Hon Chijioke Edeoga, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Enugu State, Monday, expressed optimism that the 2023 elections in the state will be violence-free and ‘substantially free and fair’.
Edeoga spoke during the Dream 92.5fm’s political programme. He said, “I am not worried about election violence in 2023. People may be thinking that they can do anything in that direction, but I am not worried with efforts stakeholders are making both in Enugu State and outside. I am hopeful that elections in the state will be substantially free.”
On why he is yet to publish his manifesto, Chief Edeoga stated that, “My manifesto is ready, and I will release a part of it on 9th of this month when I talk with Enugu State Chamber of Industry, Mines and Agriculture.
“You also know that the election we are running is connected with our presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi. He has issued a statement to the effect that he is yet to release his manifesto. Manifestoes are not isolated documents. They are interrelated. My manifesto is ready, but it must also be in alignment with Obi’s preferences. I will wait until his manifesto comes out.
“But I will say that manifestos, especially in Nigeria and Enugu State, are becoming the vogue. How can Edeoga not have a manifesto? Manifestoes arise from experiences and how you are going to make changes, especially what you see every day.
“Do you need a manifesto to know that you will repair the roads, tackle water situations in the state, and improve our primary schools? Do you need a manifesto to say you must pay pensions and address gratuities? Do you need a manifesto to say that you will create employment, revive industries and address issues of environmental degradation, and turn waste into wealth by recycling? Do you need a manifesto to state that rural roads are imperative? Or that security must be addressed?
“Do you need a manifesto to address multiple taxations that are crippling businesses in Enugu State? People don’t even read manifestos substantially. You don’t need a document to know what you are going to do.
“But my manifesto will be presented for the sake of it, but it should not distract us from the core values. I don’t need a manifesto to say I will return the Hotel Presidential to its pristine status, make Enugu State a hub for Nollywood, and establish an international conference centre in the state. The same applies to re-planning our various markets.
“I don’t need a manifesto to disclose that Nsukka senatorial zone is cut off from 9th Mile axis. I also don’t it to announce that I will open a route to Onitsha through Uzo-Uwani. But to fulfil all righteousness, a document will be read.
“People present manifestos and do not follow it. Buhari presented his, but did not follow it.”
On security, he said, “There are dimensions to insecurity. They include joblessness, hunger and desperation. Another key way of addressing insecurity is the readjustment of our security architecture in line with demands of the state to have key and major control in security. There should be community policing, and state police where powers are devolved substantially to communities. It also has national dimensions because our borders are porous. The acquisition of citizenship of Nigeria must be addressed.
“People are being reported to the police and they walk away shortly after arrest. Patriotism is essential. What do you do when the borders are open, and invaders overwhelm the communities? We need to make vigilantes professional. We must give them proper training and job security. They should not be under the control of council chairmen.
“The federal government should sit up and watch who comes in. Those arrested with arms, where is the trail? Some money paid as ransom come from banks. We have read books how it is done. You can use marked notes. Millions exchange hands everyday, and there is no trail? There is complicity. Marked notes could be identified and security alerted. Nigeria has grown too big for a centralised police.”