Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, advised South-East governors and Igbos to invest in the five states of the zone on Tuesday so that it may be further developed.
Anyim provided the recommendation at a two-day 2nd Eastern Nigeria Investment Summit in Enugu.
The theme of the Summit was “Ibu Anyi Danda,” which means the magic of togetherness and common purpose.
Anyim said that the region’s rulers and citizens should collaborate to invest in and develop the area.
He said that unity of purpose with shared motive, benefit, and mutual survival would allow them to pool their resources, skills, and ideas for the region’s benefit.
Anyim asked them to imitate the late Premier of the former Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara, who brought industrialization and infrastructural development to the region under the First Republic.
He reminded the audience that upon assuming government in 1960, Okpara had the issue of improving the level of life for the people.
He said that with the help and cooperation of regional stakeholders, Okpara was able to alleviate the misery of the people by implementing his government’s development strategy.
“At 39, he was able to invest in critical areas such as human capital development, industrialization, entrepreneurship, agriculture, and others, to stimulate the entire region.
“He attracted the participation of the private sector and divest government interest to the private sector and the region was rated the fastest developing economy in the world,” Anyim said.
While calling on South-East governments to supply industries and infrastructure to develop the region, Anyim said that despite federal allocations to states, those in the region had failed to capitalize on the region’s economic prospects.
Anyim highlighted that “visionary leaders” such as Chief Jim Nwobodo and Chief Sam Mbakwe were instrumental in the development of Enugu and Imo states via the supply of infrastructure and the establishment of industries, respectively.
He said that investors would have trust if governments provided insurance, protection, assistance, and infrastructure to ensure the success of their investments.
Anyim responded to the question of why Igbos were establishing locations other than their own by stating that leaders must create an atmosphere that complements the efforts of others.
“This complement is more practical in technological businesses. If you support me and I support you, we complement each other and together we can do anything,” he said.
However, Anyim advised Igbos to contribute to the development of their region, while governments should give a thriving atmosphere and infrastructure.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Summit Planning Committee, Mr. Jasper Nduagwuike, said that the purpose of the event was to showcase the opportunities in the eastern area and how to use them to improve the lives of the people.
According to him, the purpose of the theme is to teach the Igbo that nothing is impossible if they are able to use all of their available resources.
Nduagwuike, who is also the President of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (ECCIMA), said that “Ibu Anyi Danda” was the Igbo people of the 1970s who took strength from one another and were able to rebound from the 30-month civil war and construct what we have today
Different craftsmen in Aba have joined together to manufacture the finest garments and footwear, he said.