‘I’m Running on the Power of Ideas’


Friends, supporters as well as members of opposition parties gathered recently in one of the serene resorts along the Airport Road in Lagos recently to have a clue of the Engr. Barth Nwibe’s manifesto for Anambra State. Peace Obi who covered the event, reports

As the people of Anambra State prepare to go to the polls that will usher in the next governor of the state precisely in November, the task of sieving through the deluge of aspirants gunning for the exalted office can be challenging.

While a lot of engagements have been ongoing, however, a step further with the presentation of an articulated visions, aims and objectives will certainly aid the people for easier assessment of each aspirant.
Determined to keep the people truly connected to his vision, Engineer Barth Nwibe a.k.a Ugo Igbo-Ukwu, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, recently threw his vision open to a wide audience. Nwibe, a technocrat believes that time is ripe for Anambra to have a taste of quality leadership that is based on ideas. Renowned for his competent management of human and material resources which is said to be the bedrock of his success story in the oil and gas industry, Nwibe believes translating same to the management of his beloved state. Driven by the vision “to provide leadership that will make Anambra State the second leading in Nigeria based on the global critical indices of development.”

Nwibe noted that his mission is “to propel Anambra State to excellence through purposeful and visionary leadership that would harness her human capital, natural resources and entrepreneurial spirit for secured, just prosperous and knowledge-based state, with her own energy supply for sustainable economic activities and job creation.”
And to achieve this, he mapped out a 10-point development plan that will enable him strategise to realise this purpose. Thus at the public presentation of his manifesto in a well attended campaign in Lagos, Nwibe highlighted his major policy focus as: “To provide the enabling environment, critical supports and guarantees that will revive all major employment creation, production and service facilities and create new ones, especially in agriculture and industries. To provide the enabling environment, critical supports and guarantees for the full development of the oil and gas reserves in Anambra State to include the refining operations, gas production for domestic use, power and export, petrochemical industry development, fertiliser and other spin off therein.

“To provide the enabling environment, critical supports and guarantees for the full attainment of a medical tourism leader in Nigeria, in partnership with our diaspora brothers with specialist skills and managerial expertise all over the world, the World Health Organisation and their partners, as well as other international investors in health. Our target is to build a world class hospital for every senatorial zone with linkages to existing hospitals.”
Speaking further, the governorship aspirant said that he believes that genuine leaders with clear ideas and commitment to achieving same, present same ahead of time to their people to make them partners in their vision.

According to him, “nothing should be left to chance.” And for the technocrat who believes that the process of getting the ticket for an election is more important than the election itself, said it is at this stage that wrong candidates can be weeded out. According to him, if good candidates are missed at this point, “you have wrong candidates contesting for election.” To help Anambrarians make a wise a choice, Nwibe said, “That is what I am doing today. I am running on the power of ideas. I am not running because I am the richest man or that I have all the money to throw around, but I believe in good governance, purposeful and visionary leadership. And I believe that I have the capability, the commitment, having achieved success in the energy and construction sectors, I believe it is time to make a greater leadership sacrifice for the society,” he said.

Presenting the 10-point development programme which he described as a better plan for a better future to include: Power generation and industrialisation of Anambra State; eradicating wastage in government; security of lives and property; integrated infrastructure development; make Anambra the health city of Nigeria; Anambra women micro finance bank; Anambra agricultural hub (integrated); tourism and cultural development, transportation and Think-home Trust: Diaspora Participation, Nwibe said it is “my roadmap to a prosperous Anambra of our dream.”

Enumerating on them, Nwibe said that if elected, he would make power generation and industrialisation his signature project. “We shall also support the development of the oil and gas resources in the state’s Basin to generate power necessary to drive the industrialisation and economic development of Anambra State.” To eradicate wastage in government, he hinted that his administration will ensure prudent management of state resources, such that no kobo will be spent without a commensurate benefit to the people. According to him, the rich experience garnered from the private sector on resource management and optimisation will become a huge asset. Stating that “every government governs by the will of the people. This will is only freely given, guaranteed and perpetuated by mutual trust between the people and government. This trust will not be betrayed as it is critical in governance,” he said.

Stressing that growth and sustainable development will remain a mirage for a society faced with the challenges of insecurity, the APC aspirant said he would make security a top priority as well as consolidate on the existing security infrastructures in the state. “By enhancing inter-agency cooperation and collaboration with greater participation by the communities. We will massively, deploy technology, as far as practicable, including installation of CCTV cameras in strategic spots across the state. Our security model to be couched as ‘Operation Know Your Neighbour’ will be community based, with emphasis on the early detection and prevention of crimes.”

And on the integrated infrastructure development plan, he hinted that an inventory of all inaugurated projects in the state from May 29, 1999 to March 17, 2018 will be undertaken to identify, prioritise and complete any abandoned projects. Nwibe however noted that his administration will only embark on strategic infrastructure development that will ultimately meaningfully impact the lives of the people. Other initiatives to be pursued include, developing Anambra as a mega city through the Anambra Urban Renewal Initiaitive, creation of service industries, deployment of technology in the control and prevention of erosion menace in the state, ensuring there are no taxes without presentation, among others.

Speaking further, Nwibe reminded the audience that Anambra State is richly blessed with various medical facilities like teaching hospitals, schools of medicine and pharmacy, nursing and medical technology, he however noted that the facilities are underutilised and poorly managed. “Under my watch, Anambra will become the preferred medical tourism destination and the healthcare city of Nigeria and Africa. We will engage with our medical and financial experts in the diaspora through public private partnership (PPP) initiative to develop three world class hospitals, one in each senatorial zones. Our investment in this regard will turn the health industry into a major contributor to the IGR of the state.”

With a development plan of making Anambra as an agricultural hub, the APC governorship aspirant said his administration will change the misconception of agriculture as being merely for subsistence by creating wealth along the agric value chain. Stressing that agriculture is the greatest employer of labour across the globe as well the bedrock of industrialisation and wealth creation, Nwibe hinted, “we shall, just like most wealthy nations, lay strong emphasis on agriculture and uplift the practice using the value chain approach to create healthy and wealthy farmers.

“We shall aggressively promote mechanisation, invest in optimised agricultural methods and processes including scientific research, food processing and manufacturing, packaging and shipping, dedicated marketing, community speculation and trading, specialised banking and financing; consumer protection and advocacy.”

Describing education as the foundation for manpower development, Nwibe said that his administration’s goal will be to create and improve on academic excellence at all levels across the state. And that for a state known for its academic potential and has produced professionals who have excelled in their various fields, that the state under his watch will re-walk the path to greatness. And it will be achieved by complete handover of schools to mission management with a robust and sustainable funding plan for the continuous improvement of all schools – mission and government. Other plans include “to ensure solid foundations for pre-school and kindergarten, build infrastructure for class size at primary and secondary levels; attract highly qualified teachers through better welfare packages and build living quarters for teachers in secondary schools; fund research practices in universities and technology schools; improve technical and vocational schools, make education a revenue generator by creating two model schools in the state and apprenticeship programmes, re-introduce inter-collegiate football and athletics competitions to identify and develop talents at young age.”

According to the technocrat, tourism and cultural development will also receive the administration’s transformational touch with a paradigm shift that will make them significant revenue earners and employers of labour as obtained in some African countries like Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, South Africa, among others. And in transportation, he noted that part of the attraction to some of the developed countries to be their efficient transportation systems. And that beyond building roads, bridges, and railways, the inland water ways will be developed to serve as revenue generating means, “as we take advantage of the Agulu Lake, Omambala and Idemili Rivers to provide socio-economic opportunities.”

Finally, on his development plan for the state, Nwibe asserted that, “we constitute the majority of Nigerian professionals in Europe, United States and the Far East. These include doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers, scientists, pharmacists, estate managers, as well as janitorial service providers. The socio-economic incentives have not been available in Anambra State to bring these human and capital assets home. My government will work from day one to attract these investments and professionals back home by radically improving the business environment and the ease of doing business in the state.”

Charging the people of Anambra not to lose the golden opportunity to move the state on the path of growth and development with their votes, Nwibe said, “Our state has come to a crossroads once again, and now you have the power to change the political fortunes of our beloved state. Elections are about choices. But this election is not just like any other. It is about deciding whether to switch to the right path to prosperity and good life for our people, or to continue in the aimless journey to nowhere our state has set out since this government came to power.

“I am ready to be your governor and I fully understand what this means. A governor’s job is to ensure that government works for every citizen of the state, and not for his kinsmen alone. A governor should bring people together and build bridges between urban and rural areas and harness the different points of views which exist in the state, for the effective development of all the parts of the, not a section of it,” he submitted.