From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Many in the country know that Onitsha in Anambra State is the commercial nerve centre of the South-East.
It is said that the Onitsha Main Market alone generates a daily turnover of about N3.6 billion while put together with other markets in and around it, the daily turnover would be about N6.9 billion.
Indeed, Anambra State parades other major markets whose commercial ventures had turned around the fortunes of both the government and the private sector to the extent that today traders in the state own the biggest estates, filling stations, and other ventures.
But unfortunately, most of these traders run their own show unrecognized. They generate their own light, provide private water for domestic use and are probably remembered whenever government needs to collect revenue or campaign for elective postitions.
Probably in a bid to chart a new course for the traders, a group, the Anambra Consensus Project (ACP), recently beamed its searchlight on 57 major markets in the state to give the traders a giant leap to link up with the outside world.
The group organised a Traders Summit and Conference at Amaokpala community, Orumba North LGA where 57 traders selected from each of the major markets in the state were not only honoured, but would be given different opportunities to showcase their business to the global stage.
Anambra Consesus Project is a non-governmental organization that strives to create tight associations and relationships amongst Anambrarians and the residents by bringing relevant issues before the people for awareness, understanding and decision making.
According to the organizers, the Project was motivated by five major objectives: Recognitions and Encouragement, Fostering Close Relationships, Creating Developmental Direction, Search for Qualitative Leaders and Creating Statewide and International Interaction.
The President of the group, Prince Dr Emeka Eze, Chief Medical Director of Toronto Hospital, Onitsha and a Prince of the Ukpo Royal Dynasty, Dunukofia LGA, in a speech noted that the summit decided to encourage, recognize, uplift, and empower 57 best practicising traders in the year 2016 each diligently selected.
The medical practitioner said that the 57 best practicing traders of the year would enjoy privileges courtesy of the Anambra Consensus Project.
He noted that apart from receiving certificates of recognitions, the group has gone ahead to apply and register their certificates in up to four embassies and high commissions which would enhance the visa opportunities of the traders as they visit suppliers, manufacturers and other trading communities overseas.
He also said that the summit would elevate the social values, moral ethics, diligence and professionalism of traders while the ethical traders would hoist their resumes on a hyper-specialty website created and linked with popular trade stations and sites globally.
Dr Eze said that the group remains committed in promoting Igbo ideology, oneness of the Igbo, as well as a unified direction for Igbo growth and development
Former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme who was a guest speaker during the summit bemoaned lack of unity and brotherliness among the Igbo nation now, describing it as the bane of development in the South-East.
He said that going by the strong enterprising spirit of the Igbo and their love for the progress of their brothers, people of the North used to see the Igbo as those next to the white man after creation by God.
He called for another era of real love and spirit of assisting one’s neighbour to success and partnership instead of individualism so that Ndigbo can rise again.
Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, urged traders in the state to be truthful in their dealings so that they can make a difference.
He said that the state government would continue to partner with the traders because he believes in the linkage between trade and commerce with industrialization which forms part of his five pillars of development.
Also an industrialist, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, in a brief note on entrepreneurship indentified sincerity and truthfulness as core thrusts of a good entrepreneur.
He said that Ndigbo are born entrepreneurs, advising them to strive to retain the spirit even as he cautioned those in apprenticeship against stealing from their masters.
Also, former governorship candidate in Anambra, Dr Alex Obiogbolu, in a remark called on the government to make life meaningful both for the traders and the general public.
Some of the of the traders who were recognized during the summit included, Okeke Chiedozie Joe, Best Trader in Onitsha Main Market; Innocent Chukwuemeka Nwosu, Best Trader in International Textile Market, Onitsha; and Nzekwe Samuel Nwachukwu from Ogbaru Main Market.
The award winners in their separate speeches said the organizers have spurred them into more positive action for productivity based on ethics and good behaviour.