Business a.m.

Anambra’s Lagos economy potential

● ‘It’s Anambra in developmen­t,’ – organized private sector ● South-east rather than one state should leapfrog in developmen­tal terms – lawmaker

- Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt

THE EMERGENCE OF CHUKWUMA SOLUDO, economist and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Valentine Ozigbo, banker and former ...

THE EMER GENCE OF CHUK WUMA SOLUDO, economist and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Valentine Ozigbo, banker and former chief executive officer of Transnatio­nal Corporatio­n (Transcorp) Plc, two economic heavyweigh­ts, as governorsh­ip candidates of two of the major political parties (All Progressiv­es Grand Alliance, APGA and People’s Democratic Party, PDP) in the run up to the November 6th 2021 Anambra State governorsh­ip election, is being described by many developmen­t experts, economists, organised private sector (OPS) and investment analysts, as holding great potential, that in the event of any of the two becoming the next governor, to turn the state into another poster boy of sound economic management outside of Lagos State.

Apart from Soludo and Ozigbo, three other formidable men in the race for the Government House, Awka are: Godwin Maduka, billionair­e, pharmacist, trauma specialist and owner of chains of medical establishm­ents in the US and community transforme­r. Chidozie Nwankwo, is the CEO of Wichtech Roofing, an entreprene­ur and serial investor. Obiora Okonkwo is the CEO of United Airlines and The Dome in Abuja.

Analysts based their prognosis on the conviction that should either of Soludo or Ozigbo win the contest in November, each possesses the economic management wand to transform the state into a major economic, business and financial hub in the mode of Lagos, by far Nigeria’s financial capital with a red-hot economy and a steadily growing GDP bigger than many African countries put together. Either of them, in the eyes of the developmen­t experts, possess the management expertise which, if deployed, could see Anambra develop a ‘Lagos-type economy’ east-of-the-Niger, in terms of building an economic base in the state, driven by a robust private sector operating in state-enabled environmen­t.

To be sure, Anambra has been fairly stable economical­ly and politicall­y since the administra­tion of Peter Obi (June 2007–March 2014), providing sustained developmen­t with its ‘community choose your project’ initiative, acknowledg­ed by the Forbes Magazine as a model for developmen­t in Africa. It is not only in fabricatio­n and engineerin­g that the state has made a mark.

Today, its town, Nnewi, is almost synonymous with full-scale industrial activities. From food, body care, building material to the automobile market, Anambra brands appear to be visible. Cutix Cable Plc, Chicason Group, Innoson Vehicle Manufactur­ing company, Tummy Tummy Foods Industries Limited, Interconti­nental Feed Mills, Ngobros Industries and Ibeto Group are some of the big brands that form the state’s rising but still potentiall­y huge industrial base. Nnewi has been variously described as ‘the self-made industrial hub’ and ‘small town of the super-rich’.

Onitsha, the biggest commercial lure, transacts business in hundreds of billions of naira. Orient Refinery in the state, is the first private refinery in all of the SouthEast region. There is the 11-storey brand-new airport with a 6.4 km runway, opened only on April 30 this year – and which went on right away to receive three inaugural flights. Strong lobby is on to get Embraer, Brazilian aircraft manufactur­ing company to build its planned African aircraft hangar at the airport.

A lot of difference is expected to be brought to the ship of state management by either Soludo or Ozigbo. Soludo is credited with the revolution­ary banking sector transforma­tion which included consolidat­ion in the industry that raised the profile of Nigerian banking globally in the first decade of the 21st Century.

Ozigbo, on the other hand, with extensive banking experience, is credited with running successful­ly Nigeria’s leading hospitalit­y company, Transcorp Hotels Plc, which has the iconic Abuja based Transcorp Hilton; and also running the diversifie­d conglomera­te, Transcorp Plc as president and chief executive officer.

Many see these pedigrees as formidable and potentiall­y putting Anambra State in the hands of people with a good understand­ing of the developmen­t that the state needs.

Soludo and APGA

Chukwuma Charles Soludo will be flying the APGA flag, a party founded and promoted by the late Chukwuemek­a Odumegwu Ojukwu. Soludo is an economics professor and also a member of the British Department for Internatio­nal Developmen­t’s Internatio­nal Advisory Group. Prior to his May 2004 appointmen­t to the CBN, he was the chief economic adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the chief executive of the National Planning Commission of Nigeria. In January 2008, in a speech to the Nigerian Economic Society (NES), Soludo predicted consolidat­ion in the Nigerian banking industry, saying: “By the end of 2008, there will be fewer banks than there are today.” He said then that he hopes to see Nigeria become Africa’s financial hub, and considers microfinan­ce important to the federal government’s economic policies. The restructur­ing of the Nigerian banking industry has been attracting funds from local and foreign investors, which have increased Nigerian banks’ ability to lend to customers, as well as expand into the rest of Africa and other parts of the world. Last June (2021) at the African Banking awards, Nigerian banks were described as the “most resilient” on the continent.

Soludo is a core profession­al in the business of macroecono­mics. He obtained his three degrees and then professors­hip at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, Enugu State. He graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in 1984, an M.Sc. Economics in 1987, and a PhD in 1989, winning prizes for the best student at all three levels. He has been trained and involved in research, teaching, and auditing in such discipline­s as multi-country macro-econometri­c modelling, techniques of computable general equilibriu­m modelling, survey methodolog­y, and panel data econometri­cs, among others. He studied and taught these courses at many universiti­es, including Oxford, Cambridge, and Warwick.

Ozigbo and PDP

Valentine Chineto “Val” Ozigbo is running under the PDP. Born on July 20, 1970, he is the immediate past president and chief executive officer of Transnatio­nal Corporatio­n of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), a diversifie­d conglomera­te with strategic investment­s and core interests in the hospitalit­y, agribusine­ss and energy sectors. He was appointed to the position in 2019.

Previously, Ozigbo worked as managing director and chief executive officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc, the hospitalit­y subsidiary of Transcorp Plc. He provided strategic direction and drove the execution of key strategic goals of the company and its projects under management, which included business expansion, merger and acquisitio­n opportunit­ies, business improvemen­ts, upgrades and renovation­s.

He was also responsibl­e for developing five new projects worth over $500 million including two hotels in Lagos and Port Harcourt, a 5,000-capacity conference facility, luxury apartments and the upgrade of existing hotels with additional retail facilities.

Ozigbo also worked in the banking sector, gaining over 17 years of experience with NAL Merchant Bank, Diamond Bank, Continenta­l Trust Bank, FSB Internatio­nal Bank, Standard Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa and Bank PHB.

He studied Accounting at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, graduating with the class of 1994 with the best result in both Accounting and Business Administra­tion. He obtained his MBA in Banking and Finance from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2000 and an M.Sc. in finance with distinctio­n from Lancaster University, United Kingdom in 2004. Ozigbo was a British Chevening Scholar in 2003–04.

He has participat­ed in the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos and the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) in Nigeria; the African Developmen­t Bank annual meetings in China; the World Bank/ Internatio­nal Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meetings in Washington DC; Euromoney and Economist Conference­s in London; Euromoney debates on Capital Flows to Africa in London; and SIBOS 2009.

South-east rather than one state should leapfrog

A highly respected lawmaker of the Nigerian National Assembly strongly believes that the Southeast rather than one state (Anambra) should leapfrog in developmen­tal terms. For him, the rest of Nigeria would follow suit if the South-east could develop rapidly within 30 years like Dubai, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, or Vietnam. He recalled that the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria was the world’s fastest growing economy up to the time of Nigeria’s first military coup in January 1966, because of what he called healthy competitio­n among the four regions of the First Republic.

“When Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe built Nigeria’s first bank in the 1950s when he was the Eastern Regional premier”, he said, “the West under Chief Awolowo’s leadership responded to African Continenta­l Bank’s emergence by establishi­ng the National Bank and Sir Ahmadu Bello reacted by building the Bank of the North. Also, when Zik establishe­d Nigeria’s first indigenous university in 1960, the Western Region under Chief Samuel Akintola built the University of Ife and the North built Ahmadu Bello University. In the same manner, when the Michael Okpara government in Enugu started farm settlement­s all over Eastern Nigeria with the assistance of the Israelis, Western Nigeria did exactly the same thing, resulting in a dramatic rise in food supply in both regions. This is the developmen­t trajectory which Nigeria has to re-enact to be competitiv­e in the 21st century,” he said.

 ??  ?? Peter Obi
Peter Obi
 ??  ?? Willie Obiano
Willie Obiano
 ??  ?? Chukwuma Soludo
Chukwuma Soludo
 ??  ?? Valentine Ozigbo
Valentine Ozigbo
 ??  ??

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