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Stay-at-home: S’easterners Not Known For Laxity, Indolence

The Enugu State Governor, Dr Peter Mba, has said that governors of the South East region are committed to the eradication of the stay-at-home order on Mondays, because South easterners were not known for indolence, laziness and laxity. Mba, who spoke when the management of the Daily Telegraph Publishing Company Limited, publishers of the Telegraph titles, visited him in Enugu on Wednesday, also said that the order issued by non-state actors gives the impression to investors that governors were not in charge of the states, there- by driving away investors from the region.

Mba, who said that President Bola Tinubu and heads of security agencies had been of great help in stopping the menace, also pointed out that what the governors were doing collectively and individually was to eradicate the bitter memories of the stay-at- home order from the minds of the people, with a commitment needed to move the region ahead. He said: “With the support we got from the President and other heads of security agencies, today, what we are doing is to remove that sad memory from our history – to imagine that it never happened because it is not who we are as South Easterners.

We are known as people who work extremely hard; we are known for commerce, we are known for industry. We are not known for laxity and indolence.” He also said that he had to declare war on the stay- at-home order 48 hours after being sworn in because there needed to be a clean environment for businesses to operate and for investors to come. He said: “Because of our background, we realised that there are certain risks businesses cannot take. Security is one of them. You can take financial risk; you can take commercial risk. You can do your business research and analysis and it fails. Those are the things they are willing to take as risks.

“But with security, they are not designed to absorb that. So, we identified in- security as a big elephant in the room when we took over office. It was actually 48 hours after our swearing in that we declared that the stay-at-home thing must come to an end because even the optics was not good. “What it represents to investors out there is not good for our state. You cannot go to investors and tell them that things are okay – security and the first ques- tion they ask you is ‘what of the Monday’s stay-at- home’?

“Because it gives the impression that the government is not in charge, if non-state actors could give instructions and citizens obey them and are willing to heed to their orders. It sends a very negative signal. “And you talk about our school children, the impact it has on their schooling hours on Mondays. And you are going to be asking the investors to pay workers on the basis that they will not be productive. So, we felt that we had to be frontal. We elicited the support of security agencies and also the president and said that ‘look, this thing must come to an end.’

“I immediately had to meet Mr President and I said to him that if we were to keep our promises, we had to stop this thing.” He said that with the stoppage of the stay-at- home order, Enugu State is now ready to welcome investors, from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world, who have shown interest to invest in the state. He said it was important to Enugu to be in the lead to stop the rampage in the region because Enugu is the capital of the South East.

The Managing Director of Daily Telegraph Publishing Company, Mr Ayodele Aminu, who led the delegation, had praised the governor for his courage in leading the battle from the front, noted that it takes a focused and determined mind to identify such obstacles and remove them to achieve economic prosperity and development.

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