“WHAT Ndigbo have always required of the Nigerian federation is a level playing field and basic infrastructure to unleash our industry, intellect, and enterprise. But our ability to create these necessary conditions, where none exists, to enable us thrive as a people, stands us out from the crowd. For instance, in the aftermath of the civil war and the attendant policies that left us grossly disadvantaged, Ndigbo, by sheer will and industry, bounced back, much sooner than ever expected.” –
Ike Ekweremadu The above captures the essence of an Igbo person. There is no tribal group that embodies the spirit of one Nigeria more than the Igbo. Members of the Igbo ethnic group are more comfortable living in any part of the country than any other group. The Igbo have a nationalistic view of the country and embody patriotic inclination to live in all areas of the country. Thus, the group lives in almost every remote part of Nigeria where its members have significantly contributed to the economy of their areas of abode. In most cases, the Igbo have been the sole engine that powers the economy of those areas they reside because of their unique ingenuity and resourcefulness. Despite the group’s benevolence and uncanny predisposition to enhance the socioeconomic conditions of the areas its members reside; they have been oftentimes treated with scorn. But with resilient attitude, Igbo people have thrived in all realms.
In an effort to commercialize and industrialize Nigeria, the people have conspicuously neglected their homeland; southeast geopolitical zone has suffered from the investment infusions that could have sparked enormous economic development in the area. The dearth of investment capital in the Igboland has consequently created unprecedented youth and unemployment.
Well, capital migration from Igboland to other parts of Nigeria has recently been the subject of discussion in many quarters. Many people argue that wealthy Igbo people would prefer to invest in other parts of the nation to the economic detriment of Igboland. Many people have weighed in raising the consciousness of the people about the need to rebuild Igboland. Last year, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah spoke eloquently in America about the need for the people to invest massively in Igboland. Dr. Ubah has translated his words into action. Ubah has invested massively in Nnewi/Ozoubulu. His project there is still on-going.
Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President has recently called on the people to rebuild Igboland. Likening World Igbo Congress as a corporate body and its fervent members as the Nehemiahs of our time, Sen. Ekweremadu told Ndi-Igbo in the Diaspora that they have an important role to play in rebuilding their home. He said in his address at the recently concluded World Igbo Congress Convention in New York that Nigeria needs them; and expressed gratitude to Igbo leaders. Ekweremadu said, “I salute Ndigbo in the Diaspora, especially the WIC for standing up as the Nehemiahs of our time and for sustaining this Convention as a platform for rallying our people to rebuild and restore the social, economic, and political fortunes of Igbo Land in particular and Nigeria in general.” Below are more excerpts of Senator Ekweremadu’s address:
Ekweremadu said, “You could have buried your heads in the sand like the ostrich and cared less about the state of affairs at home as you enjoy the comforts and blessings that other lands provide you. But you have remained focused on mustering Igbo human and material resources to better the land of your fathers.” Ekweremadu continued, “I align myself totally with the 2016 Convention theme: “K’anyi mezie alaigbo”. It is apt and in tune with the times as a rallying call for Ndigbo. When read together with your 2015 theme, we have: “k’anyi mezie alaigbo, maka n’agwo no n’akirika”. You have also done well by going further to table for discussion those dire issues, those ‘snakes’, affecting the security, welfare, and prosperity of Ndigbo in contemporary Nigeria.”
“I believe our major challenge, as the years went by, has been our dwindling ability to mobilise our human and material resources to make the needed quantum leap in Igbo Land. Although we have several Igbo-socio cultural, political, and intelligentsia organisations, we have not been quite successful at aggregating them maximally to the benefit of our people. I, therefore, believe that the WIC should brace up as a more-encompassing and broader platform for harnessing the immense resources of our people to respond to the challenges of our time.”
On taming the herdsmen scourge, Ekweremadu said, “While we await restructuring, however, I subscribe to your fears that the incessant havoc wrecked by suspected herdsmen in Igbo Land and other parts of the country is unacceptable in any civilized society. It comes with monumental socio-economic consequences and, in fact, poses both present and future dangers to our very existence as a people. I commend the efforts of our various state governments in managing the situation. But we must go further to take every legitimate step to end this menace lest our people, whose patience is obviously overstretched, resort to self-help. This will create bigger problems than what we have at hand.”
In his conclusion, Ekweremadu said, “Finally, Igbo nwem, I will not leave you with the impression that the role of Nehemiah, which you have elected to play at this point in Igbo history, will be an easy task. There will be all sorts of daunting challenges, including the discouragement and, sometimes, outright sabotage by the Tobiahs and Sanbalats. But I can only assure us that with determination, vigilance, forbearance of one another, self-sacrifice, and clear vision, this noble project will triumph. Yes, working in one accord, we can bring back the glorious days and build an Igbo land of our dreams, which our forebears and posterity will be proud of. Ka anyi lotanu na onye kwe, chi ya ekwe.”