Opinion: Setting The Stage For Big Business By Mac Oyekunle

News from Oyo state is suggesting that in addition to attempts to break new grounds in the politics of the area, Governor Abiola Ajimobi  is concerned with creating a radical business economic paradigm fit for a pace setter  appellation.

His moves lately indicate that he does not believe only in success in the political kingdom: there must be an accompanying victory in the economic domain.

After all Marxists insist that you understand the state of society by looking at its economic and social production forces, by looking at the way its people earn their living.

The kernel of Marxism is historical materialism which argues that history and all its struggles are class-based: they derive from the means of production and distribution. In a word society rests on labour, what is produced and how what is produced is accessed or dispensed.

If this is true then much work needs to be done on the economy of any society, notably in getting more citizens to be in employment. Not doing so would raise a formidable informal army bigger than the conventional one we called the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The power of such a force is left to imagination.

In Oyo the government is attempting to abort the coming into being of such force by industrializing the state through the establishment of mass employment generating companies as bus, car, and tractor manufacturing firms. According to Ajimobi’s Special Adviser on Media Dr.Festus Adedayo, the government has “finalized agreement with three different groups of Chinese investor on the ventures.

When representatives of the groups called on him in his office in Ibadan, Ajimobi said the “development was the result of several trips to China during which he met with the investors on the need to assist in efforts at industrializing the state and its economy.”

He said the project would be complemented with an industrial park that would serve as feeder companies to the manufacturing firms, with the multiplier effect of creating employment opportunity for the citizenry. This represents a big contribution to reducing unemployment statistics in Oyo.

It is interesting to look at the pattern of China’s involvement in partnerships in the outside world. The Chinese are a calculating lot. They engage in business in societies that have the potential for development, stability, renewable resources and a vibrant population growth rate.

These advanced Chinese, whose country is effectively challenging the world’s number one economic power, the United States of America, for that spot, have perceived that Oyo state, with a new bouquet of political and economic policies rolled out by governor Ajimobi is meeting their requirement for a dream business relationship. They believe that his programs would guarantee peace in the state. This is a cardinal condition.

They look at the way the Asian giant’s economic incursion in Africa in recent times demonstrate this. The country has been initiating apex-level contacts with the continent in recent years. Its President Hu Jintao until March 2013, led economic cum diplomatic delegations to at least five African nations during the second half of his10-year tenure: Nigeria, Tanzania, Mauritius, Mali and Senegal.

A close check reveals that these are all societies in transition where after conflicts or upheavals resulting from challenges in the democratic process and nation building, a definite path has finally been chosen as an enduring foundation for progress.

The teeming population of Oyo state has for too long been fed a mono diet of politics: politics at breakfast; politics at lunch and more politics at dinner. It has left us severely undernourished. But though we need politics, we do not need an over kill of it.

We need to balance it with a good touch of sound business and economic policies to absorb the great army of youths  we are churning out from the education mills. Just as food scientists warn against feeding on only one type of food, so we should guard our people against governments that give us politics without economic power.

Let Oyo have a new lease of life that would be characterized by a heavy emphasis on the establishment of large-medium and small-scale businesses to cater for our people’s employment quests.

In that case, government is also advised to effect changes in the education system, where there would be less emphasis on degrees and paper qualification. Let us shift our attention to vocational and entrepreneurial skill acquisition. Let us turn Oyo state into an economic and business hub.

Oyekunle is a business man in Ibadan, Oyo State.

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