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Dr. Peter Mbah, the Governor of Enugu State, calls upon the South East to leverage their economies of scale and collaborate in funding vital regional infrastructure such as railways and highways, aiming to establish a shared market and bolster socio-economic growth in the region.
In his address, Mbah suggests a multi-faceted approach to combat insecurity, highlighting the need for a shared security command and control center, cooperation among agencies, and non-violent measures such as economic development, job opportunities, and moral persuasion.
Addressing attendees at the South East Economic and Security Summit held in Owerri last Thursday, the governor emphasised the significance of transportation and logistics in driving economic growth in the South East and, consequently, alleviating poverty, unemployment, and associated criminal challenges.
‘How do we ensure that we have a road network that moves across the various cities in Anambra, Abia, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi?’
‘How do we build a ring road that connects all the major cities in the South East so that we can seamlessly encourage those who are producing and those who are providing services to distribute their products and services across the different cities of the South East seamlessly?’
‘These are things we must be intentional about if we are going to deal with unemployment and insecurity in the South East.’
‘Since we now have railways in the Concurrent List, there is nothing stopping us. So, if we pick one or two projects from this summit that we can say as a people of the South East, we want to make sure that we execute them, I believe we can achieve them and they are going to have a huge spillover effect on our economy and security’ the governor stated.
Among the array of models discussed, Mbah underscored the requirement to leverage Igbo wealth from outside the region to successfully implement key projects.
‘How do we fund such projects? That brings me to this philosophy of ‘Aku Ruo Ulo’, which, in my view, is for us to encourage our kith and kin to bring back their wealth to the South East. Putting a benchmark of about 30 per cent and 40 per cent of our wealth will go a long way. We have people that are wealthy Igbos. So, if we begin to think about how we invest some of those funds in the South East, it is a way of making sure that we have a huge capital inflow to be able to execute some of these critical projects’, he added.
Thus, he placed the responsibility on the summit’s planners, requesting them to engage the finest intellects from the Igbo community to shape and prepare the summit’s ideas in an implementable manner, while assuring that the South East governors were willing to collaborate to bring these ideas to fruition.