(Being welcome Address By President Of Igbo Professionals For Development And Empowerment Initiative(IPDEI), Mr. Livy-Elcon Emereonye, At Its Maiden Annual Conference 2019)
Your Excellency, the Governor of Imo State, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha CON
Your Royal Highness, Eze George Ekeh, the Father of the day
The Chairman of this conference, Dr. Sam Amadi
The Keynote Speaker, Hon Chief Joseph Chukwuma Ikunna
Honourable members of the National Assembly
Honourable members of Imo State House of Assembly
Honourable Commissioners here present
Chairmen of different Local Government Areas
Different professional bodies
Different regulatory agencies
Members of Igbo Professionals for Development and Empowerment Initiative
Invited guests too numerous to mention
Gentle men of the press
Distinguished ladies and gentle men.
It’s with joy that I welcome you all to the maiden annual conference of the Igbo Professionals for Development and Empowerment Initiative (IPDEI), holding here in Owerri, Imo State, designed to stimulate positive mental attitude for imminent paradigm shift anchored on institutionalization.
We appreciate you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here. Together, we will open up Southeast for investment and turn things around for better.
Igbo Professionals for Development and Empowerment Initiative is a child of circumstance conceived and borne to fulfill the pressing need of the time. We have the ideas, plans and standard operating procedures for effective and efficient development of our place and strategic empowerment of our people. And our “annual conference” is one of the many ways through which to actualize our aims and objectives.
As a group, we are out to complement not compete with or against any person or group of persons but rather we would work with any person, every group and organization that share similar vision and pursue common goals in civilized manners with the hope to secure a better future for ourselves and generations to come. To this end, we say a big “thank you” to everyone who in one way or the other has invested in Southeast – and to those who have not, now is the time for meaningful investment. Let’s eat the frog!
The conference theme: "Indigenous Investments: Key to Economic Development and Empowerment of Southeast" is self explanatory and primarily chosen to re-emphasize and re-enforce the “Igbo Think Home Initiative” – an “Aku ruo ulo” drive knowing fully well that no one can develop our place better than ourselves.
We have confidence that this conference will provoke healthy discussions with pragmatic suggestions, innovative ideas and strategies that will fast-track the making of Alaigbo the investment hub and economic excellence of this country and continent. This is feasible and doable.
It’s incontrovertible that we are ingenious and industrious and testimonies abound of our great exploits. In search of livelihood and in conquest of suppression, we can go to any length in any place. It has been affirmed and re-affirmed that we have the power to bring out water from the rock but the question is: what have we done with such "water" in Alaigbo? Are we good at developing other places at expense of our place? How can we continue to turn the waste of other lands into wealth while our homeland depreciates and rot away as result of absolute neglect by us? When will the “Igbo exodus from Igbo land” stop and how?
Life’s what we make it. Beyond tenable and reasonable constraints and harsh realities it’s high time we decided to pay the price and get pearls from our pains. Let’s resolve to do things right and new. Let’s join hands and change our narrative for better. The bitter truth is that no one but us will and must develop our communities, local government areas and states – and to do this is one of the reasons you are an aborigine of that village. We have done great exploits locally and internationally but we have to do more at home and all hands must be on deck for this.
The best time to plant a tree is now. Ositadimma anyi ekele Chukwu. The choice to build an economically buoyant zone of ourselves for ourselves is our collective responsibility. What we make of this choice today will say a lot about us tomorrow.
Umu Ibe, wherever we are and whatever we do, strive for honest living. Work for a life not a living and invest fractions of your proceeds at home. This way the stereotyping and unhealthy profiling of our people, often based on envy, will stop.
Like little drops of water that make a mighty ocean, start something, however, small in Alaigbo today and watch the ripple effects tomorrow. Replicate your business at home. The spirit of emulation is better than jealousy so nothing is wrong and as such can stop us, where inevitable, to copy and modify the business models and operations in other zones and countries that make such place viable and establish them here. Discover a need and fill it. One of the secrets of successful business is to provide solution to a major problem – do this and people will look for you even if you are in a dungeon in the remotest part of Alaigbo.
However good a seed, if planted in the wrong environment, it will not grow and yield fruits. This is where our governments come into play. The minimum we require from the government along with her regulatory agencies is the provision of conducive environment for investment. Let there be functional basic amenities with adequate security for life and property. Let the red tapes and bureaucratic landmines against business operations in our land be removed. The good news is that if our government will be business friendly, hundreds and thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will spring up in every nook and cranny of our zone. This will create jobs and wealth for the people and increase the state’s internally generated revenues (IGRs).
It's a new dawn for a new era. A new Alaigbo is possible and is here with us. As concerned professionals, IPDEI has some SOPs for meaningful and impactful development and empowerment of our zone and is ready and willing to partner with any person, group or government on this.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure once again to welcome you. Relax and enjoy the conference.
Thanks and God bless.