The Association of Abia State Town Unions (ASITU) also known as Association of Igbo Town Unions on Wednesday held her maiden Special Town Hall Meeting to interact with all gubernatorial candidates of political parties in the forthcoming 2023 general election in Abia State.
The event held at Umuahia, the Abia state capital was highly attended by members of ASITU and two gubernatorial candidates out of nine invited.
In a welcome address delivered by Chief Sir. George U. Mgborukwe, he hinted that the town unions are made up of 600 autonomous communities that made up the Abia State chapter of Igbo Town Unions and it is the oldest association in Igbo land.
He however stated that the town hall meeting became necessary because the union can’t “pretend about the earnest need and desires of Abians”.
In his words:”Today, we are here to interact with possibly, all the candidates of all the different political parties aspiring to govern our dear state, however, in this auspicious event, we shall not fail or pretend about the need and Ernest desire of our people in Abia, for a sincere and true passionate leader who will be ready to do all that may be required to rescue as well as ensure the speedy and even distributions of good developmental projects across the lengths and breadths of our dear state, this is exactly one of the major reasons for this town hall meeting”.
Bishop Dr. Sunday Ndukwe Onuoha, the gubernatorial candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and governorship candidate of National Rescue Movement(NRM) Kalu Ijeoma was present in the town hall meeting that turned interactive.
The guber aspirants were given the opportunity to tell Abians about their blueprint if given the opportunity to govern Abia.
Bishop Onouha on his part spoke on Abia state budgeting, insecurity, economy, education and management of debt in the state if elected as governor.
Bishop Onouha, the founder of Vision Africa said Abia state “budget is done outside of those who have the need or those who are preparing the budget prepared in a way to retire the money at the end of the year.”
In boosting the economy of Aba the commercial hub of Abia state, he recalled his involvement in ensuring smooth importation of raw materials by manufacturers in Aba which he claimed was achieved as a special adviser to former President Obasanjo. He however insinuated that such policy will be enacted to boost trading and manufacturing in Aba.
On security, Bishop Onouha said; “certain security votes of Abia State should be resined to president generals of villages to maintain security in their communities”.
On health, he said he already knows the world class health facilities to deploy in order to run the health system in the state as well as the health challenges of expectant mothers.
“I already know what it means for a woman to be pregnant and cannot go to the hospital”. Bishop Onouha said.
In education, he said as a person who saw the need to further his education despite set backs, out of that experience, he will be concerned about the neglected, that is, those who could not afford education.
“That is why this year, more than 100 people who could not write WAEC was paid for, including those in Afara prison.” Bishop Onouha said.
The governorship aspirant of National Rescue Movement (NRM)Kalu Ijeoma on his part also spoke on health, Agriculture, education, security and infrastructure development in Abia state.
While responding to critical issues for the development of Abia, Kalu said politics has become the biggest business in Africa. He said when given the opportunity to govern Abia State he will change the narratives.
In developing Agriculture, Kalu said his government will make available all agro seedlings to farmers as well as land to cultivate crops in order to maximize production. He also promised to provide support for those who want to venture into animal husbandry and poultry production.
“Every food will be produced in surplus in government owned farms”. Kalu said.
On industrialisation, Kalu said he will encourage the production and use of ethanol to boost fuel production like in “Brasil where their fuel contains “10 percent of Ethanol”.
“If I’m the governor, as we are providing hectares of land for cassava production, we will be producing ethanol.”
Kalu also said he will revamp glass production in the state through the use of white sand.
On education Kalu said when elected his administration will see to the need for building more schools of international standards in the state. He also added that there must be a plan to know the type of people to have in Abia State in the next 30 years. He also stated that the education system requires more funding and retraining of teachers and lecturers. He added that there is a need to make the use of indigeinous language for teaching and communication in Abia school as described as being practiced in other parts of the world.
On curbing corruption in government, he also said nepotism also aides corrupt activities in government, the governor of a state should shelve nepotism in appointments which will pave way for proper investigation of culprits.