JUST IN: Igbo leaders make case for construction of Unity City in SE zone

By Anthony Isibor

AS the long awaited South East Summit on Economy and Security draws near, some prominent Igbo leaders of thought have called for the construction of a unity city as a driving force towards the beginning of a new South Eastern Nigeria.

Ambassador Umunna Orjiako, Simon N Okeke, Ken Emechebe, Sen Anthony Agbo, Prof Okey Ikechukwu, Ambassador Ozo Nwobu, Arc Ferdin Agu, who made the proposal, agreed that the South East must come together to build a Unity Megacity that will be a Centre of Industry, Hi-tech, Finance, Commerce, Sports, Culture, Entertainment, Tourism, Knowledge, Learning, and healthcare…..CONTINUE READING HERE

The envisioned Unity City is to be situated at Alaigbo; a location that cuts across portions of the five eastern states.

“It is as if providence was in conspiracy with man and geography at the creation of the five core-Igbo States to presciently map out an all-inclusive territory as the location of a dazzling Megalopolis, comprising generous territorial portions of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States,” the leaders said.

According to them, there are no other zones in the federation with this kind of shared meeting point.

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Presenting the case, the Igbo leaders expressed optimism that this can become a major driver for development as exemplified by Dubai City, which was virtually a desert about 40 years ago.

They therefore called on the Leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo acting as Anchor but not the Lead to:

i] Lobby and obtain the buy-in of the five S.E. Governors, State Houses of Assembly, affected LGAs, prominent Traditional Rulers, elected and appointed Igbo political office holders;

ii] Outreach to Rivers State Government for collaboration to lease from the Federal Government, expand and modernize PH Port to take big ocean-going vessels under Regular International Maritime laws and regulations unencumbered by war zone and/or other non-competitive classifications;

iii] Outreach with Rivers State Government. to the Federal Government. for construction of a man-made canal connecting the sea to the Southeastern hinterland via Oguta, Imo and the Orashi rivers;

iv] Canvass and establish a Southeast Megacity Development Fund, SEMCDF, run by world-class professionals on purely investment and profit motif – no free donations, no government ownership or management role, only investment as in stakeholders and shareholders;

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v] Create a Sensitization and Outreach Committee to undertake missions of publicity and securing public and diaspora buy-in. The Committee should be able to attract to the S.E. Megacity Development Fund, a significant percentage (25% minimum) of the vaunted diaspora remittances estimated at between $25 billion and $35 billion annually. There couldn’t be much exaggeration in claiming that, on aggregate, the bulk of these remittances originate from the Igbo diaspora in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and elsewhere. Any diaspora contributions to the SEMCDF must be based strictly on commercial-investment terms;

vi] Attract foreign and local investors such as State and Local Governments, Foreign and Domestic Private Firms, Companies, SMEs and large foreign corporations, as well as High-worth Individuals;

vii] Establish a Megacity Development Authority, MDA, – feasibility study, surveys, planning, mapping, designs, construction, infrastructure and management – with State Governments’ representation but not control, membership strictly on the basis of professionalism related to urban development and allied competences.

Case for a Megacity in Igbo land.

According to the presenters, the story of the Igbo nation in Nigeria has been a mixed bag of triumphs, successes, failures and tragedies from which lessons were neither learned nor the consequences properly managed. In fact, the Igbo present an apt narrative that validates the truism – That those who ignore or fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The sad irony is that history is inanimate and cannot repeat itself. It is therefore humans, the agents of history that repeat history and then turn around to blame history for repeating itself.

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Orjiako noted that the sad place that the Igbo find themselves today, did not start abruptly, or with the civil war of 1967-1970. “It had been loading since the Igbo became part of Nigeria in 1914. Three witnesses suffice to restate this fact – the Sir Henry Willink’s Commission Report of 1957 described the Igbo of Eastern Nigeria as ‘vigorous, intelligent and have pushed outward in every direction seeking a livelihood by trade or service in the surrounding areas of Eastern Region, in the Western region, in the North and outside Nigeria,’’ he pre-warned….CONTINUE READING HERE