It was a twin event as the Faculty of Management Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, witnessed the rendition of Prof Pita Ejiofo’s second edition frontier lecture as well as had the 2019 Faculty of Management Science, International Conference on Thursday 13- Saturday 15 June 2019 at the Unizik auditorium hall, Awka.
The event which had its theme as ‘’Managing Nigeria’s Economic Diversification: Lessons from other Climes’’, had various speakers who spoke from 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 and they included: Natural resource based, intensity of used based, brain based and conservation-based Diversification.
Dr Nwankwo, said that while the non-oil sector of the country contributes close to ninety percent of the Country’s GDP, leaving all with the impression that the country was diversified, whereas the non-oil sector was directly linked to the oil sector, which implies that Nigeria is only dependent on oil.
He noted that the political arrangement of Nigeria was Federal in its set up but however, regretted that it was unitary in its economic arrangement. And advised Nigeria to emulate countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan which he said had just brain-based diversity and are today ruling the economic world.
Earlier in his speech of welcome, the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone, after welcoming guests present, said that the theme of the event was informed by the country’s unenviable economic predicament; a situation which he said was precipitated by our vulnerable dependence to the neglect of other resources 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 in 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, go to Abuja every month for allocation, which he lamented, gives rise to what he called ‘Nigerian Dominion Disease’, as for him, it had naturally made every section of the country to always want to amass power.
He then advised that the establishment of a Bureau for Diversification of the country’s economy to save it from the impending doom, as according to forecast, Nigeria will soon run dry of crude oil.
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 wants to grow; while the Chairman of the organizing committee, Prof. Pat Akpan described the event’s theme — “Managing Nigeria’s Economic Diversification: Lessons From Other Climes” as apt, given the need to pull the country out from macroeconomic instability and uncertainties.