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Editorial: Abia State And Developmental Politics

One unhappy story among several others that seem to play out more prominently is the lack of constructive development within Abia state. This is not one of such routine critique on leadership.
This piece is borne out of native patriotic urge to see the birth of Economic prosperity for the people of the state. Abia State is endowed with the gift of people. Educationally the state is ranking high-judging from average enrolment of pupils and number of institutions spread around it.
The thrust of this contribution is keen on visualizing the possibility of Economic breakaway of the state from the slow, unimaginative, sterile condition to a revolutionary masterpiece.
In Nigeria, development seem somewhat to have been predicated on the provisioning of roads and other basic civic infrastructure by successive governments which is a good start. But at best very basic. Revolutionary and civilization-impacting developments that took place around the world like the one in China and India revolved around the model of developing the capacities of its own people. In the last century India and China were almost in the same peer economy as Africa with third and second world ratings. Today they have fast-stepped into the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) emerging economic bloc.
Aba as a town is a convergence of bright technical talents. Aba is home to thousands of vocational outfits run by youths of unbridled energy with unqualified propensity for innovations. You see the dynamic array of jostling youths eking a living from very basic personal inventions powered by innate drive and ‘success-curiosity’. Tailoring outfits abound. Machine and metal fabrication shops are in their hundreds. Craft centers, shoe-making centers, Radio shops, Foundries, plate- making centers, the native-fabric weavers just name it.
China and India picked up centers like the ones we see and overlook in Aba and began a skill-acquisition program which underpinned the industrial revolution that marked their economic explosion. What is happening in Abia State is a sad reversal of this kind of developmental techniques. The old factories like the Modern Ceramic Industry are gradually stalling for lack of capacities. The Golden Guinea Brewery is now a shadow of itself- defunct and extinct. The Glass factory in Aba may have never lived up to its billing even for one day.
The Igbo man typifies the spirit of self-enterprise and innovative realism. He is a quintessential technology asset if properly managed and could catalyze the Nigerians industrial economy. What is the government of the day doing with Abia state?
The state and Nigeria must begin to respond to the imperatives of quality economic development founded on the sheer capacities and enterprise of its own people. What has the State done with the Akwete cottage clothe-weaving Center? It is not impossible to transform such clothe making outfits and the ones in Aba into veritable export zones-with automated facilities and a quality conformity framework to benchmark the outputs.
Abia is blessed with arable lands which may complement the then farm settlements founded by the Eastern Region Premiere, Dr. Michael Okpara. The State can boost production of palm oil product for export purposes. The technicalities of getting this done is not the matter, I believe Abia state has the critical mass of Technology-savvy minds willing to engage this initiative. Has any government in Abia State thought about this?
A good chunk of our revenue is directed at non- existent palliatives aimed at reducing poverty. The government has honed its skill in creating seemingly grassroot-friendly programs which predictably never positively changed the poverty status of the common man. They only served cheap political ends.
The world is edging towards economic development built on the staple of technology and its derivatives. Abia must join other league of States within and without Nigeria to propel its people towards meaningful economic participation by educating its people and widening the participation window to include areas that must address the aspiration of the common man.
Arnold schwarzeneger as governor of California forged a new path for the youths of his state by providing a vocational model of state development that tapped into the raw ingenuity of its adventurous youths. This model is dead cast for Abia state.

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