The last time I checked, no Imo indigene could forget in a hurry that Imo State was promised industrialisation and massive job creation by Governor Rochas Okorocha during the governor’s campaign for a second term in office. Even if we eventually forgot, the babies that were in the womb during the electioneering era can never do so owing to the conspicuous gravity of the promise.
It’s not as if Imo had never tasted industrialisation. Before now, particularly during late Dr Sam Mbakwe’s reign, Imo was obviously reckoned to be an industrialised society. No doubt, during the aforementioned period, both privately and state owned firms were glowing to the glory of God that everyone wished to be resident in the state. But right now, it’s so pathetic that the industries have gone into extinction, perhaps due to mismanagement or what have you.
Thus, when the amiable governor Okorocha came up with the industrialisation mantra, it was as if a messiah has finally come to resurrect the dead Imo factories. I, personally, was agog and longed to meet the governor to intimate him on how he’s expected to go about it; and till this moment,
Imo in her entirety is indeed longing to wear a new face as regards re-establishment of factories. In the ‘80s cum ‘90s, in my hometown Awo-Omamma alone, we could boast of two viable and outstanding pharmaceutical companies that could compete with any firm of like function across the globe. But presently, the reverse is completely the case. Unarguably, similar phenomenon is variously observed in many other towns or LGAs in the state.
The question now is: what actually prompted the extinction? If it were in the western nations, we would say that bizarre taxations dampened the spirit of the CEOs of the privately managed firms. But over here, especially in Nigeria, we’re all not unaware that several companies invariably dodge remittance of taxes as if it’s an elective obligation thereby making tax evasion seem like a legitimate practice.
From my perspective, what particularly killed most of these private firms was the not unusual unpatriotic idiosyncrasy, the ridiculous quest to purchase foreign made commodities. As a result of this, at the long run, the owners of the firms ended up leaving the country for elsewhere owing to frustration.
Another pertinent factor that ended some of the firms was the death of their founders. In most cases in the past, you would observe that the moment the owner of a certain industry passed on, his children/wards usually lacked the ability or interest to continue with the business, probably owing to inexperience, laxity, polygamy among other forms of family crises, and so on.
Aside the aforementioned factors regarding private establishments, one would be itching to know what would mainly make a state-owned firm to go into extinction. The answer is simple and glaring; corruption, most governments in the past never cared to take the sustenance of the companies they met on board very seriously since after all, the firms weren’t theirs.
In view of this, they allowed the management of the firms to be deeply marred by apathy, indolence, and all forms of criminality without minding the consequence of their actions. Needless to state that, lack of maintenance culture has been the major plight beseeching our various leaders.
Now that the Owelle Okorocha led administration is prepared to industrialise Imo, we need to take into cognizance one paramount fact; no society can be duly industrialised by the government.
What the government does, in the real sense, is to provide enabling environment to include good road network, steady power cum water supply, viable tax payment system, adequate security, plots of fallow land if necessary, and a host of others. Having considered this, the governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha ought to embark on a rigorous awareness campaign with a view to ensuring that most of the state’s illustrious sons and daughters are convinced to come home and invest meaningfully.
Currently, we have heard of the proposed establishment of a petroleum refinery at Ohaji/Egbema LGA as well as the handover of the defunct Imo Resin Paint Industry situated at Aboh-Mbaise LGA to a Chinese company. Undoubtedly, this is when we need to see the essence of the governor’s economic trip to Turkey in 2014 in the company of over fifty government functionaries, in addition to that of China that took place afterwards.
The governor needs not to be reminded that Imolites wouldn’t be pleased to receive a reversal of that candid promise he made barely few months ago which is still fresh in their minds.
* Comr Nwaozor, public affairs analyst writes via: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Source: The Authority)