Friday, April 15, 2016

Ekeh blames Igbo elites for zero investment on digital wealth creation infrastructure in south-east

The Chairman of Zinox Group, one of Africa's biggest integrated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) conglomerates, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh has decried lack of zero investment on 21st century digital wealth creation infrastructure in south-east, reports ITRealms.

South-east, ITRealms gathered is made up of Igbo ethnic group, Ekeh said is not ready to take advantage of the limitless opportunities which abound to create digital wealth.

Speaking on Wednesday, at the first ever Enugu State Investment Summit tagged Oganiru 2016 which held at the Michael Okpara Square, Ekeh decried the nonchalant attitude of some South East Governors who, according to him, have near zero investment on infrastructure for digital wealth creation in the 21st century.

Serial digital entrepreneur Ekeh who featured as one of the guest speakers at the summit wondered how leaders in the region intended to create billionaires who will pay taxes in the near future without any form of concrete investment in place for providing opportunities and nurturing the youths.

“I must state here that the Igbos are not ready for digital wealth creation as it is obvious that leaders in the region are not ready to transit to building the knowledge economy which holds the key to achieving this,” he stated.

“Digital wealth is the new mega wealth that rewards the effort in few months or years but you must create solid platforms to uplift you; It is about building creative platforms for our kids and millions of today’s restive youths which will channel their energies and passion towards what is termed today as true miracle wealth. Increased access to education as captured in the building of a knowledge economy, a clear change of attitude, visioning the bigger picture and liberalization of access to information through ICT are core essential requirements to achieving this.

"This is a century of results and not efforts and sincerely, no one was created by God to be poor in this century but government must invest in critical infrastructure for her people to benefit."

Ekeh, who expressed deep concern with the resource gap between Igbos of his age and the next generation of youths, disclosed that many in his generation were able to build and defend their franchises because the economy was transiting in all sectors from analogue to digital, which they were able to key into.

“This is why you will observe that there is no noticeable gap between my generation and when the likes of erstwhile leaders and successful businessmen from the South-East such as  Odimegwu Ojukwu, Chief Augustine Ilodibe, Godwin Alaefuna Tabansi, Akwiwus and Ferdinand Anaghara, among others held sway.

“It is unfortunate that the next level after us has not been able to interface due to lack of determination by government to invest and create platforms that will host our brilliant but impatient kids to activate wealth in this century. Some states in Nigeria are now run on pay-as-you-go as some of our leaders are not interested in investing in quality relevant infrastructure which is the foundation to sustenance of an economy. This is why all manners of social vices such as kidnapping have become an occupation.

“My sincere advice is that it is not too late to make a fresh start. The Presidential Hotel Enugu and Imo Concorde Hotel, for instance could be converted by both state governments into digital incubation centres which could raise 200 companies each with a prospect of creating more wealth in the next four years than the annual allocation of each state.  Why can’t we host the largest movie production studio and entertainment centre in same premises for cost efficiency?

“The multiplier effect is unquantifiable in the long run as the first two years will see each state employing over a thousand five hundred potential dollar billionaires. I panic because my people love the good life, have energy and intelligence and are today more educated than most of us and the generation before us. If the government ignores them in this new race for digital wealth, they will incubate negatively and the Igbo nation may face eternal crisis.

“We are now in a century where Godfathers will become obsolete in the 2nd quarter while  competence, capacity and commitment shall be the basis for survival. We are nearly over with the phase where bank loans and contracts are extended based on emotions or who you know. We are now faced with the reality of knowledge of what you do as many youths can potentially create more wealth in a year than their parents created in two generations.”

While commending the Enugu State Government for the courage in organizing this world-class summit, he advised the Governor to identify few sectors that Enugu must lead in Africa and possibly in the world and invest in them. Ekeh urged leaders in the South-East to embrace the global revolution in digital wealth creation.

"You must invest in quality education, protect basic infrastructure like fibre optic cables, power stations, telecoms towers and cell sites etc. for the growth of the region. There are so many investors including myself looking for conducive places in Nigeria to invest and Enugu could be that hub that should be seen as cost efficient, friendly and futuristic."

 Ekeh who received a standing ovation for his speech, advised Igbo parents to invest less on dead, analogue assets like property and other short-term status assets and instead take sensible risks with their well-informed children. While describing himself as a testimony in the new digital space, he insists that parents must trust our well-trained youths because they understand global economic direction, are better educated, more exposed and will create unquantifiable wealth with style for themselves, the family, state and the nation. 

According to him, his book which is set for release next year will reveal a bit more on these worthwhile and life-changing interventions.

The three-day summit with the theme, “Beyond Oil: Fostering Inclusive Economic Growth & Sustainable Development”, brought together local and international business leaders and investors, bankers, financiers, the diplomatic community and the academia to explore Enugu’s rich potential – and that of the entire South-East – in a wide range of industries including agriculture, solid minerals and mining, power generation and distribution, infrastructure and real estate development, tourism and hospitality, education, ICT, media and entertainment.

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