The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said that governors of South-East are not taking advantage of regional integration to grow the zone’s economy.
Ngige made this known at the Enugu State Investment Summit on Friday.
He said that the region was economically backward due to lack of visionary leadership and commitment to the masses by political leaders.
According to him, the current economic uncertainty offers everybody, including the government, opportunity to look inwards and diversify the economy.
“For those of us who go into government, we are not in government to serve ourselves.
“Unfortunately, people go into government and they think they are there for their immediate families,” he said.
Ngige said that governors in the zone needed to realise that “Nigeria is a federation where much depended on what you do for your people in terms of development individually.
“If the governors promote this issue of regional highway, particularly in the agrarian areas, it will be beneficial for posterity and modernise farming in these areas,” Ngige said.
Ngige also said that the Federal Government had initiated a N500 billion intervention scheme, adding that farming would take a large chunk of the sum.
He appealed to the governors to open up the zone for entrepreneurs by ensuring that good roads were built and embrace policies that would support investments in the area.
“During my time as governor of Anambra State, we embarked on building federal roads that passed through our state because they were impassable from Niger Bridge.
“I told my fellow governors then, that we should consider South-East regional road integration in view of the fact that our people are traders and like to move.
“I picked a major road project from Igboukwu up to Isuochi.
“I asked my Abia State counterpart to move it from there into Umuahia and Aba but it was not done,” he said.
Ngige said other governors in the zone never bought into the idea, but that he insisted on getting the work done in Anambra State axis.
“The idea of regional highway development should not be taken for granted. The governors should cooperate. It is not too late to start now.
The minister also said that the road from Nsukka into Adani in Enugu State to Anyamelum in Anambra was a federal highway.
“However, we need it to move the rice from Adani so that our people can have food and jobs,” he said. (NAN)