Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has promised to create one million jobs for Igbo youths by revamping huge coal deposits in Enugu State for generation of electricity and export.
A statement made available to our correspondent said Buhari spoke at the Enugu West APC zonal rally on Saturday, where he was represented by the spokesman of the party in the South East, Osita Okechukwu.
Speaking thrpugh Okechukwu, the presidential candidate explained that the coal industry would be revamped with the objective of generating electricity to serve the entire South East.
He assured them that he would award the contract immediately he comes into office, to avoid the mistakes of the Peoples Democratic Party, which he said squandered over N2b voted for a coal project between 2012 and 2014.
“We are banking on huge coal deposits located at Amasiodo, Inyi and Leje axis of Enugu Coal belt.
“We are going to award contract for mining and construction of coal-fired-power-plant unlike PDP that since 1999 promised to revamp the coal fields and 16 years after, nothing has been done.
“We believe that coal is the most abundant fossil fuel in Enugu State and Enugu Coal is one of the most qualitative Coal brand in the world, which means that while some are used to generate electricity, some will be exported,” he said.
The former head of state said his objective is to create one million jobs directly and indirectly from the coal sector, as ancillary projects will follow.
“My idea is to emulate the Taichung Coal-Fired-Power-Plant in Taiwan, the largest coal power station in the world.
“Coal supplies 46 per cent electricity in the United States and over 60 per cent electricity in China – it is callous to abandon such golden treasury.
“For 16 years, every election Igbos voted for PDP and yet, the coal belt remains untapped, hence there is no commensurate reward.
“In 2014 budget for instance, over N600bn capital projects were executed in South South, while less than N200bn was executed in the South East, is that equity and justice?”
Also speaking at the rally, APC vice chairman in Enugu East, Anike Nwoga, expressed confidence that Buhari would win the presidential election.
Nwoga said, “Many of you are catholics, did you hear what Father Mbaka said? Every patriot must vote for APC.”
The statement disclosed that three senatorial candidates from other political parties – Chukwu Ijeoma of All Progressives Grand Alliance, Mabel Onwukwe of Labour Party, and Nwabuike Oliver of Advanced Congress of Democrats – endorsed Buhari as their candidate for the February 14 presidential election at the rally.