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2023 Governorship Election: Trail Blazing Frank Nweke Jr Imbibes Visionary Leadership Ideals Of Legendary M. I. Okpara, Set To Take Enugu State To Enviable Heights

The journey towards enthroning innovative leadership in Enugu State was earmarked on Saturday on Freedom Square, a prize radio interactive program that discusses topical issues of society on Solid 100.9 FM, Enugu, as it played host to the trailblazing and highly cerebral Frank Nweke Junior, the Enugu State Gubernatorial Candidate for the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

Frank Nweke Jr., no doubt has remained a household name following years of excellent track record of service in different capacities under previous administrations in Nigeria. He is the very notable Frank Nweke Jr. that brought the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation and later Ministry for Communication in the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to whole new record levels that have not been rivaled so far.

After serving as Chief of Staff to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State, Mr. Nweke Jr. was dispatched by the then Governor to represent the state at the federal level. As is characteristic of the ever efficient Nweke Jr. he made the state proud at the national level.

Impressed by his performance and impeccable leadership qualities, the then President Obasanjo called Mr. Nweke Jr. and asked him to run for the office of Governor of Enugu State right after Gov. Nnamani’s second term in office. However, in the spirit of equity, justice and fairness, Mr. Nweke declined because both himself and Gov. Nnamani are from the same Nkanu. He consciously made the necessary sacrifice in order to promote the sense of inclusion and togetherness among the zones in Enugu State.

Mr. Nweke Jr. believes that the best and brightest should run for the Governorship of Enugu State so that the state does not become the laggard in the committee of state in Nigeria, hence his current journey of love for the people to make it to the Lion Building and change their lot come 2023 now that it is time for his zone to produce the Governor.

An ethical leader of nearly 25 years experience in the public, private, and civic sectors, Mr. Nweke Jr. started as a consultant to government on Economic Affairs in 1999. He became the state coordinator of Community County Council during which he got to know, in depth, the challenges as well as the  potentials of the then 209 communities in the state.

He said:

“I had the privilege of touring the then 209 communities in this state. I set foot in each one of those communities during my time as the state coordinator of the community county council. And that was when I first had the opportunity to see first-hand the living conditions of our people. The economic deprivation, the infrastructure deficit, and just the things that needed to be done as government.”

Mr. Nweke Jr. maintained that leadership is so critical and that everything in life rises and falls on leadership. A leader is one who improves the human condition and who inspires the followers who see him or her as honest, trustworthy, knowledgeable, visionary, and active and so on.

Venerable Michael Okpara of the blessed memory, who was Premier of the Eastern Region, remains Mr. Nweke Jr’s role model based on the monumental legacies he left behind. Venerable Okpara’s  leadership was anchored on Integrity, vision, capacity, and transparency. During that time, the economy of the Eastern region was adjudged the fastest growing in the world. People came from all over the world to understudy that model of development. It is that model of leadership that Mr. Nweke Jr. is bringing onboard if elected Governor of Enugu State.

The concept of shared prosperity (Onyēaghananwanneya) was the underlying philosophy and economic policy of the economic model. Venerable Okpara and his team at the time funded agriculture, encouraged cooperatives and created farm settlements. They recognized that public service is about the people.

“I on my own recognize that Enugu of today is not working. In fact, most part of Eastern Nigeria is not working. The poverty is endemic, sanitation is a major issue today, unemployment is unacceptably high, criminality is the order of the day, insecurity is the order of the day, businesses are closing shop, our roads are in terrible condition, hospitals are inaccessible – when you go there, as the military used to say, these are mere consulting clinics, Mr. Nweke asserted.

He said he is propelled by the same philosophy that made Venerable Michael Okpara and his colleagues set out to bring about improvements in the living conditionof the people. It is his believe people must be allowed to live a life of dignity. He therefore wants to serve the people truly as a leader and not as someone merely in authority.

“The All Progressive Grand Alliance is a spinoff from UPGA of the 50s and 60s. it used to be the United Progressive Grand Alliance, and today it is the All   Progressive Grand Alliance. And with what I have said about Michael Okpara and his colleagues and what they did. You can also see – it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that for me, it is the All Progressive Grand Alliance because as you may recall, the UPGA  and the other parties that functioned at the time were proscribed due to a decree

The founders of APGA were mindful of the history of UPGA, what it represented to our people. But more importantly, the reason why I have chosen APGA is because there is a worthy example not only from history but there is a worthy example of what APGA can do and has done even in modern democratic time in Anambra State.

Anambra State is where His Excellency, former Governor Peter Obi was first elected and he distinguished himself. Perhaps he was mindful of the history of UPGA and APGA and the work done by our forebears led by Michael Okpara at the time. He distinguished himself in a way that propelled him to unimaginable heights today. And his successors, Obiano and co, continued the good works. And reasonable so. And I have no doubt in my mind that His Excellency, Governor Chukwuma Soludo, will continue in the same excellent performance that the party is known for.

So for someone like me, I believe that given the opportunity in Enugu State, we will replicate what happened in Eastern Nigeria and follow the footsteps of former Governor  Peter Obi, who was first elected on the APGA, and of course, Obiano and currently, Governor Chukwuma Soludo. But more than anything else, it is the philosophy of this party, that philosophy of shared prosperity, that philosophy that says Onye aghana nwanneya, that philosophy that recognizes that the success of one human, one person, is not sufficient to propel progress in any society. And that shared prosperity is the best security you can have. These are the very important reasons why I chose APGA.”

On what he would do differently if elected Governor, say, in the education sector for instance, Mr. Nweke Jr. said a lot of focus will be on primary, secondary, and technical education.

He said Enugu is not working and gave the instance of Nollywood which had its foundation laid in Enugu with the production of the movie Living in Bondage.That industry is no longer in the coal city because money, skills, expertise and so on go to where they are needed. If people do not feel welcome, protected, then why do they go there?  Mr. Nweke therefore vowed to resuscitate the film industry and restore the coal city as the hub of movie production through leadership that brings the people the right incentives to thrive.

Mr. Nweke said that the peace that people claim is in Enugu State is akin to the peace of the graveyard. He observed that people now fear for their lives because of high incidence of crime. He said much can be done in terms of security through support and dynamic engagement of the various stakeholders in the society.

He also pointed out that the population of Enugu is expanding but there is no corresponding increase ininfrastructure to cater for the growing numbers. So the city limits need to expand. To that effect, Mr. Nweke stressed that critical infrastructure is essential to ensure sustainable development. For instance, if people cannot move around, how can development take place? Therefore, road infrastructure is very critical.

Mr. Nweke Jr. said coal will be revived and all other resources maximally explored to provide a better living condition for the people. This is in line with his slogan; Enugu First.  

He said people will come to Enugu because he is the Governor. They will make investments and bringothers who will invest too. An enabling environment must, therefore, be put in place.

Mr. Nweke Jr. will ensure that the local governments will be managed by people with capacity and passion to serve the civil service and they will be given a free hand to run.

In all, there will be careful and strategic planning in putting infrastructure in place to ensure efficiency, maximum utilization and cost effective delivery.

Mr. Nweke will run a government that will support the private sector to undertake massive investments in agriculture, manufacturing, the hospitality sector and so on so as to engage the teeming youths in the already over bloated labor market.

Callers to the radio program acknowledged the passion and impeccable record of accomplishment of Mr. Frank Nweke Jr. They urged the good people of Enugu State to get their PVC and vote for him to take Enugu to greater heights.

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