By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
Two main contenders for the Agu-Awka seat in Anambra State, Prof Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday night, shunned a governorship debate organised by a socio-political group, Kwechiri Unity Forum in collaboration with Arise Television (Arise TV).
Other candidates that failed to show up for the debate include, Dr. Dozie Nwankwo, Action Alliance Congress (AAC), Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, Young Progressive Party (YPP), Dr. Obiora Okonkwo of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Dr. Obiora Agbasimalo, Labour Party, (LP), Comrade Afam Nwaokafor, National Rescue Movement (NRM), Dr. Obinna Uzor, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Chief Nnamdi Nwawuo of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP).
The debate which was moderated by former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati was titled “2021: Anambra Governorship Election: Face the Voters”.
The roll call of the event held at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Center had governorship candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Valentine Ozigbo; Accord Party, Dr. Godwin Maduka; Action Alliance (AA), Chief Ben. Etiaba; African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dr. Akachukwu Nwankpo; Allied People’s Movement (APM), Col. Geoffrey Onyejegbu; media organisations, labour unions, civil societies, religious bodies and other political stakeholders in the state in attendance.
Dr Abati with two other panelists grilled the five governorship candidates on leadership, health, economy, education, agriculture, infrastructure, election security, insecurity and the deplorable condition of roads across the state.
Responding to the questions, Ben Etiaba of the AA political party vowed to stop Anambra bigwigs from coming home only during festive seasons to intimidate the people with their unconscious sirens vehicles and police escort.
He wondered why the Governor Willie Obiano led government was constructing an international conference centre, when Dora Akunyili is still an abandoned project.
He noted that building international conference centre at where it is located would only increase traffic jam along the Enugu-Onitsha expressw.
He promised to provide enabling environment for every business in the state to strive, even as he called on Anambra youths to shun acts of violence on the day of the election.
Dr. Godwin Maduka, of AP said his main goal is to build 21 satellite universities across the 21 Council Areas in the state so as to bring education closer to petty traders, okada riders, artisans and others in the state.
He said, “All the money we will use to run my government will come from foreign investors. I will ensure Anambra produce a phone immediately I take over, stop medical tourism.
“As I speak to you, there’s no single thatch house in my town. I replaced all with brick houses and I will do same to all the poor communities in the state, if given the chance to govern come March 18, 2022.”
The candidate of PDP, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo said his administration would leverage on five clusters which include, Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka, Omambala to develop Anambra State.
He described Awka and its environ as a glorified city in Nigeria under the Obiano led-APGA government, promisingto change the narrative, if elected.
“I will provide sufficient infrastructure, boost agriculture to let Omambala cluster feel govt presence”, he added.
On his part, the ADC candidate, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo enjoined eligible voters not to vote for candidates that had held Anambra’s economy hostage.
His words, “Youths, do not allow yourselves to be used for violence at the election“Give me your votes. I will run Umunna government. Every umunnna will be part of my government, meaning, an all inclusive administration.”
Similarly, APM candidate, Col. Geoffrey Onyejegbu promised to run a transparent government if elected.
He charged INEC on credible outcome, saying that the state must have respect for peace and order.
“As a security expert, I am pleading with our young men not to go near violence, and our leaders must discourage violence before, during and after the election”, he stated.
Earlier in his speech, the National Coordinator of Kwechiri Unity Forum, Mr. Anselem Onorah, said that the 18 political parties contesting the election were invited for the debate.
While citing that the ongoing consultation/campaigns by the candidates as reason for the absence of some of the candidates, he regretted only five political parties were present at the programme.
He added, “We invited all the candidates for this debate and only five of them honoured the invitation and their manifestoes were excellently presented before Ndi-Anambra and the world at large.”
The governorship candidates further called on Obiano to declare a state of emergency on in the state.