2nd January, 2014
A former Nigerian minister of finance and economic planning, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, has said that the state of infrastructure in Abia state, eastern Nigeria fell short of the aspirations of its founding fathers.
Kalu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in his country home, Ohafia, that the euphoria that greeted the creation of the state 22 years ago seemed to have waned due to under-development.
The former minister also decried the lack of manpower development in the state.
He said the ingenious artisans in the state, particularly in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state, were the worst hit.
“When Abia was created, I felt so proud not because I thought we should be split into so many states, but because I thought we had the potential to place Abia as one of the top states in the nation.
“As a commissioner then in the old Imo State, I remembered coming into Aba when they were opening the NTA office in the town and we had lots of designers there. Take for an example people in the textile and garments industry, these are people that need just a little support to get to the global stage of designing,” he said.
He alleged that “22 years down the lane, no meaningful development has taken place in the state’’.
Kalu added that a situation where critical infrastructures were in deplorable condition and in most cases non-existent was regrettable.
“We have not lived up to expectations and we still have a long way to go to create viable agriculture, industries and proper infrastructure. There is no question that we need to do a lot more and part of the problem is that we have not really had time to amplify our resources beyond the ones we know.
“Abia State had oil and gas territories which were ceded to other states. We still have a golden opportunity to look at these things radically and isolate ourselves whether as governors, senators or members of the house,’’ he said.
Kalu said what the people needed was a system that would bring about growth, development, stability and progress.
He added that such proper steps would reduce the poverty level among the people to the barest minimum.