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South-East must determine to move forward despite challenges – Soludo

THE Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludo, has stated that the South-East must have the confidence to turn things around despite insecurity and other issues.

Speaking today at the 2023 South-East Summit on Economy and Security in Owerri, Imo State’s capital, Soludo said the region must make every effort to flourish despite insecurity, pointing 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 urged South-East indigenes not to wait for the governors to fix all of their problems before coming to invest in the zone, cautioning that if people continue to see only gloom and doom, “this place will be a desolate homeland.”

According to Soludo, the South-East renaissance should include collaboration 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 followed that of Anyim Pius Anyim, former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who called for a rethinking of the Biafra agitation and measures to cope with insecurity in the South-East.

He cautioned that, based on recent trends, the region risks losing economic and political prominence in the country, with severe effects already being felt by the people of the region as a result of years of insecurity and unrest used as a cover by criminal groups to prosper.

“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.

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