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Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, has revealed ongoing endeavours between the paramount Igbo socio-cultural body and relevant stakeholders to establish a seaport within the South East region.
Speaking with newsmen on Monday evening, Chief Iwuanyanwu emphasised that due to the substantial investments and active involvement of the populace in trade and commerce, the South East region is well justified in its need for a fully operational seaport.
His outlook was one of positivity, as he expressed his belief that the ongoing attempts to secure the participation of key stakeholders in connection with the proposal would yield favourable outcomes.
‘Very soon we will build new cities in Igbo land. We also expect a seaport. We want Igbo land to be attractive, and our children to be proud of Igbo land before I die.’
Chief Iwuanyanwu, who voiced apprehensions about the disappointment felt by Igbo youths, affirmed Ohanaeze’s dedication to creating the requisite conditions to rejuvenate hope and aspirations.
He implored Igbo youths to uphold peace and continue nurturing their enterprising zeal and creative prowess, attributes that have enabled them to endure challenging circumstances across the years.
‘We want to give hope and future to our youths so that even after our death they will be proud of us and Igbo land.’
‘Time has come for us to change the narrative and leave an enduring legacy for the youths.’
‘We must industrialise our land and stop waiting for anybody. Now is the time’, Iwuanyanwu said
Adding more context, Chief Iwuanyanwu alluded to the possibility of the revival of the dormant Nkalagu cement industry, indicating that its operational reestablishment could occur before the end of this year.
He noted that the committee he had previously put in place with that designated responsibility has achieved significant achievement.
He emphasised that given the ample availability of limestone, the fundamental raw material required for cement manufacturing in the South East, the zone has the capacity to meet the cement demand of the entire African continent.’We have lime stone in abundance in the South East. Nkalagu cement industry will soon be revived. We can supply the whole of Africa with cement.’
Chief Iwuanyanwu bemoaned the fact that there are no operational oil refineries or gas industries in the South East, despite the considerable oil reserves present in the zone.
‘In Igbo land, we are sitting on top of the largest gas reserve in Africa. They need to be developed to provide job opportunities for our youths.’
Chief Iwuanyanwu hinted at upcoming efforts to make substantial investments in the agricultural sector, in a manner that echoes the agricultural revolution overseen by the late Premier of the Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara.
‘With agriculture alone, we don’t even need oil anymore. By the time we start our agric revolution, Igbo land will become the pride of Africa’.
Elaborating further, Chief Iwuanyanwu shared that Ohanaeze has additional intentions of revitalizing Igbo culture and positioning it as a major export commodity within the country. He revealed the establishment of a committee, headed by the Obi of Onitsha, HRM Igwe Alfred Achebe, to facilitate this initiative.