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South-East Must Determine To Move Forward Despite Challenges – Soludo



By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos

The Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludo, says the South-East must have the self-belief to turn things around despite insecurity and other challenges facing the zone.

Speaking on Thursday at the 2023 South-East Summit on Economy and Security in Owerri, the Imo State capital, Soludo said the region must make all efforts to thrive despite insecurity, insisting that the zone is far from being the most insecure place in the world.

“I have heard the speeches given, books of lamentations. It is very good to lament but I would rather like to see a glass as half full than half empty. The South-East is ready for business; the South-East is ripe for business and we must all believe in our ability to turn things around and get the South-East going again.

“That must be the outcome of this particular summit. We can lament about insecurity and so on; this is not the most insecure place in the world, other places are thriving despite their own insecurity.

“When arrived in Anambra, eight local governments were totally under siege by these hoodlums. They are all gone, we are settling into business. They would not deter us, Anambra, the South-East all of us, we must be determined to move our place forward in spite of the challenges,” the governor said.

He charged the South-East indigenes not to wait for all the problems to be solved by the governors before they can come to invest in the zone, adding that if they don’t stop seeing the only gloom and doom, “this place will be a desolate homeland”.

According to Soludo, the South-East renaissance should not stop at self-belief, the region should also partner with the rest of the country, the diaspora and the international community.

“We need not just ourselves, we need Nigeria. Ndigbo needs Nigeria and Nigeria needs Ndigbo. Ndigbo needs Africa and the world and the World and Africa need Ndigbo. As an itinerant people, we cannot be an intolerant people.

“We need the partnership of everybody, partnership of the rest of the country, partnership of the diaspora and partnership with the international community.”

Soludu’s speech came after the address by former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, calling for a rethink of the Biafra agitation and strategies to deal with insecurity in the South-East.

He warned that going by recent developments, the region risks losing economic and political relevance in the country, with drastic consequences already being felt by the people of the region after years of insecurity and agitation that have been used as a cover by criminal elements to thrive.

“In the last four years, every Monday has been declared by some non-state actors as sit-at-home day. The enforcement has been brutal, leading to enormous loss of lives and property,” he said.

Senator Anyim said, “It is estimated that hundreds of lives and hundreds of billions of naira have been lost to the sit-at-home order”.

He added that the implication of this is being felt by all residents of the region, including successful people, who are often targeted for kidnapping and assassination.