#AriseTVPresidentialTownhallSeries: Okowa  Says Atiku Presidency will Use Police, Technology to Tackle Insecurity  

*Fomer VP’s Absence delays kick off

By Chuks Okocha in Abuja 

The Arise Presidential Townhall series kicked off Sunday night with the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, promising that Atiku Abubakar Presidency will tackle insecurity using the police and modern technology.

The townhall featured four parties: Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Kola Abiola of the Peoples Redemption Party, Rabiu Kwankwanso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, representing Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The kick-off of the presidential debate organised by the Arise News Channel and the Centre for Development and Democracy was delayed by the absence of the PDP Presidential candidate; Atiku Abubakar. 

When Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP, was announced as representative of Atiku, the supporters of Labour Party, New Nigeria Peoples Party and the Peoples Redemption Party protested, shouting “No representation by proxy.”

The event  started  with introduction of the presidential candidates in attendance, after which all the presidential candidates were given time to speak.

Speaking for Atiku, Okowa, when allowed to give a brief introduction of his principal, amidst protests, said the PDP will ensure a private sector driven economy.

According to him, an Atiku/Okowa presidency would tackle insecurity, by creating state police that is fully equipped.

Okowa said “we need to emphasize coordinated intelligence gathering and sharing. We need more boots on the ground to address insecurity in Nigeria. 

“We need to evolve policing in Nigeria to ensure that people who have a better understanding of their areas, know how to secure their areas. One centralized police force is unable to meet the demands that we have.”

-“We need more boots on the ground. We need adequate welfare to ensure that our security agencies are better-taken care of. We also need to address unemployment — otherwise more young people will be drawn to contribute to the insecurity.”

According to Okowa, ” State police is necessary because the police in the neighbourhood knows the nooks and crannies and know the environment and with that knowledge, the state police apparatus would be able to tackle the insecurity wherever it rears it head:

He explained that though kinetic force could be used where necessary, but said that there would be dialogue.

However, he explained that adequate employment should be provided for the teeming unemployed youth.

On the economy, Okowa said, “From 1999 to 2007, we knew where President Obasanjo and Vice Preairent Atiku, met the country and where they left it. Because of them, we were able to pay back a lot of our debt and we had debt forgiveness.”

“In Delta State, we used to have agitations in oil-producing communities. But now, we have partnered in these communities to create jobs, create a new class of entrepreneurs and show people that we care about development.”

“The right path is to use government resources to develop entrepreneurs, make people’s lives easier, and grow the economy so that people will live in better conditions.”

Okowa also said that the Atiku presidency will ensure that the education system works as it should.

He cautioned against the narratives of claiming to save money instead of using it directly because money was losing value. 

Okowa gave instances of how he developed the Delta state economy as well as the health care system in the state, explaining that the Atiku/Okowa presidency will do same if given the opportunity to lead the country.  

Okowa also also advocated the use of technology in intelligence gathering to track criminals. He further said that there should be training for the security officials to attain their maximum efforts.

The PDP vice presidential candidate said that the party will run a pan Nigeria government, which is the only antidote to addressing insecurity in Nigeria.

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