In the build-up to the 2023 gubernatorial election in Abia state, one of the major contenders for the Lion’s House, the seat of power of the state, Prof Ikonne, has continued to canvass for support from the electorates across the state in a bid to win the election to change Abia and return her on the path of even development and economic prosperity.
It is on this pedestal that the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Professor Uche Ikonne, insists that governance should be about rendering services to the people, understanding and working with the right individuals to effect change, not necessarily being a politician. He Faulted the insinuations from some quarters that he has not been in a corridor of politics nor understands the workings of politics, Prof. Ikonne argued that having an administrative background and working with people with different characters and from different backgrounds up to the international level is more political than being in corridors of power, going to political meetings and sharing political money.
He disclosed this in a media chat with Abia Online Media Practitioners Association OMPAN, saying he has spent most of his career in Abia State. Prof Ikonne described his assignment at Abia State polytechnic as more of a rescue mission where he dealt with the issue of nine months’ salary arrears and managed the two billion naira loan to develop the school infrastructure and other administrative challenges.
“As the Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, I did not owe any salary for the past five years, no obstruction in the academic year calendar except for those who were failing their courses.
“If I am elected as the governor of Abia State, my government will be anchored on participatory governance where policy formulation, implementation, monitoring, and supervision would involve the people. All Abians must be involved in consolidating Abia’s pride and taking it to the global community.
“The strategy I will use to do things differently is participatory governance. That means using village heads, traditional rulers, opinion molders, and other stakeholders. The projects will come from the people, and they will form the basis for doing and supervising the projects. The people should get involved in governance and government”, he explained.
Further, he said his government will form Abia Development Authority which will be legislated to upgrade Aba business ventures, establish Aba business schools, and promote entrepreneurship and trade to a global level.
On the issue of salary payment, professor Uchenna Ikonne said he would develop a system within six months to clear salary arrears if any, and come out with a system to ensure the state does not owe wages.
“My government will make the welfare of workers a priority by working out workable modalities to clear salaries and arrears, if any, and create enabling environment that will encourage productivity and maximum output that will benefit the state in many positive ways.
“Youth development would be given adequate attention by ensuring that the youths are properly trained, developing competitive sports activities that will keep the youths busy as a way of curbing crime, youth restiveness and combat increasing social vices,” he said.
In a related explanation, Professor Ikonne revealed his plans of building another Ariaria Market International Market in Aba if elected as the Governor.
According to him, The new market will have all facilities and equipment of a modern market but the current traders in the Ariaria International market wouldn’t be forced to relocate to the new market rather most traders in Aba would love to own a shop in the new Ariaria International market due to the facilities and great opportunities that will be made available in the new market.