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The Entrepreneur Paper 6 Investment Seeding Strategy




I talked about the strategy to seed investment in a State or a community. This is a well-known strategy for city and town planners but for some reason our people do not seem to take advantage of this strategy or even understand it. The South East is a particular case in point.

I am sure many other states across the Nation have similar problems but I will use the South East because I am close to that area and I know it well. Not too long ago we had a National Conference and many of the elders of the South East went to the conference to argue for more States.

Their understanding is that since the South East has only five states we should be given more States to balance the equation with other regions.

I believe many of the members of the conference agreed with this position but they also made cases for more states in their regions too. In the end the National Conference came up with a ridiculous recommendation of eighteen new states in Nigeria.

Which if followed will bring the total number of States in Nigeria to fifty four States. Much more that the United States which has twenty times the size of our economy. I made it very clear in my write-ups that this was suicidal for Nigeria if implemented.

And I made it clear that the elders, with all due respect, did not understand the issues or had no clue as to what really matters in driving regional or State development.

I felt sorry for them, especially for the ones I spoke with, as they tried to justify their arguments on the bases of the sharing of Federal Revenue and so on and so forth. They believed that the more States a Region gets the more revenue it will get which in turn means the more development it will get.

This is complete nonsense. As we have seen that more States in Nigeria only means more corruption, more stealing and more contracts for projects that will never be executed. If the truth be told all the Regions and Zones of the country already have all they need to develop and to be the most enterprising zone or region or State in the Country.

The constitution has already made sure to that. I have always said to public officials, once you have the power to legislate, you have the power to unleash monumental wealth and development for your people.

The last time I checked all the States in the South East, South South, South West, North East, North West and North Central have the power of legislation.

They all have houses of assembly and they all have State judiciaries and they all have executives. So if they really really wanted to develop all they have to do is to use what they have to get what they want. All this talk of more States is nonsense as far as I am concerned.

We can create wonders with the States we currently have if and only if we concentrate on getting the job done. And this means the problem and the answer is the LEADERSHIP. Which areas has Anambra State for instance provided for an Investment Seeding Strategy? What is Enugu State’s Entrepreneurship strategy?

Has Ebonyi State done anything in the last sixteen years to attract investors to Abakiliki? Why is Aba, a commercial hub in West Africa, still the dirtiest city on the Planet? Why is Owerri so disorganized? Owerri has churches, petrol filling Stations and Shopping Malls springing up all side by side with people’s homes and schools, no planning, no coordination. These are questions the politicians must answer, as they have been in power for 16 years and yet nothing seems to change, and they want more states?.

And I see all politicians as the same. I do not see APC versus PDP. It is only gullible Nigerians that will see those markings. The last time I checked His Excellency Rochas Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State, was one of the most prominent members of the PDP, he even ran for President and was appointed a Special Adviser to PRESIDENT Obasanjo. He then left for APGA and ran for Governor of Imo State and now he is a cheer leader of the APC. I do not see any strong conviction, ideology or position here.

And most of our politicians are the same today, they are PDP one day, then they are Labour Party, in a few months times it could be ACCORD, then they are promised the ticket in SDP or APGA, but once they lose and APC wins they all shift to APC. It’s a game of musical chairs and the Nigerian people should not be deceived.

I think the most important thing should be the results and not the party, as it is clear that the party affiliation does not hold water in Nigeria. What results can be expect from our Leadership and my advice is to focus on Job creation using Entrepreneurship as a backdrop. What Seed Investment Strategy should be used? Every State Governor should be thinking of the Seeds that he could sow now that will stimulate investment in his State in the long term. Some States are better suited for certain areas whereas others are better suited for others.

Let us look at Ebonyi State for instance, if we can get over the fact that the out-going Governor Elechi did everything in his power to discourage investment.

And if we can get over the fact that even the one person who made the investment and tried to create over one thousand jobs for the youth in that state, the Governor himself used the State Government power to frustrate the investor and try to chase him out of town. This was the Ibeto Industries who tried to build a modern cement factory in Ebonyi State.

THE NEW Governor of Bauchi state has his work cut out for him. He is going to be running a State whose economy has been decimated by insurgency and a very high rate of unemployment. The great news is that Bauchi State has potential but the State Government will have to make the first move. He needs to invest in starter packages for investors in solid minerals which will kick start investments from more experienced investors in mining and exploration. He will be setting the stage for monumental economic activity for his people if he does this and he could be rewriting the history of poverty in an area that needs opportunities much more than any other.

I guess it comes from our backwardness as a people. I remember Benue State did this once to Dangote, and prevented him from taking over his investment in the Benue Cement Company for years. And when he finally was allowed into Benue State, he revived the plant and created thousands of new Jobs for the Benue people. In addition he created thousands of smaller and medium scale business opportunities for suppliers and so on who tapped into the vale chain of the Benue cement company.

I understand the uninformed leaders of Benue State at that time, who organized the protests that kept Dangote Industries out of Benue State for at least two years regretted their actions. We have seen that again in Ebonyi State with the Ibeto Cement Company. I guess it is the Ebonyi People that must demand accountability from their Governor, who prevented investment from coming into the State.

However if we are to see development in Ebonyi going forward the new State Government can seed the cement industry by providing the support investors need to process the limestone deposits in that area. In addition we have been hearing about Abakiliki rice from as far back as I can remember.

However there are no structures in place to encourage new investors to come into rice production in Ebonyi State, I guess Gov Martin Elechi was too busy fighting Ibeto Industries to think about this one.

Ebonyi State can seed the rice industry by setting up market structures for the sale of Ebonyi Rice across Nigeria and across Africa. Create a value chain, and link the chain to the markets for rice in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Onitsha.

In addition organize the communities that have rice fields and ask investors to partner with the communities on a profit sharing arrangement whereas investors bring the cash and the community brings the land and provides the labor.

These partnerships will eliminate the fears of being left out as well as ensure the communities benefit from the production of the rice in their areas. In Anambra the seed strategy should be very obvious, we need more industrial parks and industrial layouts.

And the State Government should seed these and then invite major business people to come and set up their industries in these layouts. However if the layouts are just old-school industrial parks then you will not attract them.

You have to offer something more. The good news is that there are thousands of Anambra State people at home and abroad that will happily set up their factories in these layouts or parks if the conditions are right.

And in addition there are thousands more that are NOT from Anambra State that will also set up in Anambra State in order to be close to the Masters of Industrialization. ROLE OF THE GOVERNORS’ FORUM I read that the Governors’ forum met up recently and elected a new leader.

And in the communique that came out of that meeting it was all business as usual.

Nothing has changed. They asked for an account of $20 billion excess crude account which, has been already been spent on allocations to the same State Governments. So one side the Governors insist on sharing the money, and then turn around and ask what happened? I was hoping to hear that meeting come out with new ideas and plans for National Development.

I was hoping we will see a new dream team of Governors that will meet only to discuss development and jobs and nothing else.

I was hoping to see Governors that will be more concerned about solutions and not creating new problems. I understand however that the meeting was made up of the Old Governors that are leaving next week.

I hope they leave with their small mindedness and let the new team emerge with great ideas and new thinking. I recently met up with an old friend who is presently a Federal Legislator from Bauchi State, Hon Muhammed Garba Gololo and we talked extensively about the opportunities for investment and jobs creation for young people in Bauchi State that is that kind of conversation I LOVE.

Bauchi State is awash with minerals and no significant organized development of the mineral resources has taken place.

There are a lot of illegal miners, but you cannot create sustainable jobs and enhance the commercial environment with illegal mining activity.

Some of the minerals present in Bauchi State includes but are not limited to gemstone, granite, tale, and quartz, iron ore, gypsum, laterite, silica, limestone, lead / zinc, clay, mica potash, calcite, zircon and the list is endless.

The Seed Investment Strategy can be used in Bauchi State very effectively.

We can get a few pilot schemes going by preparing the ground work in which the investors can simply pick up a starter-package and get straight to work. In the process success stories can be quickly recorded and then we can bring in the mega investors after that. This can and should be replicated in all States that have solid minerals and resources that can be exploited by investors such as mining, agriculture and industries.

There is a crying need for all our State Governments to organize investors in these and other areas and in the process create monumental opportunities for the young people of Nigeria.

If we do this I am sure Boko Haram will become a thing of the past, we will eliminate kidnapping and reduce other violent crimes to the barest minimum.

We need our Politicians, our Governors and our Leaders to start thinking of DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT AND MORE DEVELOPMENT, which will most certainly result in JOBS, JOBS and more JOBS and nothing else.

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