" />
Published On: Sun, Feb 25th, 2018

South-East: The deprived industrial achiever

 

CHIMEZIRI FRANKLIN

An industrialized, wealthy, highly urbanized and literate society is the highest level of societal development achievable by human will. It is superior to the other society in terms of job or higher income opportunities it presents. It thus attracts a lot of people from the other side who aspire to share in its good. China, India and Singapore recently became like South Africa, Germany, France and the U.S. – industrialized countries so attractive to Nigerians.

The part of Nigeria closest to an industrialized society is the South-West: Lagos-Ogun states especially. That’s where most Nigerian manufactures come from and where most imports enter Nigeria; where most Nigerian industrialists and business leaders have offices and where most Nigerian job openings occur;  where the highest paying jobs are based and where the most educated and most capable Nigerians are based; where most school-leavers and fresh graduates are heading and where most will spend their active years; where most new enterprises will spring up and where the most new millionaires will emerge.

The roads in all other parts of Nigeria lead to Lagos-Ota. South-Easterners are part of the massive migration to this Nigerian land of opportunities.

While the South-East has always looked to Lagos for opportunities, it has not always been a desperate situation. Igboland’s steps toward modernity were once more firmer. Formerly, the region held enough opportunities to keep much of its population from leaving for other regions. It was once comparable to Lagos enough to attract several Yoruba as well as Hausa-Fulani.

A single development plan once drove the entire region that is now the South-East and half of the South-South of Nigeria. The plan rested on three pillars: agriculture, mining and infrastructure with education and healthcare as enablers. Through agricultural and mining development, the region earned huge revenue as an exporter of palm oil, palm kernel, cocoa, cashew, rubber as well as coal. This revenue was re-invested in improvement of seedlings and provision of agricultural extension services and the establishment of the Eastern Region Marketing Board all of which promoted agricultural productivity.

Increased earnings afforded investment in infrastructure such as housing, roads, bridges, market-stalls, waterworks and hospitals. Thus administrative and commercial/industrial centres such as Enugu, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Owerri, Umuahia, Onitsha, Uyo and Aba rapidly grew in size, population as well as modernity. The first impetus for the emergence of the cities of Enugu and Port Harcourt was the coal industry which flourished in Enugu from about 1915.

Up until the beginning of the civil war, farm produce and solid minerals prospered the region and helped her build the high schools dotting each city, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Calabar campuses, Port Harcourt’s Boatyard, Trans-Amadi Industrial Estate and Michelin Tyre factory, NigerCem Nkalagu cement factory, Abakaliki Poultry farm, Calabar Cement Company, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Modern Ceramics Industry and Golden Guinea Breweries, Umuahia, Niger Steel, Enugu, Onitsha International Market, the African Continental Bank, the Cooperative Bank of Eastern Nigeria, etc.

Some of the manufacturing and service companies had depots or branches all over Eastern Nigeria and beyond. The economy also afforded the region not only fleets of automobiles like that of Ojukwu Transport Company, but other icons of modernity such as hotels, cinema, pipe-borne water, electric power and telephony. The area stretching from Enugu-Nsukka to Port-Harcourt-Bonny-Opobo with the addition of Ogoja-Calabar-Uyo was in 1964 found by the World Bank to be one of the fastest growing regional economies in the world.

It was after the Biafra war that petro-dollars exceeded other revenues contributing to the rehabilitation of the devastated South-East. How did the zone recover? Roads, bridges, houses, hospitals, offices, market stalls and factories were gradually rebuilt; new ones were added; trade and capital accumulation expanded and industrial investment took off again. By 1990, new factories and hotels have been added to the economy.

Enugu had Emenite Roofing, ANAMMCO-Mercedez and AVOP Vegetable Oil; Onitsha had Premier Breweries and Ezenwa Plastics; Nnewi boasted Cutix Cables, Adswitch Electric,  Ibeto Batteries, Brake Pads & Clutch, Life Vegetable Oil, Intercontinental Feed Mills and First Express Aluminium; Aba had Aba Textile Mills, Kan Biscuits, Onwuka HiTech Nails, I.E.A. the soap and detergent manufacturers, International Glass Industry and Nigeria Breweries; Umuahia boasted Nicen the PVC Fittings Manufacturers; and Imo had Resin Paints, Avutu Modern Poultry, Nsu Tiles and Ezinachi Clay Products Industry.

The volume of industrial activity was so high that even support services like hotel and communications flourished. Dawn Functions Ltd and Reads &Mark Ltd, Enugu; Starchi & Nich Ltd, Owerri and SAB Ltd and Crystal Functions Ltd, Aba led the communications sector.

The major hotels were Aba’s Crystal Park, Terminus, Enitona, Unicoco, Binez; Owerri’s Concorde; Onitsha’s Bolingo, Trace, Nkisi Palace; and Enugu’s Hotel Presidential and Nike Lake and Abakaliki’s Modotel.

The transport companies operating out of the region multiplied. Chidiebere, Ekene, Young Shall Grow, Ifesina, Izuchukwu and ABC were the most popular. The commercial-industrial-transport complex created thousands of jobs, thereby allowing Igbo graduates to be gainfully employed in their home region and live there and impact the quality of ideas governing the place.

Sadly, disincentives to investment in the South-East and neighbouring South-South arose and the industrialization lost momentum. A theory holds that a national geo-politics of development decreed a deliberate under-development of the Port-Harcourt and Calabar seaports and the Onitsha river port as well as the neglect of South-East roads, thereby forcing Igbo industrialists-importers-and-exporters to increasingly site their operational headquarters in the Lagos-Ota axis and further enrich other people’s homeland with job openings and higher income opportunities.

Thus, according to this theory, the youths remaining in the South-East have much reduced chance of getting well-paid jobs and are left with the urge to embrace crimes like drug dealing, robbery and kidnapping in order to survive and this has worsened the region’s chances of attracting and sustaining trade and investment and becoming once again the place to live and work.

Chimeziri Franklin, a marketer and political analyst, is in Aba.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Nigeria’s GDP rises 1.95%, non-oil sector accounts for 90.3%

    The oil sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP remains below 10 per cent in Q1 figures of the nation’s GDP released by the National Bureau of Statistics in Abuja today. According to the NBS, the nation’s GDP grew by 1.95 per cent year-on-year- in real terms in the first quarter of 2018. Although […]

  • National healthcare delivery threatened as sector’s crises worsen

    . JOHESU strike is sheer blackmail – NMA  By BAYO OBAJEMU These are troubling times for the health sector beset by the panoply of problems, some of them of long-standing nature while others are offshoots of long years of neglect by the authorities. But the spectre of war drums that hovers over the sector now […]

  • Foreign CEOs take over Corporate Nigeria

    . They are trying to protect their interests – Experts  By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Foreigners have taken over the management of most multinational companies in Nigeria, BusinessHallmark findings have revealed. A two-week survey conducted by BH in May 2018, which involved fifty top companies, show that twenty-eight of the companies are headed by expatriates, while only […]

  • UBA’s Uzoka steps out of the shadows

    By TESIM SHITTA-BEY United Bank for Africa (UBA) has had a chequered history of good times and bad times but with its blazing first quarter (Q1) 2018 results setting the tone for a new twist in the tale analysts have begun to take out calculators as they forecast the bank’s potential year-end earnings. With profit […]

  • Ikeja Hotels returns to Lagos bourse

    The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has given the management of Ikeja Hotels the approval to resume trading after reviewing the two-year suspension placed on the shares of the company on Nov. 10, 2016. According to a ‘facts behind the restructuring’ document released by Ms Tinuade Awe, NSE Executive Director Regulation, trading would commence on the […]

  • Pharmacist council begins recall of Codeine cough syrup

    The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) says it has started recalling cough syrup containing Codeine from its stakeholders in compliance with Federal Government directive. The Registrar of PCN, Mr Elijah Mohammed, revealed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, had […]

  • N5bn fraud: Akingbola has case to answer – Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court on Friday ordered, Erastus Akingbola, to return to the Federal High Court, Lagos, to answer his alleged five billion Naira fraud charge. Akingbola is a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc. Justice Tanko Muhammad, leading a five-man panel, affirmed the Feb. 20, 2015 judgment of the Court of Appeal […]

  • AMCON takes over Sen. Oduah’s assets

    The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has taken over Sea Petroleum Oil & Gas Ltd. and other assets belonging to Sen. Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi over an unpaid debt of about N20 billion. AMCON said the takeover followed an injunction granted by Justice M.S. Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos against Sea Petroleum Oil & […]

  • Not so sir, Army panel tells General TY Danjuma

    The Nigerian Army on Friday said allegations against it by retired Gen. T.Y Danjuma that it colluded with militia in Taraba and refused to protect the people were untrue. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, made this known at a news conference in Abuja where he gave details of the findings of the […]

  • Total, Mobil oil top losers’ chart on NSE

    Total Nigeria Plc on Friday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)  topped the losers’ chart, dropping by N9.80 to close at N212 per share, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)reports. Mobil Oil trailed with a loss of N7 to close at N181, while Dangote Cement was down by N3 to close at N245 per share. […]

  • Invest more in science education, academic tasks FG

    The Federal Government has been advised to increase its funding of the education sector if Nigeria is to become globally competitive. An academic at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife in Osun State, Dr Babatunde Ogundare, gave the recommendation on Tuesday at the Faculty of Science Secondary Schools Quiz Competition held at the institution. Addressing […]

  • Timeline of Ebola virus since first known outbreak

    Following is a recap of past epidemics of Ebola as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) battles a new outbreak of the deadly tropical disease: 1976: First known outbreak  Ebola was first identified in central Africa in 1976 and named after a river in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It claimed 431 lives that […]

  • Crude prices hits above $80 since late 2014

    Benchmark oil contract Brent North Sea briefly surged above $80 a barrel Thursday, hitting its highest level since late 2014 and extending a recent run higher fuelled by tight supply concerns. European stock markets meanwhile rose as the euro weakened against the dollar, but Wall Street pulled back in early New York trading. Brent North […]

  • AfDB approves $100m to boost fertilizer production in Nigeria

    The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it has approved 100 million dollars senior loan to Nigerian firm, Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited, to support the production of Fertilizer in Nigeria. The Bank disclosed this in a statement, on Thursday adding that it would help the company’s plans to double its fertilizer production from 1.4 million […]

  • FG opens online portal for investors

    The Federal Government has launched an up-to-date online portal, `iGuide Nigeria’, containing necessary information and relevant data for willing investors. The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, at the launch in Abuja on Thursday, said the portal would greatly improve the Ease of Doing Business in the country. The Permanent Secretary of the […]

  • Governors threaten NNPC over fuel subsidy

    National Economic Council (NEC), comprising the 36 State Governors in the country has threatened to take over the responsibility of subsidising petroleum products in their states based on consumption following the huge amount of money being spent by the NNPC as fuel subsidy payment annually. The Chairman of Governors’ Forum, Gov. Abdulazeez Yari of Zamfara […]