Hope Uzodimma, Governor of Imo State, has urged youths of Igbo extraction to shun violence and instead maximise the numerous opportunities provided through various means to succeed in Nigeria.
Governor Uzodimma gave the advice at the presentation of his book entitled: ‘Reflections On The Igbo Question’, in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Saturday.
According to him, the South-East youths need to move beyond the age-long lamentation the marginalisation of the Igbo people and, instead, seek opportunities that are in abundance in the country in order to thrive.
He said: “What I have simply set out in this book is for our youths to appreciate the opportunities before them and embrace such instead of bemoaning the marginalisation of Ndigbo and resorting to violence, which is self-defeat. They should come up with pragmatic ways of conquering their fear.
“I don’t want our youths to think that somebody is holding down their destiny. I also don’t want them to continue to be frustrated by the deliberate policies of exclusion. Instead, I want them to be focused on the larger picture of liberation through technology, trade, and commerce through which we can dominate Nigeria and dictate the pace of development.”
Governor Uzodimma insisted that in spite of the state of affairs since the 1966 counter-coup, the Igbo people are still better off staying in Nigeria.
He acknowledged that while his comments may not be the popular opinion in the South-East region currently, the leaders and youths in the South East can reclaim their rightful place in Nigeria by building on the comparative advantage they have over their compatriots in other regions.
He said: “We have to leverage the special talents bestowed on us by God to ensure that we are accorded our dues in Nigeria. One of the talents is technology. The other is commerce and trade.
“Currently, the evidence is there that it was helpful to us in the past and is still at our disposal today. Truth be told, we are dominating in commerce and trade in Nigeria. But we can do far better than that as a people if we put our thinking caps on.”
“In the real estate business in all the major cities of Nigeria, the Igbos are leading. Most standard provisions stores in any remote part of Nigeria are likely to be owned and operated by an Igbo man or woman.
“The second most populous ethnic group in any city in Nigeria outside the indigenes of the city are Igbos. How then do we harness these huge potentials to our advantage?”