Former Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme was the rallying figure as the Igbo in Anambra State pondered cohesion in the ethnic group, reports NWANOSIKE ONU
Individual effort or success is not enough; if the Igbo hope to expand their stake and relevance in the country and assert more influence, they must come together and speak with one voice.
That was the rallying cry of former vice president Dr. Alex Ekwueme as he spoke before a large gathering of Igbo political leaders and business executives in Amaokpala, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Self-pity is not an option, neither is putting the blame on someone else, Ndigbo were told.
The state governor Chief Willie Obiano also spoke in the same vein, as did a governorship hopeful Godwin Ezeemo.
No fewer than 57 traders described as most diligent in the 57 major markets in the state were honoured at the event, which was held at the Triple Tree Hotels in Amaokpala.
It attracted other eminent sons and daughters of the state including Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, a one-time governorship candidate.
It was organised by Anambra Consensus Project with Dr. Emeka Eze as its president. It was tagged the Southern Conference Traders Summit.
Dr. Ekwueme narrated how Ndigbo used to live and help one another in the olden days, when, according to him, there was unity among the people. He lamented that such unity had gone in Igbo land, adding that without such cohesion, Ndigbo would continue to wallow in self-pity.
He said the current economic recession in the country was caused by Nigerian’s dependence on importation.
Ekwueme said, “Ndigbo should come together as one for their voice to be heard, our people should unite and we have to be our brother’s keeper, otherwise we will remain where we are today.”
The state governor Willie Obiano, represented by secretary to the state government (SSG) Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, said Ndigbo should speak with one voice to get their fair share of the national cake. He said there must be a linkage between trade and industrialisation, adding that his administration would always partner with traders to move the state forward.
Also, speaking, the leader of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) in Anambra State, an entrepreneur, Sir Godwin Ezeemo, said what Ndigbo needed was sincerity among themselves.
Ezeemo who aligned himself with Ekwueme and Obiano’s speeches, said without such, the much touted unity would continue to elude Southeast.
The president of Anambra Consensus Project (ACP), Dr. Emeka Eze, said the 57 best practicing traders of the year would enjoy privileges courtesy of the group.
He said the (ACP) was committed to promoting Igbo ideology, oneness of Ndigbo and a united direction of Igbo growth and development, the reason, according to him that brought Ekwueme, Obiano, Ezeemo together among others.
He said, “It is of awesome note that out of the 57 major markets in the state, the smallest of them harnesses a daily turnover of N15 million, while the largest, erupts with an average of 260 million naira daily turnover”
Former governorship candidate of the United People’s Party (UPP) in the state, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, said nobody could pin Ndigbo down in the society.
He believed that the failure of the unity of Ndigbo was made possible by their leaders, adding that the leaders must show the way for others to follow.
One of the representatives of the awardees from cattle market in Awka-Etiti, Chief Felix O.M Okpalakunne, commended the organisers for finding them worthy of the awards.
Also, Ekwueme, Obiano, Ezeemo among others commended Anambra Consensus project for such an idea, adding that such groups could bring Ndigbo together again in the South East.
Furthermore the leaders said such a thing should be taken to our brothers and sisters in Delta, Rivers, Abia, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi for Ndigbo to come together to pursue their goal. The Nation