Chris Nwabueze Ngige is a name that needs no introduction in Anambra, nay the whole of Nigeria. Despite being a great speaker, he is a man that is known more for his acts than his words. He is fondly remembered as the man who bridged the gulf between promise and act in the sleazy art of governance in Anambra State where demagogy reign supreme, charlatanry – the accepted virtue, semantics is preferred to communication and deception is celebrated. It is a terrain where the cerebral are ostracized and the bizarre are celebrated. Chris Ngige brought in a refreshing existential dimension to all that.
In a campaign season where calumny is a perfected art and parochial sectionalism has been elevated to science, and the promotion of inter-tribal hate, the newfound religion; in a campaign where diverse variations of the Nietzschean opium are shortsightedly sold to the people, Chris Ngige has humbly but resolutely restrained himself to the politics of issues that affect the lives of the average Anambrarian. These he captured without many words in his Twelve Point Agenda for Anambra.
The number one on the agenda is security. Ngige recalls that the security of the property and lives of the citizenry is the primary duty of government. Only a stranger could be told of the deplorable state of security in Anambra State. Big shots rarely come back home these days for fear of dear lives. Security has degenerated to the level where Anambra citizens now conduct burial ceremonies and traditional weddings in Lagos. Night life in non-existent as the entire state literally shuts down at 9pm. Ngige proposes to constructively tackle insecurity by employing the youths many of whom take to crime due to absence of meaningful engagement. It is a truism that there is always a correlation between unemployment rate and crime rate. Beyond employments, Ngige proposes to engage experienced hands and deploy modern security gadgets as well as finance and support the statutory security agencies for effective synergy.
On health Dr. Ngige who himself is a medical doctor proposes free antenatal healthcare for all pregnant women. He proposes free primary healthcare services for children up to five years old. Above all, Dr. Ngige proposes to employ more medical practitioners to staff government health institutions across the state. Recall that Anambra State today has slightly above fifty doctors in the state health institutions; a number that is grossly inadequate. Medical doctors in the state had once gone on strike for close to a year. Ngige observes that personnel welfare is off utmost importance in ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency. Many rural health centres are in dire state of depredation. Adequate funding and the provision of the required infrastructure remains the key.
That Ngige has promised to build an airport in the Omambala axis within the first year of his administration is no longer news. Ngige proposes to take infrastructural development a notch higher by constructing a mono rail transport system in the state. He recognizes that Anambra has great potentials for inland waterways transport system. He proposes to rejig and modernize it. On the area of road construction he proposes to complete the blueprint he developed in 2003 for macadamizing all the major and strategic roads in the state whether federal or state using his famous anti-erosion quality popularly called the “Ngige Standard”. It is worthy of note that ten years after, most of the roads built by Ngige are still potholes free while many of those constructed after him have given way to the ravages of erosion while some have developed mini craters endangering the lives of unsuspecting motorists. The exploits of Ngige in road construction speak for themselves.
A refreshing good news is the free primary and secondary education proposed by Dr. Ngige. Public schools are crumbling in the state. Classrooms are collapsing and new teachers are not employed. Ngige proposes to reposition education in the state by employing qualified teachers, providing learning infrastructures and encouraging the culture of excellence through scholarships. He proposes to reduce the school fees of Anambra State University from 150 000 nairaa to 40 00 naira as well as pay bursaries to students of Anambra State origin.
Anambra State is a major player in food production. Ngige proposes to facilitate the development of agro-based industries for large scale commercial farming. Not oblivious of the poor among us, he proposes to introduce effective farmers’ corporative system where microcredit can easily be accessed by rural farmers for small and medium scale farming. He takes especial note of the rice industry in Anambra that needs only modern processing to meet international standard.
Introducing another first of its kind, Ngige proposes to build an independent power station for Anambra State. Anybody who has resided in the state knows that electricity is a big problem in Anambra State. One cannot meaningfully talk of expanding employment opportunities without comprehensive power supply. Power and security are all that is needed to explode the industrial potentials of Anambra State.
Ngige proposes to revamp the moribund waterworks. The last time anybody had pipe borne water in Anambra State was during Ngige’s tenure. The workers of Anambra Water Corporation have been unpaid for years. Ngige proposes to offset the arrears and rejig the waterworks. Ngige proposes to draw in water to service Awka and environs through the Oji River Water Scheme. He proposes to float regional water schemes to service the rural areas.
Low cost housing schemes seem to have been anathematized in Anambra State. Ngige proposes affordable housing schemes for civil servants and workers.
Awka seems to be the worst state capital in the state in terms of infrastructural development. Ngige proposes massive transformation of Awka into a befitting capital territory with modern infrastructure.
Ngige promises to lift the embargo on employment as soon as he is sworn in, promote civil servants as at when due and pay the minimum wage scale to all categories of workers in the state’s workforce.
Not forgetting sports, Ngige proposes to complete the construction of the 25000 capacity stadium at Awka, fund and promote sports organisations as well as establish skills acquisition centre in every local government.
To the young and upcoming politicians who have been stifled in the state by non-conduct of local government election in the last eight years, Ngige declares that he will conduct local government election within six months of his swearing in.
Above all, Ngige assures that there is money in Anambra State; enough money to execute all the projects listed.
Ngige has refreshingly introduced a new way of campaigning unlike some candidates who resorted to fermenting sectional and tribal discontent, Ngige restricts himself to politics of issues and development.
Ebo Socrates wrote in from Awka.