By Ejike Nnaji
What is today called Southeast region was the dream, vision and making of our founding fathers and leaders, who worked closely and harmoniously to develop the region right from the Independence. But along the line and because of political leanings and creation of states out of the old Eastern Region which has Enugu as its capital, successive state governments and leaders in the Southeast region abandoned the strategic economic integration that made the region once a beautiful bride in the country called Nigeria. Lack of collaboration and unity among the state governments had cost the Southeast region a lot especially since 1999.
It is quite interesting seeing the Southeast governors coming together again, speaking with one voice and attending all their meetings to discuss issues that affect the region and the way forward.
It was in line with this and others that Enugu State Governor, Peter Ndubuisi Mbah on Thursday delivered an inspiring speech addressing all the Southeast governors and stakeholders at the Southeast Economic And Security Summit held in Owerri, Imo state capital. In his timely, inspiring and reawakening speech, Governor Mbah reechoed the dreams and visions of the founding fathers of the zone and the urgent need to bring back to light the regional forgotten roadmap. He outlined strategic plans that could be stepping stones towards achieving regional prosperity in the zone. According to him, states in the Southeast region must look for ways of collaborating with one another to grow the region irrespective of their political ideology.
He was emphatic and particular on the importance of collaboration and unity among the neighboring states in the Southeast region. He highlighted that a collective effort is required to address the challenges and maximize the untapped potential within our communities. By working together, Governor Mbah believes that the region can overcome obstacles and turn them into opportunities for growth.
He outlined a number of key areas that require immediate attention and action. These areas include infrastructural development, education, healthcare, security, agriculture, tourism, among others. He emphasized the need for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to addressing these sectors, involving stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.
In addition, the governor called upon the Southeast governors to establish a task force dedicated to formulating a detailed roadmap for the region’s development. This task force will consist of experts and professionals from various fields who will work collectively to devise strategies and implement initiatives that will contribute to the Southeast progress.
The Governor strongly believes that by investing in education and skills development, we can empower the youth and secure a bright future for the Southeast. He emphasized the importance of providing quality education and vocational training to equip our young individuals with the necessary tools to succeed in a rapidly evolving global economy.
Moreover, Mbah stressed the need to attract local and foreign investors to foster economic growth in the region and appealed to the sons and daughters of the region to bring back their investments home. He emphasized the need to create a conducive business environment, streamline bureaucratic processes, and provide incentives for investments. By doing so, he believes that we can create job opportunities and reduce the rate of unemployment in the Southeast region.
Mbah’s speech is a timely call that deserves the support and attention of everyone in the zone. Southeast governments should strategically invest in various sectors to promote sustainable growth and reduce the region’s dependence on oil. This visionary approach will pave way for diversified economic development, create new opportunities and transform the region into a vibrant hub of innovation and progress.
Additionally, they should actively foster a favourable business environment to attract companies and industries. By implementing investor-friendly policies, streamline regulations, and provide incentives to businesses, the region will witness a significant influx of foreign and domestic investments and investors.
Diversification will create a robust and resilient economy that is less susceptible to the volatility of oil prices.
They should also prioritize investment in infrastructure development, enhancing connectivity within and beyond the region. They should improve transportation networks, including highways, railways, and airports, facilitate efficient movement of goods and people, bolster trade and tourism sectors. Strategic investment in infrastructure will further stimulate economic growth.
Furthermore, the Southeast governments should invest in education and research, recognizing the importance of a skilled workforce that foster innovation. By establishing world-class educational institutions and research centers, the region would nurture a pool of talent that will drive technological advancements and pushing the boundaries of various sectors.
Through promoting innovation and creativity, the Southeastern region will unlock new avenues for economic growth without being shackled by the limitations of traditional resource dependency.
Southeast governments should be exemplary model for other regions like it was in the 60s, and 70s. They should showcase how proactive measures can lead to economic prosperity and reduce reliance oil resources. The region should be an inspiring success story, motivating others to follow suit and contribute to development.
The insecurity which is a major problem in the zone cannot be completely addressed if the Governors fail to work together to tackle it with every apparatus of the state.
In conclusion, Gov Mbah’s address to the Southeast governors which is a clarion call has ignited a sense of challenge, optimism and determination in the region. It has given hope for a brighter future, where the Southeast region can flourish and achieve its full potential.