Without doubt, the currency of western economies for decades rests on technological disruptions and innovations. Such developmental strides permeate through all aspects of the western society and economy and reinforce a new thinking of technological infinitum and possibilities. Such western generational gear continues to contrast the paradigms and fundamentals of developments in Africa and some other third world countries, many of whom still rely on their all-powerful natural resources like the case of Nigeria and the extraction of oil and gas. The great Management thinker, Michael Potter may have had Nigeria in mind when he made one of his greatest postulations that natural resources do not guarantee competitive advantage. Reiterating the obvious, Enugu being the former capital of Eastern Nigeria and old Anambra state was a British colonial enclave modeled for civil service.
Our grandparents and parents left a heritage of rank and file in public service as well as primary and post primary teaching hence the state found itself wholly dependent on national allocation. Against this backdrop, the economy continually shrinks in the midst of dwindling internal revenue generations while initiatives to expand the state’s economy many a time do not capture the public confidence and always ended up in white papers. The state remains poor merely because she lacks the vision that could change the social and economic structure of her society and equally because the philosopher Plato has not arrived. Dr. Peter Mbah’s manifesto on the 13th of October, 2022 continues to trend as a game changer that unveils how Enugu state can emerge as the richest in Africa despite the achievements recorded by Lagos, Johannesburg and Nairobi in ICT.
Dr. Peter Mbah’s manifesto is not replaceable for a generation that has not witnessed a spectacular transformation as he mulls a new wave of Information Communication and Technology infrastructure led by Tier-4 hyper-scale cloud neutral data centre for internet connectivity and data storage. Such a huge investment will surely crush the status quo evidenced in high speed internet and the arrival of the ICT clusters capable of clear cut innovations that offer market-driven solutions in all segments and expand the economy. The state of California is the fifth richest entity in the world because of Silicon Valley clusters and research collaborations with Stanford University and other schools.
Again, the manifesto for technology driven economy by incoming Governor Dr. Peter Mbah, in as much as it could require huge investment, assuredly demonstrates, the state’s inherent capacity for upgrade and geometric transformations at the core centre of knowledge economy that could sprout opportunities in technical skills and attendant services. The foregoing will at the long run require adjustment in public school curriculums, especially as multi-billion corporations like Google, Facebook, Twitter and numerous others decide to invest in Enugu techno projects. Such technical and business collaborations and partnership is a healthy necessity for technical upgrading, knowledge transfer and leverage in the international market.
Dr. Peter Mbah’s Enugu techno project is a necessary bargain to wipe out youth unemployment, reduce loitering and public laziness. Eventually, it will be expanding to fit in and offer ICT needs within the various economic sectors. Therefore, innovations will necessitate the coming up of ancillary sectors like schools and universities for training and retraining. It is quite remarkable to say that such investment at this critical era of global initiatives and campaign to transit from fossil fuel culture to a more reliable, compact and efficient alternative is commendable. High tech revolution with its enduring growth in automated machine learning and artificial intelligence holds the balance of power.
Umunem, the incoming Governor Dr. Peter Mbah has offered a way out of our public poverty, institutional inefficiency and over dependence on loans and federal allocation to pay salaries and service social and essential sectors. The legendary Ola Rotimi titled one of his creative works ‘The Gods are Not to Blame’. Our problem is not in our stars but more of manmade and in comparative terms, we may have been more blessed than some of the western societies. However, we seem to have been overwhelmed with the struggle for the right vision, concentration and better organization at the public sector level. If elected the Governor of Enugu state, we hope that Dr. Mbah’s public policy framework would contain a foundational shift that emphasizes the greater roles of high tech grids. These would be the prerequisite ingredients for a mix that has the best chances of attracting billions of dollars, opening up our economy for better transitional investment opportunities that are in line with emerging international standards as the senses of capitalism pushes the frontiers of human possibilities.
The bottom-line is that such ICT transformation could eventually overhaul obvious public attitudes and behaviours. It will offer a better banking service, checkmate insecurity and improve policing efforts; strengthen innovations in medical services, technologies and more. Therefore, Enugu start ups, individual and corporate players in the field of ICT must be warming up to grab such exciting opportunity that will help us to redefine how prosperous and satisfying our collective future looks. This is a generational opportunity that if missed, would require resetting our time to the olden days and/or continue in our overwhelmingly manual culture.
Dr. Peter Mbah’s ambitious adventure in techno as the sustainable engine of the state economy could be literally chronicled in an English 18th century poem ‘Ulysses’ written by Alfred Tennyson and he says:
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow Knowledge, like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrow; for my purpose holds,
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars…
Invariably, the western stars could be said to have been realized when this techno developments mature to the level of satellite technology and drone technology with inherent capabilities. But have it registered at the back of your minds that great men of ideas would continue to rule the world.
In the light of the above, Dr. Peter Mbah is a great man of ideas and very quintessential. Even in the western societies, political will must precede robust developmental achievement and we could safely argue that Dr. Mbah emerged at the appropriate time when the need for another level and development tailored transformation is very dire. He has done his bit by providing such a spectacular manifesto and offering leadership. It is now the duty of Ndi Enugu to execute their own part of the social contract by voting him in thereby ensuring stability and public confidence in his manifesto. The ball is in our court.
Robert Madu, PhD.
Head, Mass Communication Department,
Institute of Management and Technology, (IMT)
This news article is reminiscent of an earlier academic article written by Robert Madu, PhD, & Shedrack Chinwuba Moguluwa, PhD, and appeared in the Journal of African Media Studies volume 5, number 2, 2013 ( page 237-254) published by Intellect, United Kingdom with the title, ‘Will the Social Media Lenses be the Framework for Sustainable Development in Rural Nigeria?’