The All Progressives Congress in the South-East has expressed joy over Maj. Gen Muhamadu Buhari’s promise to revive the abandoned coal industry in Enugu.
Buhari, the APC presidential candidate, had, during a campaign rally in Enugu on Saturday, promised to revamp the abandoned coal deposits in Enugu and use it for electricity generation in the South-East.
Reacting to the development, the spokesman of the APC in the South-East, Osita Okechukwu, said Buhari has rekindled the hopes of the people of the South-East, who have been aggrieved over the plight of the coal industry.
In a statement made available to our correspondent, Okechukwu recalled that in the past, the coal deposits in Enugu was used to power the Oji River Power Station, which generated electricity for the eastern region and beyond.
“In those days, electricity from Oji River Power Station served industries in the eastern region like Premier Cashew Industry in Oghe; Avop Vegetable Oil, Nachi; Sunrise Flour Mills; Aluminum Industry, Ohebe Dim; Niger Gas and Niger Steel.
“Today, coal has been abandoned while Oji River Power Station has gone moribund, throwing our region into darkness like other parts of the country.
“All these industries that formed the industrial base of the South-East region have become moribund, hence gross unemployment,” Okechukwu said.
He said the APC faithful in the South-East has confidence in Buhari to redeem his promise “unlike the PDP led Federal Government that, for the past 16 years, reneged on the promise to revamp the coal industry they made at the eve of every election.”
Continuing, Okechukwu said, “I recall that in 2011, President Jonathan promised to revamp the coal and up to date the 3D seismic study is yet to commence.
“But, with the promise Gen. Buhari made to us to revamp coal for electricity generation, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
“His promise is a bond and commitment.”
He expressed hopes that the revitalization of the coal industry will boost the economy of the South East.
“Our youths will minimize migration as many will once again be gainfully employed.
“The economy of the South-East will blossom once again and our region will reclaim its lost glory as the industrial and commercial hub of Nigeria,” Okechukwu said.
“My brothers and sisters, kindly listen to the advise of our elder statesman, former vice president and founding chairman of the PDP, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, to Ndigbo not to put all our eggs in one basket, especially when the PDP has lost the vision of its founding fathers,” he added.
Okechukwu also praised Buhari for his promise to give soft loans to farmers in the South East, “unlike his rival President Goodluck Jonathan who came to Enugu to throw stones without any tangible commitment.”