Academician, politician and retired permanent secretary, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife is incontrovertibly, an accomplished personality of sort in matters regarding the aforementioned professions he had engaged in, in life.
He had served as a member of the faculty of some Africa’s leading universities including Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, University of Ibadan, and Harvard University. Subsequently, he joined the civil service where he retired at the apex as a permanent secretary. Following his retirement, he joined politics and on his first try was elected governor of Anambra State on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP.
In this interview with the “Vanguard News,” Ezeife lends voice on why Ndigbo don’t want to invest home, regrettably so, appeals Ndigbo to retunr home and invest.
You said some Igbo business men are suffering from ‘put-him-down’ syndrome by the government of the day, why is it that Igbo businessmen do not like to invest at home, in Igboland?
The question you asked is, why is it that Igbo businessmen invest outside Igboland and not in Igboland, that is your question. In 1992 January, I was sworn-in as governor of Anambra State. The title of my inaugural address to the people of Anambra state was, ‘Think home.’ I said invest in Kano, invest in Sokoto, invest in Maiduguri, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Uyo, but also invest in Anambra State and Igboland. There is something like achievement orientation. When you jump out of your village, you go to Lagos, all you want to do is to achieve and impress people at home. We have gained from the war, Nigeria/Biafran war, we have gained from the pogrom.
Formally an Igboman especially Anambra, will go to Kaduna and build hundreds of houses without building one at home and wealth you don’t see on him, he may be riding bicycle, but since the war, everybody tries to build something at home, have a base.
Well, I have said it before, our philosophy of life is “Ebe onye bi k’ona awachi” where you live you mend, but now, the time has come to build home, to build the home base and make it look like Dubai. Nigerians will see the South East turning to Dubai. All those Middle East, Asian countries, that is, the mind of the Igbo has no limit when it comes to achievements, and they will do it, and many people will begin to jealous them again. But the best thing for Nigeria is for the Igbo to use their God-given gifts. Yoruba to use their God-given gifts, Hausa to use their God-given gifts, all Nigerians to begin to use their God given gifts to develop this African leader.
Because in my view, the British were only used, British imperialism was used by God to create Nigeria and give Africans the big brother they are looking for and a rallying point. And what is more, look around your country, God endowed to you everything conceivable.
The resources given to Nigeria by the Almighty God, are unaccountable, inestimable, not half discovered yet. Your weather is clement in the extreme, you can be outside naked round the year and all that, but go and do it in Europe, winter will kill you there. Then, our physical structure. Have you heard of the earthquake, no earthquake, no volcanic eruption all over the place, no tsunami, no hurricane? Then come to resources, animal resources, anything that breaths anywhere in the world can be found here. Material resources, all kinds of trees, we have them. Human resources, many talents from many tribes.
So, God designed Nigeria for unmatched greatness, but man is messing up God’s design, but since God doesn’t make mistakes, man can run around, think he is messing up everything, eventually the will of God will prevail over the will of man and one Nigeria will grow into a super nation economically.
Credit: Vanguard, Igbobia blog.