Time To Develop Eastern Nigeria: A Wake Up Call To Igbo Leaders – by Great Imo Jonathan

During the First Republic, the Igbo nation made enviable progress in qualitative and coherent leadership, organisational cohesion, fiscal and industrial development, planning, superb educational system, good governance, integrity in political office, and so forth. This solid foundation was laid before the inception of the First Republic, courtesy of the Igbo State Union and Leaders of Thought. Notably, government initiatives adequately encouraged farming and other allied produce for food and export. Thus, items such as rice, yam, cassava, cocoyam, vegetables, palm produce and cashew nuts were readily and ordinarily the mainstay of the Eastern economy.

It was essentially on these that Eastern Nigerian economy thrived and expanded to become the largest growing economy in Africa. The Eastern Nigerian government had a clear vision which was progressive, and complementary to the the Igbo State Union. As a result, the Eastern Nigerian Development Corporation (ENDC) was established, which became a tool through which series of development projects emerged, including: University of Nigeria Nsukka, Aba Textile Mills, Shoe Industry Owerri, Nigercem Nkalagu, Enamel Plate Industry Umuahia, Golden Guinea Brewery Umuahia, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Glass Company Port Harcourt, Ulonna Farm Settlement, Niger Steel Company Emene, African Continental Bank (ACB), Hotel Presidential Enugu and Port Harcourt, Co-operative Bank of Eastern Nigeria Ltd (Co-operative and Commerce Bank). This explains the motivation behind the industrialization of Alaigbo and Eastern Nigeria.

These were the enterprises that engaged secondary school leavers, graduates of technical colleges, polytechnics and universities in productive activities. As a result of that developmental effort, Eastern Nigerians had no need to migrate in their numbers to Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, etc, for employment opportunities.

Many other developmental strides were achieved within a ten year period 1957-1967 .

Another time an Igbo-led government set out to accomplish great exploit for the Igbo was under the Sam Mbakwe led administration when rapid effort was geared towards the industrialization of Igboland amongst others.

As someone said, it beats one’s imagination how in Igbo States in recent memory have been declined, especially led by some individuals who had had the privilege of occupying government houses for eight years stretch as governors without any substantive legacy – infrastructurally, industrially or transparency-wise. In many cases, they left Igbo States in worse situations compared to when they took over the reins of power. With the exception of governors like Ngige, Sam Egwu, Peter Obi, Sullivan Chime and Dave Umahi (who has done well in infrastructural development of Ebonyi, although he is a tyrant).

As it stands, Igboland degenerates into a steady decline with our youths ever exiting the land in search of better prospects in other parts of Nigeria and the outside world. This mass exodus denies Igboland aspects of the necessary manpower.

Where are the jobs that will entice our youths to stay and build Igboland? How can we build the Igbo nation if a section of the youths in Igboland is restive, indulge in vices, such as robbery and kidnapping? Unless the trend is checked, Igboland will continue to suffer marginalization.

This is the time to build, we need young, creative and dynamic leaders across the length and breadth of Eastern Nigeria with proven record of integrity. Leaders Are not necessarily those who occupy positions of power like some of the greedy and lazy blood sucking politicians we have around. Leaders are pathfinders and great dreamers, they don’t need titles they simply make great things happen.

We can still change this narrative in the shortest period of time if we can get our governors, local government chairmen and other leaders to do the right thing, especially considering our potentials. We simply need to stop being soft on our governors and other leaders in our domain. And we need to silence illiterate sycophants clapping for mediocres amongst them who glory in their own primitive behaviour, especially those who think that governance is about self aggrandizement and primitive acquisition.

Ndi na chi ochichi kwesiri inwe amamuihe ma nwe kwa ako na uche.

God Bless Ala Igbo

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