Wednesday, 31 October 2012 00:00
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Okpaleke’s tales by moonlight on auction and concesion

As one of the sons of Imo State, Kelechi Okpaleke has the right to make inquiries on some of the policies of the government he is not comfortable with or some of the policies he feels are draconian to the people of Imo State.

Fair enough, he has been consistent in doing this civic responsibility. He has not also shirked in the responsibility of churning out products as prescribed by his sustainer. For me, he has only shown diligence in his job.

However, in one of his outings, I was a bit puzzled by his clever but destructive postulations viz-a-vis government’s concession and auctioning practices or better put policies. Though, they were mere questions to be honest.

To any evaluative mind, that Okpaleke’s sentiment whipping rhetoric was just shallow and lacked substance as it did not at any time proffered to the Imo people any superior economic policy that is compliant with our today’s world considering the psyche of our people as well.

Let me say it again, that it was more of a pun crafted from hearsay. It will be wrong to begin to subtly incite Imolites by bringing up issue as sensitive as religion. One, we have a thousand and one Imolites executing one contract or the other in the Islamic dominated states.

However, Nigeria still remains a secular state as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As it stands today, we have many Imolites who are proudly Muslims. One of those figures is Alhaji Isa Okeke from Orlu. He is a decent man and there are many others.

Again, in the far away United States, despite the fact that most of the terrorists or rebellious groups may be said to have their host states or countries as Islamic Countries, we still have American Muslims.

The Unite States government has not abrogated Muslims yet. It follows that Kelechi’s attempt to play up religion shows his mischief and callous intent. I hereby submit that it is an issue that lack substance except its wicked intent to cause disaffection in Imo State and Nigeria at large.

Further more, has Okpaleke gone round the on-going hospital projects site before asking these questions? If he has done his homework well, let he tell the Imolites the percentage of the hospital projects being undertaken by the Northern Muslims. It is only suspicious and baffling that Okpaleke could be that shoddy even as a man not known for propaganda as he rightly mentioned.

It is also a bit misplaced using the word auction in the first place. Auction means outright sell to the highest bidder and nothing more. In reality, one auctions what has almost become useless to him. For Corporate bodies, while trying to recover a debt, they can auction a debtor’s property with a view to recovering their money. We would want to know the Government’s owned properties that are on sale. Kelechi Okpalake mentioned Concorde Hotel and others. Who is selling? To whom is he selling to? When did he sell or when is he selling?

What is concession? In public administration or Government circle, concession means a grant of land or property in return for services or for a particular use; a lease of particular portion of premises for a particular purpose. Joint venture as it were to a great extent is nearest in meaning to Concession. Federal Government of Nigeria conceded something for the expertise of the foreign counterparts. You concede in politics. Countries concede for economic relations.

A Diplomatist must concede something in a bargain and would have to be flexible in his negotiation. You cannot have your cake and eat it. For whatever it is worth, if you must get it right, there is a prize. For those who are knowledgeable and conscious of their immediate and global environment, it sounds a bit preposterous speaking about lease or concession as though these are sickly concepts in the business environment.

Come to think of it, world over, who is still talking about Government solely managing businesses except special services? In the model communist and socialist States, how much of businesses do they still control? How did China build its economy? How do you attract a foreign investment without conceding? It is only a static mind that is of medieval era would reason and holds tenaciously to formulae that never works and anachronistic. Government bothers itself with both visible and invisible subsidies and creation of conducive atmosphere for enterprises or businesses to thrive.

To me and most progressive minds, conceding a business to be run effectively and efficiently is the best way to go for now. Ada palm for instance has never been a controversy that it was conceded to Roche to manage and that is the reason for all the turn around in that area. Imo Palm Plantation is working and has become productive to both State Government and the Community in which it is located.

Going beyond public sector, in private sector, the only norm that has in no little way affected the resuscitation of dwindling and dying businesses are through mergers or at the extreme of it is outright acquisition. The potency of this economic principle can account to its large scale adoption by most developing and developed Nations. Federal Government of Nigeria is in the practice.

The maxim that experience is the best teacher, though it may not always be the teacher, though not always so for those that choose to learn from other people’s experience, at least in Nigeria’s case for Nigerians.

Where is the former NITEL today? We also have Nigeria Airways of cursed memory. What metamorphosed to Trancorp Hilton? Do we still remember Avutu Poultry? I remembered one Uche Onwuchekwa mention Concorde Hotel and RHAS. It either you lease out something you cannot run for those with the know how with the needed contact to so do.
In Lagos State, Lekki-Epe Road was a product of Concession.

Let me ask this question, if an investor is interested in owing a business enterprise in your State and demands a level of investment from the State or counterpart resources in whatever form, what do you do if the investment in question is strategic to the development of your State? People have pursued foreign investment for years and nothing came out of it.

Do we not think that there must be a way out or something that these people are looking for? Governor Okorocha and his team just decided to be wiser by doing the intelligent thing and then allow the people to come in with either of their equipment and expertise.

When you talk about Freed Trade Zones, at the starting point, who does the clearing, the planning and the initial structures therein? Therefore, if Governor Okorocha decides to do what is acceptable all over the world to create employment and wealth for the State, he has committed no sin.

The huge investment of oil firms, especially those in exploration, is a product of joint venture. That has sustained the business relationship between Nigeria through NNPC and the foreign partners. That has given the firms the needed confidence due to the protection derived from that contract.

Dr. kelechi Okpalaeke, can you see where Imo State Governor is going? What killed Concorde Hotel in the past was due to free apartments for PDP appointees and political jobbers. They lived in there for years and never paid dime. How many of Governor Okorocha’s aide does that? That is prudence.

While not saying that Governor Okorocha is perfect or a god, he has only demonstrated his will and sincerity to make Imo better.

Using Imo State as a case in point, what was the state of the hospitals in various Local Governments? They had long become death centres before the coming of Governor Okorocha’s administration. Most times, it takes those who have the will to turn things around and not fraudulent sacrifices. 

Again, the government is for the people as it could be seen to have always gone on consultation before coming out with any policy and where such policy becomes unpopular, the government repeals such policies and that is the case of Imo State. Please Kelechi Okpalaeke should please let us know those that Imo State Secretariat was leased to and when was that? I will advise that hear say and rumour should not become a stock-in-trade of supposedly a ‘good citizen’ like Okpaleke.
May God bless Imo State.

•Ogbonnaya wrote in from Owerri

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