Great Nations have had to make differing degrees of sacrifices and efforts to get to where they are today. The world powers had bought into mercantilism, plundering the wealth of other parts of the world in their effort to stabilize their countries. This could be accounted for the voyages of the West and invasion of the once previously peaceful African, Asian and South American territories. We remember about the partitioning of Africa by the colonialists and how the State of Nigeria was created.
Imo State as it were is only a part to the whole. The question of whether these parts that make up the whole were hitherto natural parts to the whole – Nigeria, the answer is all already known. The result of this coupling of wrong parts to the wrong housing has manifested in the high level of suspicion among enstranged brothers. This effort is to establish the need for us all to know where we are coming from and appreciate what is before us.
For the South East in which Imo State is situated, what we have witnessed over time is continual degradation of a people even with their so much touted enterprise. The enterprise we are talking about is basically igba mbo – struggling to make ends meet by fighting tooth and nail to sell the product of a producer while living on mere commission accruing from the sweat of helping another to be properly established. We have become mere traders of other people’s product. Aba used to be a place of dream for the future. Today, the place has been left to rot for lack of vision of the leadership of that State. Aba was previously known as emerging Japan of Nigeria. Unfortunately, the high level of insecurity and politics of vendetta has rather made our lion hearted people develop cold feet. That indomitable spirit has at various times received only discouragements. Our mainstay economic sector has been made to suffer so much set back. Nature abhors vacuum. That is why a country like Malaysia will come to our home land; pick our palm seedlings and today they have become the world Palm produce destination.
It is pertinent to mention that the development of any State is largely a function of the quality of her human resource. We have the academics; we have the captains of industries who have the innate ability to turn a thing into gold by knowing what value to add. We also have the labour – the technocrats, both the skilled and unskilled labour all have their roles. They are all important to building a strong and virile economy. The chains of command rest on the shoulders of the leadership, which is the source of the spark; the harnessing, the integration and harmonization of interests and come up with a goal driven policy to achieve the overall goal. It only takes an endowed, knowledgeable and unselfish leadership to drive such a purposeful action-plan to fruition. Great economies are not usually built on natural resources alone. It is largely founded on good heads as the drivers of the strategic institutions already put in place for their various objectives.
In Imo State today, it is a healthy debate over Governor Okorocha’s Community Council Government initiatives. I say it is healthy because it is only a debate that largely boarders on the economy of the State and Nigeria at large. Praxeologically, human beings are of different backgrounds and idiosyncrasies and as such would never be affirmative in the course of every action. It follows that no matter how rational a policy might be, it definitely will be seen as irrational by some people. Ask them, they will adduce reasons for their stance. It is either the policy is unconstitutional or it is geared towards tinkering with human rights forgetting that some laws are apron string to keep us eternal crawlers. That is our interesting world. The only measure I would proffer to our people is that of testing the waters.
The world as it were bothers so much about the standards of living at the rural areas. The real development of any society lies with her equipped knowledgeable population. Another challenge is deploying these resources where they are needed for a set goal. Igbos are known all over the world for their hard work. They are also revered for their creativity and enterprise. It is rather a paradox that in the entire Igbo land, one could hardly point at any industry whether agro allied or hi-tech areas. For this, we have been enmeshed in self deceit. We, like destitute, roll our eyes, yawn and make pitiable overtures towards the ruling gangs and throw in some gullible words and we get out daily breads, build houses and maintain our wives and family, then all is well. No productive base.
What is Community Government, it is simply bringing government policy implementation closest to the people. And these policies are for development purposes. We are talking about revolution in Agriculture. We almost had it during Dede Okpara of blessed memory but we lost it all to both war and Nigeria’s divisive policies. Owelle Rochas, again looking at the bleak future that awaits Ndi Imo and Igbos generally decided to adopt a proactive measure and the civil servants in connivance with some political hawks would say no. What are their reasons? Deploying civil servants to go and help their communities realize their potentials means loss of jobs. Secondment at the Community Council means losing urban life and making them vulnerable to their enemies. What flimsy excuses. That is why some of the enemies within would unleash their irrational minds on such worthy policies.
Most of our people have also forgotten that Igbos despite their republican nature are inherently communalistic in nature. Go to our villages, we still have communal lands and still do things jointly. This is one aspect of our culture the western world has tried instilling in their people but has failed. For us as a people, we are beginning to trade-off those important factors needed for our development. The Chinese held on to those positive cultures of theirs. What of the memorable days of oshebee? They are no more. We care so much less about one another yet we achieve little as individuals. The Yorubas in their effort have achieved so much feat because they sticked together, supported one another, carried and encouraged one another for the a collective goal.
Guess what? It may shock many to know that the excitement at the communities is unprecedented. The people have known what it means and benefits accruable to them. Saying no to the tradition of sharing monies meant community development is gone. World bank assisted projects can now meet the set objectives. Have we wondered why people should build markets in the villages that will only buy and sell during festivities? It is because they do not have productive base not even exportable raw materials. This policy is for the future.
Dr. Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory left a legacy of free Education with strong productive values. Just look at the blue chip companies in Nigeria and try knowing those at the top. That is a legacy. Those legacies are seen in Cocoa farms in the South West, the Timber forest in Ondo, Osun, Ogun State, Industrial layout in Otta, Ilupeju to mention but a few. We have our own Michael Okpara who had done everything humanly possible to make the then Eastern region an economic power. That effort was thwarted by the Nigerian conspiracy with the spanner of division, hatred and suspicion among the ethnic groups. That is why till date, despite Okpara’s effort, Cross River man and Rivers man will always see his Igbo brother with suspicion. That is why shallow thinkers would rise against such effort by Okorocha to reengineering the socio-political system imposed on his people through a subtle policy of degradation and marginalization. For me, I do not expect anything good from such personalities that had defiled themselves on a platter of mere porridge. A supposedly near-unbiased media practitioners turned political bingos. Well, that is by the way. I just thank God we are beginning to realize ourselves.
For Governor Okorocha, he remains focused and knows what the future holds. Education, industry and making the communities strong is for the future and not for the myopic minds. The traditional of communalism and its great advantages shall be sifted for the glory of our people.
With community Government, our health centres will work; with community Government, corruption will go; with community Government, over reliance even in what we could traditionally grow in our soil will give way; with Community Governments, there will be prosperity in the land and with Community Government, security of lives and property will become easily manageable with appreciable assurances.