We are living in an era where technology is removing all forms of encumbrances and getting things to move with precision and at the speed of light. Business activities are no exceptions. It is no longer a big deal that today contrary to the experience in the past people can now originate and conclude transactions from the comfort of their homes. Consequently life is being transformed greatly.
Today it is a great incentive and indeed countries and regions economic performances are being gauged on the ease with which business activities are conducted. All forms of impediments to economic activities are consciously removed to pave way for a smooth sailing and inconvenience free deals.
This is understandable because for a serious minded business person or entity there is a meaning to the time value of money.
No right thinking person would want to invest his borrowed funds and tie it to a venture that would take donkey years to recoup while he suﬀers the confrontation and embarrassments from lenders as well as the risk of loss of any security pledged to secure such facilities. Sadly, Nigeria has never fared well in the rating on the ease of doing business where the experience is more prevalent in the South East region of the country.
One prominent factor as impediment to economic activities is the pronounced check points that dot the roads in the South East region. They are frustrating and make journeying within the zone terribly inconveniencing and annoying. You will be tempted to think that the region is under siege given the numerous stoppages from the police, army, customs, road safety and other agencies. Reports indicate that complaints raised by the President Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Chief Ogbonnia Nwodo to the president sometime last year have not changed anything.
Travelling from Onitsha to Aba alone, a journey of about 2hours you will encounter not less than 50 check points. Unhealthy political reasons have been fingered as the cause of the numerous road check points that abound in the South East. This we learnt contrasts sharply with what obtains in the other regions especially in the northern area. Those who adduce political factors explain that there is a script to consciously slow down development and inconvenience the residents in the South East.
This explanation appears more plausible when you take into account that we have more insecurity ravaging the north than we have here. We have the dreaded but intractable Boko Haram, cattle rustlers, bandits, Islamic militants, street urchins, kidnappers, armed robbers etc snuffing life constantly more than exists in the other regions. Common sense would expect that government should deploy more security in those areas than any other.
News Echo laments that the aggregate time wasted in stoppages result to huge man hours lost for those on business and official assignments. In the guise of policing and security the police merely constitute nuisance, and worst take joy and pride in doing so without realizing how they are destroying the general economy and business aﬀairs of people. People who are involved in distributive businesses are likely to suﬀer more for the inconveniences. At each point the drivers drop money they seek to recover same by passing the burden to the passengers who in turn either bear it or pass it on through increased pricing of their products for those on business trips.
Sometimes at some points, the drivers or their conductors must dismount to go and drop the money in a make-shift space housing the collector. They call the group Federal Police. They would give you change if you have higher bills. How can anyone be convinced that the Federal government is truly fighting corruption when its agency responsible for that is visibly neck deep in open corrupt practices and even helps to promote it.
This is the reason crime festers because people believe that police no matter their level have a price. At the same time it must be acknowledged and sincerely credit must be given to those anti-graft agencies like Economic a n d Financial Crimes Commission where the police men among them have distinguished themselves very well in tackling high profile financial crime. Without compromising securities the South East governors should rise to the challenge and assert their authorities positively to weave friendly business policies.
The Igbo man and the South East is the hub of business activities in Nigeria. Any avoidable challenge lined up on its path is bound to aﬀect their fortunes in many inconceivable ways. The tolerant nature of the victims should not be mistaken for weakness. The time to right the irregularities is now. If the governors have found themselves in good stead, they should remember the age long Igbo philosophy of ‘Onye aghala nwanneya’.
News Echo calls on the South East governors, captains of industries, the business class, political leaders and indeed all concerned Igbo people to close ranks and put a halt to this menace. We cannot speed up when we are holding down the breaks.