The gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 11th of November Governorship Election in Imo, Sen. Athan Achonu candidate of has pledged to industrialise the state if he is elected governor of the state.
Achonu made the pledge when he briefed newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday.
If he were to win the election for governor, he claimed that agreements had been reached with a few power companies to produce electricity for the state to support his government’ industrialization strategy.
‘We have mapped out six industrial layouts, two per each geopolitical zone, with focus on job creation through industrialisation, and that is why I am focusing on power generation,’ Achonu said.
He said that he was encouraged by the bill signed into law by the federal government which now permits states to produce and generate their own source of power, noting that states now have every reason to pursue their industrialisation goal.
‘I have concluded plans with Afreximbank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support industries.
‘I have a licence to operate a refinery; I will activate it or encourage people to take it over in order not to distract me while in office.’
‘Orlu is a Pharmaceutical zone, I got banks to do a pharmaceutical park in Okigwe so that investors can come; I told the owner of Orange Drugs about it a long time ago.
‘I am bringing all these ideas into play to create job opportunities,’ Achonu said.
According to him, security of lives and properties will be top in his agenda, while Local Government Areas (LGAs) will be given autonomy to manage their funds and resources.
Achonu noted that insecurity heightened in Imo since governors allegedly hijacked the local government (LG) system.
‘I have been championing LG autonomy since Obasanjo left, till today. We will organise LG elections in six months if we are elected into office; I will lead by example.
‘I have been consistent on LG autonomy in so many interviews that I have granted, and I believe that criminality came in since the LG system was hijacked by governors, who allegedly pocketed their funds.
‘If you are a councilor elected by the people, there is no way a criminal will enter your territory that you will not notice or be informed.
‘That is why I am advocating the establishment of vigilante groups for local governments.
‘So, the first bill I will send to the House of Assembly is for every LGA to have a vigilante group which we will supervise through oversight functions by the House.
‘The vigilante groups will work with the Police, Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and so on, in securing lives and properties,’ he said.
Achonu said that God had kept him alive to be the next governor of Imo in the forthcoming election, saying that he would never be a stooge or placeholder for any politician.
He noted that another major challenge his administration would face if elected as governor would be the huge debt profile of the state, in addition to salary and pension arrears of many workers and retirees in the state.
Achonu, however, assured that he would ensure a realistic policy that would fashion out ways of offsetting the backlog of salaries and pensions of workers and pensioners to give them a new life.