The catch line of a number of our Governorship aspirants and politicians is “Industrialization”.
It is rather sad that these politicians know next to nothing about the impart and import of that line, that word.
While the world in the 21at century is talking about ‘free enterprise’, ‘entrepreneurship’, ‘small and medium scale business empowerment’, my state is fussing about the archaic concept of ‘industrialization’. A concept that has relegated United Kingdom to the bank bench among the committee of economically powerful nations.
Perhaps I should use this platform to educate them on what it means and how it would affect the people of Akwa Ibom State.
The idea of industrialization is to encourage factories and companies to come to Akwa Ibom. The Government will seek to partner with companies(mostly foreign) and in a way provide jobs for the teeming populace. The Government may also want to establish cottage industries so as to employ people. Let it be however known that Government are very poor business owners and managers.
Industrialization, a good idea, right? Wrong.
Let me play out what will most likely happen in Akwa Ibom State.
Do you know that 60 percent of the industries in Lagos are owned by Asians?
They also own large expanse of Lands in Lagos. The real Lagos citizens have next to nothing because of this. At best, they get meager pay from these industries. That is why to compensate for these the Lagos State indigenes and Government tax companies and industries very heavily. They call it ‘Tinibu’s tax’. That measure still hasn’t affected the level of poverty suffered by the typical Lagosian. The richest people in Lagos are not Lagosians.
Go to Anambra and you notice something quite different. The factories there are mostly owned by Anambrians and the igbo people. The true Nigerian economic success is there. That is where the “made in Nigeria” products are made and exported.
Udom Emmanuel is a Zenith Bank Executive or should we say “was a Zenith Bank executive”. And we should be careful about bankers.I think Udom is a good man, and a very intelligent one at that but his “industrialization” campaign is a strategy to make Akwa Ibomites slaves.
The so-called Industrialization will:
1. MAKE AKWA IBOM STATE HEAVILY INDEBTED TO ZENITH BANK.
We will continue to pay interests on huge loans that the State will be induced to get from Zenith Bank and their affiliates. Now that is if Udom Emmanuel becomes Governor. (From the writing on the wall, this may most likely happen).
Zenith Bank will bring the so called ‘companies’ into Akwa Ibom and Jim Ovia and his gang of executives will gather Billions from our oil rich state. All Akwa Ibomites will end up getting is “hard labour”, “overtime wages” and “meager salary”
2. STRANGERS WILL OWN OUR LANDS AND SELL THEM TO THE INDIGENES AT OUTRAGEOUS PRICES.
This already happening. Almost all the lands along Abak Road down to Abak have been bought by our enterprising Ibo brothers who came here when Uyo was a bush and started off supermarkets and electronic shops. The lands along Oron road leading to the International Airport is already rapidly being bought.
According to the Nigerian constitution, Government owns all lands. These lands would be given to the companies and industries by the sitting government. Of course these companies would not use all the land and will sell back the lands to the people.
Whenever I look through the window of the airplane as we prepare to land Ibom International Airport, I see greenery, land, flora and fauna; I see potential, untapped potential.The industrialization proponents see it too. On the contrary, as one lands Abuja, one sees well marked out estates even from the air. Question: Are they owned by original indigenes of Abuja?
When it comes to business in Akwa Ibom, we all know that our Igbos and Yorubas brothers dominate here. The Ibos dominate the supermarket and electronics business while the Yorubas dominate the printing industry.You also see a lot of them working at Exxon Mobil, mostly at the highest level. A typical Ibo or Yoruba man does not come to Akwa Ibom to look for a job. Where are the jobs, anyway?They come here to start businesses. A typical Akwa Ibom, however, is satisfied being lazy at the Civil service Secretariat. They dream of rising the ranks to become Permanent secretaries and directors, positions they can use to embezzle and build houses and buy cars.That is why the catch line ‘industrialization’ seems to appeal to them: It seems to them another way to earn the ‘civil service way’ ; unfortunately ,peanuts, to say the least. They fail to realize that the companies that will come will not allow them to be lazy like the civil service does. Go to Lagos and ask the factory workers. The Lebanese are known to be especially ruthless and the Chinese demand a very high work ethic.
3. CAPITAL FLIGHT. Billions will jet out of the state. The real money would be made by the company and the Government and the banks. Only little will be grabbed by the indigenes.
Exxon Mobil has been in Eket and Ibeno for a number of years, what have they really done for the people? Go to Eket and see the roads. Go to the administrative quarters of Exxon Mobil in Eket and see how unkempt it is. Yet billions leave from that place. The Eket region should be a haven of some sort but not so. So much to the so-called dividends of that industry. The best they do is employ a few indigenes and pay them about $6,000 a month. Peanuts compared to the hundreds of millions of Dollars that they cart away with.
4. LITTLE OR NO DEVELOPMENT. The Exxon Mobil example is good enough.
So Akwa Ibomites should not fall for the line “INDUSTRIALIZATION”. It is a modern slavery strategy. Let Udom Emmanuel and his cohorts sell us something better. We don’t want to be slaves.
Here is a better alternative.
EMPOWER AKWA IBOM ENTREPRENEURS EXTENSIVELY. That is the only way we will experience fulfilling economic growth. That is how the resources of the people will remain. Even the Minister of Finance knows it that is why she is passionate about the YOUWIN project, a scheme designed to empower upcoming entrepreneurs.
The British stuck to industrialization and America eventually outpaced them. America focuses on free enterprise. Silicon Valley is filled with upcoming entrepreneurs and venture capitalist and ready to invest in them. Forbes rich list has More Americans than any other nation.
Tell Zenith bank that we don’t want their so-called ‘industrialization’. Let them empower entrepreneurs. Walk into a Zenith bank and see whether it is easy to get a loan from them. They, like all other big banks in Nigeria, don’t believe in Nigerian entrepreneurs. You must have collateral.
EDUCATE AKWA IBOMITES TO BE MORE ENTREPRENEURIAL. Let that campaign flag off. There are many people in the state who can start businesses but don’t have access to funds and business education. A good government should focus on that strategy.
That is why I prefer a Larry Esin to be our Governor. He has not given me money, and if he does I would not collect. Udom Emmanuel, while he is a very fine gentle man, is a banker. And bankers are conservatives. Bankers think ‘interest’. Akwa Ibom State will be sold and will be in debt. 4 years from today you will remember that George Essien wrote this. Vote whoever you want to vote but count your cost and be ready to bear the consequences.
China has outpaced America economically because of their focus on free enterprise and loosened international trade policy. Anybody can do business with China.
Singapore got their citizens trained and ONLY EMPOWERED THEM TO BUILD THE INDUSTRIES IN SINGAPORE. Foreigners pay higher taxes.
It is my hope that these makes sense to you or to whoever reads this. There is more to say but let me pause here today.
That is why I have continue to teach entrepreneurship AS THE ONLY RELIABLE WAY TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. I will be training entrepreneurs on how to write WINNING BUSINESS PLANS in December 1, 2014. To be at the seminar sms BUSINESS PLAN to 2348187133153