Recently, a chart showed how the South-East states lost out on foreign investment funds into the country. The statistics showed that the South-West bullied the other five geopolitical zones with a whopping $82bn in FDI, representing 87.7% while the rest of the country shared the remaining 12.3%, which is actually laughable.
The North-Central, even with the unrest happening in the northern parts of the country, occupied the second position with $10bn, representing 11.51%.
The South-South garnered $471m while the South East got $204m and the North-West $30m. The North-East came last with $39m. Foreign investment here refers to the investment in domestic companies and assets of another country by foreign investors.
This is therefore a wake-up call to the South-East governors even though Ebonyi State has decided to show some positive difference in recent years. The South-East lost out due to negligence and lack of vision of their leaders and from the way other regions are developing, it shows that the South-East governors are sleeping on a bike.
Let’s take Abia State as an example.
About five years ago, Aba was ranked by a survey as one of the dirtiest cities in Africa while the Port Harcourt International Airport was described as one of the dirtiest or sub-international airports in the world. Today, Port Harcourt International Airport is one of the best in Africa but Aba still remains the same or better still, has worsened.
If you say that Port Harcourt airport is a federal project, I agree but the Rivers State Government took it as a challenge to make sure that the airport wears a new look. What about many infrastructural development that has been going on simultaneously in Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers State like flyovers even though I know they can do better?
It is apposite to ask the South-East governors what is happening in their states especially in Abia and Imo states. What are they doing with their allocations and internally generated revenues since 1999 till date?
Charity, they say, begins at home but it seems like the charity of most South-East governors begins outside home. The region is one of the worst governed in the country.
As governors, they owe their retirees pensions, civil servants are not being paid their salaries as and when due, they don’t fix good roads or undertake quality projects.
What then do they do with their internally generated revenues and federal allocations?
My question is, what is really the problem of most of the South-East governors, especially Abia and Imo? Their attitude as leaders has made the region look like third class in development compared to other regions apart from those affected by insurgence.
Tomorrow, they will start looking for who to blame for marginalistion.
It’s time the leaders of the region understood that nobody will attract development to their region but themselves.
Does the region even have a progressive developmental plan that each governor will follow irrespective of the party in office because that is one of the reasons the South-West is where they are today (Lagos comes first)?
It’s not a crime if the South-East governors apply what I call partnership system of government, where they can save and jointly do projects that will develop the region and also benefit their people collectively.
It is not a crime if they jointly handle critically needed infrastructure like railway and road in the region. For instance, Aba is supposed to be a production hub of the region and country, is it a crime if the South-East governors come together to build world class factories and clean up the city? Onitsha Main Market is one of the biggest markets in West Africa, what have they come together to do about it? You’ll only tell me that every state is independent when the leaders know what to do but if a leader is limited for one reason or the other, the interest of the region still remains for growth and development and there is nothing wrong about interstate partnership or collaboration.
Most times, I see the South-East governors gather after meetings dressed so costly and pose for the camera yet, one question keeps coming to my mind, what are they actually discussing in those meetings when their region has remained the same since 1999 apart from Ebonyi State and, to a lesser extent, Anambra State?
It’s time for the South-East governors to wake up and do what is expected of them. Besides, it’s time for the people to hold their leaders accountable for failing them.
Dumebi Nduka, Awka, Anambra State