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Govs Ugwuanyi & Okorocha: A tale of 2 investment drives

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Whereas Ugwuanyi has gone about his chase and hot pursuit of credible foreign direct investors with a certain amount of equanimity and high sense of zeal, Okorocha saw it as another jamboree.

Governor Ugwuanyi

Nigeria’s economic downturn has brought out the best and worst ingenuity on how and how not to embark on global drive by governors for foreign direct investments.  

The Governors of the South East of Nigeria have not been left out in this frenetic pursuit of foreign direct investors to come and invest their hard earned cash to boost their respective states.

Whereas some governors such as Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has gone about his chase and indeed hot pursuit of credible foreign direct investors with a certain amount of equanimity and a high sense of zeal, others such as the helmsman of the next door neighbor of Imo State saw it as another jamboree and bonanza for some of his boys and girls to have a taste of foreign trips  and draw from the generous travelling estacodes and other pecks of official trips  to no other place but Turkey of all the potentially attractive European economies whereby credible and genuine investors can be poached into Nigeria. 

Just before last Christmas Governor Rochas Okorocha was at his best as the official father Christmas of Nigeria when he reportedly  flooded Turkey at public expenses with nearly one hundred delegates including journalists from unverifiable media houses in the guise of pursuing foreign direct investors and soon after his return what has happened is that over three thousand Imo public workers were shut out of their jobs for alleged redundancy but these agencies of government have been sub- contracted to lackeys of the Imo State governor.  Imo government agencies including the Water Board and Imo Job center have been concessioned to God knows who in the name of public/private partnership (PPP).

Tongues are wagging considerably as to why the Imo State administration had to spend huge fortunes to chase shadows abroad only to return back to Owerri to unleash a tsunami of mass job cuts thereby increasing social tensions in Imo State. How does the Imo State government expect foreign investors to bring their massive capital and invest in such a tensed atmosphere? 

Well the highly compromised Nigeria Labour Congress should be tasked to protect the jobs of their members in Imo State who are now thrown out unto the job market in Imo State even as no single foreign direct investor has come into Imo as a result of the bonanza that was staged in faraway Turkey by Rochas Okorocha for ten dozens of his loyalists and bootlickers who were paraded as business executives from Imo State. Okorocha who jetted out before the compulsory job cuts were militarily and unilaterally imposed but not without deceiving the national leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress that his government wouldn’t embark on job cuts. 

Fast forward this conversation to few days back when the Enugu State Government says some Irish investors have indicated interest to invest in the state after only one investments advocacy visit that was carried out devoid of the usual Nigerian political razzmatazz and empty media propaganda. 

The disclosure about this strategic but cost friendly foreign trip to attract investors is contained in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Uwakwe Abugu, in Enugu recently.

Abugu said that the foreign direct investors indicated their interest at an investment summit in Dublin, Ireland addressed by Gov. Ugwuanyi.

He said that scores of investors were keen to do business in the state. This is attested by the caliber of persons who participated in the event.

According to the statement, a former President of Ireland, Berie Ahern, is making moves to assist the state government grow its economy by shopping for investors and donor agencies to shore up the state’s revenue base.

“Prospective investors have already held talks with the state governor with officials of the state government,” it said.

The governor’s spokesman said that the business trip to Europe had yielded the desired results, adding that very soon the effect would manifest.

Abugu said that the state government also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dublin City University, Ireland aimed at promoting relationship with the state owned university.

“This move is to develop the education sector in the state in a manner that will offer value to stakeholders.

“By this agreement, the Dublin City University and relevant agencies in the state will enter into mutual beneficial relationships,” he said.

Abugu said that such relationships would open up opportunities to attract funding agencies in a move that would address noticeable lapses in the sector.

“The President of the institution, Brian MacCraith and other officials of the university are already billed to attend the state’s economic summit in Enugu by March,” Abugu said.

If you ask me I will tell you that this particular trip more than any other has the prospects of actually yielding positive results compared to many other merry-go-round type of choreographed foreign trips by many governors from Nigeria.  The angle of signing memorandum of understanding on educational empowerment of Enugu youth is noteworthy. This chase for credible foreign investors is expected to bear fruits that will result in sustainable economic development and growth of the job market in Enugu State because if manufacturers are assured of good working environment and they agree and indeed invest in Enugu State then the highly skilled youth of Enugu would be productively and constructively engaged and wealth creation would become readily available to the greatest percentage of the citizens.

Some of these governors have come under scrutiny for hiding under such foreign tours to engage in money laundering and other untoward ventures meant to enrich only their families and friends at the total detriment of the good people of their states. Take for instance, a certain governor belonging to the All Progressives Congress from a core South West State was accused of hiding under the guise of foreign investment and business trip to use his wife to launder millions of dollars of his state into his several offshore accounts.  

These damaging allegations have yet to be investigated. The fact that state governors hide under such foreign trips to steal their states blind was demonstrated clearly when the then Bayelsa State governor Mr. Solomon Peter Diepreye Alamesiegha of PDP was caught napping by the London Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom and further searches revealed that he had over £1 million Pounds Sterling concealed in his private flat somewhere in Central London. How he managed to escape back into Nigeria is a notorious history. We have just been told of his demise. The foreign investment drive by the Enugu State governor is completely different from all the others in that it is structured to pragmatically address the economic needs of the people of Enugu in a very positive way. The Enugu State governor already has given a time line within which the results of this trip could begin to actualise. The people await the positive results with hope and aspirations. 

This current foreign business trip of Governor Ugwuanyi must yield fruits because Enugu is in dare need of genuine foreign investors in the area of coal powered electricity projects and the much neglected tourism sector. Enugu has good manufacturing climate and is heavily endowed with abundance of agro-allied raw materials to power any confectionary and fruits juice firms of extensive reach.

Enugu is endowed with potentials for best avenues for foreign tourists to spend valuable and quality time away from any possibility of attacks by terrorists. But the governor must get the security agencies to control the infiltration of armed nomadic Fulani herdsmen if it ever hopes to grow the agricultural sector of the state which is critical to the building of formidable revenue profiles. 

Enugu is one of the most peaceful states in terms of being one of the most stable entities within the federation of Nigeria and indeed the current Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration is hotly developing rural infrastructures to turn around such hitherto neglected areas such as Nsukka and Udi into attractive industrialized zones. Gender equity has already been embraced in such a way that highly skilled women have been attracted to work in different capacity to run the bureaucracy of Enugu State. 

Several roads infrastructural transformation are taking place as I write and a quick win mechanisms for monitoring compliance to completion deadlines and best global practices have since been activated by this ebullient statesman called Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to ensure that only the best infrastructures are delivered on time to his people and millions of other persons visiting or doing legitimate business activities in the State. The Ugwuanyi administration deserves all the support it can get from genuine quarters to deliver quality and indeed good governance to the good people of Enugu State.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head of Human rights Writers association of Nigeria and blogs@  www.huriwa.blogspot.com, www.rightsassociationngr.com,  www.huriwa.org.


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