Governors and other leaders of states in the defunct Eastern Nigerian region should work more closely for the rapid development of their place, former Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji has said.
Nnaji, who is seeking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial ticket in Enugu State stated this in a meeting with the leadership of his campaign team in Enugu, yesterday.
“No state can develop as rapidly as it would have wished if it does not plan development policies and implement them in concert with neighboring states in the region, especially since they share a lot of cultural and historical affinities,” he said.
A statement by the Director General of the Professor Bart Team Campaign, Ricky Agu, said the former minister stated that the Eastern region, which now comprises Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu and Rivers states, need common services like railway which would drive mass transit.
“It is not buses which drive mass transit in the modern world, contrary to the popular notion in Nigeria. It is time to start thinking and dreaming big rather than continuing with the traditional way of doing small things and expecting big results.”
Nnaji argued that Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia did not become development miracles and attaining living standards of the Western world within two or three decades by continuing with the traditional systems which were not efficient or effective or competitive.
In this era of globalisation, Nnaji explained, “it will not be right for the Eastern states or even other parts of the Nigerian federation to continue to attempt to develop like silos, each in its own cocoon or small world.”
He said that leaders of different sections of the country should hold meaningful conferences on how to industrialise their areas, so that hundreds of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who graduate yearly from different tertiary institutions in the country and abroad in disciplines like computer engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, industrial physics, industrial microbiology, computer science, industrial engineering and others could find where to practise their professions in the country.
“Eastern Nigeria was able to have one of the world’s quickest growing economies in the 1960s because there were a lot of industries in places like Nkalagu, Port Harcourt, Aba, Emene, Calabar and Obudu which hired many of our people and the pay was competitive even by international standards.”