No fewer than 57 eminent business leaders of Igbo extraction were yesterday commissioned as a team to finance and develop economic activities in Igboland.
President-general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador George Obiozor who inaugurated the committee over the weekend in Abuja, also charged Ndigbo to critically harness the potentials and resources that abound in the region and stop lamenting over their situation in the country.
Members of the committee are Chief E.C. Iwuanyanwu (Chairman), Amb. Okey Emuche (Secretary), Prof. Charles Nwaekeaku, Sen. Orji Uzo Kalu, Sen. T.A Orji, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezife, Sen. Chief Chris Ngige, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Dr. Okweslieze Nwodo, and Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani as members.
Others are Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, Chief Martin Elechi, Sen. Sam Egwu, Sen. Pius Anyim, Chief Achike Udenwa, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, Dr. Peter Odili, Chief Chibuike Amaechi, Chief Celestine Omehia, Chief Ned Nwoko, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Tony Elumelu, Sen. Ken Nnamani, Prof. Barth Nnaji, Sen. Joy Emodi, Chief Dr. ABC Orjiako, Dr. Mrs Stella Okoli, Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu, Prof. Maurice Iwu and also a representative of World Igbo Congress.
There are also Chief Pascal Dozie, Chief. Leo Stan Ekeh, Mrs Kema Chikwe, General Ike Nwachukwu, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke, Navy Captain JNJ Aneke, Air Commodore Anthony Ogugua, Igwe A.N Anichebe (Obi of Onitsha), Amb. L.0.C Agubuzu, Eze Cletus Iromuanya, Chief Gbazuagu Nwaeke Gbazuagu, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Chief S.N Okeke, Prince Arthur Eze, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Chief Victor Odili, Dr. Uche Ogah, Chief Emeka Okwuosa, Dr Dan Chukwudozie, Chief Charles Amadi, Chief Cletus Ibeto, Captain Emma, Iheanacho, Prince Alex Mbata, Chief Allen Onyema, and Chief Herbert Nwaigwe.
Addressing the gathering of eminent personalities, the Ohanaeze president general said, “We have all that it takes to deliver succor, development and a better and sustainable society for millions of our people and indeed Nigeria. In this wise, our focus will be on economic activities that will engage our youths through employment opportunities and acquisition of skills in line with our known entrepreneurship models, harnessing of potentials in the agriculture value chain through processing, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which are the comer stones of the Aslan economics, ICT to mention but these.
“Like the Motto of the American Marines to wit: it takes only a few good men and women to locate a way forward which others will follow. I am conscious of the fact that the tasks we have set for ourselves will not be easy to achieve but I am happy in the knowledge that they are doable and that we are on the right historical path.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I had since my assumption of office last year implored our people to put a stop to lamentations and critically harness the potentials and resources history and geography combined to hoist on our shoulders.
“I therefore wish to observe that the event of today demonstrates our determined effort to tell our story in a more positive light. In this connection, It Is important to Indicate that membership of the Committee will be expanded as the need arises. This will help to enrich the ideas and mode of operation of the Committee. Additionally as part of the decisions of the Imeobi meeting several other Committees will be established to handle critical sectors that impact on our people.”
He also thanked Iwuanyanwu, the chairman of the 57 committee, for his sterling contributions towards the growth of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide as a body and the Igbo Nation and Nigeria in all segments of human endeavour.
In his response, Iwuanyanwu, who noted the need for political power in the attainment of economic prosperity, said it was unfortunate that the South East and North Central zones are least favoured to win presidency in Nigeria going by North/South zoning arrangement.
“We have been talking about political power, political power, in any country, political power is very important. Let us make no mistake about it. Somebody occupying the position of president has enormous power. And with the kind of constitution we are operating today, it is a very powerful position.
“The truth is that it is clear to me that the obstacle there, unless there is zoning; they have zoned it now, they said it is not North/ South. But I am telling you this, it is not fair. If you want to zone, we have six geo-political zones, zone it along the geo-political zones. If you know you want to zone. You say you are zoning it North and South. If you zone it to the North, there is no way somebody from North Central will get it, unless there is mutual cooperation from the North West. The North West is very big.
“Now, if you zone it to South, even if a zone in the South has been president several times, by this zoning arrangement, it doesn’t stop them from contesting; which is not exactly what zoning is all about.
“Zoning is to make the position go round. But that zoning North and South, which means if it comes to South, it can go anywhere is against us. If you look at the local government, the local government in the whole of the South East; Kano and Jigawa have more local governments than the whole of the South East.”
He added that power derives from the party through the delegates.
“It became clear to me that unless Nigeria comes to the reality of what federal character is all about; afterall when it comes to qualification, formerly they were blaming it on Igbo domination. When it comes to merit, they will say Igbo domination.
“Now, it has come to political power, we were not there when local governments were created, it was created by the military, now they say when it comes to the South, the South should go and agree, you know it is not fair,” he said.