June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

South-East needs a Development Commission now, says Prof. Sam Amadi

(L-r) Enugu State Gov. Peter Mbah, his Anambra State counterpart Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo and Sen. Chris Anyanwu MFR, chairperson of the Summit Planning Committee, putting heads together for Igbo Reset Agenda on South-East Security and Economy held in Owerri last week.


ULTIMATELY, the South-East Summit on Security and Economy, SESSE 2023, has ended with a strident call for the setting up of the South-East Development Commission (SEDC) to manifestly and unwaveringly operationalize ideas for their development through actions for results, not jaded rhetorics.
Once in our history, we had the ENDC, the Eastern-Nigeria Development Corporation, in the Michael Iheonukara Okpara days.
Recourse to SEDC was the blunt remit of Prof. Sam Amadi, former Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), a foremost development scholar in an intensive lead paper he delivered at the Summit.
Amadi’s paper titled “Roadmap to Accelerated Economic Transformation of the South-East,” insisted that there was a need for coordinated efforts in the desire to achieve the development of the South East Zone intentionally, crystallized by structures ‘anointed’ with the power of collectivity and strength, with a mandate for action to move, work and deliver results. And the time is urgently now.
Digitalized human capital
He asserted that, the historic rapid transformation of the then Eastern Region of Nigeria under the premiership of late Dr. Michael Okpara in the first republic, was a record other nations marvelled and copied, and therefore could be replicated without any pretence to magic or laments of limitations, but simply a leadership commitment to a mission and zeal for action.
“Put bluntly in a context, we cannot as a people lament for too long for what we have done before, demonstrated to world acclaim, and can still do again even better, with an increasingly digitalized human capital in our thumbs, and amazing zestful youth assets to exploit. No, we must rise above the ‘prison’ of how the cookie crumbled to triumph on how the cookie is refreshed and enhanced”
Reemphasizing the successes of the zone in the first Republic that made the region the fastest growing economy in the world then, he declared that the ‘rocket attitude’ was the right mix of development processes, a coordinating body (the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation) and a strong political will and character that made inclusion a norm and citizen mobilization a charm.
Prof. Amadi was deliberate that a new coordinated efforts to develop the five states of the South East will succeed if current dynamics are purposefully factored in the operations and functions of the proposed SEDC without debilitating personal interests and excessive political interruptions to work for common good.
“We have seen how Europe and Asia transformed their economies. We can borrow or reincarnate what we knew, to create a developmentalist state, that has political will to mobilize relevant consensus on a development agenda that drives and thrives coherently and consistently.”
On the how to achieve this efficiently, he again deployed local reference: “The good news is that we had such a state in the defunct Eastern Nigeria under Dr. M.I Okpara as premier” Okpara’s policy on Agriculture had a two fold trust namely: the establishment of farm settlements for food crops and poultry as well as estates of oil palm, cocoa, cashew among others which were processed for export. That was productivity on wheels.
Abundant ideas sustainability
Alongside the agricultural produce, he went out for numerous industrial projects/estates scattered all over the Eastern region which birthed many industries, facilities and new towns all over in a brave record time. It speaks pointedly of boldness and tenacity, his vision and sacrifice, that he died without even a home he built himself.
“So the matter of focus in moving from Agriculture to industries is strategic and coherent key to Eastern Nigeria’s rapid economic recovery and growth with improved human capital and clarity of purpose”
“Another how, is that the Eastern Nigeria Government was strategic in managing the private sector. It followed neither the communist approach of avoiding and demonizing the private sector, nor the western model of allowing rent-seeking and predation, adding that the proper deployment of ideas must be “wedded to power to be effective”. This is because
“Power without ideas leads to tyranny. Ideas without power lead to mere intellectualism. Political will is not a matter of rhetoric. It is determination backed up by resilience and willingness to sacrifice. Dr.M.I Okpara had it. Sam Mbakwe (PhD) had it. We can have it even more now, because we as Ndigbo are not lacking in ideas. We should wake up from our rhythm of redundance, and dance the music of transformation by implementing our abundant ideas sustainably, through committed synergy, trust and transparency. Now is the time for the reset we must adopt to engage, and rework for progress that beckons,” he concluded.
The South-East Summit on Security and Economy was hosted by the Governors of the five South-East states with all in attendance, to rethink a reset for leadership inspirations to re-enact regional synergy for development and prosperity, under the auspices of Ohaneze Ndigbo with Sen. Chris Anyanwu as chairperson of the Organizing Committee, in Owerri.
Credit: South-East Summit on Security and Economy Media Office.