By Wilfred Eya
the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu State, Peter Mbah has been charged to replicate his giant strides in the private sector in Enugu State if elected governor in next year’s general election.
The plea was made in Agbani, the headquarters of Nkanu West Local Government Area on Thursday by a former member of the House of Representatives, Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency, USA Igwesi during a thank you visit to the council area by Mbah and his entourage .
Igwesi, narrating his experience at the head office of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd at Victoria Island in Lagos, noted that Mbah sits atop a conglomerate of global reckoning, stressing his conviction that this was achieved by sheer vision, tenacity of purpose, entrepreneurial ingenuity and passion for excellence.
“When I got to the corporate headquarters of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd, I was marveled at what I saw. Here’s someone who built a concern from scratch and grew it to a dominant player in the petroleum downstream sector. When I looked around, I saw someone who does things differently, someone who is determined to alter the status quo to attain a desired goal. He distinguished himself when he dislodged all the big names in the downstream sector of the oil industry to become the market leader.
“Dr. Mbah is aversive to convention. He does not follow protocol but does things differently to achieve his vision of him. We need him more than he needs us,” the former lawmaker said.
Igwesi, who is a former Majority Leader of Enugu State House of Assembly, argued that of all the governorship candidates in the state, Mbah stood out as the most accomplished in terms of pedigree and qualifications.
“This is the first time an entrepreneur and technocrat will be emerging as our party governorship candidate in the state. He is the best man for the job,” he said.
Appealing to the topflight investor to reproduce his master plan in the petroleum industry in Enugu State when elected governor, Igwesi urged him to “replicate the Pinnacle miracle in Enugu so that Enugu will be like the Berlin of Germany, the Madrid of Spain and the Abuja and Lagos of Nigeria.”
Commending the efforts of the three senatorial zones towards Mbah’s victory in the primary governorship, Igwesi specifically recognized the vital roles of the pan-Nsukka socio-political organisation, Odimma Nsukka, the Enugu East formation of Oganiru Ndi Nkanu, and the one led by the Enugu West zone called Ifemmeluma. He stated that it was their collective efforts that translated to the electoral victory which produced Mbah as the PDP gubernatorial standard bearer in May, 2022.
Also, in his speech, the former Commissioner of Commerce and Industry under Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Dr Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo extended his gratitude to the governor for ensuring that their kinsman was considered worthy for the top job in the state.
Lending his voice, the Executive Secretary of the Local Government Pensions Board, Nana Ogbodo said he was glad that Mbah finally came back home with their collective mandate and expressed his gratitude to Governor Ugwuanyi for the privilege done to the people of Nkanuland. “We knew the battle the governor fought against the evil men that conspired against Nkanuland,” he said.
Extolling Mbah’s heroic feats in different spheres, the pensions boss said: “Something enthralled me about your mantra, tomorrow is here. It speaks of negotiating our future today. It speaks of development and prosperity. By your track record, we have no doubt that you can achieve it. We are prepared since the battle line has been drawn.”
Also speaking, the State PDP Chairman, Augustine Nnamani declared that their coming had no connection with campaigns but for the party’s gubernatorial standard bearer to express his gratitude to the people of Nkanu West over their support.
He said: “Nkanu people were agitated that it was their turn, and when the party went back to the drawing board, we saw it’s true, and decided to give the party ticket to one of your best hands. We are pleading with you to keep on with your support.”
Also speaking, a former Chairman of the council area, Dr. Chika Igwesi appreciated Governor Ugwuanyi for bringing a man of Mbah’s caliber into the governorship race and for making it possible for a new dawn in the PDP in the state.
Igwesi observed that Mbah had strong antecedents in both the public and private sectors, saying he was a technocrat of high repute. “Dr. Peter Mbah excelled as Chief of Staff to the Governor of our state and as Commissioner of Finance. He has also written his name on the marble in the private sector. The only thing we can do is to support him and other candidates ahead of the general elections. PDP is our only political platform, and aside from that, no other”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of members of the National Assembly from the area, the lawmaker representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency, Nnolim Nnaji expressed regrets over the absence of Senator Chimaroke Nnamani representing the senatorial zone, saying he was unavoidably absent due to a national assignment he was attending to. He, however extended the former governor’s regards to the people, saying he was always in support of the good steps they took.
While pleading the support of the federal constituency to work for the victory of Mbah at the forthcoming polls, Nnaji told Mbah that “during this thank you visit, I heard that every local government area has pledged to support you with their votes; so here in Nkanu West and indeed our federal constitution, we are going to give you all our votes and we are going to surpass our number three position in the last elections”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the host chairman of the council area, Uchenna Ejim stated that Mbah had arrived his home from the series of tours to other local governments in the past few days.
The council boss told his guest: “You leave nobody in doubt about your capacity to transform the state, about your ingenuity, about your competence, and about what you’ve come to offer Enugu State.
“What excites me any time you speak is that I see the future of Enugu State in you. In you, I see the future and I see our tomorrow. Your line of thought and pattern of behavior have given us the credible hope of a new tomorrow in our today,” Ejim added.
Extending his appreciation to those that made the emergence of Mbah’s candidacy possible, Ejim said that after God, the next person to acknowledge was the governor of the state, Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, describing him as the man behind the joy of Nkanu people by ensuring that their son came out victorious.
Ejim disclosed that the people of the council area had resolved to give Mbah the highest votes in 2023. “In the last general elections, Nkanu West came third on the list, and we are aiming to clinch the first position in the forthcoming elections”, he stated, adding, that from the lowest ranking in voter registration in the state, the council is now second following the mobilization of new voters to register.
Other speakers included former PDP governorship aspirants in the state, Dr Kingsley Udeh and Mr Nwabueze Ugwu, Chief Mike Onu and the chairman of the party in the council area, Uwabunkeonye Nnamoko.
Responding, the gubernatorial candidate said he had come back to his home to appreciate his people and express his gratitude for the support he continued to enjoy among them, moreso the huge votes they gave him at the just concluded PDP governorship primary in the state.
The governorship hopeful recalled how in the past few days they had crisscrossed council areas in the state to convey their gratitude to them for their unalloyed support during the primary election two months ago.
According to him, “we also deemed it necessary to come today and appreciate ourselves for our efforts so far. Nkanu West pledged to support whomever the party chose, and when it was time, you gave us all your votes. We came to explain to you that the support you gave us that day has some implications. It reinforced the fact that since PDP has been ruling the state, there have been massive build-out of infrastructure and landmark developments in the state.
“The state government has been paying salaries promptly as against many states that are unable to meet their financial obligations. Our state is the most secure and peaceful place to live in the country. Having seen these achievements, you decided to continue with the party, and on the 25th May, 2023 you showed that I’m the only one who could continue with the good job.
“You are also aware that the country is in trouble. From official reports, in the first quarter of this year, the country generated N1.6 trillion and spent N1.9 trillion on debt servicing. This shows a huge deficit and gap between our revenue generation and debt servicing. The minister of finance recently said N6.7 trillion would be budgeted for oil subsidy next year. We are in a time when we will be told there are no longer federal allocations. This means a time like this demands someone who is an expert in the economy. A practical expert with the qualities to disrupt the trend through economic innovation.
“We are here to tell you not to look further. We have the solution and we are prepared for the job. We have done it before and we will do it again. We are going to propel the economy from $4 billion to $30 billion. The plans, programs and policies are there to work with. Our economy is going to be integrated-sector-based-productivity growth. This is encapsulated in our party’s acronym, PDP, which stands for peace, development and prosperity.
“The peace program is integrated and mutually reinforcing. This means there cannot be peace without development and there cannot be development without peace. We will accelerate development by tackling insecurity and providing jobs for our teeming youths.
“In the area of development, we will have integrated programs for our rural sector. It’s going to be sector-based growth. As we know, Enugu is blessed with human, material, energy, natural and mineral resources, and we are going to harness them to spur development. Through our laid down module for agriculture, we’ll transcend subsistence to commercial production through agro-allied industrialisation.
“We are audacious with programs that will transform our youth into productive assets. They will be self-reliant with what we have for them.
“In mineral resources, we will tap into our energy to encourage industrial growth. Enugu coal is one of the best in the world. So, we will extract it to generate power. As you know, Enugu State has already secured mining rights for coal. Our moribund industries will be revived, and the state will be an attractive destination for investment as we will be creating a business friendly environment for investors.
Enugu had aesthetic scenes for tourism. We will utilize the beauty of nature to drive revenue. We will also encourage ICT and build a high data center. This will encourage multimedia companies to port in the state for business.”
Mbah reassured the people that he understood their level of expectations from him and promised not to disappoint, adding that he would still come back during electioneering campaigns to unveil his manifesto to them.