The Industrialization of Imo State: Fulfilling an Electioneering Campaign Promise



Bruno Njoku writes from Republic of Ireland

Establishing industries is a way of adding value to our abundant humans and natural materials thereby creating job opportunities and removing poverty. The dismal lack of industries in the state puts a huge strain on the meagre financial resources of the state and this in some ways perpetuates dependency.
Empowering the youth by creating jobs through industrialization is not a luxury by any means. The economic and social responsibility of any government is to provide opportunities for everyman to make a decent living and the leadership can facilitate this by doing the right thing.
In Imo state, the Government of His Excellency Governor OwelleRochasOkorocha understands this relationship between industrialization and empowerment and little wonder the fulcrum of his economic policy in this second tenure is job creation through massive industrialization of the state.
Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe once said “I see in industrialization the central problem of building in our time. If we succeed in carrying out this industrialization, the social, economic, technical and also artistic problems will be readily resolved”.
One of the ways to grow the economy of the state in a healthy and sustainable manneris to grow the economies of the local communities by building industries and empowering them with the skills to manufacture improved local technologies for both the local and the export markets.
One time Nobel Prize winner and 26th President of the United States of America once said “Do what you can with what you have wherever you are”.
I want to believe that it is on the above premise that His Excellency OwelleRochasOkorocha has drawn his strength in his plans to industrialize the state within the next four years and even beyond 2019.
It will be recalled that on the 18th of June 2015, the administration demonstrated its seriousness and determination to fulfil its electioneering promise of building multiple industries in the state by hosting a delegation of Chinese businessmen led by the Chinese Consul General in Nigeria Mr Lui Khan at his Douglas House office. During the deliberations, the Governor made bold to say that Imo State is blessed with abundant deposits of natural resources like natural gas, crude oil, lead, zinc, lime stones etc and also it is apt to reiterate at this point that there is no paucity of human resources in the state as we have seasoned technocrats, professionals in various spheres of life that can manage and make this industries work.
In a discussion with His Excellency the Deputy Governor of Imo State Prince EzeakonobiMadumere a few days before the working visit of the Chinese businessmen to Imo State, his Excellency said “we want to empower our people, strengthen them economically, providing them with the kind of enablement that will help them build up their communities and selves.
He noted that if you empower people in the communities, and provide them with jobs, you win their hearts and minds and hold them accountable for the growth of their local economy and welfare. This writer is in concord with this view because when you economically empower a person(s) he is presented with enormous opportunities that could actually be transformative not only for his family and the community but also for the aggregate economy.
When industries are built, jobs are created and the employed earn wages, pay taxes and savings are made and have disposable incomeall these in turn will have a multiplier effect on the economy. This process generates revenue for the state which will pay the rising cost of the social responsibilities of the government (free education, building and the maintenance of good roads, provision of adequate health care etc).
This type of transformational process that improves living standard, growth in productivity and strengthening of the social cohesion as well as the GDP of the nation.This is what the Rescue mission is all about.
The Rescue mission understands that there is a distinction between good jobs for the individuals and good jobs for the society. Publicworks designed to simply increase employment rates without any long term economic productivity goals are rarely good jobs for the society.
Under the current administration of his Excellency OwelleRochasOkorocha, the Executive Governor of Imo State, increasing attention will be paid in the area of job creation by establishing industries across the local government areas of the State reminiscent of the era of Dr Samuel OnunakaMbakwe of blessed memory.
In a recent chat with the His Excellency the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince EzeMadumere, he emphasized that job creation is one of the priority areas alongside provision of adequate healthcare that this administration will work hard to give Imolites.
There is need to state here that this administration understands that while job creation and employment covers a broad range of themes-from public employment services to safety nets and entrepreneurship skills development, the success of the job creation policy efforts is by and large measured by its results which is the number job opportunities created and filled.
As a government interested in endogenous economic growth of Imo State through wealth creation, expansion of the production frontiers and diversifying of the economy of the State, it is aware that the provision of excellent infrastructural facilities for fast economic growth can be enhanced by encouraging the right Private Corporate organizations with unrestricted access to develop the State and at the same time encourage Public Private Partnership Initiatives. This is a great way of stimulating massive investments in infrastructure, industries which will have a multiplier effect on the economy of the State.
It is a fact that the diversification of the economy with government assistance eliminates the adverse high costs and risks the government encounter in running the state.
In conclusion, there is the desideratum to suggest that the present government ought to develop a clear set of anti-discriminatory policies in the siting of these industries. The essence of management is to do things right but leadership is all about doing the right things. I believe that it is necessary that the governmentsets up a strong institutional framework(if it has not done so already) to support the enforcement and realization of this ambitious industrialization agenda.
With respect to John D Rockefeller “I believe in the dignity of labour whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living, but it owes everyman an opportunity to make a living”. I believe the apologists ofRochanomics and the Rescue Mission are thinking along this line.
A window of opportunity to leave your footsteps on the sands of time beckons my Governor, please take it and give a future to the Imo youths who are being empowered by your free education program.
I wish God’s speed to His Excellency the Governor OwelleRochasAnayoOkorocha and His Deputy His Excellency Prince EzeMadumere as your steer the State for another four years.
Long live Imo State
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria