Anambra State Governor Wants More Human Capital Projects In Southeast Nigeria
The Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo has called for human capital development to be increasingly explored in Southeast Nigeria, to boost the economy.
Governor Soludo made the call at the 2023 Southeast Human Capital Development Conference held at the International Convention Center, ICC Awka, the state capital.
The theme of the Conference is ‘Changing the Narrative Towards Entrenching Human Capital Development in South East Nigeria.’
He said; “This conference is fundamental to who we are. We will not get anywhere unless we fully utilise human capital.
“How does the Southeast, with its uniqueness and vast resources dispersed throughout the world, ratchet up the homeland and build the ones for tomorrow? What do we need to do differently?
“There’s a lot more work to be done in addition to the ones that have already been done,” Governor Soludo said.
He said; “The concept of communities is very strong in the Southeast. Many Primary and Secondary schools were built by communities rather than the government. Communities have paved numerous roads…Most of the recommendations from this conference are government-centric, in essence, what Government must do but more than 99% of the region’s resources happen to be in private hands.
“You must carefully consider and leverage your delivery mechanism and our delivery mechanism in Anambra is a Public, Private Community Partnership. What can the community do to help? What is the government’s role? What can the Local Government do?”
“We must mainstream studies, comparative studies and locations, best practices; who do we want to imbibe? Who are our counterparts or benchmarks?
“We are living in the digital age and the fourth industrial revolution. How can we get from where we are now to where we need to be? How do we make use of technology?
“What will the structure be for networking, collaboration, and cooperation? Can we form a regional team to review the curriculum? This is something we’re attempting in Anambra,” Governor Soludo stated.
He said; “The Nigerian educational system strives for common standards rather than minimum standards. Who says we can’t have a Southeast exam board even if it’s not part of the national curriculum?
“There is room for us to think as a region. Let’s work together to make these things happen.
“In our teacher recruitment, we made a statement. It should not be about who you know when it comes to teaching. We hired solely based on merit. The names of teachers were published in national dailies for transparency purposes, and regardless of the state of origin, this is the message that must be conveyed to the country.”
“This message must be mainstreamed; hiring people should not be based on their state of origin. As a Federation, we must hire Nigerians as long as they meet the basic job requirements. I’ve seen some promising people who aren’t from Anambra on the list of permanent secretaries. I will appoint them if they pass the final stage of the interview.
“These points I’m raising are not in your recommendations, but they must be addressed. We must have the desire to carry them out because where there is a will, there must be a way,” Governor Soludo explained.
He also emphasised the importance of labour force participation in a federal structure like Nigeria.
The Governor further said that his government is currently training over 5000 youths.
He said; “There can be no labour force if the economy is dying.
“The most important way for our country to encourage local labour force participation is to support our innovators and producers. How will jobs be created if you do not patronise them? How will we encourage our farmers to produce more? All textile companies in the Southeast have closed their doors. The only one that works is the one that makes the “Akwete” cloth I wear. And I wear Akwete as a fashion statement.
“We should eat what we produce and wear what we produce, creating millions of jobs in the process. This isn’t rocket science.
“If over 200 million Nigerians patronize our textile industries, we will create tens of millions of jobs in two years, but if we continue to import, we will continue to kill our economy.”
While analyzing the conference theme and some data presented, the Governor said that the Southeast region is performing poorly, and human capital appeared to be the region’s only asset.
“In Anambra’s case, the state is the world’s gully erosion. We have the second smallest land mass after Lagos, and our land is extremely hostile.
“Our vast productive resources, investment, and financial assets are located outside of the region.
“We are unique in several ways that we must capitalize on, to ask what we will do differently to produce different results,” Governor Soludo added.
The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Onyekachukwu Onyekachukwu, stated that Anambra State is the Southeast’s human development capital, which is why the state was chosen to host the conference.
Top personalities at the event were; the Secretary to the State government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi and the representative of Enugu State Governor, Dr Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo who is the Managing Director/CEO, Enugu State Investment Development Authority.
Others were; the representative of the Imo State Governor, Prince Ford Ozumba who is the Commissioner for Labour, Employment & Productivity, Anambra State Head of Service, Theodora Igwegbe, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs Chiamaka Nnake, ex-Commissioner for Basic Education, Professor Kate Omenugha, President, Anambra State Association of Town Union, Titus Akpudo and members of Anambra State Executive Council among others.