This essay was submitted by Mary Chikelu

“If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists-to protect them and to promote their common welfare-all else is lost”. The words of Barack Obama. Government has failed its people time and again. It is heartwarming that despite this, the people of Enugu state would gladly turn up during the 2023 gubernatorial elections, ever ready to exercise their voting rights because they still believe in what Enugu state can be when placed in the right hands.

A score and 9 nine years ago, on 27 August 1991, under the military dictatorship of Ibrahim Babangida, a beauty; Enugu state, was created. Many a leader has governed this state since its inception, some succeeding, others failing at satisfying the people who placed their trust in them and without whom there is no need for government. I am Marie Ebelechukwu Chikelu, an indigene of Enugu state, first class graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, founder of the Giving Back NGO and civil rights lawyer. I hereby announce my candidacy for Governor of Enugu state under the umbrella of the All Progressive Congress. I am aware of the hauteur to this announcement but you must believe that I announce this with nothing but the best of intentions for my homeland.

These are words you’ve probably heard before and really, I am not exactly seasoned in matters of governance. What I am is a person who has seen enough to know that Enugu state needs a great change, a rebirth so to speak and I am nothing but humbled by the opportunity to be the agent of this great change.

Equipped with weapons such as an assiduous leadership coupled with the support of the masses, our great state has the potential to fight the war against bad governance until it is nothing but a memory. I promise to be that indomitable leader who will lead this state from glory to glory. To do this, I rely on the support of you my people. Do you want to quest your thirst for better governance? Place your trust in me. Vote me in. I am determined to ensure that you get nothing but the best possible results.

The previous administration has done its best but then change is an ultimately constant phenomenon therefore there is always more excellence, more glory, more perfection and more success to be attained. If you elect me into this esteemed office of service, I will ignite a fire in the history of coal city that will never be put out. Together we can materialize a fiery rebirth. Let’s rewrite history!!

If you look around you, you would see that we are blessed with treasures of inestimable value. From our undulating plateaus and hills to breath-taking sceneries including tourist attractions such as Milken Hills, Ezeagu Tourist Complex, Awhum Cave and Waterfall, Nike Lake Resort and festivals such as the Afo-Oha, Egba-Eze, Mmanwu, Odo and Onwa Ebo festivals to mention but a few. I will see to it that these recreational centers and activities are remodelled and renovated to international standards with recreational facilities such that foreigners would have no choice but to visit in larger numbers to experience our beautiful heritage.

Good health is pertinent to our mortal existence therefore I will see to the provision of state-of- the-art medical equipment and tools in all hospitals as well as enforcing better hygienic practices through the empowerment and employment of more waste management personnel. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us in dramatic ways that we need to do better to protect our health. I will ensure that better hygiene standards are upheld in our schools, airports, hospitals and environment.

I will also see to the establishment of 3 mother and child only hospitals in the state which will provide free medical insurance for children under the age of 5.

Unemployment is a cancer that has eaten deep into the fabric of this country. I intend to ensure increment in all forms of internally generated revenue with emphasis on reviving the coal business in the state. This process will create nothing less than a 100,000 jobs for the unemployed youths. Indeed, I will ensure that the next four years will be the most memorable in the history of the Coal City.

It is truly a shame that vices such as rape and domestic violence still plague our society. I will not only set up numerous support groups for women and youths facing issues such as rape, domestic violence, drug addiction etc. throughout the state but also enact laws so strict that potential offenders have no choice but to be humane. This will help to deliver a strong engagement with the struggle against rape and domestic violence in the state.

The insurgency and insecurity in the southeast is, to say the least, devastating. Since the return of way to civil rule in May 1999, the security situation in in the south east has become deplorable. I intend to set up alternative crime prevention techniques that will ensure the re-emergence and sustenance of security in all parts of the state.

I will empower handicapped indigenes be it the disabled, blind, deaf or dumb by creating multiple training workshops and camps where they may acquire potent skills enabling them to be of greater use to themselves and the society. I will also set up committees responsible for distribution of monthly stipends and relieve packages to the elderly, whose aim is to cater for their needs whatever they may be. Handicapped or not, I will see to it that every indigene of this state maximizes his/her potential as a human being.

Indeed, children are the leaders of tomorrow. I will see to the receipt of bursary awards by outstanding students in all educational fields and at all levels. The naira to dollar rate is not encouraging, so this will be of great benefit to students struggling with fees. I will also ensure the provision of free fruits and balanced diet for children in all public schools within the state. No longer shall the people be on the losing side. What you need is what you get.

I will boost the agricultural sector by facilitating agricultural mechanization through provision of machinery and tools to farmers at subsidized rates. I will also provide interest free loans to farmers in order to boost the agricultural value of the state.

I am determined to put in necessary anti-corruption measures such that the states resources and assets will always be utilized in ways beneficial to my people. “Accountability and Transparency” is key for any successful governance. I strongly believe that a government is accountable to its people, therefore, I will ensure my tenure is as transparent as possible. I may not be promising you bags of money and rice but I am offering you a chance to see democracy at its best.

I will create free skill acquisition and entrepreneurship training camps offering cash rewards and incentives worth millions of naira to the best trainee at the conclusion of each training period. This will serve as capital for setting up promising businesses simultaneously decreasing unemployment and subsequently yielding returns to the state.

I will create a database of all civil servants of the state that will aid in detecting the various ways to improve their respective businesses with emphasis on providing interest and collateral free loans to them. I will see to it that there is no delay whatsoever in payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions when due.

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” goes the popular saying but as far as I am concerned, no unease is too much a burden, no storm too turbulent to maneuver in order to achieve the Enugu of our dreams. I am more than willing to sacrifice my ease and comfort on the altar of achieving a better Enugu for you and me. If you would just have faith in me, you would be jumpstarting a chain reaction of events that will raise Enugu sate astronomically higher than this nation has ever seen before. Vote for me if you are tired of empty promises, if you are longing for that breath of fresh air and if you seek to breathe a sigh of relieve as u place your trust in a leader capable of taking Enugu state to unforeseen albeit outstanding heights. Help me make our dreams our reality.

No matter how difficult the road to victory is, I shall not fail you. When you look at my face on the posters and billboards, I want you to see me for who I am; an agent of rebirth. I only seek to eliminate any form of inconvenience, decay or deterioration in our homeland. I conclude with the words of Abraham Lincoln and I quote “no man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent”. God bless Nigeria. God bless Enugu state. God bless me.

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