Ahead of the December 8, 2015 All Progressives Congress, APC, senatorial primaries, aspirant for the Imo West Senatorial District, Hon.(Mrs.) Juliet Akano, has appealed to the party hierarchy to consider gender balance in the bid to select the party’s candidate.
Speaking with journalists in Owerri, Akano, a former member of the House of Representatives, said considering gender balance would enable her get the ticket ahead of others who she said are equally qualified as herself.
“I want the APC to consider gender balancing and allow me go and give our people quality representation because I am going to defeat PDP. We the women are expecting higher percentage of the affirmative action from the party”, she said.
Akano regretted that Orlu Zone had been marginalized, especially in the last four years, due to what she called inept representation in the senate.
According to her, “It is on record that Orlu zone is highly marginalized despite the fact that we have a senator representing us in the senate. Apart from lack of visible federal presence in Orlu Zone, there are over 40 federal slots(appointments) for Imo State under PDP arrangement. Our senator only got six, while Emeka Ihedioha, a member of the House of Representatives, got 26. It is a shame that our senator will openly be saying that Ihedioha overrode him and got more appointments than him. It means that some of them are bench warmers in the senate”.
She called for the people of the zone to look inwards and elect a sound mind like herself who had had the experience in the National Assembly where she and some of her colleagues then lobbied to get many amenities for the state and south east.
“When I came to the House of Representatives in 2007, Imo State was not a coastal state. It was the effort of the National Assembly Members then that got Imo State into a coastal state. It was the effort of the National Assembly members that created the ministry of Niger Delta. It was same effort that completed Owerri—Onitsha Road.
“Today, it is a different story all together. National Assembly got Owerri—Aba Road between 2007—2011, but the present members cannot get proper funding for the project to be done by the contractor. National Assembly got Owerri–Omereli Road under the ministry of Niger Delta in 2010. These were all the efforts of the National Assembly because they originated from the National Assembly then to the budget office. But unfortunately today, the contractor has left the site because of lack of Funding. If we have goal getters and powerful lobbyists in the National Assembly, the situation would have been different and these two roads would have been actualized.
It was also in 2007 that we got the Enugu International Airport. It was also on record that we got Ralph Uwazuruike out of prison. If you look at our achievement between 2007 and 2011, you can say that the present National Assembly members are only politicking without achieving the purpose we elected them.
“Today in the South East, the only visible project which the federal government has executed is the Enugu International Airport which was given to us by President Yar’adua. As a part of the people that achieved that fit, I believe that if given the opportunity, I will achieve more for Orlu Zone where we have lots of intellectuals”, she said.
The senatorial hopeful added that if the people of the zone wished to get federal presence for the state and Orlu Zone, they should throw their weight behind her aspiration, because, according to her, she is a good mobilizer and well acceptable to all “because I’m a mother. When you put all these together, I think I’m the best candidate to beat PDP”.