Ohanaeze Council of Elders has said it is looking at the possibility of establishing a South-East University that will specialise in engineering, medicine, science and technology and skill acquisition.
The apex Igbo body also stated that the Igbo will not depend on the government anymore by ensuring that the region is industrialised.
This is according to a communique issued by the council at the end of the inaugural meeting of Ohanaeze Council of Business Leaders in Abuja.
Chairman of the Council, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, while reading the communique, said the meeting reflected on the past, examined the present circumstance and looked into the future of Nigerians of Igbo extraction.
“We have taken a decision today that we are not going to depend on the government again, we are going to take our destiny in our own palms by making sure that Igbo land is industrialised.
“We have carried out studies which revealed that in every field, if we work very hard without relying on the government since we know we have no one in power for now, we can develop our place.
“We have taken a decision to focus on education because it was actually the mainstay of our development,” Iwuanyanwu said.
He recalled that by 1960, the region had achieved great heights in education, industry and commerce.
This, he said, was made possible by education, adding that the Eastern region at that time, embarked on a functional education that helped in developing the area.
“And we think we are going to repeat that because education standards have gone down. We are determined today that we are going to change the narrative.
“We are setting up a committee on education that will look at education in Igbo land in the past, as it is today and what we want in the future.
“The committee will come out with suggestions within a month.
“It is likely that when the committee comes up with its report, we are going to build a South-East University which will specialise in medicine, engineering, science and technology and skill acquisition.
“Because skill acquisition is very important today so that our people can acquire entrepreneural skills,” Iwuanyanwu said.
He noted that the past of Igbos reflected a history of a people who by the grace of God conquered many obstacles to occupy an exalted position in Nigeria by 1960 when the country got her independence.
He added that unfortunately, subsequent sad events which culminated into a civil war cost tremendous losses to Igbos where many lives and properties including opportunities were lost.
He said at the end of the war, Igbos emerged from the rubbles with almost nothing to climb to a point of relevance in the Nigerian society because of their industrious nature.
“We need to count our blessings, name them one by one and give thanks to God for his mercies,” he said.
He added that a combination of malice and hatred had however marred the quest of Igbos to occupy the highest political position in the country.
While noting that political power in third world countries like Nigeria played a major role in development and self actualisation, Iwuanyanwu said Igbos were the highest contributors to Nigeria’s economy.
He added that in spite of limitations, Igbos were exploring their industrious and resourceful nature to succeed in most states of the federation.
He added that besides establishing the university, the council would also focus on agriculture, industrial development which would include cement manufacturing, tiles, textile ceramics production.
He said special focus would also be given to electricity generation for the region, using coal which was in abundant in the area as a source of power supply.
He noted that though the projects were capital intensive, it was achievable with the commitment of every Ohanaeze member and other stakeholders.
“We would have enough money to finances these projects with the financial and moral commitment of
“People who are well disposed can pay more and their contributions will be acknowledged. Members of the Council of Business Leaders will agree on membership registration fee,” he said.
Iwuanyanwu specially thanked governors in the region for their contributions towards advancing the course of the Igbo race.