Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo put the message upfront that human capital development is of utmost importance to Anambra State. Mr. Governor stressed that Anambra State has the smallest land mass in Nigeria, aside from Lagos State, but the catch is that while Lagos can always acquire more land through ocean reclamation, Anambra is losing her own land through devastating gully erosion. The little land left for Anambra State, therefore, calls for the pivotal development of human capital.
Governor Soludo offered the clarion call at the Southeast Human Capital Development Regional Conference which held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Awka, Anambra State on January 26th and 27th. The well-attended Human Capital Development in Nigeria conference had the theme: Changing the Narrative Towards Entrenching Human Capital Development in Southeast Nigeria.
The essence of the human capital development conference is better understood in the context of the brain drain experienced in the country. No country can ill afford to neglect and despise its own human capital. It is even more striking that while Nigeria somewhat maltreats and disregards its human capital, the developing countries are openly and surreptitiously poaching them to come and work in their lands. Governor Soludo appreciates the need to stem this trend whence his wholehearted support for hosting the event in Anambra State.
Human capital intervolves the knowledge, skills and health that people invest in and accumulate throughout their lives, thus enabling them to realize their potentials as productive members of the society. This way, Human Capital Development (HCD) plays a vital role in driving sustainable economic growth, boosting productivity and reducing poverty. The National Economic Council in in 2018 established the Human Capital Development Core Working Group (CWG) to accelerate Human Capital Development all over Nigeria.
The two-day Southeast conference was declared open by Anambra State Deputy Governor, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim, who doubles as the Chairman of the State Human Capital Development Council. According to Dr. Ibezim, Anambra State is the rallying point of human capital development in the Southeast region, and in his words, Before we started, the Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo came with a clear-cut vision and mission. Coincidentally, he was the chairman of Anambra State Vision 2070 Committee. He merged the committee’s report with his manifesto to produce development models for the state. He informed the participants that the Soludo administration is founded on five social development pillars, one of which is human capital development.
The Coordinator of the Core Working Group (CWG), Ms Yosolaoluwa Akinbi, challenged the Southeast region to think of the 2030 goal, and informed that the productivity of an average Nigerian is less than 36 percent. She consequently tasked all the zones of Nigeria to work together to bring up those who are not doing well. She submitted that Human Capital Development sits across multiple levels of stakeholders, stressing that everybody has a role to play to ensure healthy, educative and productive Nigerians by 2030. She was of the opinion that the process cannot be driven from the federal level if effectiveness is the goal.
The Southeast regional Consultant of Human Capital Development, Prof Kate Omenugha benchmarked the region’s Human Capital Development across eleven milestones, notably, mainstreaming HCD into annual budgets and state development plans, setting up HCD implementation monitoring teams, developing state action plans, engaging stakeholders and selecting HCD interventions etc.
The Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by Dr. Sam Ogbu-Nwodobo, MD/CEO, Enugu State Investment Authority, expressed gratitude that Enugu State was carried along in the platform which ended up producing commendable recommendations that will significantly improve the human capital in the region. He summed up thus: Let’s continue to stand together.
Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, represented by his Commissioner for Labour and Productivity, Prince Ford Ozumba praised the initiative, and added that Imo State is already doing a lot including the training of about 15,000 youths on ICT with a view to raising a digital tribe of problem solvers
As a climax to the two-day event, Governor Soludo lauded the teams and participants for the recommendations, but insisted that most of the recommendations ought not to be government-centric. Mr. Governor provided necessary solutions on how to deepen and upscale the recommendations, stressing that human capital is the Southeast’s only dependable resource
For Governor Soludo, the conference is pivotal and at the heart of the identity of the Southeast region. He gave pride of place to the concept of community involvement and offered the information that more than 99 percent of the resources needed to develop the region is in private hands
He made a case for the putting up of effective delivery mechanisms such as Public, Private, Community Partnership (PPCP) that is already being mainstreamed in Anambra State. He advocated the idea of moving labour across borders and boundaries, stating: As a nation, we can’t be dealing with labour force in silos. The artificial borders will not take us anywhere.
Sir Paul Nwosu
Commissioner for Information