By: Inuwa Bwala
The vogue amongst nations globally is to embrace technology and industrialization as the fulcrum of economic development. China, Singapore, Korea, Turkey, Japan, the Americas and UK are few examples of countries with strong industrial bases that have helped their economies.
If Nigeria hopes to grow her own economy therefore, there is no better path than to tow the examples of countries like Korea, China, Turkey, Singapore or Japan, which were once developing countries like Nigeria, but which have today become fully industrialized.
At the state level back home, the economies of states like Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Kaduna, Enugu and Anambra are today better than others, due largely to the presence of industries.
In Borno state, which is the focus of this piece, the Government seems to appreciate the fact that, the establishment of industries will not only boost her economy but could go a long way in mopping up thousands of unemployed youths, who all look up to the government for means of survival.
It is the realization that industrial growth could be the possible rescue of our economy and provide the vehicle that will take the youths of the streets and away from drugs and crime that Borno State Government initiated a rapid industrial programme, which was started by then Governor Kashim Shettima.
In that quest the Government commenced the rehabilitation of dormant industries and went ahead to build an industrial hub; housing many new industries, on the outskirts of Maiduguri the Borno State capital.
Even in the face of limited resources coupled with the security challenges being experienced in Borno, a lot has gone into structural works in the various industries being built.
Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum therefore came into Government with industrialization as one of his cardinal agenda, besides the restoration if peace, educational transformation, agricultural revolution, robust healthcare system amongst others.
It is a truism that, the state Government alone cannot fully achieve Governor Zulum’s industrialization plans, hence the need to seek for partnership with foreign and local investors, which is what most industrialized societies did to grow their industries.
Governor Zulum came into power with mindset, that, neither the fight against insurgency with it’s attendant challenges nor the move to ressetle his citizens back to their ancestral abodes could dampen his spirit for an industrialized Borno state, given the available human and material resources to sustain the industries.
At every stop and on every occasion, the Governor insists on seeking collaborative partnership either in the education, health, agriculture or industrial sector.
He has visited most embassies of foreign nations with his gospel of partnership and has visited so many countries seeking to partner with them. He has been to Egypt where he secured commitments for investment in the health and education sector. He was in Sudan, UAE, America, Britain and Saudi Arabia, amongst others. And on each visit, education, industrialization and healthcare tended to dominate the talks.
This time around, the Governor was in Turkey, for the same mission and with principal stakeholders in his industrial and agricultural think tanks.
While in Turkey Governor Zulum engaged potential investors in both the private and public sectors. Reports reaching me from Turkey indicate that, Turkish investors developed Keen interest in the industrial sector development of Borno State, and very soon, they are going to return the Governor’s visit, during which agreements are expected to be signed for diverse partnerships.
Already, arrangements have been finalized on the industries the Turks will partner with the State, and a blue print using the Turkish model of industrialization has been developed.
The Governor used the Turkish visit to allay fears foreigners often elicited by activities of terrorists in his enclave, to the effect that the environment is secure and safe for investments.
Backed with the inspiring story of Borno as a hitherto robust trans- Saharan trade route, and the long history of socio linguistic and cultural affinity with the Shuwa Arabs of Borno, the Turks were said to be very eager to invest.
My findings reveal that plans are also underway for the training of Borno citizens to effectively fit into the new partnerships, with Turkish technicians ready to serve as resource persons.
While we await the full unbundling of the packages from Turkey when officially released, Governor Zulum’s venture into partnership with the Turks could be said to be a worthy addition to existing plans.
It will go a long way in helping plans for the building of a post Boko Haram insurgency Borno and place the state in competitive industrial considerations.