By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Sen. Stella Oduah says the Bill for the establishment of the South East Development Commission (SEDC) when assented to, will address the infrastructural challenges in the South East.
Oduah who co-sponsored the bill which was passed by the Senate in December, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja on Sunday, that the bill would rebound into economic prosperity for the entire nation.
The senator, who represents Anambra North in the National Assembly, explained that when implemented, the commission would also help address the agitations in the region by bridging the infrastructural deficit.
She explained that the SEDC was to provide roadmap for development of roads, education, health facilities, industrialisation, agriculture, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and commerce in the five member states of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia.
She said that when the enabling infrastructure was put in place in the region, then it would translate into wealth creation in the region.
“If you look at this bill holistically it is going to be a huge paradigm shift for the South Easterners and it is long overdue.
“What it intends to do is to bridge that gap and ensure the disparity and agitation is handled, it will ensure that the deficit that exists in infrastructure is bridged.
“It will ensure that the enabling environment which does not exist is put in place, but most importantly, it will encourage wealth growth within the states.
“So all the innate skills that south easterners have been blessed with will come to bare, because the enabling environment within the enabling law have been put in place,” she said.
Oduah expressed optimism that the Commission when created, would be embraced and seen as a gap closure for the region to grow.
“The SEDC is also for all of us as Nigerians, it will give us another bottom up growth, because the economic growth that will come from the South East region will dovetail into a national growth for all,” she said.
Throwing more light on the content of the bill, Oduah, a former Minister of Aviation, explained that the Commission was to provide master plan for reduction of unemployment while also providing the master plan and schemes to promote the physical development of the South East.
She said that the ecological challenges, including flood and erosion which affected many in the South East, including her constituents in Anambra North, would also be addressed by the SEDC.
“It will also identify factors inhibiting the development of the South-East and assist member states on the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the region,” she added.
NAN reports in the bill, management board of the commission shall consist of the chairman and one representative each from Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States as well as representatives of Federal Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice.
The Bill is yet to be passed by the House of Representatives.