Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, yesterday, said that the country urgently needs economic restructuring to be able to surmount several economic woes bedevilling it.
He said that the present mono-economy of the country which rests largely on crude oil proceeds is too dangerous for the nation; insisting however, that the country may regret not taking the right actions when it still has the opportunity.
This is even as the traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu community in Anambra State, Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, sought for the adoption of what he called Biafranism which he said would help to propel the nation’s economy.
The concept, according to him, was all about understudying and harnessing the technological inventions and exploits of the people of Biafra during the civil war where the Biafra fighters, scientists, engineers and others made inventions during the course of the war.
Umahi made his position known while presenting lecture on the topic: Preparing Ebonyi State for Tomorrow’s Zero Oil Economy during the 59th Founders’ Day Celebration of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) held at the Princess Alexanderia Auditorium of the university.
Umahi said: “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.
“My vision is simple; to build a state economy that will thrive even when our income from crude oil goes to zero”, he stated.
The governor who listed so many achievements of his administration since he came on board in 2015, said that a restructured economy would usher in new jobs, macroeconomic environment stabilization, encouragement of youth development, supporting high social standards, fight against corruption at all levels, and protection of the environment.
He also listed foreign exchange rate improvement, safety in public places, better coordination between cities, states, and government, and cleaner environment as other benefits of restructured economy.
On his part, Prof. Ike said: “When I talk about Biafra today, I am not talking about political Biafra because is no amount of United Nations votes will bring back political Biafra with Bayelsa, Rivers State, Cross River State and others then.
“It is absolutely impossible no matter who you are, how much you have, how much noise you make about it. But there is something which I believe which should have come to bear and it’s what I call Biafranism.
“Civil war taught us Biafrans that we have the brains. Before then, we didn’t know we have the brain. We made new inventions which we thought before then could only be done by white men. We refined crude oil and did many things people thought were impossible then”, he added.
Meanwhile, the 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.