Congratulations to Anambra State on the Swearing in of the new managers of the State. I think the youth have their own in the person of the Deputy Governor. I see this as a sign of things to come in the State. Professor Charles Soludo will be a barometer for measurement of governance in the SE. He cannot afford to disappoint, as all eyes will be on him from all sections of the country. He is a symbol for all technocrats in governance.
Will this signpost a new beginning of the character of governance in the SE? Pedigree is crucial in the recruiting of helmsmen to manage the affairs of any state. Whatever strategies current SE governors intend to use in their succession plans, notice must be taken of the current state of affairs, namely, insecurity, unemployment, economic development and over all well being of the citizens. The pedigree of the incoming helmsmen should be a major consideration in the selection process.
To maintain peace in the region, parties should ensure a rancour-free process that throws up the best among us. Let us go for our first eleven, those with proven track-record of performance in previous responsibilities. Aba , Onitsha and Nnewi for instance can become major economic hubs in the country providing conducive environment is created. Enugu with the international Airport , and over 12 Universities, can become a major hub for international Conferences, education and tourism. The lands are very fertile and could make it a major Morden agrarian State that could export agricultural produce.
Ebonyi remains a major producer of rice, with huge deposits of limestone and other solid minerals. The state can produce rice that can feed the entire SE if not Nigeria as a whole.
This is why I see what is happening in Anambra today as a call for a major re-orientation in governance not only in the SE, but Nigeria as a country. In every relay race, the person to whom the baton is handed determines to some degree if the team wins the prize or not.
I want to appeal to our leaders to carefully think through their selection processes in order to bequeath their people with worthy legacies. Let the interest of the people be the major consideration in the choice we make. The tension already being generated towards the recruitment of the next Managers in the SE can be resolved easily if the interests of the citizens are taken into consideration. It is my hope that this happens without a rancheros process.
The 50-year development agenda Prof Soludo highlighted in his inaugural speech signposts the things to come in that State. I suggest that the entire region could articulate a similar Agenda through the SE governors forum. Investment in Agriculture, Commerce, information and communications technology and development of digital literacy and skills for the youth will be germane. There’s need to build on the current ICT skills development programs in the SE.
Enugu has done quite remarkably well in this regard and we must commend Governor Ugwuanyi for the attention he paid to Digital Literacy and ICT development in the State, with the establishment of ICT Hubs in the State. It will be necessary to continue to build on the program.
The recent removal of transportation and power from the exclusive to concurrent list, the SE State can develop a monorail transportation program linking the the SE states and adjoining States. Electricity is key to industrial development and economic growth. States can use relevant comparative advantages to generate regional power to engender industrialisation.
As we get ready for the engagement of new Leaders in the States, let us be mindful of critical areas of development, such as, Agriculture, commerce, tourism, transportation, ICT, employment generation, and education.
Our leaders and elite should come to a round table to discuss issues honestly and with open mind to determine and agree on the way forward. SE is lagging behind on all indicators and we need to make haste. Investment in the SE is at its lowest ebb due to insecurity arising from economic hardship, unemployment and deprivation in the region. Let us strive to leave our footprints on the sands of time by giving to our people what they deserve.
Please note I am apolitical and this post is not intended to malign anyone, but merely thoughts that have occupied my mind in recent time.