Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Centre, has urged Southeast governors to prioritize unity over discord to bolster the region’s economy. She made this appeal during her keynote address at the Southeast Summit on Economy and Security in Owerri, Imo State, where she commended the governors for their efforts to change the prevailing narrative.
Participating in the summit via Zoom, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala expressed her concern about the lack of unity among the governors but emphasized the tremendous human resources within the Igbo community, both locally and internationally.
She called upon the Southeast governors to convene an investment forum to identify and address impediments within the region, emphasizing the need to set aside disagreements and collaborate.
Furthermore, she encouraged the governors to engage in discussions with pharmaceutical companies and vaccine producers to establish a robust market chain within the region, citing the privatization of power as a potential facilitator. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also appealed to the governors to harness the abundant human resources among the Ndigbo to support the development of high-quality schools with the assistance of professors and the construction of quality hospitals by diaspora doctors, both of which would benefit the people.
During the summit, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, a former Senate President and the summit’s chairman, expressed concern about the rise in insecurity, potentially exacerbated by the inability of Igbo leaders to provide a strong, unified stance on the Biafran agitation. He called upon Igbo leaders to engage in constructive dialogues with the agitators to find lasting solutions to the issue, lamenting the transformation of the once peaceful region into a war zone where safety was no longer guaranteed.
Igwe Alfred Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, emphasized the restoration of Igbo values as a driving force for achieving economic goals. Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State welcomed his fellow governors to the event and pledged his commitment to the Ndigbo cause.
Governors Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, Alex Otti of Abia State, Peter Mbah of Enugu State, and Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State all affirmed their readiness to work towards the unity and safety of Ndigbo and the Southeast region.
Additionally, Chief Leo-Stan Ekeh, the founder of Zinox Computers, called for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), suggesting that it could help reduce criminal activities in the region that are sometimes masked as agitations.
The summit saw the participation of serving ministers, national assembly members from the region, traditional and religious leaders, as well as numerous other stakeholders. The summit is set to continue today.