Opinion: Economic Restructuring First – Kelechi Deca

Nigerians need breathing spaces. And the length and breadth of this country is gracious enough to accommodate every Nigerian. Why are we struggling over small portions when we can all have huge portions.

Leadership is key. But a thinking, ambitious, forward looking leadership is everything.

Millions of Nigerians are stuck in Lagos and Abuja because they hardly see economic and social viability elsewhere.

To get Nigeria going. We must restructure this country. But it has to be economic restructuring first, before political restructuring.

Economic restructuring will lead to the revival of competition among states and regions. But if you want competitive states, you will need to implement local and territorial economic development plans.

Expand the economic space to ensure regions and states exploit their comparative advantages maximally.

We need to witness domestic reverse economic migrations away from Lagos and Abuja to other cities across Nigeria.

To achieve that, we need to commence work on Constitutional amendment. We presently have 68 items on our exclusive list. There is need to reduce that figure and devolve economic powers to the states.

There is need to give states control over natural resources within their boundaries. There are so much natural resource endowments in every state of the federation to drive development.

We need to develop a structure that will for example ensure that after graduation from say FUTO, a young graduate will search for opportunities to engage his skills within Owerri/Aba axis. And that Owerri/Aba will have the supra-structure to embrace his aspirations/hopes and even accommodate his ambitions.

We need to see Ogun State compete to lure families away from Lagos with promises of better public education system, health services, and security.

States very close to Abuja should start thinking of developing world class satellite cities with quality infrastructure close to the FCT to lure families away from the FCT, because our tax laws say you pay tax where you live.

Delta State government should tap into the behemoth that is Onitsha and exploit the proximity to the hilt.

Abia State had a good idea with the Obuaku City Project years ago, aimed at luring families away from Port Harcourt, but poverty of ideas derailed that laudable project.

There is need to unbundle Lagos and Abuja for their own sake. Trailers and other articulated vehicles have over the last six months taken over roads stretching from Surulere to Apapa. Open up other seaports in Calabar, Port Harcourt and Warri and enact laws that will ensure their viability.

It is even a development aberration that a nation of 182 million people depend on a single seaport for their maritime trading activities.

Help Rivers State and Delta State achieve the level of stability that will see to the return of oil companies to Port Harcourt and Warri. Every major oil producing country in the world has an oil and gas hub, Port Harcourt should be to Nigeria what Houston is to the United States.

If I become the Governor of Imo State, Addax Petroleum must have its corporate and operational head office in Owerri. I will address whatever concerns they have to have them relocate to Owerri. The multiplier effect of such action is huge.

With economic restructuring comes political restructuring.

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