Ekeh tasks South East governors on Nnamdi Kanu’s release
The Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, has charged the five governors of the South-East to take up the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a one-point agenda to President Bola Tinubu, noting that a positive outcome on the issue will quell the restiveness in the region and usher in sustainable prosperity.
Ekeh made the call at the 2023 South-East Summit on Economy and Security in Owerri, Imo State capital.
In what was the highlight of the day’s session, Ekeh disclosed that no concrete investment or development would take place in an atmosphere of tension and insecurity. He urged the governors to put aside party affiliations to forge a common front to press for the release of the pro-Biafra agitator, Kanu.
In a statement, yesterday, Ekeh submitted that the South-East is a huge economy waiting to happen, adding that the region is blessed with abundant human capital, a new breed of outstanding leaders and willing investors ready to turn its fortunes around for good.
“The average Igbo youth is smart, energetic and imbued with a dose of spirituality. Equipped with the necessary tools in an enabling environment, these qualities can transform our youths into world-beaters and global champions. We also have quality leaders as governors in the five South East states with the confidence to transform the region, an example of which I witnessed yesterday with the unprecedented gesture of the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma to youths in the state. Working together, I believe we can site a centralised digital hub in the region, which will produce certified billionaires in the next few years.
“However, we must first take steps to secure the release of Nnamdi Kanu as this will instantly bring about a measure of calm and sanity in the region. Kanu is a critical factor in the security issues of the South East. President Bola Tinubu is not a stubborn or inconsiderate leader. I am sure he will listen. When he was governor of Lagos State, he took the advice of some of us to include deserving Igbos in his cabinet and this was how Ben Akabueze emerged,” he stated.
The well-attended summit had in attendance notable Igbo sons and daughters from various spheres of endeavour, including the five South East governors, serving ministers, members of the House of Representatives, captains of industries, top ranking officers from the military and other security services, academic dons and corporate eggheads, representatives of women and youth leaders, among others.
In his welcome address, Uzodinma, who doubles as Chairman, South-East Governor’s Forum, underscored the need for unity and oneness among people from the zone to rescue it from implosion.
He cited the spate of insecurity and the antics of non-state actors in the region, promising that the governors of South East would work together to ensure that Igboland returns to its previous glorious era.
“Participants must rise from the summit with a clear road map that our people will follow to regain the lost freedom and businesses without molestation and harassment. We must stop the senseless sit-at-home,” he maintained.
Uzodinma suggested the floating of South East Development Fund to undertake development research. He also hailed the planned dredging of Oguta Lake to the Atlantic Ocean as a step in the right direction, while commending Nnewi, Aba and Onitsha businessmen and women for exhibiting and sustaining the business spirit of Ndigbo.
On his part, Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, called for a 100-year development plan for the region. Soludo said the region must make all efforts to thrive despite the ongoing insecurity, adding that the South East zone is not the most insecure place in the world.
“It is very good to lament, but I would rather like to see a glass as half full than half empty.
The South East is ready for business. We must all believe in our ability to turn things around and get the South East going again. We need not just ourselves; we need Nigeria. Ndigbo needs Nigeria and Nigeria needs Ndigbo. Ndigbo needs Africa and the world and the world and Africa need Ndigbo. As itinerant people, we cannot be intolerant people. We need the partnership of everybody, partnership of the rest of the country, partnership of the Diaspora and partnership with the international community,” Soludo said.
For Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, dialogue represents the way forward in addressing the insecurity in the zone. He called for an understanding of the anger in the land, adding that leaders in the region must pursue justice, stamp out all forms of violence and stop the extortion of the poor by the rich.
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