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The Director-General of World Trade Centre, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has appealed to Southeast governors to eschew bitterness, and embrace togetherness to boost the economy of the region in order to save it from total collapse.
Okonjo-Iweala made the call yesterday when she addressed stakeholders as the keynote speaker at the ongoing Southeast summit on economy and security in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The WTO DG, who joined the conference via zoom, bemoaned the governors’ lack of cohesion but applauded them for having the guts to alter the narrative.
She claimed that despite a large population being dispersed over the globe and performing well, Igbo have great human resources.
The former Nigerian finance minister called on the Southeast governors to convene an investment forum to examine the cause of blockages within the zone and how to address them, saying they should eschew bickering and work together.
She also requested that the governors begin talks with pharmaceutical firms and vaccine producers on how to establish a market chain in the zone, arguing that it is possible now that power has been privatised.
The head of the WTO also urged the governors to make the most of the enormous Ndigbo human resource by assisting professors in creating top-notch schools and diaspora physicians in creating top-notch hospitals, arguing that doing so will draw in more people.
A former Senate President, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, who was the chairman of the summit, lamented that the rising spate of insecurity may be a result of the inability of Igbo leaders to make a strong statement and define their position in the Biafran agitation.
He charged the Igbo leaders to engage the agitators in a robust discussion to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Anyim regretted that the once peaceful zone had turned into a war zone where safety was no longer guaranteed.
The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe called for the restoration of Igbo values to drive economic goals.
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo state welcomed his brother governors to the state and declared 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 declared their readiness to work for the unity and safety of Ndigbo and the zone.
On his part, founder of Zinox computers, Chief Leo-Stan Ekeh called for the release of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu saying it will help to reduce criminality in the zone masked as agitations.
The event was attended by serving ministers, national assembly members of the zone, traditional and religious leaders, and several others. The summit continues today.