…Wants attention on Aba, security, roads, IGR, job creation
By Steve Oko
A financial expert and senior lecturer at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Dr Cliff Agbaeze, has urged the newly-inaugurated Gov. Alex Otti of Abia State to pursue the development models of the late Premiere of the defunct Eastern Region, Dr Michael Okpara; and former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, for quick transformation of Abia State.
He urged him to give undiluted attention to “recovering Aba and strengthening security” as a means of stimulating the economy of the state.
He also tasked the Government to explore ways of creating job opportunities for the youths through agric revolution like the late Okpara did.
Agbaeze urged Otti to revive the agriculture revolution agenda of Okpara which put the Old Eastern Region the fastest growing economy in Africa then.
He regretted that the vast arable land in Abia State was wasting while the people of the state depend on other states and importation for their basic needs.
The don further harped on the need for the new administration to explore ways of blocking leakages in internally generated revenues (IGR) drive to avoid over dependence on federal allocation.
Dr Agbaeze decried the deplorable condition of Aba pleaded with Otti not to renege in any of his promises to reposition the Enyimba City, submitting that “if Aba is fixed, Abia will be a better state”.
He lamented that Aba which ought to be the economic hub of the state has been allowed to go into comatose as a result of dilapidated roads and insecurity.
According to him, businesses in Aba which ought to shore up internally generated revenue for the state have closed down because of those twin problems.
” Insecurity and lack of access roads have chased these businesses away. Currently Abia can only be accessed through Enugu and Owerri, Imo State. You can’t access it from Akwa Ibom; you can’t access it from Rivers. This is a huge challenge for the new administration”.
Dr Agbaeze, who is a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Credit Administration and a member of Dr Alex Otti Advisory Council, described as “worrisome” the level of decay at Aba.
According to him, the recovery of the state through the fixing of access roads to the city and strengthening the security would accelerate the economic recovery of the state.
He posited that creating a conducive environment for investment will boost the confidence of investors and in turn create employment for the youth.
“We need investments in Abia State to create employment. That means we need to strengthen security to encourage them. Those who have departed from government may exploit the security issue, reason the governor should take it more than serious”.
On how to curb insecurity, the don advocated “the Peter Obi model” in Anambra State where able bodied youths in the communities were recruited into the vigilante organization, noting that conventional policing may not be enough to combat the security challenge in Abia.
He however expressed confidence in the ability of Gov Alex Otti to rebuild the state economically and infrastructure wise for the benefit of the citizenry.
” He has already started well by releasing a framework for the regular payment of salaries and pensions.
” With his economic blueprint and the implementation of these humble suggestions, Dr Otti will truly transform the Abia”, he said.