BY ANAYO OKOLI
UTURU — THE President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, Saturday, presided over a meeting of prominent Igbo leaders in a bid to produce a 50- year development plan for Ndigbo.
The Igbo leaders converged on the sleepy and serene Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, which serves as the headquarters of the World Igbo Summit Group, WISG, under the auspices of the Igbo Leaders, Elders and Collectives.
Among other issues, the meeting brainstormed on how to kick-start the implementation of the resolutions adopted during the last summit of the World Igbo, WISG, on the 50-year development plan. The resolutions addressed an all-encompassing development plan that would cover economic, political, cultural, educational as well as proper mentoring of the youths.
Proper mentoring of the youths
Among those present at the occasion were the former governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Chief Ike Nwachukwu, Chief Achuzie, former Governor of the Central Bank, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Prof. Joe Irukwu, Prof. George Obiozor and Dr. Greg Ibe.
Others included a former Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, the former Economic Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Osita Ogbu, Mrs. Josephine Aneni, Prof Viola Onwuliri, Dr Ifedi Okwenna, Mrs. Chidinma Uwajumogu and Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike as well as several traditional rulers and professionals in various walks of life among others.
The Ndigbo Development Plan 2066 is aimed at comprehensively tackling the development of Igbo land and would entail persuading Igbo entrepreneurs and investors all over the country and in Diaspora to think-home by bringing part of their investments and wealth home to ensure a prosperous home land. It was a collective opinion of all the speakers that Ndigbo have had enough talks over the problems bedevilling the race even as it was now time for collective action.
Addressing the meeting, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Achebe canvassed for strategic system that would propel the development of future leaders for Ndigbo to effectively execute the 50 year vision programme.
“We should start implementation, not just talking; we need good leaders to carry on with the programme. Nnamdi Kanu has a vision and he has the courage to ask questions on why an Igbo person is institutionally disadvantaged in the country. Let us not be ashamed of it, we are all Biafrans in spirit. We have to create opportunity for our youths to rise,” Achebe said further suggesting that a committee be established to kick-start the 50 -year development agenda.
Also speaking, Prof Soludo suggested the formation of Ohanaeze youth wings in all tertiary institutions in Igbo land saying it would help to inculcate the spirit of Ndigbo as well as help them key into the plan. Soludo said that the vision if well executed would not only ensure a prosperous homeland for the Igbo adding that “economic power is permanent while political power is ephemeral.”
Earlier, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nwodo, urged Ndigbo to be more diplomatic in pursuing their causes even as he warned against pushing Ndigbo to the wall. “I am here to encourage the people that have been doing this good work. There was a time Ohanaeze was lagging behind which led some patriotic Igbo to form some groups. At the last count, I have 48 groups. For me it is a good thing. We will encourage them to work with the Standing Committee of Ohanaeze so that their ideas would be harnessed for the good of Ndigbo.
“Since I was elected, I have been going round and talking to our people on the need to be one and speak with one voice which would give us greater strength. We will also be tactful and diplomatic in pursuing our cause, we should not be violent. But Igbo should not be pushed to the wall. These were a people given 20 Pounds after the civil war. We went to Lagos empty handed but today we have factories there; Igbo investment in Lagos is huge; half of the buildings in Abuja are owned by Ndigbo, we want them to bring some of them home,” Nwodo said.
He announced that he had reconciled the South East governors who had resumed their meetings as well as promised to make it regular. He also said he had visited Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and would soon visit Governor Okowa of Delta State in an effort to bring together all Igbo in every state.
“Ohanaeze of today is not Ohanaeze of the past. The Ohanaeze you have today is not Ohanaeze of job-for-job-seekers. The leaders now are tested people whom you should trust. Development of Igbo land is the job for everybody,” he added. Nwodo also condemned the militarization of Igbo land with the attendant mounting of road blocks and extortion of money from motorists, saying he had gone round and did not see such in any other part of the country.