Heritage Bank CEO, Obi, Others Link Security, Leadership To Economic Development

Photo caption: From left, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo; Coordinator of the Nigerian Association of Constitutional Law (NACL); Dr. Oruene Finebone – Secretary, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch; Barrister Sotonye Inyeinengi-Etomi, President of the Men’s League of Christ Church Port Harcourt; Very Rev. (Dr), Ivan Ekong, Assistant Resident Minister, Christ Church Port Harcourt; Figbene Briggs, Regional Head, South-South 1 & 2 Zone; Dr. (Amb.) Victoria Ekhomu, Group MD/CEO of Trans-World Security Systems Ltd.; Very Rev. Jonathan Udofia; Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Trinity House, International Christian Worship Center; Elder (Engr.) Stanford Tassie and Alabo; and (Arc) Duboye Donald Graham-Douglas, during the 2nd Edition 2022 Forum, one-day International Colloquium organized by The Men’s League of Christ Church Port Harcourt, tagged, “What do Nigerians Want?”, held in Port Harcourt.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, among other notable Nigerians have affirmed that addressing Nigeria’s leadership challenges and insecurity, remains the surest way to enhance economic prosperity and national peace.

Sekibo, who spoke alongside notable Nigerians like the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo of the Trinity House, International Christian Worship Center; Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, Coordinator of the Nigerian Association of Constitutional Law (NACL); Dr. Victoria Ekhomu, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Trans-World Security Systems Ltdand Barrister Sotonye Inyeinengi-Etomi, President of League; at one-day International Colloquium tagged: “What do Nigerians Want,” extensively brainstormed on the kind of leadership the country needs and how to rescue the country from its current debacle.

Speaking on “the Economy Nigeria Needs to Break Forth,” according to a statement by Ozena Utulu, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Sekibo stressed the importance of achieving the transformation the country needs, there was urgent need to address insecurity, which according to him, is the foundation of prosperity, as no nation can achieve much where the is no peace.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Divisional Head, Strategy & Business Solutions, Segun Akanji, at the second edition of the colloquium organized by The Men’s League of Christ Church Port Harcourt, emphasized that for security purposes, there must be an established functional and value adding identity system in place.

“On a higher note, I think one of the things that we need to achieve as a country is the issue of functional and value adding identity management, which is still far away from us, although, some people know that we have BVN, NIMC and a few other identity capture systems but they have not been as functional and value adding, like the social security number that most people in advanced economies carry,” he noted.

Sekibo added that to achieve a prosperous economy, Nigeria needs to find ways and means by policies to build dual circulation economy which thrives on three pillars.

According to him, we need to focus on building dual circulation economy where we can expand domestic production and demand by making sure that the masses are employed.

“We need to make our people are productive and stop putting subsidy in unproductive zones. When you give subsidy to people with inadequate or no income, they really cannot add value to the economy, and money has a way of flowing away due to import of consumables from other countries and because of this, a larger portion of every consumption or cash given as subsidy gets out of the country,” he added.

To expand the domestic production, he continued, government must give the private sector support to drive employment creation, technology, which is riding on innovation and manufacturing must be in place and, the population which is an added advantage must be well educated.

He also highlighted the need to examine how the country could add value to primary production for global export, emphasizing on reduction of over dependence on foreign markets but rather increase local production for export, whilst also increasing demand on local products.

Sekibo further affirmed that if states could function as proper federating units and take the lead of the competitive comparative advantages therein, wealth creation would be achieved that would bring about the desired changes.

In his own submission, Obi, the former governor of Anambra State, lamented the country’s huge indebtedness, a situation he blamed on its unproductive nature that is due to the inimical situation of high unemployment rate resulting to over 80million Nigerians being jobless.

He blamed the cumulative failure of government over the years on insecurity, failure to migrate from sharing formula to production formula and lack of will to transform the power sector and the need to focus and support the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Speaking on “The President Nigeria Needs,” Pastor Ighodalo harped on the need for leadership change, arguing that Nigeria today needs leaders with vision, who are ready to sacrifice for the common good.

Things, he stressed, “must be done differently,” lamenting that leadership remains the bane of Nigeria’s transformation, stressing that once we get good leadership other things will fall in place.

Prof. Oyewo, while speaking on “Restructuring and True Federalism,” called for removal of some responsibilities like the police, power provision and railway from the country’s exclusive list.

Decentralization, he believes, will enable states in Nigeria depend less on the centre, following which there will be a “rebalancing of the constitution in terms of power and security. So, there is reason for state police.”

Since regions are closer to the people, Oyewo maintained, this will boost security, the economy and sense of belonging by the populace, stressing the need for data and planning as key factors in ensuring that programmes are tailored towards the people.