Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the people of Anikenano and Awgu Central Development Centres, both in Awgu local government area of Enugu State, have called on the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Peter Mbah, to cite new projects and attract developments that would transform the council area, stressing their resolve to commit their votes to him and the other PDP candidates in the coming elections.
The people made these demands at the town hall meetings, which held at Mgbidi and Awgu town, headquarters of the development centres, on Wednesday.
Speaking at the interactive meetings, which had in attendance traditional rulers, community leaders, business bodies, women associations, and different pressure groups, the Chairman of Awgu local government, Hon. Pedro Nwankwo, urged the PDP gubernatorial flag bearer to convert the topography and beautiful landscape of Anikenano into productive assets in order to generate revenue for his people.
“We want you to replicate your private sector experiences in the state, and Awgu in particular after your swearing-in as governor in 2023”, he charged Dr. Mbah.
The Chairman of the PDP in Awgu LGA, Hon. Okey Udeh, while reassuring Dr. Mbah of the people’s support, however, called Dr. Mbah’s attention to the non-appointment of an indigene of Awgu town as Commissioner since 1999 and enjoined him to redress the alleged injustice when elected governor.
In his remarks, the PDP candidate for Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, Engr. Anayo Onwuegbu, commended Mbah for being the first candidate to visit the fertile agrarian communities to interact with the people on their needs, saying that the people had already made the commitment to vote for him en masse.
The lawmaker said the Games Village in the community had become moribund with its facilities falling off the clefts, stressing the need for urgent infrastructural interventions by Mbah when elected as governor.
The Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, urged Dr. Mbah to seize the opportunity presented by the visit to assess the topography and use his private sector experience to turn the area into revenue generation activities in order to boost the economy of the state.
He observed that Mbah’s manifesto had already presented him as a lover of tourism, and appealed to him to partner with the people of the area, whom he said were also in the hospitality industry, to attract investments and harness the tourism potentials of the hilly towns.
The ranking lawmaker further assured Mbah of the support and goodwill of the Senator representing Enugu West senatorial zone, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, stressing that the senator had since sent words through him to the people of the area to give their total support to the PDP governorship candidate.
Lending her voice, a woman leader, Mrs. Elizabeth Okonkwo observed that women in the area had been suffering waste in their farm produce because of the inability to move their farming produce to market due to lack of motorable roads.
She also called on the government to build new hospitals and maternity homes for their women and children, and recruitment of additional primary school teachers, saying that Awgu women had started mobilising for his election next year.
Addressing the well-attended interactive forum in Awgu town, Igwe Godwin Okeosisi said they had agreed to vote for the PDP candidate because of his capacity to deliver on his promises. He, however, noted that even though they are apolitical, they will be voting for him and other PDP candidates because of his impeccable background to trigger development.
While making demands on behalf of their subjects, the royal fathers, who spoke through Igwe Godwin Okosisi, said they needed a bank in Awgu and new market to sell our goods.
The Deputy Chairman of Awgu Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Sunday Orji, while commending the initiative behind the town-hall meetings, assured Mbah of their unflinching support in the March 2023 gubernatorial election.
Responding, Mbah who expressed optimism at the abundance but untapped potentials in the area, said he saw opportunities that could be harnessed into wealth.
“When I was driving up to this place, the only things I saw were opportunities. I could not stop admiring the opportunities and the beauty here. By the time we are done with this place, everyone would be scrambling to live here. We will transform here to a world-class tourism centre,” he said.
He stressed that the topography presented by Anikenano would attract a world class film city that would boost the tourism industry in the state.
He reassured them of his big plans for socio-economic infrastructure in the area.
He said his manifesto gave a comprehensive solution on how to achieve them, saying agriculture, skills acquisition and vocational training centres, power generation through renewable energy and hydro-powered wind energy, revolving loan capital, education, agro-allied processing zones, and functional healthcare were parts of his development programmes for the state.
The climax of the town-hall meetings was the presentation of the traditional staff, ófó, to the governorship hopeful by the Awgu traditional rulers council, who re-echoed their support for his candidacy.