Magnus Eze, Obinna Odogwu, and Felix Ikem
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, yesterday, said the country needs urgent economic restructuring to surmount the myriad of economic challenges stifling its growth.
Umahi made his position known while presenting a lecture, ‘Preparing Ebonyi State for tomorrow’s zero oil” during the 59th founders’ day celebration of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
“It is crystal clear that a restructured Nigeria based on a zero oil economy will consequently transform into a nation with a different constitution in which the exclusive list and concurrent list will look dramatically different from what it looks like today
“The primary burden of governance, development and the general welfare of the citizens will rest squarely on the component states. The recent price crash of international oil prices, staring from June 2014, significantly constrained national earnings and slowed our growth, demonstrating once again, the vulnerability of building our economy only on oil.”
He listed foreign exchange rate improvement, safety in public places, better coordination between cities, states, and government, and cleaner environment as other benefits of a restructured economy.
Umahi also said governors in the South East were not against the Federal Government’s National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP).
He spoke against the notion in the zone that the NLTP was a guise for the suspended Ruga settlement scheme for Fulani herders.
“I am the chairman of South East Governors’ Forum; so, we did say that we are in support of the National Livestock Transformation Programme. It is intended to develop livestock; which is very good. Even in the ’60s, we had our own way of rearing livestock including cows.
“People can get involved in fisheries and all that. This programme is not compulsory; it’s voluntary and no land is being grabbed. Only states that are interested can participate.”
Umahi told guests that his administration is investing in infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, solid mineral, human capital development as part of diversification programme from a crude oil-dependent economy.
“Our administration, from day one is working on the premise that one day oil will go or lose it’s market value; we are working on the reality that one day federal allocation will diminish, or wore still extinguish, and the world would have moved forward without oil
“In planning for tomorrow, and based on our conviction that one-day oil will become history, we focused on solid infrastructure, agriculture, solid mineral, human capital development, tourism, water production, entrepreneurship, vocational development, health, industrialization and security as critical sectors that will drive our zero oil economy,” said Umahi.
Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Charles Igwe, in his welcome address, commended the founding fathers of the institution, past administrations and the members of staff of the university for their contributions to the growth of the varsity.
He pledged to continue to work hard to ensure the continued development of the university.