Nigeria has failed to attract foreign investors, despite numerous trips to Europe and America by her leaders, because of an inefficient government structure, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said.
The governance structure in Nigeria is similar to “a lady with a big head, big stomach and skinny legs who can never attract a rich suitor”, the governor said.
Mr. Okorocha, who was Special Guest at the 19th John Wood Ekpenyong Memorial Lecture organised by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyor and Valuers, NIESV, at the Civic Center in Lagos on Thursday insisted that it is the lack of visionary leaders that has turned Nigeria to “a rich country with poor people.”
The governor, who called for the devolution of power, explained that the big head alluded to is the Federal Government and the big stomach represented the state governments while the tiny legs depicted the local governments.
Condemning the concentration of wealth on federal and state governments, Mr. Okorocha canvassed for a community based approach in government.
The Imo State Governor also called for a review of the Land Use Act to make land easily available to citizens and to also make existing lands valuable. He said that his government is already working on a policy which will require only the payment of N1, 000 for land owners to register same and obtain Certificates of Occupancy with ease.
He urged members of the NIESV, to be creative in their practice and partner with government to build new cities as Nigeria celebrates her centenary next year.
“My challenge to the members of this noble institution is that they should drive the creation of new cities as Nigeria celebrates 100 years of nationhood. This you can do by partnering with government to ensure that every land in the country has value and the only way a land can have value is by registering the land and obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy,” Mr. Okorocha said. He added that “with government backing and with the name of the Institution, the doors to every bank in the country will be opened to your members who wish to secure loans to develop new cities”.
He also expressed the Imo State Government’s readiness to partner with the institution in developing the Oguta Lake City.
The President of NIESV, Emeka Eleh, in his welcome address, urged members of the institution to play an active role in politics in order to initiate and influence policies of government.
“Members of NIESV must become active in the politics of this country for the good of the profession and in the greater interest of Nigeria” he said, adding that it is only when members are in government that they can, through participation, influence policies that will positively affect Nigerians.
Speaking on the theme of the lecture – ‘Honesty and Devotion in Nigeria’s Transformation Agenda’, the NIESV President reminded the members that their professional training in project management and asset valuation places them in a good stead to transform Nigeria through honest and transparent leadership.
“Members of NIESV by their training and professional background have the capacity to offer leadership that can transform the country and I encourage all of us to show more than a passing interest in governance,” Mr. Eleh said.
The annual lecture, which first held in 1995 in honour of John Wood Ekpenyong- the first Nigerian to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor/Estate Surveyor and Valuer- served as a think tank session for members of NIESV and guests to exchange ideas on issues of national development; especially on land asset management. It usually hosts an array of influential Nigerians in politics, commerce and industry.
The lecture, the first major activity of the association in 2013, witnessed the admission of some NIESV members who were recently ratified by the National Council as Fellows of the Institution. The lecture will be followed by the 43rd Annual General Conference in Benin, Edo State in March.