The Head of the Economic Team, Labour Party Campaign, Nick Opara-Ndudu, has said that the insecurity that abounds in Imo state is as a result of the condition of the state.
This statement was made when Opara-Ndudu spoke with ARISE NEWS in an interview on Thursday, outlining the manifesto of the LP’s candidate, Senator Athan Achonu, ahead of Imo State’s upcoming guber election.
The Head of the Economic Team, Opara-Ndudu, said that he believes that the insecurity in Imo state is not a political issue, saying, “If they were politically motivated, we’ve heard this song for the past three years, how come not one individual has been prosecuted successfully? So, for me, it’s not all about politics. The security problems in Imo state has everything to do with the objective conditions in the state.
“The young people are frustrated, the government is not making the needed investments in the areas that are required. We are busy pursuing projects, that, as far as we are concerned, are designs in deception.”
Opara-Ndudu said that the government of Imo state have been spending a lot of money on federal roads while paying little to no attention to the rural areas, attributing the insecurity to “The misapplications of the resources of Imo state to projects that do not really concern or do not affect the rural masses.”
He also said, “Imo state has done so little in terms of trying to promote or improve on the HDI, Human Development Index, and the critical areas of investment have been glossed over by government, and the statistics bear us out in these areas.
“The critical investment needed in areas of health and education have been lacking. If you read or you have access to the state of the state’s report by budget for 2022, you’ll find that Imo state has the lowest level, lowest per capita expenditure on education in the whole of the south east. Imo state’s budget is 381 naira only per citizen of Imo state… Imo spends only 581 naira per capita on health in the state.”
Outlining the manifesto of Senator Achonu, and by extension, the solutions to these issues, Opara-Ndudu said that Achonu plans to expand on agriculture in the state.
He said, “The intention of the Achonu administration is to make sure that we maximise the benefits from the major agro-production value chains. For instance, by encouraging the private sector to make critical investments in the processing of the primary commodities that come out of the rural areas, and the government will essentially support the rural farmers to make sure that those agro-commodities are grown.”
He also spoke on the industrialization sector as he said, “The plan is to have a minimum of two industrial estates in each of the three senatorial zones of Imo state.” He revealed that Achonu plans to complete the Owerri industrial area which is yet to be completed since the start of its construction in the 1980s. “What essentially needs to be done is to provide a network of roads, not more than 5 to 10 kilometres of durable roads in these areas, and these places will be good for manufacturing,” he said.
He also said, “The plan is to have a pharmaceutical cluster around the Orlu area because they dominate that market.”
Speaking on job creation, while he did not touch the aspect of an estimate of jobs provided in the industrialization and pharmaceutical sector they proposed, he said, “We believe that through agriculture, involving the rural populace, the rural farmers, the women and youths, that we should be able to create a minimum of 250 to 300 thousand jobs in Imo state in the space of 4 years.”
Opara-Ndudu then lauded Senator Achonu saying, “As far as I am concerned, he is someone who has overcome challenges in several areas to be successful. To those around him, he is an inspiration. He’s an epitome of hard work. He is someone who believes that in spite of your shortcomings, in spite of the challenges you face, that if you face the challenges of life and do the best you can to succeed, and I believe that it is this quality that he is taking into the governance of Imo state.”