Eighteen months after Oba Rilwan Osuolale Akiolu the Oba of Lagos threatened that Igbo people living in the state would drown in the lagoon if they do not vote the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate in the 2015 governorship election, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, says people of Igbo extraction should have taken it in good faith.
Obi Achebe who delivered a lecture titled: ‘Think Nigeria, Invest in Anambra-‘Aku Lue Uno,’ part of six month long activities marking the 25th Anniversary of Anambra state, said the Oba indirectly advised Igbo that their investments in Lagos were at risk, should the owners of the state change their mind against them.
He told the gathering of intellectuals, industrialists, traditional rulers, politicians and civil servants among others at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre Awka that according to available statistics, Igbo own over 60 per cent of real estate in Abuja and Lagos, leaving their home states with little or nothing they can fall back on should there be any eventuality in Nigeria.
Igwe Achebe pointed especially to Anambra, where he said Governor Willie Obiano has created a socially, stable and viable environment for investments to thrive.
Translating ‘Aku Lue Uno’ as “indigenisation of wealth”, Achebe advised Igbo to think like the Jews who are not just investors in the Diaspora, but have very strong investment base at home.
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Tracing the history of Nigeria from independence, Obi Achebe wondered if Igbo are not the least prepared to face project Nigeria, whether it is restructured, breaks ups or whatever, because they chose to be divided along political lines to the extent that Ministers who served in the previous administration or those serving now do not communicate with Governor Willie Obiano, for instance, just because they do not belong to the same political party.
He wondered that although many people may not be happy with how things are in the country, whether “we are ready to survive under any eventuality? Do Igbo have clarity of the country they want?”
This is contrary, he said of other major ethnic groups who have prepared their home front and are awaiting whatever may happen in future.
Obi Achebe acknowledged that Igbo are the most dispersed tribe in Nigeria and yet have not learnt that to community life instead of individualism is the best form of preserving their destiny.
He advised Igbo to bear in mind that the long term interest of their business can only be achieved in a fair country and to factor long term interest of their investment and be prepared to negotiate the restructure of the country from position of strength.
They should progressively diversify homewards and make Igbo land a power house.
To make progress, Obi Achebe said, Igbo must stop being hostage in other people’s domain; restart core Igbo moral values, change their attitude; balance their individual competitiveness with communal life while home government should create enabling environment to attract Igbo investors, among other things.