by Martins Uba Nwamadi
Leadership is a gift some people have over and above others. A leader is one who combines astuteness, intelligence and Leadership skills to produce events that shape life. A leader should be a shinning symbol of the society and a living example for the younger generation to emulate. One of the intrinsic values of a leader is that he must not only shape the present but also is capable of shaping the future by providing the people with what they want.
A nation’s development or albeit state does not happen over night or by accident. Nation or state building is as a result of painstaking efforts by those at the mantle of leadership, be it in the public or private sectors of the economy and in concert with the populace agree to respond to the dynamics of the changing world by creating institutions that will add value to the society.
Recently, ABC Transport celebrated its 25 years in existence. What caught my fancy was more of how this conglomerate was conceived and nurtured to become a huge success, it is today. As we know, transport sector is the blood that serves all other sectors of the economy. In fact, all other sectors of the economy depend on its efficiency to operate and this accounts for why the success story of ABC Transport Plc is the success story of the openness of our transport system.
Richard Branson of Virgin Group said “there is no point in going into business unless you shake up the whole industry. Then, you are just making a difference for yourself. You will find the whole industry has to react to your being there and change the way it does business”.
According to the promoter, Frank Nneji, he conceived the idea of floating a transport company while serving in the National Youth Service Corps. With one Toyota Hiace Bus in 1993, ABC today is not only the first and only road transport company quoted at the Nigerian Stock Exchange but also into local assembly of trucks in Nigeria.
The Conglomerate with about 10,000 direct and indirect jobs has veered into energy, tourism, cargo and educational/instructional material development. The Driving School Academy which has become a Reference point is now been consulted by most Federal and State government agencies due to its global rating. The products from the Driving School Academy have brought sanity on our road haulage thereby reducing carnage on our highways.
This brings me to why History is beckoning on Frank Nneji. Imo State since its creation in 1976 has been unlucky with governance. Apart from the late Dr. Sam Mbakwe, the state has witnessed tremendous leadership deficit. The state has been crawling not because of the people’s inertia or lethargy to grow their economy but because the leaders have been ‘yesterday thinkers’ who are deficit in good governance and lacking in capacity to foresee the future. What my state has produced since 1999 are more of bucaneers, leeches, sycophants and leaders lacking in vision to develop the state with the people. Imo state indigenes are now asking questions as to why we have not gotten it right with the so called professional politicians who have led us astray.
The political will of a people is gauged when the resolve to break away from the past and start anew. Should we continue testing these jackals who have manipulated our conscience for so long and still we can’t understand the direction of our economy and the social/moral compass? Must we continue to allow the jackals to pillage our common matrimony to their advantage while the misery index continues to rise in the society? Imolites, we need to rediscover ourselves by getting it right in our leadership selection.
This is the more reason why Imo citizens, be they teachers, clergymen, artisans, youths, traders, drivers, civil servants or professionals etc, they should now look the way of a private sector driven manager like Frank Nneji who has shown tremendous courage and leadership quality.
His creativity and intelligence in formulating new ideas has transformed his vision into reality and this is why all his group of companies are achieving sustainable growth. As a private sector driven helmsman, he will combine private sector model to fit into the public sector thereby making good use of the tax payers’ money. What is more, his sound economic dynamism will attract both foreign and domestic investors to the state. He has built bridges across the continents and Nigerian states. Imo will be the next destination. This is our aspiration.
When Peter Obi entered into the political scene with a business mind set and model, not many Anambrarians could understand his trajectory. But when he left Anambra after 8 years, Anambra State is today a model and a reference point by World Bank and financial global agencies. Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State and Dakwambo of Gombe are all private sector/good governance materials who have transformed their states with developmental pragmatism.
Nneji is a Consummate Manager. He has focus and understands how the economy works. He has ability to promote and re-engineer the economy of Imo state to where it is supposed to be. He sees the landscape of human ideas and experiences differently from the deluge of noises coming from the market place.
For now, we don’t need any soothsayer to tell Imolites that our state is a failed state given that it cannot pay its workers, pensioners or honour her contractual agreements. We must tell ourselves the truth, Imo has failed and needs to be re-discovered.
Nneji, given his grounded knowledge of our economy coupled with his partnership with several international blue chip companies will definitely transform the economy of Imo state. We have had enough of hotels. The world is now looking the way of medium and small scale enterprises to grow the economy. I believe this is the road map Nneji has and this will achieve inclusive growth.
Finally, Imolites, the time is thickening fast. This is not the time for oratory but the hour to appreciate the intellect and capacity of those aspiring to lead us. We must avoid political brigandage but our watchword will be intellect and ability to govern. Imolites, 2019 is a year of history and I believe that Frank Nneji given his antecedents has the capacity to rediscover Imo state.
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