Enugu – The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, has appealed to the people of the South East to invest at home to stem the rising tide of joblessness in the zone.
In a message to the First Business Conference of Igbo Leaders organised by Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) in Enugu on Friday, Achebe noted that the South East was in dire need of workplaces to absorb the thousands of youths roaming the streets, villages and neighbourhoods.
“The recent development points to the fact that we need all concerted efforts to create jobs, especially by our illustrious sons and daughters investing here in the South East.
“We as a people must come and invest to create the confidence which will attract other people and even foreign investors.
“Our people have thousands of job-creating investments outside Igboland and the country; however, we want a change of focus and for them to look home, think home and invest home,’’ he said.
The monarch lauded ADF for organising the conference, saying that it is apt, especially now that the challenge of unemployment is glaring.
Earlier, the publisher of Orient Newspapers, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, called on budding and existing entrepreneurs from the area to find a way of partnering and working together so that their enterprise could survive the test of time.
“We are not saying you carry investment made outside back home; no, but we are of the view that further investment and expansion of these businesses should be done or reflected in Igboland.
“Profit made by our illustrious sons and daughters in their businesses outside should be ploughed back to the South East for the economic uplift of our people,’’ Ezeemo said.
He also encouraged the industrialists, academia and politicians to find practical solution in changing the alarming unemployment rate in the zone.
The President of ADF, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, noted that the three-day conference was designed as a soul-searching session for Igbo people to understand where they got it wrong in the past two decades.
“For about 20 years, most industries and workplaces in Igboland have gone moribund while those still in production are at low ebb,’’ Nwala said.
The conference has the theme “Rebuilding and Development of Igbo Nation: Think Home, Invest Home.