By Bill Hirsch Searching through hundreds of House Floor Plans hoping to find the perfect dream home can be a frustrating process. You would think with so many house designs to choose from, one should be perfect. But it never really seems to work that way. Most plans are just plain bad. In others, you…
Dr Azuka Onwuka, not his real names, is an economist. And he is not from Nnewi. The fact of this is important as we soon shall see. However he is from a neighbouring town, not Ozubulu. But for ease of reference let us say he is from Ozubulu. Both Ozubulu and Nnewi are in Anambra State and are neighbours. Onwuka holds a PHD in Economics, with speciality in Development Studies he tells. And he got his diplomas from Harvard in the United States and Oxford from the United Kingdom. And Onwuka is bright to booth. He was always topping his class it is said. And one can attest Onwuka is sharp cutting in intellect, almost as sharp as an assassin’s knife edge. It is with so much ease that he cuts through the economic Gordian knots he fancies.
And I felt extremely privileged to be amongst a small session he was presiding, almost holding court. And he dazzled us like a J.J. Okocha does his opponents. It is only that rather than leather shoes and footballs, Onwuka did the virtuoso with laptops, graphs and pure theatre. In fact it was like we were under the spell of a magician. Or is economics pure magic, I wondered silently?
And his thesis looked wonderful. In summary he was canvassing how easy it can come to  literally switch Nigeria from darkness to light  from being a wholly dysfunctional country to an African South Korea.
And I found myself nodding, almost like a red-headed lizard in agreement. And then the bomb. Onwuka took his drive towards more concrete things, towards more coherent and assessable geographies.
Now he took a sharp turn. Apparently it was time to let go grand national narratives, to come to the particulars. And he continued his projector-presentation magic. Now he was zeroing in on how Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State can be turned into a black Taiwan  how the Onitsha-Nnewi conurbation – that was the first time I heard the word and would still not know what exactly it means – was to be a Guangzhou style industrial hub,  how Enugu could be made Africa’s California, the leading film and related industries center in Africa. And he painted so many other fanciful things about the Aba, Nnewi, Onitsha, Enugu, etc. And these are towns and cities that I have known and traded in. It was at this point that I became suspicious of his sharpie claims.
So during a break-out session I sought him out. And we made an appointment to chat over things – how far can his theories really go. This is especially against our own onshore experiences and practices on the ground. And when we finally met I had the following talk with him. I was asking:
When last were you in Nigeria, in Anambra and other Igbo states? How long have you lived in these places? Have you ever traded or done any businesses before – at all? Or you are theorizing upon theories? But these were also for me theoretical questions. What did it matter if he had insights that are real and genuine? Genius could come even from the outsider, looking in. That doesn’t exclude him from being listened to and lessons taken.
But the fact is that things can be bundled away, the bits and pieces lost. So if any man is talking about the whole wild world, don’t take his bet. Just wrestle him down to particulars. Let him talk of more specific things, of more constrained regions. If he has insights on these particulars, we can now using those as axioms, build up to the new wholes. But if his are only grand narratives, of how the whole bundled can be saved, without any ideas about the particulars, it is time to flee or be fleeced
So I pinned him down. You are from Ozubulu, okay. Now why and how is Nnewi richer than Ozubulu? In other words, how and what is to be done economically, managerially, for your town’s peoples to be richer than Nnewi peoples? And this is particularly more urgent for the people who are your own peoples, the Ozubulu peoples. And that is a legitimate economic enterprise or research if you liked.
Of course it is the aggregation of the units’/towns’ economies that is the sum of the whole/Anambra State economies. So if a dude, a visionary economist like Onwuka, turbocharged Ozubulu economy by beating the Nnewi economy, he has done a world. Then, we could at least be blessed with a sample of his capacity as it affects us, as a people.
It is only after that that we can recommend him to Abuja to do for the wholes, the Nigerian nation, the African peoples, what he has done for the East, for his own town Ozubulu. So, to start from the top is to show a lack of grasps for the particulars. And this is especially so when the particularities are paining.
And it so happened that Dr Onwuka, the Harvard-Oxford trained development economist has no ideas of what to do to or for his town to be rich, to be richer than Nnewi, his neighbouring town. In fact he didn’t even consider it an economic development issue? Yet out there in America, etc. economists also specialize on localities. The example of the Ms Elinor Ostrom who picked up a Nobel for specializing on municipal commons is telling enough. For outsiders Nnewi is traditionally and statistically? Igbo land’s richest town, by cash balances. And we are using Nnewi and Ozubulu economies loosely.
And all the above is to take matters at that hifalutin levels. The basic issue I returned to is: what does he know of Igbo sociology? Is the Igbo and its sociology which he left to go and grab the Golden Fleece, the same Igbo and its sociology he is come back to? Will the strategy that worked for the Igbo of old, work for the Igbo of the new? Above all I asked, has he tracked what has happened or not happened to the Igbo sociology since Gowonic 1970.
Now this question of sociology is supremely important. And one of the world’s great minds, Peter Drucker, confirmed this. Drucker is taken to be the founder of modern economic management. Drucker, an Austrian-American, is a guy full of 1000 and more insights. In his inimitable phrase: Sociology eats strategy for breakfast. Repeat, sociology eats strategy for breakfast.
So all these highfalutin strategy presentation of how to turn Aba into Taiwan, Enugu into California is all on the assumption of a given sociology. Now, I asked, does he know that Generals Murtala Mohammed-Olusegun Obasanjo, 2GMO regime, imposed and exacted a peace time genocide on the Igbo? And that they in the course of that studiedly destroyed Igbo sociology? No, does he know?
And he humbly said no. And I asked if you don’t know of Igbo sociology, its pasts and current stages how can you be theorizing on strategy for the Igbo? A new strategy that will be eaten by a virulently injected alienist sociology of and by the 2GMO? Is that not adding ignorance to the problem of underdevelopment Dr Onwuka?
Does he know that if as perhaps alarumed by the Arewasist Youths, and they started like their fathers and uncles to bring pogrom and genocide on the Igbo, that the Igbo cannot any independently produce Ogbunigwe anymore?
That is, the Igbo cannot even defend ourselves anymore by the logic of the 2GMO injected socio-virulence? And compound that with the total exclusion of Ndigbo from the commanding heights of security architecture, then you can know their purpose for you. And this is the doing of the 2GMO. And it is important to state that General Jack Gowon built and laid out this as a template.
Jimanze how, he asked. And I told him, that at great risk to life, but with veracity and servitude to the truth, we have documented how the 2GMO, almost AIDs-like, brought Igbo land to ruin and desertification through a targeted destruction of its sociology and other essences. It is all in the book: Nigeria: The Unreported Genocide against the Igbo: The Generals Murtala Mohammed-Olusegun Obasanjo Diktats, by yours truly. Go and read it and come back and then we can talk.
In conclusion, any non-Nnewi Igbo economist, whether trained in Harvard or Yale, who doesn’t know how to make his town richer than Nnewi is an impostor. And the corollary follows. Any economist who is from the north and is not from Kano city/state and does not know how his town/state will be richer than Kano city/state is a fool, sorry is fooling you. Tell him your pastor says so. If however your pastor opts out, then tell him the columnist Ahiazuwa says so.
And we might just let this in. The Brace Institute has developed a working program for development of towns, Igbo towns, to turn them into richer than Nnewi entities. We have also developed a program to turn any other Igbo state to be richer than Anambra. And our research reveals the following. Anambra is the richest Igbo state, but Ebonyi is the most advanced, built on facts.
I know many economist who have not read up on their sociology will talk, but we remind them of Osip Mandelstam, the Russian genius. He has an insight into these things confirmed by Michael Milken the rogue but genius trader. Both are Jewish, remarkably. And our researches also led to the definitive explanation of the why and how the Jews are the richest kids in town, every town. It is not economics, it is the truth that sets a people free, that enriches a people. Yours truly is the founder/Director General Brace Institute. One last thought. Please somebody should remind the sanctimonious APC/Presidency, that nepotism is worse than hate speech. Nepotism is hate action, nepotism is hate in action. Ahiazuwa.
•The Unreported Genocide… available at: Patabah bookshop Shoprite Surulere/Lagos. Knowledge Hammer Bookshop, Dolphin Restaurant GRA / 08065764065/ Enugu. Jibo Bookshops 135 market road/ 08074762452/ Aba. Chris Ajugwe and Associates 43 Old Market road/08036680177/ Onitsha. Nwakanma and Co/08063022520/Owerri. Nsukka University Bookshop UNN. Life-Changing Booksellers opposite Diamond Bank, Uruagu Nnewi/08037989. Ahiazuwa. Please follow me on Facebook.