*Promises to invest in intelligence gathering, ICT, others
By Chuks Okocha
As the Anambra state governorship election gradually draws nearer, an aspirant from the PDP, Dr. Witson Udeh has called on the leadership of the party to jettison any consensus arrangement to determine the flag bearer of the party. .
Speaking after picking his governorship and expression of interest forms, Dr. Udeh said that the best path to walk was to allow all aspirants to test their popularity amongst party delegates whose duty would be to pick a sellable candidate for the party ahead of the big test.
He said that governance models adopted in running the state in the past few years had not availed Anambra the mileage required to transform her economy for the good of the people.
According to the gubernatorial hopeful “Consensus arrangement is not democracy. That we choose to do some things the way we like for our own selfish interest, does not mean that these are tenets of democracy. You must understand the people’s wish and that is why in most of the advanced countries, we don’t find the party making the decision as to who will be the candidate.
“How do we know how popular the candidates are? You have to go out there and test your popularity even in the primary. At the end of the day, they will find out who has the highest votes and make them their candidates for the general election.
“There is no need just because of your own selfish interest, trying to impose somebody on the people. That is why most times, they lose elections.
“I have worked in Wall Street, I have worked in Main Street. I run several companies, I am a lawyer. We have acquired lots of exposure in solving all kinds of problems to help humanity.”
On what he would do to address the worrisome state of insecurity in Anambra if he becomes governor, the PDP chieftain stressed the importance of leveraging on technology as against the old model of mounting road blocks to identify and arrest criminals.
He continued: “If we are talking of Anambra state today, it is not different from most states in the nation. What kind of a country can you run when you don’t know the identity of the citizens living in it? How can the police or law enforcement agencies identify these crimes if they don’t know the people and they don’t have forensics? How can we identify or solve these problems?
“The problems in Nigeria and Anambra state are that government for one reason or the other, has not done their job to know the people that live in the state. If you know the citizens in your state, you can monitor most of the crimes.
“We have investigative bodies but what do they do? What do they have to help them solve most of these problems to the extent that life has become so cheap in Nigeria that more than 50 per cent of the crimes don’t even make the news?
“To solve this security problem, you have to start from the basis, identify the people that live with you in your borders. You must have a data base. Get their data, biometrics and everything.
“Train your officers to know how to handle a crime scene. It is no longer coming to the streets and mounting road blocks. What kind of intelligence is that? How many people have you arrested setting up these road blocks? It is time for us to invest in intelligence,” he stressed.
He also pledged to prioritize the business climate by making same conducive and attractive for investment saying, “you have to create this enabling environment within the state to attract businesses. No business man wants to lose money. People are in business because they want to make profit.
“We have to create the enabling environment to bring our sons back to Anambra state so that they can help develop the state. Government cannot do it alone.
“When you bring people in, they create jobs, when they create jobs, you expand your tax base. Government only makes money from the taxes individuals pay. Forget about all these things where everybody comes to Abuja to come and collect their monthly allocation. You have to increase your tax base,” he added.
In today’s world, Information and Communication Technology, ICT is a driving force for personal and group aspiration and for Udeh, no effort will be spared to embrace this if given the nod to preside over the affairs of the South-East state.
“You have to understand that Anambra people are unique in their own way. Exposure means a lot because when you approach store keepers and explain to them the essence of technology and they see how it works and the benefits to their business, the tendency is that they will employ that in their businesses because every business person wants to grow.
“We have to start from educating our people from elementary schools, to secondary schools. Most of the computer literacy they get are from outside and not from the school. Most of our primary and secondary schools don’t even have computer laboratories. So how can you compete with the outside world?
“We have to first of all start by establishing computer centres in most of our schools, in all our schools. We will make the children understand that they can do their home work and everything and send it through the computer. We will make the teachers computer savvy too. If your teacher does not know anything about computer, how on earth are you going to?”
He further urged the leadership of the party at the state and national levels to go the whole hog in making the PDP stronger and ready for the exercise, noting that with all hands on deck, the party will cruise home to victory in November.