By Ikedi Ohakim

(Former Governor of Imo State)

Please, let it be known from today that South East is not landlocked. It is only our economy that is locked. One quick way of unlocking the economy of South East is through marine business.

Contrary to the impression that the South East is landlocked, the truth is that it has one of the potentially deepest seaports in the country at Osemoto/Oseokwa in Imo and Anambra States.

A seaport was designated there in 1959, but the project was abandoned and the admiralty membership erased for obvious political reasons. African Development Bank (ADB) feasibility report on this is unambiguous.

Oseokwa (Ihiala LGA, Anambra State) and Osemoto (Oguta LGA, Imo State) are the deepest natural harbors in the country (over 20m deep) and offer real naval and marine transportation platforms if developed. Besides, it lies only 18 nautical miles to the Atlantic Ocean and a strategic hub for the oil industry and inland dry-docks to promote trade.

This potential seaport has the capacity of handling over 35 per cent of marine business in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, it was the attraction to these potentials that made my administration in Imo state to site the Oguta Wonder Lake and Resort Centre in the area to encourage the federal government and foreign investors. If Ndigbo pursue and complete the seaport, it will also open up over 3,000 square kilometers of the most fertile agricultural land that has one of the highest alluvial deposits which has been in existence for well over a million years.

My pursuit of this revolutionary project attracted both national and international panic and may have cost me second tenure as governor (see “Demoracy By Military Tank” by Ethelbert Okere).

This deep seaport will create over two million jobs, directly and indirectly, in marine business, oil and gas, power, education, housing, agro-food industry, entertainment, tourism, etc. With that type of setting, Igbo youths will have no need to crisscross the country in search of jobs and in the process endangering their young lives.

Excerpts of his lecture delivered at the First International Chinua Achebe Conference held at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, on Tuesday 23 May, 2017.

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