Nigerians Tasked on Economic Diversification

. . As Prof Pita Ejiofor Holds Second Edition of Annual Lecture

By Mercy Hill

It was a twin event as the Faculty of Management Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, witnessed the rendition of Prof Pita Ejiofor’s Second Edition Frontier Lecture, as well as the 2019 Faculty of Management Sciences International Conference on Thursday 13- Saturday 15 June, 2019 at the Unizik Auditorium.

The event which had its theme as ”Managing Nigeria’s Economic Diversification: Lessons from other Climes”, had various speakers who spoke on different aspects of the economy. The keynote speaker, who is the former Director General of Debt Management Office (DMO), Abuja, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, in his speech, debunked what he described as the practice of Unitary System in the management of the Nigerian Economy. He said this, while listing the four types of diversification that Nigeria could take cognizance of, including: Natural resource based, intensity of use based, brain based and conservation-based diversification.

Dr Nwankwo, said that while the non-oil sector of the country contributed close to ninety percent of the Country’s GDP, giving the impression that the country was diversified, the non-oil sector was directly linked to the oil sector, which implied that Nigeria was only dependent on oil.

Earlier in his speech, the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone, said the theme of the event was informed by the country’s unenviable economic predicament; a situation which he said, was precipitated by Nigeria’s neglect of other resources and dependence on the export of crude oil for the country’s revenue; with little or no value addition.

Prof Esimnone in a special way, appreciated Prof Pita Ejiofo, who he described as one of the doyens of the emergence and development of Management as an academic discipline in Nigeria and the one on whose contributions to the discipline of the frontier lecture was instituted.

For her part, the Dean of the Faculty, Management Studies, Prof. Chizoba Ekwueme, stated that the conference was held to proffer solution to the structural imbalance in the Nigerian Economy and her inability to compete in the moving global stage.

Also speaking at the event, the guest lecturer and former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Professor Seth Accra Jaja, frowned at the current arrangement in which all the 36 states of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, went to Abuja every month for allocation. He said it had given rise to what he called ‘Nigerian Dominion Disease’, thus making every section of the country to always want to amass power.

He then advocated the establishment of a Bureau for Diversification of the country’s economy to save it from the impending doom, as forecasted by experts.

In an opening remark earlier during the event, the Chairman of the occasion and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Francis Okoroafor, went memory lane on the life and background of Prof. Pita Ejiofor, whose greatest gift to Ndi Igbo, he said, was his advocacy for Igbo identity. He further described diversification as a necessity for any country that wanted to grow.

The Chairman of the organizing committee, Prof. Pat Akpan, described the event’s theme as apt, given the need to pull the country out from macroeconomic instability and uncertainties.

In his closing remarks, Prof. Pita Ejiọfọr, a Professor and former Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdị Azikiwe University,Awka, appreciated all for the honour, and echoed the need for Ndi Igbo to join hands to further promote the Igbo culture and tradition through the preservation of the Language to save it from extinction.

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