Sentimentalism vs. Strategic positioning

Emeka Ene

My brothers and sisters, a lot of emotions and angst have been expended and continue to be poured out over the last few days concerning ‘who’ owns Lagos, the multitude of investment by people of south east origin and the deployment of ethnic and primordial means to press home an ominous message.

The emotional response to all of this noise isΒ  understandable when one considers the sky-high properties and extensive investments made over decades by ndigbo.

However, our collective expressions of “shock”, “surprise” and indignation seem to border more on sentimentalism and emotional outbursts without reference to a historical context that should serve as a more reflective and measured guide to the outpouring of ‘pain and anger’. Please wipe away those tears and instead be clear-eyed about the “opportunity” for strategic repositioning.

Over several centuries, the jews of Israel were persecuted essentially for ‘prospering’ in the midst of their hosts. They invested wherever the soles of their feet led them and almost like clockwork, lost the accumulated wealth in cycles of boom and bust orgies of plunder accompanied by great anguish and in many instances, loss of lives.
The last pogrom led to disenfranchisement in europe and subsequently triggered investment back in their ‘homeland’.

Their diaspora of course continues to dominate big finance, technology, entertainment, energy sectors, etc. around the world while still investing on the home front.
We can learn from this reality rather than throw up our hands trying to drag and insist on a utopia that does not yet exist.

The fact is that rule of law and property rights are critical for the long-term development of any serious economy. Until that happens, ‘we are on our own’ to imagine that the humongous investments made through sweat, sacrifice and hard work will automatically be protected by the state.

So, rather than dwell in sentimental self-pity or righteous protests, a more rational and pragmatic approach will be to adopt Strategic positioning immediately to invest in the homeland without taking away any thing from what our innovative brethren have achieved in “foreign” lands against several odds.
This is the blueprint of a 10 year plan starting right now and focused on 3E+1 areas-

1. Energy security

2. Enabling Enterprise (property rights, ease of doing business, seed capital) etc.

3. Exports (this is the flip side of imports)
[+1] Education – 21st century skills (AI, Crypto, robotics, coding, making etc)

To achieve this economic transformation there must be a synergistic South East Economic Corridor (SEEC) upon which the following private sector led infrastructure can be built upon-

A. High speed Fibre ring linking Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Awka-Onitsha-nnewi-Ihiala-Owerri-Aba with branches to Asaba, Ebonyi

B. A modern dual or tripple standard gauge rail line linking Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Awka-Onitsha-nnewi-Ihiala-Owerri-Aba with PH and Calabar/akwaIbom including branches to Asaba, Ebonyi, Kogi, Benue.

C. Investing in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the south east – we have one in Enugu (Enpower Free trade zone- ) and Enyimba city near Aba. This will facilitate both imports, manufacturing and exports. [Eg. Enpower FTZ is currently offering a limited number of  free 0.5 ha lots for investors ready to construct warehouses for assembly, processing imports, exports etc. immediately to kick off the process.]

D. Tap into readily available Gas by creating a gas pipeline network in the South East or city-nodes using a virtual LNG system to provide low cost energy to drive the economic growth of the region.

This might sound like a fairy tale or far fetched ideas, but I believe that recent events reaffirm the changing world order, and only the most resilient will survive. There are good and bad people everywhere. Some of our best friends come from different spheres of life and various kindred. The struggle is centered around economic well-being and resources that are increasingly becoming scarce by the day. It should now be less of sentimentalism but rather a whole lot more of Strategic positioining.

If you are searching for your black goat search for it during the day, for at nightfall you will not see it.

Emeka Ene


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