The gubernatorial candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Nsima Ekere has disclosed that his godfathers in politics are the people of the state.
Ekere disclosed this on Monday during a press conference in his campaign grounds at Four Lane, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
The APC candidate said having known that his godfathers were not getting what they deserved from the current administration of Udom Emmanuel, he had decided to throw himself into the ring to build bridges of hope and opportunities to Akwa Ibom people.
Ekere further said he wants to serve as Governor because people of the state deserved the best in economic prosperity, education, health and social protection, infrastructure and rural development, security, governance and institutional reforms, hence his five-point cardinal agenda.
He stated that he would address the twin challenges of mass unemployment and poverty with massive investment, noting that the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, has revealed that 1.8 million out of the 3.3 million economically active population of the state are unemployed.
While reading his manifestoe, Ekere said “I will train and empower the physically challenged as well as revive Akwa Palm within six months in office. I will work with governors of neighbouring states and the federal government to make sure that roads within the state are constructed,
“I will resume work on the Uyo – Ikot Ekpene road, Ibom Tropicana Entertainment complex and implement the science park project.”
He stated that he would increase support for students in tertiary institutions by raising student bursary from N5, 000 to N25, 000 per session, as well as convene a summit of stakeholders and experts to discuss the progress of the education sector.
Ekere promised to restore financial autonomy to the local governments and adopt zero based budgeting in place of envelope style budgeting, adding that he would restructure the civil service, as well as review the master plan of the state in line with current realities.
“Within the first 100-180 days in office, my administration will embark on massive public works to reflate the economy, create jobs and put money in the pocket of artisans, suppliers, and contractors.
“Flag off conditional cash transfers of N5,000 to the extreme poor, N5, 000 to orphans, N100, 000 per delivery for multiple birth mothers and N5, 000 for the physically challenged, in addition to their participation in a skill acquisition programme.
“Empowerment training and funding for transformative entrepreneurs. Roll out the Graduate Farmers Scheme and other agricultural programmes.
“Address all outstanding pensions, gratuities, local government workers’ salaries, primary school teacher’s entitlements and allowances,” he said.
The high point of the event was the defection of former state woman leader of PDP Obongonwan Gloria Effiong and over 100 PDP members to the APC.
Accepting the decampees, the state Chairman of APC, Ini Okopido said APC had high membership base in the state, urging others who were yet to defect to the party to do so as soon as possible.
He noted that time will come when intending members may not be accepted into the party.