By Joe Anatune
The above headline is an adaptation of the popular coinage of James Carville, the Campaign strategist of former American President, Bill Clinton, in 1992, to underscore the importance of a struggling economy in an election matrix and the life of the people. Carville probably had Nigeria and Anambra of today in mind, as we are experiencing the worst recession in the last three decades.
Therefore, for the Anambra 2021 election, it is our well considered opinion that “it is the economy, stupid.” But the world has moved on since 1992. Economy is still key but what Economy?
Truth is that technology has altered the way we live, work and enjoy. We cannot wish away the reality that the world is now in the 4th industrial revolution and apparently moving to the 5th, where there is increasing convergence of machines and humanity. We must either adapt or become laggards and slowly fade away. I don’t mean to frighten you, but we will ‘die’ if we fail to adapt to these fast paced and split-second changes wrought by technology.
Luckily, Anambra has visionary and capable men and women, who can shepherd us to this new, emerging world that is borderless and where those that will thrive must have global mindsets. For instance, we must produce and educate, for the world to partake in this new global economy that knows no borders or boundaries.
No doubt, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo stands tall among this Galaxy of men and women. Recall it was he, who saved Nigeria from the adverse effects of the 2008/2009 global financial meltdown that nearly brought the world to its knees. He achieved this by making our banks big, strong and reliable in the process.
Soludo is never tired of talking and explaining of the need for a paradigm shift and more importantly, that the next glory of Anambra will largely be in the sectors that are now referred to as ‘The New Economy.’ He is in a hurry to ignite a totally disruptive mind shift that will save us the headache of what famous marketing scholar, Theodore Levitt called marketing myopia in his seminal publication in Harvard Business Review in 1960. Marketing myopia is an unprofitable devotion to ventures which eras are over or obsolete, due to shortsightedness of changes spurned by technology, innovation or consumer preferences. Marketing myopia happens as unplanned obsolescence of an offering in an industry with new configurations.
Soludo, who has been globally acknowledged for his gift of seeing tomorrow, tells us that Anambra’s new streams of economic prosperity in the digital world lie in the new Economy. Let me attempt to demystify Soludo’s new streams of prosperity that will accrue from the new economy.
Not long ago, three young boys who work under my watch, and who incidentally hail from Anambra state conceptualised an app that seeks to solve payment of transport fares in Lagos. They participated in a competition by one of the banks, won and received a princely sum as prize money. The prize was seed money for them to commercialize their innovation. They are now in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria and if things work out fine, the sky will be their starting point.
The richest man in the world today, Jeff Bezos, is a trader like most of our people. He has no products of his own. The same goes for the biggest transport company and hospitality company. It is spreading to more sectors and it is called e-commerce. The bricks and mortar wholesalers and retailers are in danger of marketing myopia. The party may not be completely over, but the guests will be few and far between.
There are many other instances which Soludo has been making a sing-song in his various public and private interventions. Pointedly, the new Economy are the following sectors – entertainment, tourism, technology, fashion, sports and e-commerce. These are where the new prosperity lie and will hugely crystallise in the promised land; the liveable, safest, most prosperous and happiest Anambra Smart Megacity in Africa, which he envisions as the umbrella for the development that will cater for the 38 million people that will live in Anambra state in the next 50 years.
These fecundities of his tried, tested and trusted thought process remain the iron lore for the clamour for him to come back home and take charge after Governor Obiano.
This weekend, November 28, 2020, Anambra elites will storm the ancient town of Igboukwu in Aguata Local Government Area to urge and encourage him to join the race for Anambra 2021. The beauty of Igboukwu being the first town for this elites’ Soludo convention is that Igboukwu is an epicentre of arts and culture. The significance is that arts will meet Soludo Solution as Igboukwu will be primed to lead in enthroning the new Economy in tourism in Anambra state. It is still economy stupid for the post-recession and post-oil Anambra Economy. Prof. Chukwuma Soludo is the solution! And like the Thailand destination advertisement, Anambra will surely smile with Soludo.
*Anatune writes from Awa in Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra State