…As PDP throws race open following collapse of consensus talks ***
The Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture,(ACCIMA) has decided to engage the Government with a request to reduce import tariff at the Port Harcourt Port.
The newly elected ACCIMA President, Mr Andy Obasi indicated this on Monday in Aba, stressing that his executive would vigorously pursue this measure because the astronomical cost of moving goods from Lagos to the east had begun to take severe toll on the cost of goods in the market.
And the same, according to Obasi, also goes for the prices of even the finished goods in Aba and it’s environs.
He promised to encourage Igbo business men and women operating outside the zone to extend to or replicate their businesses in the zone to boost the economy of the zone.
He suggested the creation of ranching businesses in Abia to stop herdsmen/farmers clash in the area and Nigeria; saying that his executive would liaise with the state government to draft policies which would help in rejuvenating businesses in Aba, the state capital and the state in general.
Obasi said Aba business environment needed industrial park to create enabling environment for the business people in the area and boost their productivity.
He called on the state government to ensure that the Ntigha Dry Port in Isiala Ngwa North would be realised to ease clearing challenges and constraints hitherto facing Aba importers.
Obasi promised to identify at least two raw materials in the area which Abia people had comparative advantage, harness and transform with value added for their benefit.
He equally called for a partnership between the government and private sector operators to advance the agricultural practices in the state to animal husbandry and processing of agricultural products.
The ACCIMA president urged the state government to consider formulating policies to encourage the use of liquefied natural gas by industries in the area, to reduce the cost of power generation.
In the meantime, after hours of grilling by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum in Enugu, all national chairman candidates yesterday opted for an election instead of a consensus choice.
They also opposed imposition of any candidate by the Governors Forum, opting to allow the delegates determine their fate at the December 9 convention.
As at last night, five of the candidates were ahead in the permutations by party leaders.
The top contenders are Prince Uche Secondus; Chief Olabode George; Prof. Tunde Adeniran; Prof. Taoheed Adedoja and Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Sources at the Sunday meeting, which ended about midnight, said PDP governors interviewed the candidates on their vision and perspectives on the convention.
A source described it as “a grilling and exhaustive session”.
The source said: “The Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Mr. Ayo Fayose, presided over the session and coordinated the grilling. Each of the candidates was given 10 minutes to address all the PDP governors on their vision for the party and perspectives on the national convention.
“The candidates were all allowed to be in the hall to listen to each other’s presentation. The process was fair and transparent. Nobody was screened but all candidates were asked to respond to questions from the governors and party leaders, including the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of PDP, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi.
“But at the end of the day, the candidates rejected proposals for either a consensus candidate or a candidate picked by the governors.”
Another source at the session said the PDP Governors Forum appreciated the magnitude of the election at the national convention.
The source added: “What the governors thought was an easy ride to impose a candidate wasn’t the case at all. All the candidates came prepared and were ready for the battle ahead.
“The governors had no choice but to tread softly and allow the process to run its course. If they are backing any candidate, it was obvious they have to do more work.”
The governor added: “It is now left to all candidates to sell their programmes to delegates in order to win votes. We have to choose the next chairman on merit.
“It is also becoming apparent that PDP governors may eventually go their separate ways. The probability of endorsing a common candidate by the governors is now slimmer.”
A candidate at the session, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, said: “I am happy with the outcome of the session in Enugu because it gave much confidence to all of us that the process will be fair.
“But I want the party to put the Southwest into consideration for the office of national chairman. In 2018, Governor Ayo Fayose will complete his tenure and PDP may or may not have a governor in the Southwest. The Southwest will now be porous and open to any party.”
Additional report from Nation