Imo East senatorial aspirant, Sir Basil Maduka has expressed concerns over the gradual collapse of Owerri, and the entire South East following the outbreak of insurgency, criminality, and economic survival.
Maduka, founder of Virgin Petroleum Group lamented over what he described as the lack of active political participation of the South East zone which portends danger for the economy.
The Mbaise born technocrat and business mogul expressed these concerns during a media chat at his Akpodim in Ezinihiite Mbaise local government country home.
“I foresee political danger in the southeast because of the gradual collapse of our Monday economy and the tactical Friday shutdown which we use for burials. Am concerned that our people are not worried that the process will trigger criminality because it is a gradual shutdown of our economy. Our political Imo class do not realise that we are in a gradual self-destruct mode”.
Maduka, a frontline aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said if elected into the red chambers, he will use the first four years to embark on massive enlightenment to awaken the interest of Imo youths to honest endeavour devoid of criminality.
“I have gone round Owerri zone and I can conveniently tell you that I have not seen any sign of industrial smoke to show presence of a factory anywhere. Rather what we have everywhere are hotels which if you ask me, do not produce any products, rather it is an avenue to spend money”, he argued.
Further, he said “See the Sam Mbakwe International cargo airport lying down un-utilised for the intention and unable to harness the business opportunity of the entire southeast states, not forgetting that every state is building her own airport and thereby drawing away the potentials of our own. It is when you are politically positioned that you can be economically viable and I dare say that we are not as a people”, Maduka said.
According to him, the Yorubas have positioned Lagos as the commercial centre, the Hausas have Abuja and Kano as their nerve centres, Ndigbo have not developed any part of theirs to become the centre of economic activity even as he maintained that the gradual development of Owerri as the solution centre is threatened by insurgency and criminality.
He said “You will agree with me that until recently Owerri was positioned as the nerve of the Southeast. People trooped into our hotels just to unwind during weekends and the venue is Owerri. Unfortunately all that is about to erode us due to criminality and am very worried. Imo people are not grounded with experience about economy, and the implication is we can’t influence anybody unlike the other regional giants. This should give us concerns because of what it may portend for our teeming unemployed youths”.
According to Maduka, the near absence of commercial activities has forced youths to embrace fraud saying “Our able-bodied young men go into 419 and all forms of Internet frauds. A large number of them are already in jail or fighting to avoid going, but I believe we can re-orientate them to noble endeavours. We can stand surety for them to access working capital which will inturn develop others and that way, crime is reduced and the society is safer for us all. However, if we don’t address it, criminality will take over and we will have no access to where we call home”, the former Mandilas Accountant said.
Reacting to claims that his emergence will affect the chances of former Governor, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha to reclaim the office, Maduka said it was a lie saying “The proponents of Mbaise nation are enemies who don’t mean well for our people. There is no way, Mbaise people will occupy all the positions if we have a Governor of Mbaise extraction. We alone can’t occupy the office of Deputy Governor, Speaker, Chief of Staff, all the Commissioners, Head of Service, Chief Judge, including Special Advisers and Senior Special Assistants, it is not possible. We need the input of other people. I just believe it’s an agenda of greed, self-centredness to subdue other peoples aspirations. It is an open secret that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Senator Enyinna Abaribe hail from the same clan and yet both represent the state at different levels and places.
“Let me ask, what has the governor office attracted to us so far if we don’t have factories and big places to show even when we have the highest number of graduates. Let me clearly state that I have a cordial relationship with Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha and I have informed him about my Senate ambition. If I am elected a Senator, I will still support him as I have always done. However political jobbers should not use dishonest means to thwart the narrative”, Maduka stated.
According to him, leadership is not just about tarred roads but involved enabling environment for businesses to thrive even as he lamented that agitations and hunger were biting hard within the state and Southeast zone.
Further, he said “we need to change the narrative in Owerri zone and as well find means to keep the teeming unemployed youths who are our brothers and sisters busy with meaningful job opportunities to pave way for lasting peace and development.”
Maduka maintained that he needs a platform where some of the challenges facing the people would be met by using his wide contacts and reach to make difference in the life of Ndi-Owerri zone.
He explained that his quest to represent Owerri people in the Senate is not about going there to fight or make noise but to use the position to attract more dividends of democracy to Ndi-Owerri zone and to the state at large.
Sir Basil Maduka, a renowned humanitarian and philanthropist who has touched so many lives through his benevolence and kind gesture appealed to PDP delegates, leaders and stakeholders to make their choice according to their conscience which should be centered on competence as regards who will fly the party’s flag at the forthcoming general election.
He assured the people of Owerri Zone that he will disappoint them if given the opportunity to serve them in the Senate come 2023.