While D-Day is here for the citizenry to elect their choice candidates into various offices, Owerri Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OCCIMA) in the same spirit, Tuesday, rallied governorship and senatorial candidates across political parties to an interactive session in Owerri.
The event was designed by the business group with a view to assessing the economic blueprint of the candidates jostling to pilot their affairs of the state as encapsulated in their manifestoes.
The first deputy president of OCCIMA, Mr Okpara Everest, noted that Imo State is bedeviled with challenges including high cost of living, inequitable distribution of economic power, strange stagnating economic policies, inadequate electricity supply to mention but a few.
He said that Imo state-owned businesses such as standard shoes, Adapalm Nigeria Limited, Imo Modern Poultry which used to serve as sources of employment for Imo Youths in the past have been allowed to rot away.
He told the candidates that Imo has undergone rapid changes especially in terms of population growth and called for economic plan that will factor in these changes.
He noted that most of the development plans of the successive government could not stand the test of time owing to factors such as inappropriate taxations laws, improper educational system, policy inconsistency and corruption.
Okpara observed that Imo is rich in human and natural resources and called for economic plan that will guarantee equal opportunity for all backed with visible and invisible incentives to up businesses and general economic activities.
During the interactive session, each of the governorship candidates presented a commendable economic blue print and assured Imo people of transforming the state economically.
The candidate of independent democrat, Ike C. Ibe, said that his administration will fish out high performing technocrat and ensure they are saddled with responsibility that is in line with their areas of competence.
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria, Chris Nwadigbo; Dr. Edwin Uche, All Grand Alliance Party, Hon. Chuks Okonya and New Nigeria Peoples Party governorship candidate; Daniel Ahizechukwu promised to make agriculture and agribusiness their priorities.
Also, Dr. Linus Okorie of YPP canvassed a world-class Imo while Barr. Aloysius Osuji of MAJA promised to liberate the 27 Local Government Areas by granting them autonomy.
He also vowed to industrialize the state and improve sports.
The former governor of Imo state, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim who is staging a come-back on the platform of Accord, excited the audience with statistics of his past achievements which were over ran by the Okorocha led administration.
He said: “Imo is like a ship hit by tornado requires an experienced person like himself to salvage it from collapse.”
The Orlu Senatorial candidate on the plat form of UPP, Precious Nwadike, said he will concentrate on entrepreneurship education for the youth, because according to him, he is not new to job creation and entrepreneurial development of the youths.
Senator Hope Uzodinma of All Progressives Congress, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume of All Progressives Grand Alliance party, Uche Nwosu of Action Alliance Party among others were visibly absent to discuss their plans for business community in the state.
Meanwhile, Mr. Okpara insisted that it is right of the citizenry, including professionals to request of them what is expected of them. He said they were propelled by the ceaseless wastages in the state, saying that various sectors are ripe for development and commercialization but only little can be achieved without enabling policies and investments