2024: Edo People Excited As Dr Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe Reveals His Agenda

Agovernorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, has unveiled his manifesto to revamp Edo State if he secures his party’s ticket and wins the election billed for September 21, 2024.

The aspirant also called on the party’s delegates to back his aspiration to be the standard bearer of the APC in the state. Umakhihe, who exuded confidence in clinching his party’s ticket, also called on Edo electorates to vote for him during the governorship election contest.

In a 40-page manifesto, christened as ‘A fresh Hope 2024’, the aspirant, who traversed the federal civil service, and retired as a permanent secretary, pledges to address security, education, health, and agriculture through mechanization and technology, youth empowerment and entrepreneurship. Other areas, according to the manifesto document are transportation, infrastructural development, small and medium enterprise growth and development

Umakhihe, who said that leadership is about the people and not about the bottom line but about the people, said his desire to run for the office of Edo State Governor was borne out of his conviction to use the office to drive his vision of positioning Edo at the forefront of growth and development in Nigeria. He added that his focus would be to use resources available in the state to transform the fortunes to a new and better society based on the principle of shared prosperity among citizens. He said the all-round development of the state would be stunted if it is bedevilled with insecurity, promising a total turnaround of the security architecture of the state.

His words: “The foremost duty of the government is the protection of lives and properties. We believe that the success of this sacred duty is when we begin to see and witness a tranquil Edo State. We are not oblivious to the fact that security is on the exclusive list and that command and control are vested at the centre. “However, we believe that effective collaboration, partnership and synergy with the Federal Government and the traditional institutions will help.

“We believe also that if we leverage the existence of the police-community relations, the neighbourhood watch, the constabulary scheme and work closely with the traditional institution in our various localities, we would be able to gather enough intelligence to assist law enforcement in curbing insecurity.

“So we would not only expand and improve personnel training in this regard but technology would also be deployed to achieve faster and sustainable results so that our people would have the confidence to move around without fear and return especially to the farms to help drive our goal of food sufficiency and become the food basket of Nigeria.”



On education, the governorship aspirant, who lamented the downward trend of the sector, said his government shall reverse the sad trajectory by embarking on some reforms including educational infrastructure revamp, training and retraining of teachers, improving school curriculum to meet current learning needs and resuscitate vocational and technical education.

“Our government shall revamp all our technical schools across the state, make them centres of excellence to focus on training our students in 21st century needs like information technology (IT), software development, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).”

On health, Umakhihe said: “Our healthcare policy and reforms shall follow the concept of universal health coverage. Our plan shall include addressing inadequate care infrastructure, improving quality and quantity of the workforce, insurance coverage, and addressing issues of high maternal and infant mortality, primary health care amongst others.”

Noting the place of agriculture in Edo, the former civil servant said his government shall leverage the Federal Government Green Imperative Programme, which is aimed at strengthening food security, creating massive jobs, transferring technology, and creating assembly plants that will lead to the emergence of value-added agriculture among other benefits. He added: “We would make Edo State one of the major centres of the 632 mechanisation service centres proposed by the Federal Government to support primary production and assembling of tractors and other implements.

“We shall encourage local farmers to form voluntary cooperatives and where they already exist we shall support them to Pool resources together so that they can buy or lease Modern Farming equipment, tools and fertilizer. We shall establish agro-processing zones in clusters across the three senatorial districts. They will be fully supported by Infrastructure; power, water, roads, digital infrastructure, and logistics that will allow food and agribusiness companies to locate and operate within such zones.”

He pledges to increase youth involvement in his government. “Our government will not exploit the youths to do the bidding of those in authority. What we shall do is to work with the youths collaboratively by providing them with platforms to enable them to actualise their dreams.”

Umakhihe said his political empowerment for the youth will cover mentorship, youth advisory council, business incubation centres, skills development, entertainment and sports among others. He promised to unveil several programmes on economic empowerment. His words: “We are going to work in collaboration with the Federal Government, the State Assembly, Central Bank of Nigeria, commercial banks and federally owned and affiliated Banking Institutions to support women-owned businesses with concessionary loans in Nigeria.”

He said his government would implement 35 per cent women’s involvement in his government. He said: “Political appointment and social inclusion in line with the federal government’s resolve to promote female employment and appointment in all government offices, ministries and agencies, we shall replicate the same in Edo state. The goal is to increase women’s participation in government to at least 35 per cent of all government positions. We would replicate this in cabinet positions and encourage private participation in this regard.”

On projects, he said: “We shall carry out impact-driven developmental projects affecting the greater number of our people. We shall take special notice of such centres of high economic impact and give priority to stimulating growth and development. There is no debate about the fact that infrastructure contributes to economic growth through supply and demand channels by reducing the cost of production.

“It adds to the diversification of the economy and gives access to the application of modern technology. It raises the economic return to labour, raises the quality of life by creating amenities, and leads to macroeconomic stability. Where necessary, flyovers will be constructed to tackle traffic congestion around the state capital.”


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