Thursday 2 November 2023

CLARION CALL ON SOUTH EAST BY NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA: WAKE-UP CALL TO SOUTH WEST......By Asiwaju Yinka Fasuyi (Also with Details of Okonjo-Iweala’s Keynote Address)


Immense thanks Dr Adewale Alonge for sharing this informative, motivational, eye-opening, and educative speech by the  Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and a two-term Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to her people of the South East Nigeria. 

Even though the address was directed and targeted at her people in the South East but after listening carefully to the message, it reveals a lot that could be learned by our people in the South West too most especially because of the strategic context of the address. 

One, it is very obvious that both the South West and South East constitute the larger percentage of the human capital stock of Nigeria both at home and in the diaspora. And to this extent, whatever opportunities that are open to the people of South East are also available to the people of the South West. In essence, the clarion call to her people is also a direct challenge to the people of the South West. 

Two, following from the first factor, it could be inferred that the wake-up call by Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to her people in the South East is that, whatever the South West people stand to lose would be a gain to the people of South East. Hence, the need for the wake-up call to the South West. 

Three, Dr Okonjo-Iweala took time in her address to elaborate on the economic potentials and strengths of the people in the South East. But she did not enumerate the weaknesses and threats in the South East. The first and the major threat is insecurity. The South East arguably has the highest index in Nigeria. I doubt the attractiveness of an insecured environment to any investor locally and foreign. 

Second is the cultural intolerance of the South Eastern people. 

The South East has not even been able to manage the worrisome discrimination and intolerance among the people of the five states in the Southeast talkless of accommodating investors from outside the region. These two factors will ultimately undermine the capacity of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's address to have any desirable and sustainable impact on the people of the South East for now. 

Ironically, these two factors that threaten economic advancement of the South East constitute economic opportunities for the South West. 

The message therefore is for the people from the South West to leverage on its relatively secured environment; tolerant and hospitable atmosphere; huge & competitive human capital both local and in the diaspora; access to international waterways; operational rule of law; just to mention a few. 

It is therefore high time for both political and economic leaders in the South West to listen carefully to the message of Dr Okonjo-Iweala to be able to proactively hearken to the clarion call ahead of our brothers and sisters in the South East so that we can succeed in strategically positioning and maintaining the South West as the economic hub of Nigeria in particular and West Africa in general in defence and protection of the competitive, cutting-edge economic legacy bequeathed to us by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. 

This could be addressed at a three-layer level, Regional, States, and Communities. 

The South West Governors could constitute a South West Industrial Response with the emanating working committee directly reporting to the forum of South West Governors. The broad objective will be to holistically appraise our current economic situation, potentials, and opportunities and come up with a blueprint to be implemented, monitored, and impact evaluated at each of the South West States. 

The six States in the South West could replicate similar structures in their respective states while each state employs her peculiarities and endowments in fashioning her own blueprint. 

The communities in each state are further encouraged to come up with micro structures either at the local government level or individual communities within the LGAs after factoring population size, cultural homogeneity, and previous working partnerships. 

The take-off is better as a Top-Bottom approach, that is, from the forum of Governors to States, and then to the LGAs/Communities in order to have a harmonised response as a region. 

But where the Top-Bottom response is not forthcoming, then we can adopt the Bottom-Up approach where the Communities/LGAs seize the initiative and the States buy into the concept from where it could become a Regional agenda. 

Asiwaju Yinka Fasuyi 

The Asiwaju Of Ijesaland, 

Oke Baba Okuta Villa, Ilesa. 

2nd November, 2023.

Building a Robust Economy: A Clarion Call to South-East Governors


Details of Okonjo-Iweala’s Keynote Address

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director General of the World Trade Organization and former Nigerian Minister of Economy, has recently issued a strong challenge to the South-East region’s governors. She emphasized the need for these leaders to intentionally build a regional economy. Delivering her keynote address at a Southeast summit, Okonjo-Iweala underscored the importance of setting aside any bitterness and harnessing the Igbo race’s vast human resources to propel economic advancement.

She urged the governors to convene an investment forum to address regional blockages. She also proposed engaging in discussions with pharmaceutical and vaccine producers to establish a market chain in the region. Furthermore, she stressed the importance of capitalizing on the wealth of human resources to improve the quality of education and healthcare services in the region.

Okonjo-Iweala’s Vision for Regional Development

Okonjo-Iweala’s vision for regional development encompasses more than just economic growth. She urged the South-East governors to pursue aggressive economic cooperation that would improve the living conditions of their people. To achieve this, she suggested that the governors could tap into the potential of Diaspora financing to develop the region. She proposed the idea of floating a South East diaspora bond that could capture these funds and put them to use in regional development.

Okonjo-Iweala also advocated for scaling up manufacturing in places like Aba and Nnewi. She emphasized the need to move away from merely building mansions in villages to fostering sustainable growth. Critical to this vision is the development of digital infrastructure in the region, which she believes could make the region more attractive to digital investment.

Addressing Insecurity in the Region

The issue of rising insecurity in the region was also addressed at the summit. Nigeria’s former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, condemned the worsening security situation in the zone. He challenged Igbo leaders to unite and take a strong stand on the insecurity challenges facing the country. Anyim attributed the lingering insecurity in the region to the inability of the South East governors to unite. He emphasized that the circumstances that led to the Biafra agitation in 1967 are not the same as what is happening today.

Push for Unity and Safety

During the summit, various governors echoed the call for unity and safety. They declared their commitment to work for the unity and safety of Ndigbo and the zone. Also, some governors announced new initiatives aimed at promoting business and economic development in the region. For instance, a Sea Port project was announced in Owazza, Ukwa East Local Government Area of Abia State. This project, which will include an Export Processing Zone and other business promotion facilities, is expected to be a significant boost to the region’s economy.


It is clear that the South-East region is at a critical juncture. There is a palpable need for unity and concerted effort to address the challenges of insecurity and economic development. As Okonjo-Iweala has emphasized, the governors of the South-East region must take the lead in driving economic cooperation and development. By tapping into the region’s vast human resources and potential for Diaspora financing, they can build a robust economy that will significantly improve the lives of their people.


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