We are Igbos. We are beautiful. Aside from our beauty, we are known for our entrepreneurial prowess. Today, here is what the 5 Igbo States can do to make our land as beautiful as this Nwa Ada you are looking at.
Nothing stops any South Eastern state from having liaison offices and State Representative of same in 50 select countries of the world. Nothing says that all discussions on the development of a state must be conducted by the governor alone. Except where the motive is not altruistic, the proper method of development is by delegated responsibility.
This means that an expanded outlook toward investment and wealth creation is created through the value chain of friends, acquaintances and partners of such liaison officers.
In a scenario where the state decides to go this route, it can create a very reliable liaison office by following these steps:
1. Identify such value-adding individuals who may already live in the diaspora and are movers in investment and developmental dynamics.
2. Hire them on concessionary grounds where they are not paid salaries by the state but encouraged to make a commission on investment they procure for the state as a matter of law and state policy.
3. Cause the Federal Government to Issue such individuals on behalf of the state, Letters of Credence and Patents to hold brief for the state outlining the extent of their authorization.
4. Rent office spaces which (by nature and international law) cannot offer consular or diplomatic services but can, in fact, act as ambassadors of the state, largely enjoying the benefits of a Governor-at-Large.
5. Issue a mandate and a target to such individuals on tenured basis renewable for specific periods of time.
With these citizens, of the state abroad can identify, commence and at least finalize (in principle), investment drive of the state.
This will mean that a certain Uche or Chidi can live in Canada, do his business in Canada and still, be in a position to hold discussions with prospective investment opportunities in Canada for Imo, Abia or Ebonyi State.
He can act as a Chief Marketing Officer of the State in that country and an Escrow Surety for manufacturers in the state and patrons overseas. Most of our garment, textile works, artwork, leather goods, Farm Produce, Processed Foods etc can have direct access into the international market and in return, employment is guaranteed in Nigeria as well as inflow of forex.
A fixed percentage would be retained by such Representative for his troubles, for running his office and for insurance while the quality of shipment is certified by the state prior before such goods are shipped.
The negotiations for such goods are carried out by the manufacturer, to the specification of the patron and the payments thereto, are warehoused by the Liaison Office abroad. Upon successful supply, such payments, fewer charges are repatriated to the supplier in Nigeria (sort of the Aliexpress model).
Will there be avenues for abuse, certainly. Can those abuses be checked, Oh most definitely! What would be of utmost importance would be that certain business ideas which hitherto, would have died naturally here can now be given life and given teeth to thrive beyond this shores.
A good State Representative running a liaison office can actually make millions of dollars if he knows how to use his contacts well. Countries which hitherto would treat Nigeria with suspicion would relax its position a bit. After all, we will be adding value to the economy through him!
Who says the white man does not want to wear our senator and ishi-agu as formal wear? Who says the white man does not want to eat garri or its derivatives? We have not sold them properly that’s all. Get a good representative who makes $5 on each shirt sold as his retainership, who has an eye for selling things to people and he can move 1 million clothes before his tenure is done.
Did I mention he makes $5 million from this angle alone (N1.8 billion), to which he owes very little to the state? Imagine the army of artisans that will work to produce those 1 million clothes. Imagine the amount of profit that will be made by the producers of the 1 million clothes. Imagine the amount of cash injection into the economy from those 1 million clothes. Imagine, therefore. how much he makes when factories and businesses come to invest in the state per his marketing skill and negotiation (from which he earns commission or equity – Whichever works for him)…. Your guess is as good as mine.
We have a lot of ways to make money from the international market… from agriculture, production, craft and services – we only require the skills and support of a visionary leader to make that happen. Do we have some of such leaders elected already or do we still postulate like always and “pray” about it?
By Obinna Onyekachi