A governorship aspirant and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lucky Igbokwe in this interview spoke on various issues including the politics and potential of Abia State. He is known in the entertainment circle as Don Lulu and also the Chairman of 2Flame Entertainment; CEO Lucion Towers Construction Company, Don Lulu Foundation and the Founder of Green Peace Nigeria.
What are the most urgent items on the Abia agenda that you will immediately address?
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If given the PDP ticket and elected governor, I will reposition Abia for economic prosperity by creating the enabling environment for industry to thrive, with a better approach to internally generated revenue that would reduce dependence on federation allocations.
Paying all the outstanding gratuity and pension of the retired is of utmost priority.
Education will be one of the major objectives of my aspirations, the sector will be reformed to include not only building of schools, but also the provision of incentives to teachers.
We’ll revisit the farm settlements, improve and empower the youth in particular and our people in general, through agriculture; the creative industries will receive massive boost under our watch. Tourism will be made more attractive and visitors will come to experience our beautiful cultural heritage and sites.
We’ll escalate the commercial viability of our markets to unprecedented new levels with improved infrastructure and security. Abia will become the ICT hub in West Africa during our tenure. We shall enhance the road networks and improve transportation.
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I will ensure that there’s gender balance to give room for our women.
We will ensure that more youths will be recognized and appreciated.
We are very committed with passion to make sure that Abia occupies its rightful position in the comity of states in the country.
We are determined to replicate in Abia State the record of achievements of our hero, late premier, Dr M.I Okpara in the defunct Eastern region of Nigeria.
What manner of leadership should Abians expect if you emerge as governor?
What we need is the right leadership, a candidate with the fear of God, love for the people, one with good character, great antecedents and who is popular if PDP needs to put its best forward for the poll and if it is serious to retain the seat in Abia.
Mayor Lucky Igbokwe is the right person and the best hand for the job.
I have consistently proved that with my track record in philanthropy, business and human capacity development.
My footprints are everywhere in the state despite coming from Abia central.
I urge you all to come to the table and let’s take Abia to the most enviable heights we desire.
I pledge that nothing short of this will happen. I want us to know that the confidence in me is a confidence of hope, the future, success, restoration and the freedom from fear.
What role do you think zoning will play in how Abia decides its governorship issues in the 2023 national elections? Will zoning favour an aspirant from your part of the state?
According to the zoning that has been established, the 2023 elections is zoned to two senatorial zones; one is Abia Central and Abia North and I happen to come from Abia Central, which is why I am able to put in for governorship under the PDP. The three senatorial zones have been completed and the head of the party feels that in order to ensure equity and fair play in the zoning formula of the Abia State chapter of the PDP, the North and Central should recommend that zoning process once again as against some of those people who are also angling with all due respect to them in Abia South. So to a large extent, the zoning as it affects the Central and the North should be the ones to go for the gubernatorial bid in the state.
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So yes and no, the zoning is in favour of an aspirant from my part of the state which is Abia Central. The way the zoning works is that it goes from North Central then to South which is the complete Senatorial zones; so normally since it has gone round, we are told it can now actually come from any zone.
How will you tackle the insecurity in Abia, in particular and generally, what method(s) should be adopted to deal with IPOB?
When elected the governor of the state, my government will firstly be deeply involved in a comprehensive study and assessment of the situation on ground so we are armed with all the vital information; then we will move to negotiations and dialogues between all the parties and stakeholders involved. We will set a timetable for negotiations and actions between the government and all parties involved to settle outstanding issues. My government will invest enormous amount of time and energy to ensure that we see results and resolve divisive interim issues and move to a permanently peaceful and secure state. I will personally stand as mediator and catalyst in the peace process.
If you do not get through the gubernatorial primary of your party, what stance will you adopt?
That decision will be made if the primaries are free and fair.
What stands you out from the pack of gubernatorial hopefuls in Abia?
My decision to run is borne out of hunger and desire to add value and impetus against the backdrop of the yearnings of the entire people of Abia State, who believe in the youths as an option and to take Abia to the much desired place occasioned by their cries and wishes for good governance, inclusiveness and ensuring that Abia takes its rightful place in the comity of states.
I decided to run following calls from stakeholders, including the downtrodden, traditional rulers and eminent sons and daughters of Abia State, and to take up the gauntlet, to stand in the gap to shield our people from any form of hopelessness.
Having seen the roles and contributions of our past leaders, there’s no gainsaying that they have done their best, but I’m here to reinvigorate our spirits, minds and souls to the much vaunted dreams of our people for a better life.
I have watched a common denominator in believing in the youths as it is said, that a state that carries along her youths prepares them for a better future.
Without the efforts of the past leadership, however, it has become necessary that I bridge the gap, to restore stability, and rebuild the confidence of our youths and the good people of our state.
To that extent, I have joined this race with my full chest, to say I appreciate other people who as well aspire for the same position, but however, I pledge that I offer a better option, to galvanize the young people, the men and women of Abia State, to instill a sense of belonging in our administration, which will bring hope and pride to our people.
I possess the requisite skills and experience required to harness the vast resources in the state for productive and developmental purposes.
My team and I are ready to turn around the fortunes of the state by revolutionizing all the sectors of governance with focus on the masses.
In what sectors of the economy do you think Abia has competitive advantage that can be deployed quickly as soon as you become governor?
It’s very obvious that Aba is a thriving manufacturing powerhouse that the Nigerian and entire Africa’s economy can thrive on. It’s products are everywhere and we will support for everything made in Aba.
I will place infrastructure that will support Aba to be “Africa’s factory” because of its strong business ecosystem.
Industrial production does not take place in isolation, but rather relies on networks of suppliers, component manufacturers, distributors, government agencies, and customers who are all involved in the process of production through competition and cooperation; so we will work on the business ecosystem in Aba to be competitive with other production hubs such as Japan and China.
We will put a strategy in place that will cultivate an ecosystem to support the manufacturing supply chain, including manufacturing, low-cost workers, workforce, suppliers, and customers.