By Chukwuma ShaFT AMARAM (Polemics).
Perspectives on rebooting, retooling industrial potentialities and dynamics of Abia State, but more specifically Aba, is more critical now than ever before, as major political discourse of great interests, as 2023 stares us in the faces.
Notably, characteristic hallmarks of innovative leaders and leaderships in any facets of human endeavours, from purely profit-motivated commercial and industrial sectors, to the following endeavours, cannot be underestimated: intensive research and development-driven cutting-edge hitech scientific environments; conservative and regimented public service domains; highly creative artistic, entrepreneurial settings. Even idealogy-driven-cum intensively competitive power politics/political landscapes. All these domains chiefly require, ideally characterized by exceptional, uncommon abilities to conceptualize, think creatively, visualize, strategize, and do things differently and innovatively, against following the rut of routine norms of status quo or traditions.
Creative inputs and desired outputs in whatever formats are methodically designed and channeled effectively towards predetermined targets and desired goals, as the primary focus in terms of strategic thinking/planning.
With good reasons, jettisoning, and breaking ranks totally with the past, age-long barriers of conformism, conventionalism, and traditionalism, remain the key distinctive attributes or trademarks of respected genres or species of gifted, innovative-minded leaders; as identified in different societies, especially in the supreme theatres of political leaderships.
In essence, fresh, creative perspectives remain the only engines of progressions; as obsolete or stale mindsets are displaced by better ideas or ideals; and sterile, mediocre mindsets discarded and consigned to dust bins of anachronism, accordingly.
In reality, it takes audacity, boldness, self-confidence, power of self-conviction to divorce the past and it’s allurements or trappings; and with great confidence embrace the future with optimism.
In these important contexts, the frame of reference is never to adapt, copy or replicate old or outdated concepts or methods in tackling societal challenges and problems. Notably, the frame of reference is focused on discovering better rewarding and creative means of effectively addressing any challenges and solving problems in any particular circumstances. Generally, selectively using proven criteria of effectively applying clinical mindsets and perspectives, in terms of policies and actions templates.
Adoption of right attitudes, aptitudes, dispositions, and orientations of the frame of reference in context, is critical and define the supreme essence of “radical” thinking approaches; nonconformists viewpoints and perspectives; paradigm shifts, visionary outlooks; and strategic diagnoses and conceptualizations of any problems. Indeed, astute applications of any other variety of attributes closely linked to innovativeness.
Calibre of leaders referenced herein, are generally scare in supply, but known to imbibe innovative spirits and are enthusiastic to embark on quests of purposeful “innovations”. Not merely as formalistic or rituals. On the contrary, specifically, as veritable “means” or “tools” to achieving envisioned goals. This mindset, is considered much more compelling and beneficial, compared to misguided, misplaced pursuits or quests for “innovations” printed oftentimes only on papers formats; but generally known to have simply assumed the fanciful vocabulary of clichés, common in many leadership circles.
Misplacements of the true essence and meaning of true “Spirit of Innovations” are common, and evident, whenever “innovations” are poorly managed, misdirected or known to have missed “hitting” with accuracy the right “targets”.
Evidences abound to show claims of introductions of hyped-up “innovations” concepts, without any concrete plans or guarantees specifically focused on assured delivery of measurable tangible innovative outcomes in the end, as the critical yardsticks. Aba, commercial Hub of Abia State, unfortunately, has been the victim of these circumstances, past and present.
Any wonder valuable resources comprising human and non-human assets have been naively deployed and wastefully squandered on frivolities; or ill-considered projects publicly advertised and branded “innovative” only in terms of appearances and clever packaging gimmicks. But in realities, ended up disastrously, hardly achieving any results that can be truly qualified or quantified as “innovative” in the objective sense of this critically important but now commonly, misused, misunderstood concept.
Mediocrity is the direct opposite of innovative ideas or pragmatic resolves and results. Mediocrity is the certified enemy and counterforce that blurs out any innovative-mindsets and principles. Any wonder mediocre leaders take great delights, comforts, and satisfaction to swim in oceans of mediocrity, in different formats. Aba residents, can attest to these truths.
Innovative-minded or driven leaders attract; are attracted to, search for, and discover “like-minds”; leverage on, support and use creatively and innovatively men and women, old or young persons with proven abilities or evidences of persons brimming, bristling or steaming up with innovative concepts, consciousness, ideas or ideals. Aba residents and business community, is exemplar of these highly talented, resourceful individuals and groups.
Careful checks on the camps of innovative-oriented leaders, in stark contrast with camps of mediocrity-minded ones, would show the difference is glaring; measured in terms of results, either in the forms of evidence of achievements in any engagements and endeavours in business or in any circles. Other acceptable, measurable, verifiable criteria, show same, in the fields of sports or politics, as typical examples.
Abia State despite limitless abundance of providential blessings in natural endowments and human capital, remains largely stunted, using developmental indices as reference points. Aba, is the typical case or example. Primarily, for the obvious reasons of cyclic or recurrent deficits in terms of innovative leaders in strategic positions in the past. Stated otherwise, namely for the reasons of recycled or recycling of mediocre leaders, especially in the critical aspects of highly prized business leaders with good knowledge of business environments, in political leadership.
Political leaders of Abia State, particularly in the capacities of the State Chief Executives, whose constitutional and electoral mandates bestow on the occupants of the governorship status, the core responsibility of directing affairs of the State, are known to have emerged essentially on the basis of doctrine of proven “personal allegiance” to the sponsors usually dressed in the garbs of political godfathers or godmothers. But these “sponsored” political leaders are poorly equipped; with little or no considerations to relevant abilities or capacities required to steer effectively the ship of the, especially in terms of business orientations, essential for economic and social well-being of the peoples, particularly in terms of wealth creations and prosperity. In this context, Aba business community has suffered more setbacks, compared to others, such as Onitsha, Lagos, or Kano. Even Abakaliki, in recent times, has been strategically repositioned on account of visionary political leadership, to displace ostensibly Aba, in terms of commerce and industry. Net result:The negative impacts of acts of negligence in terms of political leadership are killing businesses in Aba daily, despite the spirited efforts and commendable initiatives of Aba business man and woman to stay afloat.
It is quite a different ball game to be richly blessed with great abundance or surplus of natural endowments; viable commercial and industrial potentialities; highly entrepreneurial individuals or groups, as represented in Aba.
But, entirely, it’s another issue to manage such resource base with prudence, profitably, or maximize the expected benefits. Here’s Professor Greg Ibe’s speciality, as Professor of Entrepreneurship, and vintage credentialed, business leader of repute, nationally and globally recognized.
In these contexts, Abia State, Aba specifically, represent classic examples or exhibitions of tremendous, ever widening gaps between enormous potentialities and stark realities of unrealized dreams and fulfillments of expectations in terms of the stocks of unharnessed greatness from existing potentialities, in real terms, commercially and economically.
Huge industrial capacities and potentialities of Abia state is in deed enormous, symbolized by the enterprising spirits of the commercial city of Aba, as the main Hub. In realities, Abia State’s current industrial prospects has suffered great declines and setbacks, and the resultant painful consequences are made manifest especially in terms of irregular fiscal/ revenues generations, multiple taxations or levies imposed on ailing businesses; and hydra-headed (un)employment related issues. The declines, can be arrested and halted, with Professor Greg Ibe, in charge and on the saddle, in leadership position, as Governor.
Aba-specific-business cum infrastructural related challenges remain unresolved presently, and likely to compound, if not speedily, effectively and efficiently addressed. Especially, considering the growing demographics and attendant pressures arising thereof for Aba residents and entrepreneurs.
These issues, if properly put in the right contexts, basically are purely economic questions that affect all. But deserve better strategic responses, not simplistic *” Ogbasari gi”* kind of arguments or approaches designed to be used purely as nonsensical refrains to serious questions on socioeconomic matters. Economics and politics, are intrinsically and extrinsically inseparable, closely related at coordinate points of intersections.
Whereas, some states in the South East geopolitical zone, have with vigor focused attentions holistically in reviving and re-engineering the industrial base capacities, in order to address pertinent questions of increased revenues generations; and high levels of unemployment; especially among youth populations. In contrast, Abia State, ostensibly practically seems to have no workable plans, programs, or templates designed to address these critical issues, beyond usual ordinary paper policies and fragile frameworks, that never returned any meaningful results in the end. Worse, no specific budgetary allocations are passed in favour of Aba as business and commercial Hub, as is the case for Lagos, another commercial Hub. Such acts of negligence and anomalies must be redressed, urgently.
Given increasing pressures in all segments of Abia society, chiefly arising from unemployment and related matters, especially pervasive atmospheres of ever increasing insecurity, largely induced by youth unemployment, the needs now have arisen as never before, specifically to redefine with greater intensities issues bordering on comatose industrial conditions of Aba, basically as PRIORITIES on the electoral agenda of 2023 governorship elections.
Outstanding, strikingly excellent example in display of impactful entrepreneurial- innovative-thinking mindset, evident in Abia State, is the conceptualization and birth of Gregory University, Uturu; and host of other endeavours, by Professor Greg Ibe’s entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity.
Combining effectively classroom instructions and research based methodologies seamlessly with robust practical skills acquisitions as integral parts of GUU curriculum, GUU has emerged as acclaimed, acknowledged innovative Hub. Credits to holistic, uniquely designed approaches to addressing and solving different challenges or problems in our society, particularly within the confines Abia State and South East zone.
GUU is now serving as pivotal Hub and incubator center for Small and Medium Scale (SME) industrial start-ups/enterprises, nationally and internationally.
Evidence of success of the Research and Development based innovative initiatives undertaken by GUU was made manifest recently. The outbreak of COVID-19 global pandemic provided opportunities to showcase different commercial and industrial products rolled out seamlessly from the stable of GUU, to address some critical medical needs in response to the threats posed by the pandemic. Abai State government, and Federal government and organs were among the numerous beneficiaries of the innovative products. Other Research and Development based industrial discoveries have been patented, while more, are currently undergoing required procedures and processes for patents rights.
Various entrepreneurial, innovative industrial based initiatives or projects of GUU referenced herein, in most cases are direct and indirect spin-offs of the entrepreneurial, innovative-mindset and ingenuity of Prof Greg Ikechukwu Ibe, Founder/Chancellor, GUU.
Prof Ibe, has made known in different national and international for a his stellar ambitions and desires to leverage on, unleash wholesomely, and replicate the successes associated with GUU and other entrepreneurial projects in his stables, with core intents to galvanize the Renaissance and resurgence of Abia State’s and specifically Aba business, commercial, and industrial dynamic capabilities and potentialities, as the State Chief Executive and Governor, in 2023. Thus, poverty, would be frontally confronted and attacked by means of entrepreneurial device and strategies.
Prof Ibe’s blueprints in these particular contexts, are comprehensive, compressible, simple, but highly innovative; and above all SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time specific. The blueprints for Aba as commercial Hub are distilled from the mindset of a serial entrepreneur with excellent track records of high levels of achievements.
Successful Rebooting and Retooling of Abia State’s and Aba industrial potentialities is one of the top priorities areas with great passions burning intensely in the mind and heart of Professor Greg Ibe, in 2023, as Governor.
Based on objective assessments and criteria, Prof Greg Ikechukwu Ibe’s innovative blueprints and initiatives aimed at relaunching Abia State in the galaxies or orbits of industrial powerhouse and revival, gets the nods accordingly, even from internationally acclaimed economic experts and professionals, including Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, who has benefited immensely from Professor Ibe’s ideas.
It is reasonable to argue in one particular critical PERSPECTIVE as follows: It should be a major concern to the incumbent Abia state apex political leader, principally, his successor in office, displays uncommon abilities, competencies, knowledge, innovative-mindset and business skills to thrust Abia State forward in the quests for sustainable industrial reforms, revitalization schemes and policies. Reflecting, though priority areas the present leadership has abysmally poor records, based on statistical imperatives.
Time is ripe!
It is absolutely imperative, in 2023, Abians look purposefully in the direction of acclaimed entrepreneurial, innovative-minded leader, in the person of Prof Greg Ikechukwu Ibe, who can, by all standards chart a fresh course of trajectories to move Abia State rapidly towards the direction of great commercial and industrial Hub and Giant, we all can be proud of.
Picture: Prof Greg Ibe