The awaited industrialization of Imo, by Fred Nwaozor

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Governor Rochas Okorocha
Governor Rochas Okorocha

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: frednwaozor@gmail.com

(Source: The Authority)

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