The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, an umbrella body of all the youth organizations in the Southeast geopolitical zone, has list out Moribund Industries In Southeast.
The group says the vital need of repositioning the Southeast region through aggressive revitalization of moribund industries which were the economic mainstay of the old eastern region during the premiership of Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara.
In a statement signed by COSEYL President General, Hon. Goodluck Egwu Ibem, said as a vanguard coalition of the youths to whom tomorrow belongs, we believe that while it is opportune that the region has a shot at the presidency, it is equally germane that the governors (five of them), Ohaneze Ndigbo, Southeast Legislators or Legislative Caucus, members of the various state houses of assembly, local government chairmen, local government ward councilors, traditional rulers and even illuminous and industrious sons and daughters of the region including those in the diaspora to think of Southeast first and look inward in search of a common destiny.
“This call becomes needful and ideal given the current realities facing not just Nigerian economy but that of the entire world in a (post-) Covid-19 economic regime.
“We wish to remind the five governors that they are occupying a seat and position which the late Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara sat and held in addition to four states of Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Akwa Ibom and yet served creditably well from 1959 to 1966. History remembers and recalls that by 1966 the Southeast was referred to as the “fastest growing economy in Africa”. Today, looking at the region our fathers who lived through the good old days lament for the future we the youths are being bequeathed with.
“No economy, sub-state, regional or subregional can thrive without industrialization. Today, with both macro and micro economic policies, the need has always been how best to grow industrially. We remember that when as a premier, Michael Okpara embarked on laudable projects through Eastern Regional Development Corporation to achieve huge industrial success through agricultural revolution. We know there used to be industries most of which were built by Okpara which, unfortunately, today are no longer standing. We wish to mention here, as may suffice, for now:
- Nigercem Nkalagu.
- Hotel Presidential Enugu.
- Enyimba Hotel Aba.
- Scientific Incubation Centre Aba.
- Aba Textile Mills.
- Standard Shoe Factory Owerri.
- Nigersteel Company.
- Glass Industry Aba.
- Imo Rubber Nigeria Limited.
- Resin paint industry – Aboh Mbaise.
- Avutu Poultry – Obowo.
- Paper packaging Industry – Owere – Ebiri Orlu.
- Moribund Owerri – Onitsha Road industrial layout.
- Modern Ceramics Umuahia and so on.
“Today, majority of these revenue sources are abandoned and casts a picture of gloom and dilapidation; some abandoned like biblical Babel tower with most facilities and equipments there vandalised. Some are occupied by hoodlums and mentally challenged persons. Today, while oil sources keep dwindling the federal allocation shrinking, only creativity and initiation of same can shore up revenue for the region. While this is the case, some of the facilities mentioned can still be revitalised.
“No government has ever made a move to assess the condition of Aba Textile Mills and other such facilities within the Southeast. This, sadly, is not in the interest of the region nor does it match the pace former pioneers set from the 1950s. Time for all the elected and occupiers of positions of trust with the region to come together to salvage the future.
“The benefits of revitalization of these glorious legacies cannot be gainsaid. If these facilities are revived and repositioned, jobs will be created, crime reduced and even government tax base will widen. In some cases, privatization could still be the ultimate such as seen with Golden Guinea Breweries Umuahia a near-comatose wasteland now almost revived.
“Ohaneze Ndigbo, which is the socio-cultural apex body of the region can do better by tracing back to the future. Its parent organization used to be the former Ibo State Union with its mandate in education, business and virtually every facet and aspect of life and living. The Ibo National High School Aba which was in the 1940s commissioned by Rt Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (the great Zik of Africa) to serve the educational needs of the Igbo then.
“Also were scholarship schemes set up such that by the 1950s and 1960s, the Igbo boasted almost as the region with the highest number of educated persons. Today, Ohanaeze has no known scheme for empowerment and has yet to rally regional support along this line. We call on Ohanaeze, like humble sons, to reassess its programmes and see where it can make amends to better the lot of the region.
“Also, sons and daughters of Ndigbo in diaspora should remember the have no other home than Alaigbo. No matter the demonym which they may wear as a tag, Alaigbo is still the land of their birth not made to be abandoned. This applies equally to Igbo industrialists outside the region to think home as the cliched saying goes: No place like home.
“It is appalling that a region which formed – from colonialism to independence and post-independence era – an arm of the tripodal foundational support of Nigeria today has the least number of senators and representatives (MPs). But the forty-three (43) regional members of the House of Representatives including the fifteen (15) regional senators making it a total of 58 out of 469 federal legislators can do their bit in ensuring that constituency projects are executed and that funds for same are put to productive use and end.
“This is a call we make on the elected representatives of the people to work across party line and partisan politics in this regard as the question is not membership of opposition or incumbent party but as sons and daughters of the region. A bill seeking intervention of the state and federal governments is not, in this regard, farfetched.
“Our traditional rulers must, as custodians of our culture, rise to the occasion. They too can put the necessary pressure on government as grassroot leaders. Also should they rally their people especially the haves to toe the line of “aku rue ulo”.
“Once again, Ndigbo cannot continue to suffer political exclusion to near elimination, but it must look inward and borrow from its past to address its future. The time is now.
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