Frank Nweke Jr, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Enugu State, on Thursday in an interactive radio program, Urban Prime Time, on Urban 94.5 FM, Enugu, empathised with fellow Ndi Enugu over the dire situation currently being experienced in the state and across the country.
Nweke noted the difficulties of accessing the new Naira notes resulting in queues and chaos at the ATMs, bank halls and with POS operators. He highlighted that the queues also continue at the fuel stations where a litre is sold as high as N500 while many are also on queues to retrieve their Permanent Voter’s Card from INEC offices.
“These are in addition to the suffering that was already in existence. In Enugu, we still don’t have good water or power supply, the roads are still bad, healthcare has not improved, workers are not paid as they should be and a host of other problems. I hear all these as I travel across the State on my campaign tours. People are suffering and exhausted.
“With these new situations of people being unable to access their already meagre funds, Nigerians are not even allowed to ‘suffer in peace’. Just when you think it cannot get worse, the government does something else that throws citizens into more hardship”
Emphasising that he is not against the redesign of the Naira notes and the intended goal of monitoring the funds in circulation, he maintained that public policy must be for the benefit of the masses.
“Any policy that undermines the well-being of the masses is unacceptable. It is important that the consequences of every policy action and the timing of implementation are properly taken into consideration. If the objective is to curb money politics, there are other ways to target the people directly involved without inflicting more hardship on our people.”
In response to a question on the need for a cashless economy, Nweke explained that the majority of Nigerians are unbanked and without access to the digital services required to operate in a cashless environment. He insisted that the infrastructure required is not yet available and the effect of the ongoing cash scarcity as a result of the Federal Government’s policy is most felt by the poor, not the supposed targeted elite.
“The same applies to the policy on fuel subsidy. It does not make sense to have an average of N2 trillion allocated to fuel subsidy per year while more critical issues like work and housing, education, healthcare and other things that directly affect the people are ignored. The fuel subsidy is sustained by corruption and pilfering at the highest levels. It needs to be removed completely and the funds redirected to these areas that improve the lives of the people.”
At the State level, Nweke stated that as a sitting governor, in consideration of the hardship being experienced, he would show leadership by ensuring open and honest communication with the people to give a true account of affairs, while pursuing solutions with the direct stakeholders. He declared that he would have had meetings with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Petroleum Marketers immediately to work out possible solutions to ameliorate the suffering.
Nweke used the occasion to call on INEC to improve the PVC collection process, saying that all officials who insist on bribes for collection must be punished.
He appealed to Ndi Enugu to be resilient and steadfastly refuse to accept cash from randy politicians as instant gratification for the untold suffering.
“My heart goes out to the entire people of Enugu who are suffering today. I see it everyday and it is exhausting. Please, do not give up, insist on picking up your PVC regardless of the bottlenecks and do not sell your votes to politicians who want to take advantage of your suffering. I assure you of my word to restore your trust in the government when elected as the Governor of Enugu State” he stated.