Ahead of 2023, Abians will go to the polls to elect a new chief executive to steer the ship of State for the next four years.
And the experiences of past Abia governors show that for Abia to leap forward to an ideal level of socio-economic development, not just any Dick, Tom or Harry qualifies to govern
Abia State may not belong to mega-wealthy States like Delta or Rivers states, nonetheless, its potential to become wealthy is enormous if its affairs are managed by a visionary, innovative leader who sees every challenge as an opportunity for growth.
Abians must ignore the mere politicians seeking to become governor and go for the technocrat, who is not only visionary, but equally creative, and pragmatic if the much desired accelerated socio-economic growth and development of the State can be actualised
Firstly, to maximise its comparative advantage as the Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises, MSME capital of Nigeria, or West Africa, Abia needs a wealth creator. A technocrat who is conversant with the dynamics of a fast-evolving world driven by technology
The next Abia governor must have the capacity to change the narratives by strategising how to make Abia’s MSME sector move from its current subsistence production to mass production and exporter to the developed nations of the world
No, it is not just a theoretical man of ideas that will do, but a pragmatic, creative innovator who can out of intangibles create products and services that can generate revenue.
When the World was shut down as a result of COVID-19, people did not stop eating, and Abia is a major agricultural region.
Just like the late Michael Okpara used agriculture to boost the economy of the old Eastern Region, the next governor of Abia must initiate a creative agricultural revolution in the state, not only for local consumption but also for processing for export
The governor of Abia needs must initiate new ways of using what we already have to solve human problems and to provide services and products that people would be ready and comfortable patronise
Indeed, the foundation is half laid with Aba’s leading role as Nigeria’s biggest small-scale industrial centre for leather and garments, agro-processing, and iron works.
The next step is to build on this foundation by attracting the huge capital needed to improve the infrastructure such as roads, power, water supply and others
The funding for such huge capital projects can only be sourced not from dwindling monthly allocations but from big banks and other financial institutions that have confidence in the economy of Abia, and it is an ideas-driven, visionary chief executive who can create this confidence. A neophyte in political economy would not do. A greenhorn in the fast-paced affairs of technology and how it is changing lifestyles and businesses would not do.
Abia needs a governor whose name rings a bell in the boardrooms of Nigeria’s banking and financial circles because he has a track record as an innovator and creator of revenue-generating products and services
Secondly, like the Lagos example has shown, internally generated revenue, IGR remains a major contributor to government revenue. For some states, collecting such taxes and plugging the leakages remains a major challenge. Hence, Abia needs a governor who is an innovator, capable of deploying technology to boost the internally generated revenue.
Abians need to look for a man who is result-oriented with tangible things to his name.
Thirdly, the next governor of Abia must be a change maker who would usher in new thinking and orientation in education and training and retraining.
With the world getting automated, every single thing we do is translated into the world of technology, Abians must be obsessed with acquiring knowledge and adapting to a fast-changing world.
Indeed, Abia needs a technologically-minded individual as their Governor come 2023.