiences than myself. As a technocrat, I’m academically qualified having read and obtained PhD in my discipline. This should be a conviction to the delegates that the capacity is unequaled.”
In the same vein, Dr. Ajah has appealed to the party’s delegates to consider the collective interests of the people of Enugu state and support his aspiration by queuing behind him at the party’s primaries. He assured that his government would not disappoint them, and would continue to carry them along just like the present administration of Governor Ugwuanyi has been doing. He stated that the only way history could be made was for the delegates and the stakeholders of the party to support his candidacy which he characterized as, humble, obedient, competent, experienced, and transformative.
Hails party’s screening process
Meanwhile, Dr. Ajah has described the recently concluded party’s screening process for aspirants of different offices held in Enugu as laudable, transparent and fruitful.
Reacting to the seamless and less cumbersome procedure adopted by the Party, Ajah stated that the process had shown that the PDP was a party that believed in upholding democratic process rather than allowing the whims of a few people to dictate and impose their pronouncement on the collective wishes of the people. He further expressed faith that the race both at the national and state levels would be a work over for the party.
Asked whether he had a good relationship with the party leadership, Dr. Ajah described the party’s state Chairman, Hon. Augustine Nnamani as his friend, brother and ally who has been steering the party in the right direction since his emergence as the chairman of the party in the state. He vowed to continue to forge the existing cordial relationship between him and the party leadership.
…Unveils manifesto and template for his government
In the same vein, the foremost aspirant for the seat of Lion Building has tacitly unveils his manifesto for the people of the state if elected governor in 2023. According to him, he would fine-tune his blueprint to be in line with the existing good governance template of the governor of the state, stressing that he believed in continuity of governance. Ajah who stated that his agenda include declaration of a state of emergency in infrastructure which among other things would concentrate on critical infrastructure, rural electrification, low cost housing, etc; water reticulation in the state; agriculture; education; security and peace architecture; completion of abandoned projects and revenue generation, and healthcare sector.
In Ajah’s words: “Over the years, I have taken my time to study the state, travelled to every nook and cranny of the state, and I can confidently tell you that I have the secret to drive the state economic structure and consolidate on the achievements of my Principal, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. The first thing we are going to do once we assume office is to declare state of emergency on critical infrastructure in the state. Infrastructure is at the heart of growth and development in any state. Enugu is overgrowing in population and the urban city being Enugu is almost overpopulated because there are no alternative cities or towns for them. We shall be making sure that within one year of our administration, major roads in rural areas are constructed and social amenities provided for the rural areas. This will decongest the population of Enugu capital city as people would be coming to work from their villages and communities.
“We shall also look at the rural electrification of the state. A visit to most of the villages and communities in the state, especially would show that our people have suffered perennial darkness. Through the Rural Electrification Board, urgent attention shall be given to these areas. We will not only be doing this for the comfort of our people, but also for the attraction of agro-allied industries which need power to establish tomatoes factories, rice milling companies, cassava processing industries, etc. This will, in turn, create jobs for our people. Still on infrastructure; there’s a perennial problem of traffic gridlocks in virtually every major road in the state. This has slowed down the pace of business activity and has also scared away investors. It has also made life uncomfortable to the average Enugu residents. The good news is that we have the solution. We shall be dualising major roads and where necessary, we will construct flyovers. There’s no magic to these problems except this infrastructural paths. Governor Ugwuanyi has already started the journey, and we’ll follow suit. Our targets will be flyovers at Gariki, Holy Ghost, Mayor, Nowas, Abakpa, University Road, Nsukka, and some other parts of Nsukka city. Where possible, we will create alternative routes. This, we shall be doing through Public/Private Partnership and Concession.
“Low Cost Housing: our government shall be masses-friendly. It’s on record that based on the population of people living in Enugu and its small size; rents have become increasingly high and difficult for the poor to pay. We have the solution to that. In our first tenure, we shall be extending low cost housing to local government areas that are within and closer to Enugu capital city. This will be designated specially for the low income earners. Necessary amenities will be provided to discourage them from seeing the capital city as a must to live in. With these low cost housing estates and good roads that will transport them to anywhere, Enugu town will be decongested to a reasonable extent.
“It is important to emphasize on the lingering issue of water in the state. We are aware that one of our major problems in Enugu is lack of water. It affects both the poor and the rich. Getting water for the average citizens is a nightmare due to the topography of the state.We are poised to fix this issue in our first tenure. How do we go about it? We’ve met with engineers including marine engineers, environmental engineers, civil engineers and geologists to proffer solutions to the problem of water in our state. We understood the genesis of the problem and why water reticulation has become an issue. We are going to follow the template already laid down by Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration by handing over the projects to competent hands. It’s going to be a public/private partnership for effective discharge of this function. The Ajali Water Works and Oji River dam shall be given prompt attention. Governor Ugwuanyi has started a good work here, and we shall speed up the completion. Some of the damaged pipes have been replaced and we will hasten the remaining work to ensure efficient water supply. We shall also deploy waste water treatment technologies, ensure desalination of some streams around and construct boreholes with large reservoirs that will complement the major water reticulation system in the state. In summary of the above, what we intend to do are; hasten the replacement of damaged pipes. Attend to the Ajali Water Works with a timeframe. Attend to the Oji River dam. Create alternative sources of water in the state such as boreholes and reservoirs. Desalination of streams and delta around the state for a healthy consumption. Employment of new techniques such as waste water treatment technologies in the state.
“On security/peace architecture. We are all aware that security and peace are fundamental to our collective existence as a people. Our security is dependent on vagaries of factors whose absence will lead to a total chaos and breakdown of law and order. We are indirectly reinforcing our security when we make available social amenities, create jobs, provide infrastructure and give priority to human capital development. All these we’ve addressed earlier. On the sustenance of the security and peace Governor Ugwuanyi has enthroned in the state, our administration shall consolidate on the achievements. We shall forge cordial relationship with different security outfits and work towards synergizing both local and conventional security architecture in the state. Members of the Neighborhood Watch and Forest Guard will, at all times, be trained on international best practices of human relations especially with the local people they’re meant to protect. We shall invest in intelligence to preempt and prevent attacks and external aggression by herders and criminals. According to security experts, security is local and to achieve maximum safeguard, the local must be involved. If elected governor, as the Chief Security Officer of the State, I shall be devolving my power on the traditional rulers and make them the Chief Security Officers of their respective kingdoms. We shall empower them and provide them with their working allowances to execute their tasks. Let me state this very clearly; under our administration, traditional rulers will be entitled to security votes to be paid from the Governor’s security vote. This is to make sure that they are efficient and effective in discharging their duties.
“I will like to commend the giant strides of our Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, in the education sector. From basic education to tertiary education, there have been tremendous improvements. We have been able to provide quality and affordable education for our children, and we intend to consolidate on the achievements. Although, there’s still work to do, we will follow the laid down system that has been working for us. The only thing we will be adding is to reinforce and intensify our pace of reaching out to the hinterlands. We shall be putting more structures in place, renovate old ones and employ more capable and competent teachers. Our administration shall be having incentive packages for them, especially those in rural areas. With our low cost housing estates distributed in most of the local government areas, we hope our teachers will benefit immensely from the scheme.”
It would be recalled that Dr. Ajah who declared his aspiration to vie for the office of the governor in 2023 under the PDP about a month ago was recently given a clean slate to contest for the party’s primary election slated to hold at the later end of this month. All eyes are, however, on the incumbent Governor to either directly or tacitly endorse his successor.