By FRANKIE IFOP
Princewill Odidi is an indigene of Ikom Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River State and a United States (US) based Development and Economic Expert. The presenter/writer/speaker, presented the topic, ‘Legislative Beyond Recession, the Cross River State (CRS) Model’ at the Cross River State House of Assembly (CRSHA) on Wednesday, November 23, 2016.
The podium was declared open by the Cross River State House of Assembly Speaker, Rtd Hon John Gaul Lebo, at about 10:46 am with an opening prayer. Lebo also introduced the guests, in the persons of Princewill Odidi and Hon George, former CRSHA member and currently Commissioner for Solid Minerals. Odidi and George were ushered into the inner chamber by Hon Moses Ushie, member representing Obanliku Constituency and member representing Boki I Constituency.
The Speaker highlighted the fact that the current economic recession which started between the periods when the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was leaving the office is eating deep like a cankerworm, before declaring the floor opened for Odidi.
Odidi started by thanking the House of Assembly for the privileged given to him and says Nigeria today is really in recession which has caused depression amongst Nigerians. He sighted the instance of Lagos, Calabar, and Port Harcourt; how their economy is gradually wearing out due to their inability to put some fiscal policy in place.
‘Why’, the one word that the presenter deliberated on, which from his instance has been wandering the minds of many Nigerian Youths for decades now. Why is Nigeria and most African countries so poor when they have abundant resources? Why is Nigeria still struggling to export her products and resources beyond boundaries?
Odidi toggled his ambient around the clutch, saying, “What happened in 1989 is what made Nigeria to be where she is today; when the conflict between the Americans and Africans heightened and later led to the third world war.
“Take for instance, the production relation between the 19th century, where certain products were given man labour but produced in different rates with more accuracy and less cost.
“When Bangladesh, other Eastern and Asian countries were busy selling their products/labour to the US, Nigeria was stalked and busy deliberating on how to sell NITEL.
“The new production system that does not recognise boundaries has been scaled in many countries, but yet to thrive in Nigeria. Production relation has changed in the recent times, and the new system is all about the rate at which your products can compete intentionally; but does Nigeria have that system?
“Nigeria cannot start job creation by building companies, factories but to capitalised on the current market and trend. Creation of new states might not necessarily be the solution to the nation’s problem. Nigeria needs a competitive production laboratory where products can be standardised and be exported to the entire world, instead of depending on Ghana, Cameroon and other African countries to export their local goods.” He said.
Odidi compared the rate of employment in Africa and other continents and gave his assertion as, “One of the reason why the developed countries has lower unemployment rate is because, they create an avenue for their citizens to utilise opportunities around them so to earn their innovative goals. Like in the US, there is an internet based company that specialised on linking employers and employees together, an example is Fiverr. Fiverr is the largest market place in the world today for digital services where you post your job, and then you get a worker for it, vice versa.”
The presenter who also pointed on some sensitive fact about the merits of interstate economic integration, asked, “Has Cross River State ever thought of cultural and economic integration with neighbouring states like Akwa Ibom, Abia, and Rivers States?
“If we cannot think and create, then Cross River State and Nigeria might be sold out in the nearest future; if we keep depending on the western world or foreigners on everything,” Odidi concluded.
The Speaker commended the presenter as he left the floor opened for members of the House to say their opinions and throw in some questions.
First to speak was the Member representing Obanliku constituency, Hon Moses Ushie, who commended the presenter on his warmth speech. He made a point and threw a question to the presenter concerning more state creation and the agreement of changing the pattern of policy implementation.
Hon Hilary Bisong, member representing Boki II constituency expresses his ordeal as he made known to all, how the Cross River State Government is making sure the state goes digital; like the building of the Smart City, the provision of cheap WIFI network to Cross Riverians, etc. He deliberated on how the state is limited when it comes to decision making, “the state might have the zeal and innovation to create, but must need approval from the Federal Government (FG),” he said. He also asked the presenter on what the state can do independent of the FG to come out of recession.
A member representing Ikom II constituency, Hon Festus Osim, suggested that most of the presenter’s views concerning economic growth should be addressed to the National Assembly as the State House of Assembly does not have the power over certain decision making. Meanwhile, Hon Bassey, member representing Odukpani constituency, asked Odidi for some restructured ideologies that can help CRS come out of recession.
The Deputy Leader, Hon Simon, member representing Ikom II constituency also chipped in with his fancy decision that, the House should be able to come out with a legislation after Odidi leaves.
The Speaker also made some clear points, by saying the FG does not completely intervene on the state’s affairs when it comes to resources utilisation. “It just that, the state must document her projects to the FG as appropriate”, he said. He also talked on globalisation as the best option for the state by citing an instance of a Cross Riverian who lecture in the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom (UK), while in Calabar, Nigeria through the use of internet.
Odidi further said the structural analysis of the country need to be reshuffled. He added that, the N-POWER Programme will fail as he was permitted to speak with the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo concerning the FG’s decision not to consider the numbers of graduates pouring of the universities, colleges, mono and polytechnics before setting up the programme.
Odidi came out with suggestions adding that they might be of help to boast the CRS economy. These suggestions include:
- Setting up cooperatives to empower the youths as this will give them the freewill to exhibit the knowledge they garnered from school instead of promising them with the payment of five thousand naira (N5 000) which is impossible.
- Making straight policy that will help shape the lives of the people and also engaging the youths in different ways by moving them to the field so they can exploit and do better things to help salvage the current economic recession.
Odidi concluded by saying, it’s time the CRS and Nigeria at large start a new system, move into a new dimension as they cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again; for they will fail as usual.