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Chinyeaka Ohaa’ll restore Enugu people’s glory – Emeka Okpara

Chinyeaka Ohaa’ll restore Enugu people’s glory – Emeka Okpara


Frontline politician and Director General of Ihe Abia organisation, Ichie Emeka Okpara has again enjoined the good people of Enugu State to choose Chinyeaka Ohaa as the next governor of Enugu because he has the capacity to reshape the state.

Okpara made the call in Enugu at a stakeholder conference on good governance, accountability and transparency organised by Ihe Abia in partnership with a non-governmental organisation, Arise Nigeria, and some civil society groups.


In this interview, he spoke about the Enugu governorship contest in 2023 and other crucial issues.

What gives you the confidence that Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa will perform creditably if elected governor of Enugu State in 2023?

About a month ago, when Sir Ohaa celebrated his birthday, I spoke to some of your colleagues about his sterling qualities, which makes him a man of choice for the job. Let me briefly repeat that given his educational and career accomplishments, which covers all areas of governance and administration; from bottom to top, he still remains the best choice for Ndi Enugu in 2023. He comes with impeccable and unrivalled credentials, which no other aspirant can present. Let me remind you that Ohaa served as permanent secretary in four critical ministries of Youth and Sports, Office of the Head of Service, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ministry of Power, and he has previously served as Accountant General of Enugu State. Presently, we are not talking about his capabilities because that is self-evident and indisputable; what I am telling you now is how he would “reshape” Enugu when he assumes office and that is exactly what Ndi Enugu need.


What exactly do you mean when you say he would reshape Enugu?

Reshape is a thematic acronym that fits into the sectoral challenges and needs of Enugu, and when fully implemented, would make it the envy of other states in Nigeria. RESHAPE stands for Roads, Education, Security, Health, Agriculture, Power and Environment. If you take a closer look at the sectors, you will discover that RESHAPE is the life wire of any development effort given the present circumstances we find ourselves in. It not only touches on the basic necessities of the common man, it also creates a connecting web of efforts, which is fundamental to the economic growth, and development of a polity. These components are interlinked with one another to the extent that absence of one is capable of derailing the entire efforts of a policy maker. Therefore, there is a need to be religious in the implementation of programmes embedded in RESHAPE.

What is the critical role of road infrastructure in the development of Enugu State?

Road infrastructure plays a very fundamental role in the development of any economy. First of all, it connects the rural areas to the urban centres. Being largely agrarian, connecting all the rural communities with the urban centres and neighbouring states for easy movement of persons and goods is central to growing the economy of the state. Besides, opening up the hinterlands with access roads is a necessary condition for the creation of new urban centres to decongest the main city. This would, invariably, reduce the pressure on the limited infrastructure that is available to a large population in the main city. Mind you, the road networks would also include building short haul rail lines for goods and persons to connect the rural areas with the city centres. We are expecting that the National Assembly (NASS) would unbundle the railway sector to enable states to have and manage their own rail lines. If there is a rail line that connects Nsukka to Agbani through Enugu city, someone from Nsukka that works at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) does not necessarily have to live in Enugu city or Agbani. He may choose to live in his village at Nsukka, where other amenities like water, electricity and hospitals are available and still commute to work from there to Agbani easily. This is not rocket science. People in developed countries have this infrastructure and that is why life is easy for them, while our young men and women struggle to go and live there when we can build our own country to that standard.


How does education affect the overall development of Enugu State?

Educating a people is the best empowerment a leader can give to his people. When a youth is educated, his mind is not only liberated from the shackles of ignorance, he is also armed with the necessary skills to fend for himself in life. Globally, the trend is to educate the young ones with technical skills in science and technology to help them fit into the demands of industries and sectors that are mainly driven by technology. We have passed the age of mere literacy where people only learn to read and write. Building and equipping modern model technical schools across the three senatorial zones and revamping the existing technical colleges would only help to harness the abundant human capital in Enugu State. In addition, a train-the-trainer initiative for retraining of teachers is an important component of scaling the education sector. It would amount to nothing if we build and equip schools and not have teachers that would teach the students or have a teaching workforce that is not well motivated. Ohaa’s commitment to education, which has seen him give out numerous scholarships to indigent students of his community, is a testament to the boost the sector would receive under his watch.

With the prevailing high level of insecurity in Nigeria, how would he secure the state?


It is common knowledge that no meaningful development can take place in an insecure environment. Thankfully, Enugu State has been relatively peaceful for a long time, apart from pockets of robbery incidents, assassinations and kidnappings here and there which is a product of the general insecurity that has enveloped the country in recent time. Having said that, it is important to state that more needs to be done to completely rid the state of the few remaining criminal elements and make lives and property of residents and visitors safe. Ohaa had a stint at the Federal Ministry of Defence and he would fall back on the experience to work with all the security agencies to keep the state safe. Connecting the dots in the RESHAPE agenda by educating and empowering the youths with skills acquisition, and running an all inclusive economy that guarantees the productive participation of everyone is the surest way of decimating the population of those available for recruitment into criminality. That synergy would definitely work in favour of the state.

Health is wealth is a popular saying and it is true; what are his plans for the health sector if he becomes Enugu governor?

The age-old adage of health is wealth finds expression in the ability of man to be healthy first before pursuing any other attraction of wealth and riches. There are three levels of health application available in our society; primary, secondary and tertiary. Unfortunately, the three levels have either been completely damaged or non-existent due to serial mismanagement over the years. The basic health facility in any community should be the primary health centre which should be the first port of call for any sick person, after which the person receives a referral, to either the secondary which is the general hospital we used to have in each local government or a university teaching hospital or specialist hospital which is the tertiary. The situation we have now is that only patients with deep pockets go straight to the specialist hospital or the teaching hospital, leaving the indigent ones to the mercy of quacks, herbalists and prayer centres. That should not be so. Many lives have been lost either because there are no functional primary and secondary health centers or they could not afford the expensive fees of tertiary health facilities. That is clearly a dereliction of duty on the part of governments, which exist to secure the lives of its citizens. Giving the health sector the necessary attention it requires through funding and dutiful implementation of standard health policies and programmes to reshape Enugu would be the priority of Ohaa.

Agriculture remains the mainstay of any developed economy, how does he plan to make agriculture attractive for people to embrace it?

Any man, state or country that cannot feed itself is truly not a man, state or country in the true sense of the word. One of the basic necessities of life is food and that is why all developed nations of the world pursue a programme of food security for their people. Thankfully, Enugu State is blessed with large swathes of arable farmlands that can produce both food and cash crops beyond the subsistence level. Investing in agriculture is a sine qua non for any government that is serious in developing Enugu State. That is why it is important to develop the state’s road infrastructure to connect the rural farms to the urban centres. Beyond that, it is imperative to build farm settlements with modern facilities like housing, schools, hospitals, malls and churches, to make farming and agriculture attractive to the youths. With the availability of modern farming techniques, tools and aids, there is no reason anyone in the modern world should be hungry. Apart from conquering hunger, what we should be looking at is how to make our produce exportable to the international markets, earn foreign exchange and make our farmers wealthy men living beyond subsistence farming. As I said earlier, this is not rocket science; the only thing it requires is the will power to act and I am here telling you that I know a man who will do it.

Is it possible to have a steady power supply in Enugu? If yes, how would he do that?

Without diminishing the importance of any of the RESHAPE components, one of the most important is the availability of steady power supply. It connects with all the other components. You need power to run the modern rail lines, to teach science and technology, to power close circuit cameras (CCTV), hospitals and refrigerate your fresh produce to cut away waste in the agric sector. It would also boost the operations of the small and medium scale enterprises which the present government of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has invested so much in. Again, if you start to connect the dots, you will discover that steady power supply would meaningfully engage the youths, take them away from idleness and reduce, if not completely erase the level of criminality in the state. The thing that Geometric Power is doing in Aba can be replicated in Enugu State. Recall that Ohaa once served as the permanent secretary in the ministry of power. He is in the best position to pull through a deal with any investor and give Enugu and its environs, a steady power supply because he understands the rudiments, intricacies and intrigues involved in the power sector.

What has the environment got to do with good governance?

The environment deserves the attention of everyone, not just the government. Climate change has become topical, timely and global because of its importance in the lives of humans. Everyone must contribute in one meaningful way or the other through planting and not felling trees, not building indiscriminately but according to government approved plans, not dumping plastics and other waste products inside drainages, adequate water conservation and so on and so forth. But, the government has to take the lead. The other time, I spoke about Ohaa using his experience as former permanent secretary in the ministry of Federal Capital Territory to give Enugu city a new Master Plan that would be comparable with Abuja in standard. One of the most serious challenges facing Enugu is the lack of potable water. Nobody can explain away the fact that after more than 100 years of existence, Enugu cannot afford potable water for its citizens. The water challenge is one challenge I know Ohaa would confront frontally.

What is your advice to Ndi Enugu?

I hope I have given you a glimpse of how Chinyeaka Ohaa would reshape Enugu if Ndi Enugu should give him the chance to mount the saddle in 2023. Let us do the right thing by putting a round peg in a round hole. Let Ndi Enugu emulate Ndi Anambra who have entrenched a system of good governance by making sure that each new governor improves upon the performance of the previous one. Now that Chukwuma Soludo has been sworn in as governor of Anambra State, expectations are very high that he will take Anambra to a higher level. In the same vein, Enugu deserves a governor who will give the people hope and match their expectations with high performance.



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  1. Loveth Uruka

    Chinyaka Ohaa is code for good governance.

  2. Loveth Uruka

    Chinyaka Ohaa is the code for good governance. Go get your PVC let’s do the needful come 2023 ndiEnugu.

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