On Friday in Lagos, the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines Company Limited, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, reminded the Igbo people that the occasional brickbats with their Yoruba neighbours are uncalled for.
Speaking in his remarks at the Second All Markets Conference of Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association at Festival Hotel in Lagos. Prof. Okonkwo said the Igbo must avoid merchants of violence who sow seeds of discord between them and their Yoruba hosts, noting that one’s host is also one’s refuge.
Prof. Okonkwo, who is also the National Grand Patron of the Association, noted that the Igbo must pursue peaceful co-existence with their Yoruba neighbours adding that Igbo people must also invest in their homeland.
According to him, the thought of Lagos as a ‘no man’s land’ is vexatious and insulting. He said that even in places overtaken by civilisation, there are still people listed as original inhabitants of those lands.
He appealed to Igbo people in Lagos to seek good neighbourliness, adding that Igbo people thrive better in a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere.
Prof Okonkwo also used the opportunity to congratulate Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on his electoral victory, reminding him that Igbo traders in Lagos promised to stand behind him in his quest for a second term and did not disappoint.
He lauded Igbo traders in Lagos for keeping to their promise to vote Sanwo-Olu, who he described as competent, for a second term.
His speech reads: “Last year, when we gathered at this same venue for the 2022 edition of the conference, under the umbrella of Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association, Igbo traders in Lagos State overwhelmingly declared support for His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his bid to win a second term in office. The governor was right here with us when that pledge was made. To the glory of God and the good of Lagos state, Igbo traders kept to their words and delivered massively for the governor.
“For this, I want to sincerely thank the entire membership of the Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association for keeping to the promise they made to the governor. In doing so, you have again underscored the spirit of Ekwueme- a vital tenet of the Igbo culture and worldview.
“Let me stress that political tensions are inevitable in every society, even in the most advanced democracies. A key driver of such political tensions is interest group politics, wherein diverse stakeholders try to advance their interests which can converge or diverge.
That is why we must, as concerned citizens with constitutional rights, insist on good governance as we strive to build a just and democratic nation. It may not happen overnight, but as the English Poet Alexander Pope reminds us- hope springs eternal.
Once again, I thank you all for turning out en masse for this conference and wish you all the best as you deliberate on the theme ‘Catalyzing Partnership with Traders through Innovation, Technology, Analytical and Sustainability’. I hope our discourse here today will help us, as traders, build more robust and sustainable partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including regulatory agencies and government agencies, for mutual benefits.”