In continuation of his consultation visits to the leadership of various pressure groups across the state, the gubernatorial flag-bearer of Accord Party, Ken Ojiri during the week met with the Mbaike Agenda at the Umuebem Abazu-Akabo residence of their leader, Engr. Lemmy Ukwuegbu.
Representatives of the twenty-four Wards of Mbaike comprised of community leaders, politicians, clergies, women and youth leaders who thronged the venue, exceeding the initial estimated number of attendance to listen to the robust technocrat.
It was a general opinion at the meeting that Ojiri’s rich economic, financial capacity to turn the economy of Imo State around is just the best thing that can happen to the good people of Imo State in times like this, if elected into office this year.
Speaking on the occasion, Ojiri made it clear that he is not a politician but a technocrat with a burning fire in his bones to uplift the economy of the state to stand out tall among contemporaries in the federation.
He spoke in part thus: “We didn’t come out because we want the power of a governor. We offered ourselves because the condition of Imo is unpleasant to us. We decided to help put Imo on the right track.
“I was in Europe for over 20 years but you would not know. I am a home bred fellow. There is a challenge facing Imo, the kind of challenge we used to resolve for the Whiteman. I am a man of different disciplines. My running mate has a PhD in Political Science and has spent up to a decade here at home, at Abuja, as a consultant to President Jonathan as well as the House of Representatives. He consults for different countries including Europeans who also take his counsel. His discipline is quite different.
“I majored in Finance and Business Management. I establish companies. I worked with mainstream oil firms for over 15 years as Manager. What I do is start-ups. When a business is opened, I am asked to manage it to grow and sell it off; I am paid. That is what I do.
“We therefore came, seeing a situation where there is no worthwhile business existing here in Imo except hotels. So we, who service foreign countries can equally use our contacts, bring them to put our state on the march to progress and economic growth.
“I also studied Tax Law. We consult for firm, countries and state on internally generated revenue and taxation, not the kind of taxation that will tax Keke operators because they have not gotten to the threshold of paying taxes. Their total income in a year is not up to the figure to be taxed.
“But I know where we will look into … multi-national companies, oil and gas companies to get out money.”
Ojiri reminded his audience that Politics these days is a game of interest, adding that Mbaike Agenda knows the objective and interest of the group.
He observed that their roads are terribly bad yet can be connected to ring roads up to Amata, etc.
The renowned consultant of international repute expressed worry on the high unemployment rate in Imo lamenting the suffering of parents in training their children and wards yet they idle away their times jobless and dejected.
Apart from that, he noted with grave concern that due to the falling price of oil in the international oil market and the attendant decline in the Federal Government allocation to the states generally, Imo would be facing difficult times with her about N215 billion debt profiles which inevitably must be serviced.
Ojiri, the man of the moment highlighted on the likely economic gloom that stares at the state against the backdrop of the 2014-2015 budget based on oil bench mark of $75 per barrel noting that the price has fallen to $55 per barrel. This is a huge economic issue.
He therefore urged stakeholders to take proactive steps to ensure that the right person is elected so that our state will be delivered from economic catastrophe.
The Owerri North-born technocrat described the leaders of Mbaike as the kingmakers in Imo politics, stressing that the area represents the highest number of voters in the state. He drummed it into their ears to come forward and negotiate. He appealed for the peoples’ support to enable him win the forthcoming elections to restore the economic fortunes of the state.
In his address earlier, the Mbaike Agenda leader, Engr Lemmy Ukwuegbu described his group as a non-political association geared towards the socio-economic well-being of the people of the area.
According to him, in their membership are well-meaning sons and daughters of the area who are in close touch with the grassroots population, devoid of questionable characters.
Being genuine representatives of the area, he said, they have the sure-fire capacity to deliver on their mandate wherever they have a challenge. He described Ojiri as a man of his words, a consistent and reliable character whom he would always vouch for. Contributing also, Sir P.C. Iheriohanma said the guber hopeful’s training is what Imo needs at a time like this to turn the state around for economic progress, promising to support him in his present vision. He commended Ojiri for coming personally to interact with the people of the area.
Ojiri’s approach and grassroot consultation inroad, according to him, is the first of its kind in the history of Imo State politics and Nigeria in general. He concluded thus: “One promise, as you have remembered us, Mbaike will not forget you.” On her part, the Women Leader, Mrs Augustina Ibeawuchi paid glowing tribute to the track record of Ojiri. She said she had taken quality time to investigate his contributions to society which he was not publishing. She disclosed that the Accord Party guber hopeful had in the past been very supportive of women traders, widows and youths. She revealed records of how the guber hopeful financed the educational programme of some indigent persons in the society and declared: “I will gather all the women to support you. We will not fail you.” she concluded.