SUSTAINABLE development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth and achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthens governance – Ban Ki-Moon.
Development is at the centerpiece of state creation. Governor Willie Obiano ab initio, has been passionate about development as integral part of good governance. In his wisdom, he went the extra mile to initiate ‘Anambra Vision 2070 Plan’ as an articulated guide to future political leaders to steer the state to development within the space of 50 years time in terms substantial transformation of the quality in the living standard in particular and the physical features in general.
According to Owen Barder, “Development must be judged by its impact on people, not only by changes in their income but more generally in terms of their choices, capabilities and freedoms; and we should be concerned about the distribution of these improvements, not just the simple average for a society.
“Development carries a connotation of lasting change…it also coveys something about the capacity of economic, political, and social systems to provide the circumstances for that wellbeing on sustainable basis”.
On the other hand, Obiano, who religiously believes that for development to have maximum impact on the weal and well-being of Ndi Anambra, good governance has become a categorical imperative. According to Wikipedia, “In international development, good governance is a way of measuring how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in a preferred way. Governance is the process of decision making and the processes by which decisions are implemented or not implemented. The concept of good governance centres on the responsibility of governments and governing bodies to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to select groups in society”.
Strengthening stimulating economic roots must be aligned with ‘Vision 2070’; and there is a need to take full cognizance of the factors that will support the parameters of the socio-economic goals to position the state on a pedestal for sustainable growth and development.
Policy directions must be in such a way that there will be economic stimulus to attract both local and foreign investors with a view to exploring and exploiting the abundant natural and mineral resources to create employment, create wealth and reduce pervasive poverty to the barest minimum.
Economic stimulus refers to “attempts by governments in stimulating private sector growth devoting attention to the specific causes of recession”. In economics, stimulus refers to “attempts to use monetary or fiscal policy [or stabilization policy in general] to stimulate the economy. Stimulus can also refer to monetary policies like lowering interest rates and quantitative easing”.
Pertaining to Anambra at 29, strengthening stimulating economic roots has to do with measures and policy directions that will accord with ‘Vision 2070’. Incentives of diverse hues should be crafted to stimulate economic activities to align with what the state will be in the next 50 years time.
Obiano’s paradigm on development and good governance hinge on four pillars and undergirded by 12 enablers made up of education, security, health, road infrastructure, housing, and urban development, environment, transport, including building airport, tapping the vast revenues, electricity, tourism, women, children and youths development and entrepreneurship.
Speaking on the inauguration of Vision 2070, Governor Obiano exhorted the committee to come up with a 50-year development plan for the state which will be in line with his administration’s “determination to seek for workable solution to project the state to the limelight and ameliorate sufferings of the people”.
The committee was charged to evolve a vision and mission statement for Anambra, identifying specific sectors that the state should focus on, develop measurement frameworks and determine critical milestones and success factors. “Anambra Vision 2070 remains a veritable opportunity to further boost security, prosperity and happiness of Ndi Anambra” the ebullient governor declared.
Enamoured by Vision 2070, the former Awka North Local Government Council Chairman, Elder Dr. Nnana Egwu, recalled that he had made pragmatic suggestions through the Anambra State Elders Council [ASEC] to Governor Obiano at the inception of his administration. He said: “Agriculture remains the easiest way to raise the living standard of the people through mechanised agriculture, using the available natural resources as inputs. Vision 2070 should aim at creating commercial agricultural zones at Ezu River, between Awka North and Ayamelum LGAs, then another along Omambala river between Ayamelum and Nsugbe, another one along the River Niger, between Ogbaru and Ihiala LGAs. The fourth one should be inland between Orumba North and South, along Ogboji axis, for commercial agriculture that will be backed by irrigation system for all year-round integrated agricultural production that would create massive employment and reduce the incidence of under-employment”.
The management expert, who decried the ever ballooning unemployment and under-employment, contended that “It is imperative that future state leadership should use the Vision 2070 as focus of policies and programmes and know that agriculture remains the fastest sector to reduce unemployment and under-employment. The concept zonal agricultural establishment will create a synergy between the investors, the land owners, and the youths who will work in the farms. The youths would have been enticed to this commercial agriculture by the mechanisation processes.
The commercial integrated agriculture as proposed would have created a value chain that would have required people who will be involved in land preparation and cultivation, and others who would have been involved with attending to their farms and harvesting the proceeds from their farms while others will concern themselves with processing of the farm produce for the market and even export. This will also add to the GDP o f the country”.