FROM time immemorial, people migrate to other lands in search of the Golden Fleece. The goodies, after they are acquired, are repatriated back home and used to develop the homeland. That way, the adventurous migrants leverage their societies.
Igbo are known to be an adventurous group. The Igbo of Nigeria are known, among others, for their migratory prowess and are found in all parts of Nigeria and beyond. The people are easily identifiable by their resilience and adaptability to situations.
As time rolled by in their search for Golden Fleece they migrate to other lands and consciously decide to settle, build homes, and develop those lands and serving other people’s local economies and creating wealth while their homeland is abandoned in pathetic and undeveloped state. Some assume traditional titles and begin to command influence in the Diaspora.
Ndi Igbo have in great proportion, maintained a healthy presence in most Nigerian cities in spite of fierce competition from the indigenes. The tribe, more than any other ethnic group, holds sway in terms of property market, retail trade and commerce. They dominate the hotel business and the inter-state mass transport industries.
Economic experts may argue that people invest where they will reap adequate economic dividends and profit, where the economic environment is favourable and conducive; and where there are adequate infrastructure, energy, communication system, comparative advantage, the market and sufficient security.
It is not that Igbo should disinvest from where they are and come home nor that they should not conquer more markets, but rather, Igbo land should also be given due recognition as they plan their business and investment strategies.
While it is possible that some parts of Nigeria may have better economic attractions vis-à-vis market and locations, the need to develop the region goes beyond the size of the profit margin. In other words, there is now a crying need to mobilise the talents, energies, contacts and resources to develop the homeland.
When the present administration came into power, Governor Obiano stressed the need for ndi Anambra not domiciled in the state to invest in their homeland.
This, the governor did through a campaign slogan called Akulueuno.
According to him, investment in the homeland will develop the area, create employment and the people will always have something to fall on. He took this crusade outside the shores of Anambra State and Nigeria.
The Akulueuno campaign is getting attention and with recent activities in the country, ndi Anambra are coming to terms with the importance of investing in homeland.
It would be noted, however, that Akulueuno would have been inconceivable if Governor Obiano did not cure the state of crime.
However, economic advantages of Igbo in Diaspora to their homeland cannot be overemphasised.
Commenting on the importance of Akulueuno, Ezendigbo, Ibadan, Oyo State, Eze Alex Anozie, said the importance could not be overemphasized. He explained Akuluouno to be a word filled with wisdom, adding that it is not proper for an individual not to invest in his or her homeland.
He said that whatever one was doing or wherever one was, the individual should also think of home.
Buttressing his point further, Eze Anozie informed that he made music sometime ago reflecting the importance of investing in homeland. According to him, the piece of music, titled,’ Igbo nine mara nma’ is getting popular.
“The Igbo experience of the Nigerian civil war was an eye opener in a number of ways. Following the pogrom in parts of the country, especially in the northern part, there was mass exodus of Igbo into Igbo land in order to escape the pogrom. On getting to Igbo land, they got stranded because many people did not have houses into which to move in their families. This experience was an eye opener in the sense that after that, Igbo started building houses at home unlike before,” Anozie said.
Anozie opined that the attitude of investing at home captures the essence of Akulueuno and it is a practice that should be encouraged by all and sundry.
On whether to invest more at place of domicile or state of origin, he said that if there was enough resources, one should endeavour to replicate same at home for employment purposes that would benefit fellow Igbo men and women. This is because ‘Okuku na akpa nri, anya ufio akona ya’ (One should be wary of development around him or her).
While congratulating ndiAnambra on their anniversary, he advised that ndigbo should always bring in good things into Igbo land. He also used the opportunity to call for a uniform traditional system in Igbo land with regards to a downward review of bride price. Eze Anozie commended past and present governors of Anambra in their efforts in developing the state. Anozie called for unity in Igboland, saying that Igbo bu ofu.
Contributing, a Ph.D student in the department of Philosophy, University of Ibadan, Emeka Obi, said that Akulueuno speaks to the idea of a conscious and deliberate attempt on the individual to channel his resources towards the development of the native home.
Mr Obi was of the opinion that ndigbo should invest more in their homeland rather than their place of domicile whenever it is convenient to act in that manner, adding that in times of war or dislocation; such home based investments would be more secured than those outside homeland.
He encouraged ndi Anambra to keep the attributes of hardwork and resourcefulness which they are famed for, saying that it makes for progress and development. Continuing, he noted that the economic importance of Igbo in Diaspora cannot be overemphasised.
In his opinion, the Welfare Officer, Ogbunike Progress Union, Ibadan Branch, Chidi Okoye, commended the Akulueuno attitude in Anambra State, saying it was very important because it would help develop Igboland.
Mr Okoye said that not all investment should be taken home, adding that an individual does not need to be so wealthy to invest at home. He noted that investment could be done gradually.
Commenting on the economic advantages of Igbo in Diaspora, Okoye said their investments in the south east would help develop the region and provide employment for the youth.
In his opinion, a businessman, Ekene Onyia, said Akulueuno was all encompassing. He noted that any good investment an individual has in his place of domicile could be replicated in the homeland.
Onyia opined that investments can be in form of infrastructural development and capacity building and commended Governor Obiano for the concept of Akulueuno.
Joseph Ndulue of Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra is of the opinion that Akulueuno amongst the Igbos Should be encouraged.
According to the Uyo-based business executive, the business gurus operating abroad should come home and establish industries which would go a long way to secure jobs for the teaming youths roaming about in their respective homes.
Chief Ndulue further, urged ndi Igbo in diaspora to heed to Chief Willie Obiano’s call on ndi Anambra living abroad, especially the billionaires to endeavour to come home and assist the government by establishing small scale business concerns in the state.
The business executive also urged students studying in the diaspora to take their lessons seriously so that the brilliant ones would be offered scholarship to further their education, adding that Igbos studying in the diaspora should learn skills that would ensure that their impacts on the younger ones at home are felt.
He also urged the students who have completed their studies abroad to come home and assist the government in the area of security, food production, among others.
Another Uyo based business guru, Chief Christian Obianom, blamed the federal government inability of Igbo industrialists to come home and establish businesses in their respective states.
According to Obianom, who is also the Chairman of Anambra Progressive Association (APA), Uyo Chapter, what the community needs for now in restructuring. The motive, he said, will allow any section of the country do their things to the best of their ability.
According to All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Chieftain in Ifite village, Aguluzoigbo, in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, the present Buhari administration is making things difficult for south eastern industrialists.
Obianom further urged the Buhari-led administration to consider the south east region in the sharing of the country’s wealth.
The business executive lauded Chief Willie Obiano for the progress he has made so far in the first half of his governance and urged the people to support him to achieve the second half, especially as the state is celebrating its 27th anniversary.
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