By Peter Nwasike
The various professionals of Igbo extraction have been urged to embrace creativity and patriotism so that they could use their natural ingenuity and resourcefulness to produce items for their mercantilism and consumption and in so doing, achieve economic independence.
This advice was made by Igwe (Dr) Alex Ilouno, Traditional Ruler of Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area, Anambra State, when he delivered keynote address to the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), at their 2018 INDEPENDENCE SUMMIT, held at Beautiful Gate, Hotel, Awka, on October 18, 2018. The Theme of the lecture was "NIGERIA, SINCE INDEPENDENCE 1960, SO FAR, HOW FAR, FOR THE IGBO NATION?"
Igwe Ilouno opined that Igbo indigenes contributed immensely to achieving Independence in 1960, as evidenced in the roles they played, especially, through Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and also in growing the economy through the exploits of Chief Odumepwu Ojukwu, who became a successful merchant in Lagos, branched to Onitsha in Eastern Nigeria, and crowned it with transportation industry, with many vehicles. In 1956 when Queen Elizabeth II of England, visited the British Territory of Nigeria, Ojukwu loaned them the luxurious car with which the British Monarch cruised round Nigeria.
Igwe Ilouno reminded them that Igbo Nation extended very far to include the present Rivers State, Delta State, Akwa Ibom State etc. He opined that the present Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, was called “Igwe-Ocha” by Igbos, who were the original indigenes of the place. But when The British colonized the place, they called it a "port," where their ship landed, and so named it after the name of their leader, Mr. Harcourt, as "PORT HARCOURT” The Royal father said that having taken into cognizance of the extensive Igbo race, both in landmass and population, they have large population of men and materials to absorb their invention for flourishing market to create a prosperous Nation. He reminded them that Igbo indigenes are ubiquitous in all parts of the word, especially in Nigeria and as successful entrepreneurs, they should cultivate the virtues of THINK HOME" philosophy, and expand their businesses to Igbo land of the Five States of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo to create wealth and employment opportunities and achieve economic independence.
The Dean of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Awka, Prof (Mrs.) Chinyere Stella Okunna, applauded the intelligence and ingenuity of Igbo men which makes them to triumph in their endeavours in academic, exploits and business entrepreneurship. She urged them to exhibit such excellence in unity among them, so that political affairs, which direct economic interests, could be achieved to their advantages.
She predicted that the present political activities, where Igbos are moving closer to the Seat of Power, with competent materials, especially in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the prospects of Vice President for Igbo, all hands should be on deck to achieve it, irrespective of political leanings.
The National President of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (ASAN) Engr. (Chief) Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola, commended the Anambra Branch, for being consistent in hosting the annual seminar, which is to remind professionals of their responsibility to combine patriotism and ingenuity and produce goods for service to their fatherland. He enjoined them to be diligent in producing quality goods, which compare favouraly with -their foreign counterparts, and invariably, Government shall be forced to ban importation of such goods, to allow local industry to flourish.
The Chairman of the occasion, Igwe Benedict Emeka of Umueri, commended them for sensitizing the people towards local industrialization, and pledged that as an entrepreneur, he shall practicalise the recommendations of APBN and also expressed delight that he is made a Patron of the association.
Eminent professionals were inducted as Board of Trustees (.BOT) of the union, among them Prof. Mrs Chinyere Okunna, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonkwo, Engr. Martin Agbili, Prof (Engr.) Christopher Ihueze, end many others. The Chairman of APBH, Anambra State, Lady Chinwe Nnedum, expressed delight that their guests, patrons and patronesses, honoured their invitation to make 1 the occasion a success.