It was a gathering devoid of pump and pagentry as the former Commissioner for Finance in Abia State, Obinna Eze Oriaku, officially declared his intention to join the 2023 Abia Gubernatorial race,stating that he has the solution to Abia’s Economy.
Hon Oriaku who made the disclosure at his Owerrinta country home in Isialangwa South Local Government Area of Abia State, said he has a deeper knowledge of Abia economy more than any other aspirant, having studied its challenges as the Commissioner for Finance for four years under the first tenure of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
According to him, Abia was like a pariah state before 2015, but his contributions as a commissioner helped in reintroducing the state to development partners like World Bank,African Development Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC),Afrexim Bank and other international partners, adding that the potentials of these collaborations are yet to be fully explored.
Giving some of his outstanding performances as the Economic Adviser to Gov Ikpeazu and later the Commissioner for Finance from 2015-2019, Oriaku revealed that the analogue pay roll management system of the state was completely replaced with automated e-payment system and went further to initiate Reforms like the Civil Service Reforms,the Judiciary Reforms,Local Government System Reforms among others,which most of them have the capacity of repositioning Abia for growth and development.
“During my years of service to the state, various cost heads were revisited, while costs we considered as exorbitant,like the monthly FAAC travelling allowances were reduced from #1.6m to #500,000”.
He further stated that during his years of service as a commissioner,Abia for the first time had a successful biometric exercise that captured to near accuracy the population of Abia work force in both the State Civil Service and Local Government Service, adding that the statewide biometric exercise was carried out at no cost to the government, but as a social corporate responsibility of some banks operating in the state.
“My love and devotion to Abia and its well-being, motivated all the sacrifices i have made overtime and the passion to bring about the purpose of God for Abia.
“This zeal and sense of sacrifice resulted in my leaving PDP to align with another party that will enable me achieve my lifelong goal of becoming an agent of positive change.
“I have come a long way and at this point,am ready to go beyond rhetoric to match my words eloquently with actions.This is the time to test the political waters by seeking to serve ndi Abia,while APC is the platform, the people are the catalyst.I am confident of victory because Abia is in dire need of good leadership”,he revealed.
The former commissioner also disclosed that he knows the problem of Abia, which he hinged on leadership, stressing that if Abia can get a passionate leader who would take the state as a task to be rebuilt, then the problem would be addressed.
He added that Abia is not beyond redemption, maintaining that the state can be reclaimed with honest and sincere leadership which he represents.
While declaring his interest to contest for the Abia governorship seat under the platform of the APC, Oriaku revealed that “A new Abia is possible” and he is ready to pilot the New Abia, with agenda and strategy that are devoid of clannish considerations or primordial and opportunistic postulations.
He said he would partner with good spirited Abians to usher in a lasting economic solution with an attendant enforcement that will push the policies to fruition.
“The government under my watch will consider all Abians as one family and would create no boundaries.We will rather dig deeper into the challenges that will hinder development.We will ensure mediocrity is uprooted for excellence and engender sustainable, enduring and people oriented programs/policies, that will affect positively the lives of all Abians”.
On the area of Internally Generated Revenue, the governorship aspirant revealed that he is not going to use the state’s IGR to patronize political friends but employ experts that will help rejig the system.
However,Oriaku, advocated for good governance that is not predicated on “god fatherism”, but a system where everyone’s voice would be heard.
“I promise to populate our government with men and women who are passionate and knowledgeable on Abia problems and have the precise solutions with zero tolerance to corruption. Abia will witness a new face of technocrats with local knowledge and ability to deploy human and material resources in Abia to develop the state.
“We will change the paradigm and rearrange the cultural and social values and it is not in doubt that Obinna has the wherewithal to achieve it.My antecedents will speak for me”,he explained.
In his goodwill message, the APC chairman of Isialangwa South, Hon Nnaemeka Otagburuagu, harped on the need for party members to go into wards and communities, gathering support for the party,which he said is key to their victory.
The Public Complaint Commission boss incharge of Abia state,Hon Maduekwe Ukaegbu,said he is not interested on who governs Abia,but stressed that anybody coming on board must have the welfare and interest of Abians at heart, urging aspirants to come under a common front to select the best candidate that will pilot the change mantra.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria,Elder Chibuike Nwokeukwu, lauded the contributions of Obinna Oriaku, which he said would be difficult for anyone to beat, urging Abians to look very well and select their next governor carefully.
Earlier, the APC chairman in Abia, Hon Acho Obioma, commended the quality of aspirants declaring under the APC, pledging his support to the aspirants.